Columns

Breaking Through: The legendary Chavit Singson, active and busy as ever

NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur— The legendary Luis “Chavit” Singson remains to be the  actively engaged, hands-on, sought-after and pretty much occupied man that he’s been. 

     Acknowledged as a political kingmaker,  the former Ilocos Sur governor is chiefly responsible for the stepping down of a sitting President and the ascendance to power and the presidency of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 

     He’s also credited as one of the major players who figured in the election victory of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last year.  

     What’s keeping him busy nowadays? To begin with, the former Ilocos Sur governor has always been busy with nary a sign of slowing down . Be it private business among which is his LCS Group or politics, he is everywhere. 

      But what strikes me most is the fact that he is building a helipad right on top of  newly built a structure that’s standing on a coast along Sulvec bay in Ilocos. 

       To me, that means there’s no slackening in his frenetic ways and activities. He has been crisscrossing Manila and the Ilocos by air on board one of his airplanes. It’s my first time to hear of a helicopter among his air assets. Abroad, he occasionally flies to Seoul to check on an international business partnership he had invested on in South Korea. 

       The helipad project is close to his vast seaside mansion complex where the northern region’s  political kingpin entertains visitors whenever he is in the province .

       Like during the Holy Week break. All of his guest rooms were occupied when we saw him. 

        I was amazed at how the idle and rocky seashore metamorphosed into a beautiful world class resort-paradise.

         When I was a teenager,  I used to fancy the area along with my friends where  we used to swim, catch fish and hold picnics. 

        We each had  with us a crude fish catching gadget featuring a thick wire 

with a sharpened end that’s attached to a wooden frame shaped like a pistol. 

         We would gently move around and peer through the clear and shallow waters and ready to “shoot” our prey upon sight. 

         Back to the present.  The Chavit mansion resort has a flowing swimming pool that’s similar to what I’ve seen in Honolulu. 

         The famous pool adorns the Disneyland-owned Aulani Hotel which is known  as a Disney Resort and Spa in Honolulu. The flowing pool snakes around the seaside front of the beachfront hotel which is busy all year round. Ilocos Sur native and Hawaii’s top builder Lito Alcantra, did the finishing phase of Aulani thru his Group Builders construction firm. 

       There’s a sea lion being raised in the Chavit resort by the side of the sea and it’s no wonder because he is a known animal lover.

        More animals are staying and maintained at the Chavit-owned Baluarte complex in Vigan where it’s famous owner used to live. Among them are iguanas, bengal tigers, lions, civet cats, various types of birds, cloud rats, snakes and others. The property has become the top tourism drawer in Vigan. 

         Nearby is Safari Hotel which is part of the Chavit Singson tourist- drawing enclave. Baluarte  and Safari are connected to each other by a road. If you take the road, watch out for giraffes along the way. 

           The Chavit story is not complete without mentioning his hosting and lone sponsorship of the Miss University pageant in 2016. 

            Reports have it that when the hosting of the pageant was offered to the Philippines, then President Rodrigo Duterte rejected it citing financial constraints. He said that the government can not afford the costs. 

           Next, the Miss Universe management offered it to the Philippines’ elite circle of the wealthiest and mightiest but no one was willing to step forward. 

           The elite Pinoy businessmen didn’t want to sink their money in an enterprise that didn’t assure them a return of their investment (ROI). To them, the pageant was a losing proposition. 

            Here comes the legendary Chavit Singson who bravely stepped forward to save the Philippines from “losing the chance to promote the country worldwide“ thru the Miss Universe event. 

             Many people considered Chavit as a “hero” for making the supreme sacrifice by sponsoring the pageant. 

             I had a chance to interview our hero after the pageant.  He admitted he lost a lot of money and knew it even before he stepped up to finance and host the event. 

            “But I had to do it for the sake of our country,” he told me. 

            “ Nobody was taking it so what should I do? I have to step up.

            “It’s always worth the sacrifice if you  know you’re doing it for your country,” he stressed.

             As for the absent ROI, he ventured to say that the Philippine government and Filipinos shall eventually earn from what he did in terms of tourism revenues kicked in thru the influx of tourists who are expected to come in as a result of his hosting of the world renowned beauty pageant. 

            “That’s the ROI,” he said. 

            Well said and well done Gov.