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Men of 515

TDT

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Wacky pose from key Alabang Club 515 members during an inter-color tournament at the Alabang Country Club. From left: Nolan Enriquez, Jay Bengzon, Freddie Castro, Tony Ong, Willie Fernandez, Jimbo Inigo, Paul Cortez, Jojit Alcazar, Nonoy Benedicto and Robert Limcaco.

Editor’s note: The first of a series of articles featuring sub-groups in golf clubs across the country. The articles will include results of their latest tournaments.

Twenty eight years ago, a group of young men who were just initiated with golf decided to band together and form a club that has grown in size and stature at the Alabang Country Club, one of the country’s exclusive golf courses located in Muntinlupa.

They named the all-male group Alabang Club 515 because they assemble at 5:15 a.m. whenever they play golf on Saturdays.

“We started with just 27,” said Paul Cortez, the club’s founding president. “We initially met in golf events and decided to play together on Saturdays.”

Cortez named Willie Fernandez, now publisher of the Daily Tribune, Loy Austria, Jun Soria and Ruben Baes, as among the other pioneers.

Cortez recalled the difficulty of getting tee times because they were beginners.

“The old-timers would usually get to play in the frontnine and we would be relegated in the backnine,” recalled Cortez who is into trading of golf club shares.

That would soon change in time.

Yesterday, 515 members filled up most of the morning session for their regular get-together.

“We reserved 20 flights made up of 72 members and eight guests,” Cortez said.

Now one of the elders, Cortez looks back with fondness how the club has grown its membership to 120.

“We may have to limit the roster to 130,” he said.

To become part of the club, the applicant must be endorsed by a member of good standing, according to Cortez.

Club officers are not elected but chosen by elders. They hold office for one year.

The club is currently headed this year by Robert Limcaco, owner of Park ‘N Fly.

The other board members are John Kenneth Ocampo, Efren Pereyra, Cesar Diomampo, Angelito Colona, Nilo Cruz, Bonifacio Pimentel, Danilo Garcia, Jaime Feliciano Inigo, Daniel Isla and Dexter Pasion.

Edgardo Lacson is chairman of the membership committee with Cortez as vice-chairman.

Each member is assessed P10,000 annually which goes to its events and activities.

The club holds monthly tournaments, partly financed by members celebrating birthdays. On two occasions every year, the club would go out of Alabang to hold their tournament elsewhere.

Throughout their long existence, there had been only one instance of misconduct that was dealt with decisively.

The member was caught cheating in the Mango Tee and was suspended indefinitely. He was taken back as member after three years.

The group also knows how to party as well.

Besides sing-along sessions that follow every award ceremony, the club regularly hosts costume parties.

A sub-group was formed within 515 known as 525.

The 525 guys stay from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. drinking beer and whiskey, according to Cortez.

Alabang Club 515, however, is not all about golf.

The group recently distributed goods to Taal victims staying in evacuation centers.

515 also did livelihood projects for caddies in cooperation with Shell.

On 1 June, the group will hold the first Alabang Club 515 Golf Invitational, a fund-raising project for future charitable projects.

The 18-hole event is also open to non-members and expects to draw a maximum of 256 players, next only to the club’s Mango Tee in terms of participation.

Expected to take part are the club’s other prominent members, namely: Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, Green Cross Inc. owner Peter Co, retired general Robert Rongavilla, Ayala Corp. managing director John Philip Orbeta, Rotary governor Guiller Tumangan, Daily Tribune columnist Dr. Brian Cabral, lawyers Joel Bodegon and Junoy Verano, among others.

The group’s website can be accessed at www.alabangclub515.com.

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