Saturday, August 16, 2014

“Ladies in bloom”
Sun.Star Davao, Aug. 16, 2014

With the theme, “Nature: A Blessing for Ikebana”, the thirty-two members of the Ikebana International Davao Chapter 133 showcased their ingenious floral art creations in a world-class exhibit recently at the SM Lanang Premier.

Now on its 46th year, the society’s Davao members are especially bound by a common passion for self-expression through the breathtaking art of ikebana.

Ikebana is the well-loved Japanese art of flower arrangement. However, unlike the conventional way of arranging flowers, ikebana enthusiasts express their creativity within certain rules of construction. They utilize organic materials such as branches, leaves, grasses, flowers, among others, to come up with their works of art. The final ‘masterpiece’ is considered a “living thing where nature and humanity are brought together”.

This Kadayawan, be amazed at the ladies in bloom of Ikebana Davao as they share their blossoming love affair with ikebana!

President, Ikebana International Davao Chapter 133 (2012-2014)

*How did you get into ikebana? 

            Señora Esther de Jesus invited a group of Latinas to attend a meeting of Ikebana International Davao Chapter 133, but I couldn't understand anything since I didn't speak English, but thank goodness all the ladies didn't mind and accepted me as a member regardless of the language barrier.

*How long have you been a member of this group?

            From 2004 to the present…10 years!

*Were you always a creative person (into art/flower arrangement/crafts)?
            I do not consider myself creative (with my hands) but I do have a lot of energy and a drive for event organizing and activities. I have the gift to encourage people and inspire change and involve everyone in the process.

*If you are a beginner, what necessary materials/tools should you invest in when doing ikebana?

            When you are a beginner your heart and personality are your main and necessary tools and materials. After you've defined your tendency and style of work, you can move on to other tools and materials. With just any vase (from kitchenware to a bag), a kenzan, and the beautiful diversity of flowers and plants in Davao, and our gardens, you can create wonders.

            *Note: “A kenzan, also called ‘spiky frog’, is a specific device used in the Japanese art of flower arrangement, ikebana, for fixing the flowers in the container.  It consists of a heavy lead plate with erected brass needles where the stipes are fixed” (Source: Wikipedia)

*Why do you love ikebana?
            I love ikebana because Ikebana Davao welcomed me with arms wide open when I had no clue about English or ikebana. When I was pregnant with my daughter Zury, a teacher who came from Japan said I had a life inside and explained the connection between the life of my daughter and nature and beauty and creativity, after all, 'Man is nature's guest'. ‎ In addition, when my house burned down a year ago, plus other problems I've gone through, the members of the I.I. Davao Chapter have always been there for me.

*What was the theme of your two works during the recent exhibit? How did the materials and design represent your theme?

            The styles I used for my arrangement belong to the school of Sogetsu, which is a school of Ikebana International.

            The first arrangement I created represented my personality, shin (heaven) and soe (man) with my trademark curly hair. For hikae (earth), I used the cattleya orchid, the national flower of Colombia because I’m Colombian. The two ceramic shoes symbolize my hobby of dancing. 

            The second arrangement, the broken electric fan, is my way of telling the world that even recycling materials can be used to express the beauty of nature, imagination, and conservation of the environment.

*You’ve been the Ikebana (Davao chapter) president for two years, how was your experience, so far?

            I had to work on my conversational and comprehensive English, as well as to continue the relationship between the Filipino, Latin, and Japanese cultures because ikebana is an art originated from Japan.

            I also had to start learning about the native trees, plants, and flowers of the Philippines. Ever since I became president, I have been lucky to have the unconditional support of Honorable Japanese Consul  Koichi Ibara and his lovely wife, Madam Mariko Ibara.

            I have been invited to participate in the King of Festivals, “Kadayawan”. I also had the opportunity to travel to other provinces and institutions that were affected by the typhoons Pablo and Yolanda.

            I have also visited other countries to represent the Davao chapter, which has let me meet new people. They have immensely helped my growth as a person.

*What were the highlights of the recent Ikebana event?

            I am grateful for my family's support, especially my husband Roberto Barnett, and my kids Eric, Harry and Zury.

            To see every single member's work; to see their passion, imagination, and heart left in their arrangement; seeing the effort and love exerted by both the new members as well as the older members such as Ms. Dally Soriano and Mr. Boy Guino-o was such a joy!

            I was in awe seeing all the members dressed in Filipiniana for the most important event of the chapter. It was overwhelming to stand in front of the exhibition and marvel at the rainbow of colors and emotions. I had that peaceful feeling which was transmitted through nature's gracious hands.

            We were also privileged to have representatives of the Ikebana International (I.I.) Manila Chapter 108, I.I. Cebu Chapter 145, and I.I. Cagayan de Oro Chapter 163, join us for the exhibit.


*How did you get into ikebana? 

            I was invited by the Ikebana Davao president Danney Barnett, who is the patient and friend of my dentist-husband Chin.

*How long have you been a member of this group?
            Almost a year, I joined the group last Sept 2013.

*Were you always a creative person (into art/flower arrangement/crafts)?

            I have always loved arts and crafts but I haven’t dabbled in flower arrangements until now.         

*Why do you love ikebana?
            After several workshops, my perception of plants and flowers has changed! My appreciation of nature was elevated to a whole new level.

*What was the theme of your work during the recent exhibit?

            I made sure to infuse the Filipino theme to my Japanese arrangement. My theme is “Maria Clara”. I used lisanthium and fox tail to symbolize the Maria Clara ladies who are very simple, elegant and lady-like. The papyrus represents the strong Filipino men. I was fortunate to have found an antique vase that went perfectly with my theme.


*How did you get into Ikebana? 
            Dr. Jennifer Lim was the one who invited me to join ikebana with her since they were looking for younger members for the group. 

*How long have you been a member of this group?
            I have been a member since October of last year.

*Were you always a creative person (into art/flower arrangement/crafts)?

            I’ve always been interested in the arts. I am into water color, painting, scrapbooking and crafting. In college, I had a subject in flower arrangement because I took up Interior Design. However, it was totally different from the ikebana style.

*Why do you love ikebana?
            I love the minimalist elegant style of ikebana; using different kinds of materials that can be unique; and one you can't imagine to actually look really good together after being arranged.

*What was the theme of your work during the recent exhibit?

            I utilized variation no. 2, slanting style (moribana) for my work. Since the theme was recycling materials, I used a vintage vase from my grandfather, a wooden tray from a serving plate I had at home, and foliage from my father-in-law's garden. As for the flowers, I especially ordered Colombian roses from Waling Flowers.


*How did you get into ikebana? 

            My grandmother, Carmen M. Soriano, was the founder of Ikebana Davao Chapter 133 and a certified ikebana teacher. I grew up seeing her make arrangements daily. She used different materials. When I was 10 years old, she taught me Ikenobo. We only had a few sessions though. I did not appreciate it much at that time since I would prefer to do other things.

            Last year, my mom (who is also a longtime member) made me join the Sogetsu workshop. After that, I joined Ikebana Davao together with my other two cousins. We were all new.

*How long have you been a member of this group?

          One year

*Were you always a creative person (into art/flower arrangement/crafts)?

           Not really. I had to get out of my comfort zone once I learned the basics. I had to research and use my imagination to create the arrangement that I had in mind. Sometimes, it comes out the way I like it. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Nevertheless, I learn from it.

*If you are a beginner, what necessary materials/tools should you invest in when doing ikebana?

            A pair of garden scissors, kenzan, flat vase or container and a tall cylindrical vase. If you don’t have the flat vase, a square or rectangular Pyrex will do---but just for practice.
*Why do you love ikebana?
            I love ikebana because I discover something new every day. I have become observant with the plants around me, looking for lines and leaves. When I am making my arrangement, I lose track of time because I am fully occupied with the task and having fun at the same time.

*What was the theme of your work during the recent exhibit?

            First of all, I wanted to do a slanting nageire. I wanted something in full bloom, something rich, simple yet elegant. I definitely wanted pink. I found my lines in the garden. It’s golden duranta. I used it for the Sogetsu workshop last month. After that, I had it dried. The container was simply gorgeous. It was perfect for the slanting style. I borrowed it from my mom which originally belonged to my Lola. For the flowers, I bought 2 dozens of pink lisianthus. I bunched it together to make it look as a big flower. It matched the lines and container very well. The arrangement came out as how I wanted it.


*How did you get into ikebana? 

            By invitation from the current Ikebana International Davao Chapter president Danney Barnett
*How long have you been a member of this group?
             Less than a year as a certified member
*Why do you love ikebana?
            It's a good feeling! Whatever you make surely brightens up any place.

*What was the theme of your work during the recent exhibit?

            I can't really say I have a specific theme aside from nature that is common to all arrangements. Using what's available at home is always a thought in mind. With my dear husband's insistence, I started with the use of this very long acquired dried green turned yellow fern. He said I should think of incorporating it with my arrangement as it's quite unique and different. The same goes with the dark-coloured slim branches that blend well with the fern colour. Those fresh branches of variegated leaves came from our garden while the red-orange flowers are store-bought liliums. Now, to add an accessory to the arrangement, I chose this upside-down bamboo table to add some point of interest and to show a twist in continuity of the materials used. The black lunch box cloth-wrap was so placed to add a sense of calmness and emphasis on the colours used. Whether dried or fresh or processed, you can take note that the materials came from nature.


*How did you get into ikebana? 

       Ikebana has always been a part of my life.  For as long as I can remember, my grandmother, the late Doña Carmen Soriano, has always had a passion for the art.  Lola Carmen loved the art so much that she wanted to share her passion with others here in Davao. She eventually became the founder of Ikebana Davao Chapter.
             At the same time, my mother, Sonia Gempesaw, was also just as passionate about the art. So you can imagine all the materials that were lying around the house and of course, the beautiful arrangements that came out of the flowers, twigs, and leaves.  We always had such gorgeous arrangements at home made from freshly-cut materials coming from the gardens.

            This was something I took for granted until I finally decided to join the Ikebana Chapter here in Davao late last year. 
               Little by little, I began to familiarize myself with the art and found that I was beginning to enjoy it. That’s how I got into it.

*How long have you been a member of this group?

            I joined Ikebana Chapter 133 in September of last year, along with my two cousins, Lea Tionko-Imperial and Tina Peralta-Tionko.

*Were you always a creative person (into art/flower arrangement/crafts)?

            I believe creativity exists in everyone.  For some people, this is expressed through writing, painting, or the creation of handicrafts.  In my case, I have always been interested in expressing myself through arts and crafts.  Long before I joined Ikebana Davao, I was already into making my own topiaries during the holidays.  I think that my grandmother had a strong influence on me and my other cousins.

*If you are a beginner, what necessary materials/tools should you invest in when doing ikebana?

            The basic materials needed for ikebana are the following:  a good kenzan, different coloured and shaped vases (these need not be expensive), good garden scissors, and of course, flowers and other materials such as leaves and twigs.

*Why do you love ikebana?
            Ikebana is the art of creating symbols of nature through arrangements.  I love ikebana because it allows me to be creative.  It gives me the silence I need to create and share a piece of my soul through the arrangements.  Just like my mother and my grandmother, my love for nature is expressed through ikebana.  Even as an amateur, I enjoy being able to create a piece that captures my take on nature.  I’m lucky enough to have been exposed to the different ways of presenting arrangements which has helped me develop an artistic eye for the art. I think that the ikebana arrangements make a house look pretty and homey.

*What was the theme of your work during the recent exhibit?

            The theme of my work during this recent exhibit is to show the uniqueness and beauty of nature through my arrangement.  It is a symbol of nature as seen through my eyes.  I chose materials that were not very common.  For this year’s exhibit, I also chose colors that represent nature well.  Yellow is such a happy color.  The patch of yellow represents the brightness of the colors of nature.  The leaves from the box plant represent nature’s sturdiness as well.  The deep green color of the box plant’s leaves is so pretty and is a great contrast with the brightness of the orchid.  

         Special thanks to Kenneth Hao for the photos of Danney Barnett and the Ikebana International Davao Chapter 133 group.  

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

“A L.AT.C.H. made in heaven”
Sun.Star Davao, Aug. 2, 2014

There is a Jewish proverb that says “God could not be everywhere, so He created mothers”.

With this, the mommy members of  L.A.T.C.H.  Davao Peer Counselors reach out with kindness and understanding to support, promote and protect breastfeeding.

L.A.T.C.H. (Lactation, Attachment, Training, Counseling, Help) is a non-profit organization established in Manila in 2006 that offers quality lactation education and peer counseling services to mothers who wish to breastfeed.

For mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding, the presence of this breastfeeding support group in Davao is indeed “a L.A.T.C.H. made in heaven”!

“We cannot ignore the statistics and data showing the importance of breastfeeding”, shares Keryl Lee-Tan of L.A.T.C.H. Davao.

Keryl continues that as “a global public health recommendation, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.”

According to L.A.T.C.H. Davao, “breastfeeding is a learned skill that both mom and baby need to master, and the most critical time for success is when the baby is brought home from the hospital”.

Keryl explains that “mothers begin to doubt their capacity to nourish their child because of unsupportive family members, lack of information, unnecessary separation of mom and baby during the time of birth or during the hospital stay, and the like”.

But, Keryl clarifies that moms do not need rescuers for breastfeeding; all they need is the right information, encouragement and support.

And, this is where L.A.T.C.H.  Davao comes in as a response to the WHO mother-baby friendly initiative, Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, specifically in step number 10, which is to “foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic”.

L.A.T.C.H. Peer Counselors are, first of all, breastfeeding mothers who have experienced the challenges and benefits of breastfeeding with the awareness that they all create ripples that affect each other.

Recognizing the impact of media and society in undermining breastfeeding, L.A.T.C.H. Davao’s main goal is to educate and empower mothers by giving them the right information, backed up by evidence-based data, information and practices.

The organization regularly holds breastfeeding talks within the city and counseling within the community.

For the breastfeeding month of August, L.A.T.C.H. has invited Canadian pediatrician and breastfeeding expert Dr. Jack Newman for a one-day symposium on breastfeeding. The event will be on August 11, 2014, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the SMX Convention Center at SM Lanang Premier. This is a tri-city event with Manila holding theirs on August 9 and Cebu on August13.

Topics to be discussed include: “what they didn't teach you about breastfeeding in your training; norms for the first few days and numbers on demand; and norms for a breastfeeding baby”.

For more information about the symposium, go to or email or text  (0905) 353-7144.

To receive updates about L.A.T.C.H. Davao's activities, “like” their Facebook page at

 Special thanks to Mima Tan of MIMATHOLOGY for the fabulous photos!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

“Transformers: Autobots Round-Up”
Sun.Star Davao, July 19, 2014

Every time my husband and I watch a Transformers movie, we cannot help but have our minds taken away to memories of our childhood.  

Now that we have kids in tow, we not only enjoy watching the latest T-movie (it’s how we affectionately call the movie at home) but also enjoy seeing our kids faces light up as my husband explains, with all seriousness worthy of a movie buff, the plot and the characters of the movie.

For this year’s T-movie, we were fortunate to be invited by Chevrolet Davao to enjoy the action-filled, most anticipated movie of the year as it rolls out our favorite autobots:  “Transformers - Age of Extinction”.

With all the mind-bending graphics, animation and action scenes, we were again treated to the bravado and heroism of Optimus Prime, and the playful naivete of the one of the most recognizable characters of the movie, Bumble Bee.

For the adults, no T-movie is without “quotable quotes” from the mighty Optimus Prime.  Once again, these quotes strike at the heart of the plot and bring us back to the good old days of the story.  How else can a metallic hero endear its fans than standing up against the might of an enemy complete with word after word of inspirational quotes, espousing the values of honesty, loyalty and sincerity?

The kids were once again awestruck with the iconic yellow and black Chevrolet Camaro as it takes center stage as the well-loved Autobot displaying compassion for the human race and the bravery of a true Autobot warrior. Our friends at Chevrolet Davao informed us that Bumble Bee initially takes form as a vintage 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS that eventually evolves to a Camaro concept car.

As expected, the kids were talking about the movie past their bedtime.  Each had her own favorite Autobot and favorite scenes.  My husband took time to stress that, as shown in the movie, the inherent values of goodness, persistency and hard work cement any bond, whether friendship or family, even as relationships go through challenges.

The use of technology, now that smartphones and tablets are pervasive, is second only to good moral values.  There is no point in using technology if it affects any aspect of humanity be it in the scale of Decepticon-type destruction or run-of-the-mill  “hand in the cookie jar” type of playful naughtiness.  

With twinkling in his eyes, my husband made a special mention about the cameos of the Dinobots, the animal-like robots appearing during the climax of the movie.  I am not familiar with their stories but was keenly aware that this will evoke in him another round of nostalgia and reminiscing the past.  

At this point, we had to switch off the lights for bed or else the kids will start off another round of questions and pleas for more stories!

A big big thanks to AB&T Resources, Inc., Chevrolet Davao dealer for the family movie treat! Chevrolet Davao has an ALL-NEW showroom at Km 7, J.P Laurel Ave., Lanang (near Grand Regal Hotel) and will also expand to General Santos City by August 2014.  

Transform your Everyday with the Chevrolet Sonic

Transform your everyday with the Chevrolet Sonic. The Chevy sub-compact car is now made more affordable with the Transform your Everyday All-in Low Downpayment promo. In partnership with BPI Family Savings Bank and PBCom, for as low as P78,000.00 all-in downpayment you can drive sporty and stylish Chevrolet Sonic home.

The promo includes free chattel mortgage, 3-year LTO registration and 1 year comprehensive insurance. To make the deal even more exciting, the Chevrolet Sonic hatchback LTZ variants now come with a Chevrolet Mylink; a touchscreen infotainment system that allows you to be connected to everything that is important to you and more while you are out and about. The Sonic hatchback LTZ variant can be driven home for just P98,000.00 downpayment.

To top it all off, Chevrolet Davao assures its new Sonic owners a worry-free ownership experience, as the Chevy Sonic carriesa 5 year warranty with  free 3 year 24/7 Roadside assistance nationwide.

The Chevrolet Transform your Everyday All-in Low Downpayment promo is from June 18 to September 30, 2014. Per DTI permit number 5256 series of 2014. To learn more about the promo, Chevrolet events, products and services, you may log on to or visit our Facebook page: Chevrolet Davao.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Sun.Star Davao, July 5, 2014

Forty-eight members from the Barracuda Swim Team recently joined a fun swim from Davao toPakiputan Strait at the Island Garden City of Samal. Organized by award-winning coach Vasit Venturillo , the swimmers braved 1.6 kilometers of wind, waves and current to reach their target goal, a fitting finish after weeks of training and preparation.

Meet six of these amazing swimmers: three dads and three kids who became each other’s swim buddies during this momentous father-child tandem swim!

JIMMY YAP (age 40), businessman; likes watching TV series
KENN ULRICH YAP (age 10), Grade 5; likes reading, watching ‘Tom and Jerry’ and eating sweets

*How long have you been into sports?

Jimmy: I played badminton during my younger years, and only learned swimming in the summer of 2013. I joined the Novice Durianman Triathlon back in 2013 and a duathlon last summer. I am also planning to join a sprint triathlon this year.

Kenn: I started swimming at the age of 4 and have won several medals already. I have been swimming almost every day for 2 years. Last summer, I also joined the “Langoy Para sa Kabataan”.

* How did you prepare for your long-distance swim from Davao to Samal?

Jimmy: Our coach, Vasit Venturillo, really helped us prepare for the long-distance swim. We trained for about a month. We didn’t follow a special diet but we just avoided eating too much before our swim.

* Why did you decide to swim as a parent-child tandem?

Jimmy: It’s like a graduation event for swimmers. You must cross at least once. It’s every swimmer’s dream to cross. At first, we were both nervous. Ulrich was very silent that morning. As for me, I just had a positive mind and hoped that there were no sharks in the water and the current would not be very strong.

*Who or what inspired you to finish the swim?

Jimmy: Our goal was to finish the swim. There was no turning back, thanks to our swim buddies who kept us safe and continuously shouted, “Pull, pull, pull…Lapit na!”. 

* What were the important lessons/values that you learned from the training and the actual swim itself?

Jimmy: In swimming, you have to be relaxed, take out all the problems in your head and concentrate going to the other side. You don’t have to rush, just focus and don’t stop learning.

*How do you apply these values you learned in other areas of your life?

Jimmy: We always take things one at a time, slowly but surely. Don’t rush because you might lose focus and fail. Ulrich is a consistent honor student and really sets his goals this early. As for me, I’ve been in my business for 18 years and I haven’t stopped learning. There is always something new.
*How did you support each other as a parent-child team?

Jimmy: I give words of encouragement and always act as a role model for Ulrich. But, this time, it’s the other way around, I only crossed the ‘channel’ because my son was crossing!

* What is your advice for younger kids/parents who also wish to challenge themselves and do a long-distance swim?

Jimmy: First, learn how to swim properly. Get a coach. Second, have a group of family or friends who are also into the sports or encourage them to go into swimming. Third, enjoy and don’t stop swimming.

*When is your next swim/sports event?

Jimmy: Ulrich will definitely join an interschool competition if there is one. I may be joining the Petron Blazeman this August 2014.


LAFAYETTE ALVAREZ LIM (age 40), businessman
MATTHAEUS HENRICUS HO LIM (age 7), Grade 2; loves swimming, playing Minecraft, Lego and dinosaurs

*How long have you been into sports?

Yet: I started swimming sometime in my elementary days during the summer. I was with the Blue Marlin Swimming Club. I had joined only one freestyle competition where I was 4th place.

Matt:  When I was younger, I played a little soccer during one summer. I started swimming under Coach Vasit Venturillo's Barracuda Swim Team in the summer of 2013. I also joined an Aquathlon last March 16.  My first swimming competition was last May 25 where I won first place in my age category for novices in all 4 events.

*How did you prepare for your long-distance swim from Davao to Samal?

Yet: I did not!!! Hahaha! But I did go island hopping 2 days before and tried to practice my swimming. I haven't been swimming regularly for a long time.

Matt: Aside from my weekly swimming classes, on the week of the event I trained every day, swimming 2 sets of 60 laps each at Linmar's pool. I also was with Papa during the island hopping and swam with him from the boat to the nearest beach and back.

*Why did you decide to swim as a parent-child tandem?

Yet: When Coach Vasit mentioned about it, I thought it was a great idea, but Matt was a little worried of things like sharks and corrals. I first offered to accompany him on a boat and later said I will swim with him, but he was still not convinced. Eventually, I told him to think it over 
and he later on agreed. Now the pressure was on me because I haven't been swimming regularly for a long time and had never swam that long a distance before.

*Were there any fears of swimming in the deep waters at first and if 
yes, how did you overcome this fear?

Matt: Papa told me to not think of the things I was afraid of and that 
he will swim with me. So, after thinking about it, I agreed.

*Who or what inspired you to finish the cross channel?

Yet: Initially it was to encourage Matt to go for it, but after he agreed I actually was excited about doing it also.

Matt:  Pops and Mom! Achie Angeli, not so much!

*What were the important lessons/values that you learned from the training and the actual swim itself?

Yet: I was worried because I don't exercise, but I guess my healthy eating kept me in good condition because it wasn't as difficult as I had imagined. Also, the thought of finishing it with my son was a major happy thought for me, and it was fulfilling.

Matt: The training was really hard but I was happy when I finished crossing the ‘channel’.

*How do you apply these values you learned in other areas of your life?

Yet: I guess this is kind of a crown for my many years of sacrifice of eating healthy. I do it as an investment for my future health. This event turned out to be an early reward.

It made me want to awesomely swim some more and do a long-distance swim again.

*How did you support each other as a parent-child team?

Yet: Actually Matt was assigned a buddy as was required, so I swam behind them. During the times he stopped to rest, I just encouraged him to keep going.

*What is your advice for younger kids/parents who also wish to challenge themselves and do a long-distance swim?

Yet:  You have to be sure you're healthy enough and have enough swimming experience or training to do it.  After that, the main hurdle will really be swimming against the waves and the current. The depth of the water should not be an issue, you just keep swimming. It would be a truly memorable experience and an awesome challenge to do it together with your kid.  Of course, it is best to do it together with those who have experience doing it.

*When is your next swim/sports event?

Yet: On June 28 at the Kadagayaan Festival Invitational Swim Meet at the Tagum Sports Complex. This will be Matt's 2nd and last competition as a novice. After this, he will already be considered an amateur. (Note from Mom-About-Town: Last June 28, Matt won first place in three events: butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke; and second place for freestyle. Great job, Matt!)

PATRICK DAVID L. LIM (age 43), financial advisor, frustrated chef, and triathlete
KARLA CATHERINE P. LIM (age 14), Grade 8; loves swimming, badminton, wakeboarding, and biking

*How long have you been into sports?

Patrick:  I’ve been into triathlon since February 2013.

Karla:  I started formal swimming lessons when I was 9 years old in 2009-2010 only.  Then I stopped after 1 year.  I joined again this summer 2014 under Coach Haroon Cali of Holiday Gym.

*How did you prepare for your long-distance swim from Davao to Samal?

Karla: Actually I was back swimming the whole of 2014 summer to prepare for the school swimming varsity, not to prepare for any long-distance swim.  When Daddy told me that Coach Haroon invited me to join the ‘cross channel’ swim, I asked Dad if he will join us.  When he said he will swim with me, I agreed to join.  That was 1 week before the activity.  Dad prepared me 2 days before the actual day.  We did non-stop long-distance swimming in the pool.

*Why did you decide to swim as a parent-child tandem?

Karla:  My dad told me that my swimming coach, Haroon Cali, invited me to join the ‘cross channel’ activity and I wanted to join and swim with my dad.

Patrick:  It’s actually my third time to do a long-distance swim, as part of triathlon training. I always shared my experiences with my children and they were always excited to hear my stories.  Now that it was Karla’s opportunity to experience it, I knew that ‘crossing the channel’ would be a priceless and significant experience for her.  I also felt that her confidence level would be higher if she knows that I will be swimming beside her.

*Were there any fears of swimming in the deep waters at first and if 
yes, how did you overcome this fear?

Karla: Yes.  When I jumped in the water, the first thing I did was to look what was underneath me.  It was all dark blue or dark green, and it was scary.  I overcame my fear because I know my Dad and another swim buddy was swimming beside me all the time.

*Did you follow a special diet during your training?

Patrick:  I use to weigh 185 lbs. for more than 10 years since I got sick of typhoid fever in 2010.  Then I decided to lose weight. Since August 2010, I started my no-rice-during-lunch-and-dinner diet (no cheat at all), and regularly go to the gym.  In 2012, I weighed 165 lbs. and decided to get into triathlon.  I maintained my no-rice-during-lunch-and-dinner diet up to the present.

Karla: No, I did not follow any special diet.  I eat everything.

*Who or what inspired you to finish the long-distance swim?

Karla:  Dad was always beside me or in front of me, coaching me.  He was always talking to me, letting me know how many meters or minutes to go.  I really wanted to finish it because I know I can do it, and I want to prove to myself that I can conquer my fear of not reaching the shore, and also to make my family happy for me.

* What were the important lessons/values that you learned from the training and the actual long-distance swim itself?

Karla:  I realized that constant practice and listening to our coach will make ‘crossing the channel’ easy for me.  I also learned that I should not be scared of trying things I have not done before, and overcoming fear of something we cannot see like what was underneath me.  I also learned that we should put a lot of petroleum jelly because there are a lot of jellyfish in the sea.

*How do you apply these values you learned in other areas of your life?

Karla:  I should not be afraid of trying new things and conquering our fears as long as we are guided by our coaches/teachers.  Proper and constant practice will help us a lot in whatever we do.

*How did you support each other as a parent-child team?

Patrick:  I have always supported the choice of sport or hobbies of my children.  In the same token, I get myself involved in their choice if I can do it.  In this particular event, it was Karla who got herself involved in my sport.  So I made it a point to support her, from practice to actual swim, from start to finish.  

Karla:  We swam side by side, finished together, and cheered for each other. 

*What is your advice for younger kids/parents who also wish to challenge themselves and do the cross channel swim?

Patrick:  Parents should support the choice of hobby or sport of your children.  When teaching them or guiding them, we should also practice what we teach them so they may see for themselves.  We should always walk our talk.

Karla: We should not be afraid of trying new things like ‘crossing the channel’, for as long as we allow ourselves to be guided by our coaches and teachers.  We should always learn the proper way and constant practice will bring us to the shore. 

*When is your next swim/sports event?

Karla:  I have no idea yet, but I will be joining the swimming team of my school. 

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