“Why don’t you fast track your golf practices so that you can join them every time they play?” thus said my dear wife Tess. She noticed that I was an odd man out in a small circle of golfing brothers from within the Makati Chapter.” For months I, as well as my brothers from the Chapter, would remember that remark. Tess had admonished me in front of all them.
With full obedience to my wife’s bidding and burdened with great reluctance and anxiety, I joined the informal group during two games in, of all places, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro. This was to fully share in the fellowship amongst Makati Chapter members during the BCBP Anniversary for 2007. This was my second attempt to hit the fairways.
What does the sport golf mean to a renewed Christian? A common hobby, a shared passion? BCBP Makati members once treated golf as a private pastime expressed in “secret” practice games. And then it happened! Like some group therapy session, brothers finally stopped denying that they were hooked on the game. No admission to this “addiction” of sorts was necessary. The readiness, the eagerness to play together, was revealing enough for all to realize that their week is never complete without hitting the fairways once. . . if not twice.
This motley group of golfers finally realized that they indeed had shared a common passion. Friendly games were then happening quite commonly, and with some semblance of regularity. Chapter retreats, National Anniversaries, GIMIKAMP for BCBP kids would sometimes (not every time!) be planned along with one trip to the nearest fairway. In October 2008, their love for the game would even take them to the Vietnam Golf Club in Ho Chi Minh City for their first foreign golf game. The wives did not seem to mind as they we were touring one of the cheapest shopping areas in Asia.
A few weeks after the Vietnam game, at the Orchard Golf Club in Cavite, around 10 members of BCBP Makati had just finished another friendly game at the Orchard Golf Club in Cavite. Whilst sharing a meal at the veranda, one of the members somewhat jokingly suggested “Hey, let’s try forming our own club – let’s see if it works”. Let’s make Bro. Larry Arceo our president. Everyone agreed unanimously. Larry Arceo was absent from that meeting . . . but he graciously accepted. The group obviously did not take the suggestion to form a golf club as joke – it was taken quite seriously! And thus came to pass the soft launch, of a yet unnamed golf club composed brothers and sisters, from within the Makati Chapter.
On the 28th of December, at Villamor Golf, we played our first tournament. Rico Robles and Opie Nioko were hailed as our first ever co-winners. Right after the game, at the Club house veranda, we formally “elected” our set of officers. Actually what took place was more of being appointed by acclamation. Rules, tournament dates, membership fees and monthly dues were set to formalize the group’s existence. Then a name was selected from among suggestions ranging from the pious “For His Glory Golf Club” to the earthly “Kapatiran Hampaslupa”; our BCBP fellowship golf club was named CIGA, Christians in Golf Association.
A day later, on 29th December, I came out with an email group called “golfers_bcbpmakati.” I tagged this as a trial group for BCBP Makati Chapter members. I wanted first to see if this indeed would catch on within the first two weeks. In its first two days of existence, “email@example.com” had generated 29 messages! . . . 129 for the month of January 2009.
With more than 20 actively playing members, including those from other chapters, we have consistently held our tournaments every month since then. Strict adherences to royal and ancient Golf rules are observed. The BCBP “Be Honest” principle is always applied in rule enforcement and especially in handicaps. In full view of non BCBP golfers, we openly pray as a group before hitting our first drive.
What started as a dream has now indeed become more real. Our latest target is “golf fellowship evangelization”. We are exploring ways as to how we can invite non BCBP golfers to join us in a game or two, to feel the BCBP community spirit in our Games and how it great it is to play the game as a Christian golfer. We are one in believing that golf fellowship evangelization will work and be a good way of making friends.
The secret practices and games continue. Sometimes, all it takes are one or two texts are to assemble a flight. It has been known to happen that a single phone call, made one hour before midnight, was all it took for 7 BCBP golfers to make it to a 6 am tee off on the next day.
As for Tess, well the old question of “Why don’t you fast track your game?” has now been replaced by “What? You’re playing with them again? You just played the other day!!!”
A veterinarian and swine expert by profession, Danny Silbor is an active member of BCBP Makati, having held several leadership positions in recent years. He is also active in the chapter’s Music Ministry. He is married to Tess, his wife of 24 years; they have one son Mike who has just passed the latest nursing board exam. Danny’s personal testimony entitled “All in the Name of Pigs” can be read on this website under “Testimonies.”