Former SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros dies at 57

By: Glendale G. Rosal, Wenilyn Sabalo - CDN Digital | July 08,2023 - 08:44 PM

Photo of former SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros.

Former SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros. | CDN fileBallesteros

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Former Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director and renowned sports organizer Ricky Ballesteros passed away on Saturday, July 8, 2023, his family confirmed. He was 57.

Many of his friends have expressed surprise and sadness after they learned of Ballesteros’ death because it was very sudden.

About eight hours ago, he posted on his Facebook about the different entries from the Visayas, including Cebu City’s Lumad Basakanons, to the Aliwan Festival.

“Good luck to Team Visayas and to the rest of the competing contingents …See you in Aliwan Fiesta …,” he wrote.

At about 6 p.m., news of his death circulated on social media.

READ: Lumad Basakanons mourn death of Ricky Ballesteros

In a social media post on Sunday, Nikka Ballesteros announced that her uncle’s remains is now at the Our Lady of China Chapel of the Sacred Heart Church located  in D. Jakosalem St., Cebu City.

Public viewing starts at 6 p.m. while a Mass is scheduled at 7 p.m.

“Final interment is on July 13, 2023 at Cebu Memorial Park. Time to be announced,” she said.

Fullest potentials

Provincial Board Member Red Duterte of the 5th district of Cebu said in a social media post that he last worked with Ballesteros in March for the Soli-Soli Festival in Tudela town on Camotes Island.

“Thank you for helping me help our towns in Camotes reach their fullest potentials when it comes to their respective festivals,” he wrote.

“For the upcoming Pasigarbo sa Sugbo, Poro and Tudela will dedicate their performance to you,” he added.

Ballesteros became executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) in 2002 and served as manager of the Cebu City Sports Center.

He devoted his time to helping local government units improve their respective festivals after he stepped down as SFI executive director in 2018 citing ‘personal reasons.’

As the president of the Korea Philippines Festival Cultural Exchange Association, Ballesteros also brought bring local contingents like the Omega de Saloneras, the grand champion in the Free Interpretation category of Sinulog 2023, and the Kabkaban Festival of Carcar City, that won in the Sinulog sa Carmen, to compete in the Powerful Daegu Festival in South Korea last May 2023.

Pillar in Cebu Sports

Ballesteros also etched a mark on the local sports scene.

As the organizer of both the Milo Little Olympics and Milo National Marathon, Ballesteros put Cebu on top in terms of athletic performance and hosting.

Ballesteros was also recognized several times as “Organizer of the Year” in the Milo Annual Recognition Night as a delegation head and organizer of the Milo Little Olympics.

He incorporated his expertise in organizing the Sinulog Festival in hosting the Milo Little Olympics which never failed to provide the visiting delegations and athletes that “wow factor” which showcases Cebu and its festive culture.

Ballesteros also formed Team Visayas in the National Milo Little Olympics which won the coveted “Perpetual Trophy” for winning three straight years.

He paved the way for the first staging of the National Milo Little Olympics which is equivalent to the Palarong Pambansa in Cebu in 2009.

Also, Ballesteros became instrumental in the first hosting of Cebu City of the National Milo Marathon in 2017.

In addition to that, Ballesteros was also regularly feted by Milo for fielding the most number of runners in the Cebu leg of the Milo Marathon, drawing over 20,000 runners.

Before his untimely passing, Ballesteros established his own events company.

“No words can describe how grateful I am to be your niece, your right hand. I may not have told you this, “I LOVE YOU, UNCLE”. You will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for giving me a beautiful life,” his niece Nikka Ballesteros posted on her Facebook account.


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TAGS: dies, Ricky Ballesteros, SFI, Sinulog Festival, sports

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