Limpag: The PAL Interclub

Mike T. Limpag

I WAS supposed to be in Bacolod this week, covering the 73rd PAL Interclub men’s regular tournament. But two weeks before, I got a call and was told the media coverage was canceled as PAL was dealing with the effects of the canceled flights due to Covid-19.

I was surprised. Even with the financial crisis in 1997, the veterans of the PAL Interclub told me the tournament nor the media coverage was never canceled so I thought this latest crisis is really something.

I thought then that at least it’s only the coverage that got canceled and PAL isn’t laying off workers. But a week later the airline announced it was laying off 300, making the canceled trip to the City of Smiles such a small thing.

“See you next year,” I was told after getting informed of the cancelation. And I am hopeful there will be a next year. Though the coverage was canceled, the PAL Interclub is still being staged and that tells you how important the tournament is for the company.

Heck, right now, I think the hotel and restaurant owners of Bacolod City are singing praises to the tournament. Tourism is the major casualty of the Covid-19 and the PAL Interclub is like sports tourism on steroids. I think, a conservative estimate would have one participant spending P20,000 over five days and the PAL tournament has eight to 10-man teams playing over two weeks.

The financial infusion over those two weeks would be a boost to Bacolod’s tourism industry.

I look forward to the Interclub since it’s the chance to meet friends in the media industry from Manila and Davao and the nights after the coverage are often legendary, thanks to Charlie Erojo, or Charlie of Davao as per Al Mendoza.

The guy’s contribution to the Interclub is invaluable as PAL learned when he wasn’t included in the team handling media affairs a few years back in Subic.

“Where is Charlie?” was the battlecry of the media and Charlie of Davao, who is no longer directly employed by PAL, has become a regular fixture since.

Anyway, good luck to the Cebu teams competing in the men’s regular tournament, especially the Cebu Country Club, which won the Championship Division last year while campaigning in the Founders Division. This year, CCC is again in the Founders Division and defending the Championship crown just got harder.