Thursday, November 26, 2009


The Duchess of Dauin will soon become a rewarding discovery in the beach facing Apo Island. The Saturday fun with three amazing women Connie Padriga Belmar, Dina Buna and Hedi Block, the lady behind the Duchess, was unplanned but turned-out well and really fun. These ladies share one common experience, living abroad for so many years and like snowbirds, they come home to enjoy the Philippine sun. Our conversation first centered on Hedi’s line of business: incenses and scents. Passionately, she shared how her products are made and the events that featured them: aromatic oils for spa and interior cleansing, sticks with rose and lavender scents for concerts and more. We discussed the possibilities of our very own scents from Ilang-ilang, Champaca, Camia, Rosal and Sampaguita. Dina shared her amazement over a lemon grass oil sold in expensive bottles in Southern France. I shared how Malaysia made money from their discovery of Philippines’ Ilang-ilang and the lack of entrepreneurial vision of our Filipino producers. The conversation was pleasantly interrupted with Tita Connie calling our attention to the red moon.

The red moon rising ever the horizon signaled the time to make a decision, to stay overnight or go home for dinner. The red shades totally gone and the pearl-like moon made us stay. I started my evening serenade of songs from movie themes which ended with the 80’s hit, Michael Jackson’s “Someone In the Dark” – the theme song of the film “ET.” Tita Connie asked for more, I sang “Loveliest Night of the Year,” a Mario Lanza hit in the 50s. My bathroom singer voice had an instant audience, and I led them gradually to deep slumber under a starry sky.
Breakfast call came and it was a surprise when Tita Connie told us that our lady host is a boxing coach in tournaments abroad. At breakfast, Hedi gave us an instant boxing orientation. Hedi’s passion for sports is being put to work in Dauin with concrete steps toward building a boxing academy in Maayong Tubig, Dauin. The breakfast discussion on this well-love sports ushered in two unexpected rewards: a business idea and an analysis of the ultimate arena of the Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto boxing fight.
Hedi’s husband, Fred, was the president of the Yuma County Youth Boxing Association, Inc in the United States. In fact, Fred was in Las Vegas during the big fight. In Fred’s absence, we had one more consultant,Joe Clough, the former head trainer at the Tacoma Boys Club, an amateur boxing program in Tacoma, WA, USA. Amongst the outstanding fighters developed by Clough at the Tacoma Boys Club as amateurs were: Leo Randolph (World Champion, and Olympic Gold Medalist) , Rocky Lockridge (World Champion) , Johnny Bumphus (World Champion and National Amateur Champion) , Sugar Ray Seales (Olympic Gold Medalist) , Dale Grant (National Amateur Champion) and Davey Lee Armstrong (National Amateur Champion, Member of U.S. Olympic Team). Hedi and Joe LIVE! It was almost unbelievable that on this Maayong Tubig seaside, we had this close encounter with international boxing experts. Our corner that Sunday morning was certainly the best boxing viewing stand in all of the island.
What was Joe’s forecast of the Pinoy sports icon and did he guess it right? Pacquiao's long been defining his high-powered-punch: the uppercut. And this, according to Joe, would be The Pacman’s tool to outdo Cotto. And the indeed on the fourth round, Pacquiao capped what could had been his finisher for Cotto with a strong left uppercut and another set of seconds with another but Cotto was saved by the bell. Pacquiao survived his opponent’s jabs, and in a speed that destroyed whatever was the Cotto gameplan, the Pinoy hero after a successful right, and another left uppercut on round seven which had Cotto on ropes. Being in a neutral corner, Pacquiao flooded Cotto with blows, then one full wave of another ruinous left uppercut. It had a bloody outcome, Cotto was spitting blood from a lip cut and more bleeding from the nose. Pacquiao’s coach, Roach, suggested that this was the best time to stop the fight but Cotto asked for more.

The live sessions with Joe gave Dina an inspiration to give Dumaguete a boxing gym on top of Portal West. Then Joe, shared with us his own gameplan for Negros Island which will be realized with the help of Fred and Hedi: right on the seaside of Maayong Tubig, the Philippines’ boxing academy will rise – a dream born within the Duchess of Dauin. What a beautiful sunny morning!