By Sheila Mariano

BACOLOD CITY – It is one of Asia’s longest running amateur golf championships and it brings together teams from all over the world for a week of fun and games in various parts of the Philippines. Besides promoting Philippine Airlines’ domestic network, the prestigious PAL Interclub Golf Tournament is also “flaunting the beauty of the country”, as Peter Paul Duran of the Manila Standard phrased it.

PAL’s Branch Manager in Bacolod, Rene G. Aviles.

PAL’s tourney utilises rotating venues in the country – for example Davao, Cagayan de Oro and this year the destination was Bacolod, in Negros Occidental. The carrier has announced plans to stage the 2019 Interclub (the 72nd edition) in Cebu’s Alta Vista and Cebu Golf and Country Club.

For an insight into how local communities benefit when a tournament is held in their region we spoke with PAL’s Branch Manager in Bacolod, Rene G. Aviles. This is the third time the event has been held in his patch during his posting to the ‘City of Smiles’. “First there was the Interclub for Men in 2014, then the Ladies tournament in 2015. This is the 3rd event I have been involved with.

“Since the 2014 event there has been a rapid expansion of accommodation facilities to cope with the tourism boom the region is experiencing,” says Aviles.

The Bacolod-Silay International Airport is well connected to other gateway cities – it is an hour by air from Manila and 30 minutes from Cebu. PAL Express, the domestic arm of Philippine Airlines, runs eight flights, more or less, from this airport – five daily flights to Manila, four times a week to Clark Airport and two daily flights to Cebu.

Bacolod is great if you want to chill out. First time visitors will enjoy a slower pace of life and notice the absence of big city traffic snarls. The weather is amazing. The food is legendary – especially seafood. And there’s lots to see and do if you are so inclined (check out the related articles on this destination).

According to Aviles, Bacolod was declared a ‘most liveable city’ in a recent survey. “It is very peaceful – there are no syndicated crimes over here. Actually, our Mayor has been promoting Bacolod as the perfect choice for people planning to retire.”