Erstwhile big biker and founding president of On Any Sunday Riders Club, Jose Salvador “Pete” T. Batu is the new president of the Davao Horse Club, the pioneering organization for horse sport in Southern Mindanao. He succeeds Francis R. Ledesma at the helm of the Club.
The big switch from riding the iron horse to the real horse for the new president happened eight years ago when he was invited to join a trail ride by members of the then-emerging group of horse enthusiasts. According to the businessman and bon vivant himself, the change was rather quick. The trail ride rekindled his cowboy days in General Santos where he spent his younger years. Now at 65, he has proven himself as still the able rider and horseman, leading the pack in the toughest of trail rides and gamely competing in the Royal Category of the annual horse competition circuit of the Philippine Horsemen’s Federation.
“I love the Davao Horse Club,” Batu so proudly declares, adding that apart from getting a different high from galloping on a horse, the Club is truly a family-oriented organization. And the cowboy certainly means what he says. Because of this love for the sport and the Club, he has brought practically his whole family into the sport – from his wife Esperanza (Neneng) to his children and grandchildren. Though Neneng herself doesn’t ride, she is known to support her husband totally in Club activities (like cooking delicious food for meetings and trail rides) while his son Petejun and daughter Melody and son-in-law Dean Gonzales have become horse lovers and active members of the Club. And so have his grandchildren Mikko, Alyssa and Nikki Boy who are now themselves competing in horse shows. The family maintains a stable of Arabian and half Arabian horses.
To ensure the success of his term as president, Batu has enlisted the full support of all the Club’s past presidents by appointing them as officers. These are Bong Ledesma, Sally and Benedicto Lim, Jr., George W. Misa, Andrew Tan and Jeric Olaguer. Add to this list of officers Tito Sorongon, Chelo Tan, Luchie Olaguer, Albert and Carol Angel and Dean Gonzales. Likewise, he has appointed the following as directors: Mike Dizon, Vic Noble, James Velasco, Marlon Mabanag and Danny Barlis. On January 27, they were all sworn into office by Councilor Danny Dayanghirang (a horse rider himself in his hometown in Davao Oriental) representing Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at Marina Park Stables, Home of the Davao Horse Club.
Pete Batu, the big biker-turned-horseman may have big plans for the Davao Horse Club for 2008 but as plans go, these can change. Eldest grandchild and budding rider, Mikko Gonzales, describes his lolo’s passion thus, “what cannot change is his big heart for the family, horseback riding and his love for the Club.” gwm
Pete Batu (extreme right).(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)