Cabalen Ultimate Open says Goodbye with Final VII

Updated: Oct 12


Team Chicks N' Chong of Pampanga against UFO Eskwaters from Davao City


Team Disc In Pampanga were filled with thrill and emotions as they held their last Ultimate event known as Cabalen Ultimate Open last September 24-25 in CDC Parade Grounds, Clark, Pampanga.


Cabalen Ultimate Open is the flagship event of Ultimate Frisbee in Pampanga which started in 2014. It's not just any event where ultimate players from all over the Philippines meet and compete, but it's also an event which showcases Kapampangan culture with the help of some good old soulful Kapampangan dishes and art.



Cabalen Ultimate Open was formed when a group of Kapampangan Ultimate Frisbee players began wondering if they could organize an ultimate event where everything they loved about their home province revolved around them while playing their favorite sport and be able to share it with the ultimate community formed with players from all over the country. And so, with the love and effort of team Disc In Pampanga, Cabalen Ultimate Open was born and over the years they were able to feature and showcase the talents found in Pampanga, and they were able to share them with the Ultimate community from various provinces and islands of the Philippines in one single event through Kapampangan Fiesta Dinners, cool shirts that you could wear casually and for sports, handmade trophies, and a lot more! Yearly, the event that started with only 8 teams, grew until they had 40 teams competing!


Team Chicks N' Chong of Pampanga in a 'spirit circle' with UFO Eskwaters from Davao City



Cabalen Ultimate Open wasn’t formed just for fun, it's also an event with great value that helps local communities and industries with the help of Art Solace Manila. The team partnered with Novia Zapata, who is a Kapampangan Visual Artist that founded Art Solace Manila. Zapata stood for various causes like helping cancer patients and their families, teaching art to abandoned and rescued children, and for this year’s cause- helping out indigenous people in the Philippines.


The organizers asked themselves in the past, “wouldn’t it be cool if we had beautiful trophies but also did something for the community?” As a result, they were able to give out fascinating and unique trophies to the yearly winners of the event, while the proceeds were used for the said causes. What’s also “magical” about these handmade trophies, as described by Jansie Santos, the head coordinator of team Disc In Pampanga, is that they not only provide the number of teams, the name of the awards, and other details, but the design is totally up to the maker, and every time the event is held, they absolutely love the results.


Photo taken from @cabalenultimate on Instagram


Fans, supporters, and the players were excited and emotional to find that this year’s Cabalen Ultimate Open would be the last event from the series. The organizers decided that Cabalen Final VII would be the closure event for CUO. They have many reasons for this. One beautiful reason is that a pinnacle has been reached all over the years.


Photo taken from @cabalenultimate on Instagram


The trophies made for this year’s event; Art Solace Manila is partnered with Liwanag at Dunong Project which is a Non-profit and Non-government Organization. Together with the continuous patronage and support of Cabalen Ultimate Open, the proceeds for this year’s trophies were used to put an Aeta Learning Center in Capas Tarlac to its completion. With their contribution from the final event, Aeta kids no longer need to go down the mountains to attain education. This great news made the organizers extremely happy and they thought this could add to a perfect ending for Cabalen Ultimate Open.


Another reason is that, holding an event this grand can get pretty tiring every year. Naturally, something this big requires a lot of brains and hands for planning and organizing. Now that the current team only has two of its original members, building the event for another year may be a bit difficult. They also worry that it would be hard to maintain the quality of the event or keep it the same as the previous ones with only a few of them left, so they finally decided that the Final VII would be the closure event for Cabalen Ultimate Open.



Photo taken from @cabalenultimate on Instagram


Despite the sad news that this year’s event would be the last, they reassured the community that there are still plans for other events from the Pampanga Ultimate Community. The team stated that they may reformat and downscale CUO to a level where it could be organized and managed comfortably with the remaining and new team members. There is also a lingering possibility that there could be another Cabalen Ultimate Open since not everything went according to plan during the Final VII. But of course, that is still just a thought from the organizers, and it will only happen if they find it manageable and everyone in their team agrees.

Nevertheless, they assure the Ultimate community that Kapampangan Hospitality can always be expected as long as Pampanga is involved in organizing events. They plan on continuing to host events that hold great value that helps the undermined communities and promotes the growth of the sport.


Participants of Cabalen Ultimate Open also view the competition as a reunion with members showing up from different parts of the country. This is also something that makes the competition special, despite the fact that it also further strengthens Ultimate as a sport in the Philippines.




“They put a lot of heart and effort to be a part of Cabalen Ultimate Open” Jansie Santos, Head Coordinator of Cabalen Ultimate Open

Cabalen Ultimate Open may be ending, but the community it built throughout the years won’t be dismantled that easily. CUO means a lot to the players that have been part of the Ultimate family because there aren’t many Frisbee events in Luzon where competitors get to play with people from the different islands of the country. To easily understand the value of the event, Karen Cabrera who is the president of the Philippine Flying Disc Association once said that a lot of ultimate players that she has interacted with over her career dream of playing in Cabalen Ultimate Open. Players from many provinces like Palawan, Bicol, Tacloban and more, even hold fundraisers just to participate.


Related:


We asked Ultimate Frisbee players some ultimate questions in an episode of HARD BOILED





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