Victolero provides respite for fellow Bulakenyos during pandemic

FILE – Chito Victolero. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines — The PBA would be the first thing that would pop up in someone’s mind when the name Chito Victolero is uttered with him being the head coach of Magnolia, one of the league’s most storied franchises.

Victolero, however, is not just a champion on the court but also someone who’s given back to his community especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the early days of the pandemic, Victolero turned his sportswear manufacturing company Chlomars Sportswear to a personal protective equipment factory to aid health workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while the Philippines is slowly opening up the economy, his resort in hometown Sta. Maria, Bulacan is giving the municipality’s residents a place of employment.

Victolero’s VFarm Garden Resort is operating on a limited capacity and he said that more than providing his family a safe haven in the middle of the pandemic, the vacation place is also his way of giving back to the municipality he calls home.

“The great thing about this is our people here in Sta. Maria is earning a living and are underemployment,” said Victolero in Filipino in a Zoom interview with Inquirer Friday. “Of course we still have to follow safety protocols because my family is also here. We don’t want to expose them to the virus so we strictly follow the guidelines.”

“This is one of my businesses in Sta. Maria so at the start of the quarantine I felt that this would be a safer place for us especially for the kids and we’re still near Metro Manila.”

Victolero’s wife Lori is the one who manages the resort while his three children are also living in the hideaway safely away from Metro Manila which has been the hotbed of COVID-19 in the Philippines due to the region’s density.

To make sure that exposure is kept at a minimum, Victolero said that he’s the only one who travels to Metro Manila during the time the Hotshots were preparing for the 2020 Philippine Cup.

The 2018 Commissioner’s Cup champion coach added that he doesn’t fear his children would be left behind in school requirements as online classes are in effect and he feels a certain calmness knowing his family is safe.

“The kids have online classes so I’m at peace here. I have peace of mind while living here,” said Victolero.

His resort earned a special permit from the Department of Tourism but it’s only allowed to operate on a limited basis as children and senior citizens are sometimes barred from going to public places.

Nevertheless, an operating resort is a welcome respite that Victolero gave to his fellow Bulakenyos.

“It’s because of our employees, we also want to sustain them. We have a special permit to operate but in a limited capacity. It’s operating and we’re following certain protocols.”