Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ayala Land and ROX bring us EXPLORAC 2013!

Trail running is definitely gaining popularity among runners who wish to bring their physical limits to another level of challenges. Last year, there were approximately 20 plus trail running event that were organized all over the country. Most of which are just in the out skirts of Metro Manila.

It seems that more and more people are getting a hang of its thrills and challenges and I believe that their thirst to run more trails are getting higher and higher every year, and would love to try new trails to conquer. The AyalaLand in partnership with ROX are yet to bring to the trail runners another trail running ground where they enjoy to trail blaze and discover new challenges for the  sake of adventure.   

Explorac Trail Run offers 11k and 22k rough terrain. Trail run will start at Ayala’s Visitor Center and will end at the Ayala Nature Park. The course has a flat to hilly terrain and majority of it is hard surface. The trail features wet/dry river bed, it not all, are heavily silted by mudflow due to Mt. Pinatubo eruption way back 1991 and succeeding lahar flows. In some areas, moderate steep climb will be experienced along the rough terrain portion and huge lahar track will potentially challenge your trail running skills. Opportunity like running under the SCTEX bridge and passing through beside waterfalls are a few of the scenery that the trail offers. Rise and Shine as your explore Porac through trail running.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Habitat for Humanity - Philippines @25: Recognizes 11 staff for their 10 years of loyal service

I remember when I first heard of Habitat for Humanity was at the Jimmy Carter Project way back 1999 in Marigondon, Naic Cavite, where 190 houses were built by more than 5000 volunteers coming from different sectors of the society. There was even a period during the house build where VIPs actually spent a few hours of hollow block overlaying, cement mixing and other basic carpentry work. Popular personalities such as ambassadors of different countries, celebrities and former Philippine and US presidents dipped in together and got their hands dirty as these personalities side by side with ordinary volunteers worked together in building decent houses for poor families. Since then, Habitat for Humanity has been very visible in building houses in poor communities all over the country.  

This year Habitat is celebrating its 25th years in the Philippines and part of its one long year celebration was the recognition of 11 staff who have been serving the organization for more than 10 years. Yesterday, May 24, 2013, the rest of the staff in the Habitat’s national office ceased the regular working day to celebrate and recognize these special people who have shown integrity and commitment in the organization. These dedicated employees are: Boyet Macorol, Anne Nagtalon, Joe Saguing, Sharon Magat, Nova Concepcion, Alfonso Masangkay, Ving Mayorlago, Flora Enriquez, Marcia Yogore, Maleleel Pedroso and Teresita Soriano.  

(from left to right - top row) Mr. Charlie Ayco- CEO, Joe Saguing, Boyet Macorol, Alfonso Masangkay, (from left to right - bottom row) Marcia Yogore, Inday Pedroso, Ann Nagtalon, Tess Soriano, Loi Enriquez, Connie Nova and Ms. Yvonne Lih - CFO

These people of Habitat were the once who have stayed and continue to serve even during the tough and dark days of the organization. After we ate lunch, the program in charge Ms. Angie Cloa, of HR Department, called each recipient of the award and was ushered in front of everyone. Ms. Cloa cited some of their exemplary achievements, anecdotal learning and experiences in the field through the years of their unwavering service. After which, Sir Charlie Ayco, CEO and Managing Director of Habitat for Humanity Philippines shared to everyone a run through of HFHP history, form its struggling days where they transferred from one office to another, employing 25 staff doing multi-tasking from driver to photo-copier to Project engineer and site manager. Some were even gone a little emotional as they recollect those days where HFHP faced and battled the challenges and adversities. 

Awardees enjoying their tokens, Casio G-schock

As Habitat for Humanity celebrates its 25 years of hard work and miles-stone achievements, the organization likewise remained to be  steadfast in its mission and that is to gather more people together in building homes community and Hope for those who have none. 

Bistek Vill in Payatas, QC

Happy 25th Year Anniversary Habitat for Humanity Philippines! Here’s to 25 years more in building more dreams for the Filipino people.    

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



DATE : Saturday, June 1, 2013
VENUE :    Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club
                        Mabayo, Morong, Bataan
                        Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority


Amid mountains, coves and beaches fronting the West Philippine Sea,
participants, supporters and guests of the Philippine Kayaking Series have
enjoyed the hospitality of Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club for the past
two seasons. Members enjoyed as well the spirit of victory and camaraderie
at the end of the day. The Club proved to be the perfect host. Hence, this gives
a good opportunity to spread goodwill and experience nature in one of its best.
The global trend towards natural, sporty and healthy lifestyles give the
environment-friendly kayaking an edge in developing a sustainable thrust
to ecotourism and adventure travel.

Being the second largest archipelago with 7,100 islands, the Philippines is
underway as a kayaking mecca with its natural formations and extended
coastline. Water is our element.

The sport became one of the fastest growing sport particularly when the
Department of Tourism embarked on its Adventures Philippines Campaign,
tapping the PKS 2009 in collaboration with private companies, the media,
provincial and local government units.


Long Term Objective:

The Philippine Kayaking Series aims to develop and promote kayaking trails around the
country towards being recognized as an international kayaking destination.
Short Term Objectives:

1. To promote Kayaking as a sports and leisure activity, highlighting its ecotourism
2. To promote cross-training among sports enthusiasts;
3. To support efforts on environment conservation and
     sports tourism;
4. Develop the spirit of sportsmanship, camaraderie, discipline and physical fitness among
    sports enthusiasts and spectators alike.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kayaking Adventure in Caylabne Bay, Cavite

Last May 1, 2013, while most of my outdoor friends went to the usual trail running gigs in the mountains of San Mateo, Rizal, an activity I rarely forego, it was replaced by an invitation I would not afford to miss – Kayaking adventure with my son and with friends at Caylabne Bay

Just last week, my friend Arleen Lindo of Chris Sports invited me to learn and experience the basic of kayaking. Together with my son Gab, we cruised the highway of CAVITEX all the way to Caylabne Bay, Marigondon, Naic, Cavite. Because of the new and faster access route to Cavite, our trip just took us less than two hours from Manila. 

At the resort, another blogger showed up, my good friend Paulo Florendo. Together with his wife who also keeps a blog, we were introduced to our host, the father (and mother) of kayaking in the Philippines, no other than the husband and wife Mr. Val and Dindi Camara. I also had the pleasure of meeting another seasoned Kayaking (slash photographer) friend, Mr. Harvey Tapan. Coach Val, shared to me how kayaking was popularized in the Philippines. The sport was brought in the early 80’s that led to the formation of kayaking groups including the Philippine Kayaking Federation, a group that organizes professional competition and kayaking races in the country.

As the sport grew its popularity, the couple decided to devote their time in the leisure kayaking that caters to people who are less-competitive in the sport and just love exploring the vast of the ocean and mangroves in the archipelago. Over several decades, they helped established various affiliates and kayaking groups all over the country. 

Almost in their senior year (but not physically), they are now in the business of making locally manufactured kayaks that cost half the price of imported ones. On that special day, me and my son had the opportunity to try out some of the locally made kayaks in the open sea. 

Before heading out, all of us had to undergo a briefing session and basic orientation on kayaking. I had some “paddling” experience before on a regular boat in the province but not like this one. I discovered that there is really a technique of paddling more efficiently where one can move the kayak faster and with less effort. We were taught the proper way of handling the paddles, how to turn and how to stop. And before we jumped into the kayak, we were also taught how to board in properly so you don’t be out balanced.

My son, Gab was also as ecstatic as I am when we first experienced paddling together. The technique is to do it simultaneously and on a rhythm. The one seated on the back is responsible of controlling the turns of the kayak.

Our first adventure was the mangroves of the Caylabne Bay. We cruised along a long winding river where fresh and salt water are mixed together. The current was very serine where we simply glide through the waters. At one end of the river, we went through a pass where the branches of the mangroves were hanging low and we all need to lay back so we won’t hit by the sharp thorns.

At the first pass, our kayak went through barely. But the second time around when we went back, the tide went a little higher so the thorns became closer. My son and I tried our best to evade them as much as we can, and in the process, made our kayak tipped over and made us fall over. We were the first casualty of the kayaking adventure.

It’s a good thing that the water was just chest high, and we easily recovered and got back on our boat. It was a good thing that Coach Val taught us how to get on the kayak in the case we fall overboard. After several river banks, we had the opportunity to have a short peak of gracing wild migratory ducks. But as the current brought us much closer to them, they flew off just as quickly. I realized that it was something that I need to document. But as I reach for my camera which placed in a sealed plastic, that was the time I realized that it was gone and presumed that it was lost during our short cap-sized experienced back there.

The group tried to go back and tried to find in the area but with no luck, so I decided to tell the group to forget about it. I guess I just have to re-call those picturesque scenes with the ducks in my memory. Luckily, another kayaker in the group Harvey Tapan brought his own camera, so not all were lost after all.

The river kayaking allowed us to practice the navigating techniques coach Val taught us. The second part was how to kayak in the open waters.  Now this one was a bit scary because of the depth of the sea. But this experience is a one in a life time, so head out and conquered our fear.  At least we were comforted that we have life jackets on incase we fall again in the open sea. I noticed that Gab had his confidence as well, because he knows how to swim. 

So the group spent the while afternoon in kayaking in the open sea. We went to the area where the waves were not as big and we can grab each other’s paddle and connect all the kayaks together. We just sat there floating in the middle of the sea and laid back to view the vast clear sky in Nirvana. A wonderful place to rest our soaring arms and sun burns from the whole day of paddling.  

After a few minutes, we kayak back and ride along with the waves that glide us to the shoreline. After bring all the kayaks in their racks, we went back to the resort for some snacks. It was a day of adventure that I hope to be repeated again in the near future. Personally, most of my adventures were confined in the land when I run or bike on the trails, but Kayaking as nother water adventure has proven to have its own thrills and challenges which I vowed to be exposed more in the future.     

Note: All photos are courtesy of Mr. Harvey Tapan

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Merrell Adventure Run 2013 @ Mt. Sinai, Pintong Bucaue, San Mateo Rizal. Featuring Brooks PureDrift

Approximately 1,400 plus trail runners swarmed the trails of Barangay Pintong Bucaue, San Mateo Rizal last April 27, 2013. As early as 4:00 am, cars and buses piled up the road almost a kilometer long leading to the starting line. Since this was a new trail route for Merrell Adventure Run 2013, many trail runners  were quite anxious and at the same time excited on how the adventure run would go. 

Just a couple of weeks before the main event I had the opportunity of joining the group of bloggers who made a test-run along with the technical crew of Merrell and of course, the race director of the run, Mr. Thumbie Remigio himself. 

Each of us have described in our blog post of how the trails would look like and described also the difficulty level of the course. The blog posts and pictures somehow made a lot of trail runners to be intrigued by the new challenges they will go up against. Not to mention some surprise obstacles that were not disclosed in our blogs. Those were part of the thrill of excitement that some are left to be discovered as you trail blazed the rouged course of the race.   

The race was traditionally divided into three categories. The 5k are for those who are novice in trail running, 10k are for those are experienced and the 21 kilometers are for the seasoned and highly competitive ones. As expected, the most number of delegations were the 21ks. Many were quite challenged by the new course since it was a one loop course, unlike the one we had in Timberland heights where we had to do two loops of the 10k route. So, all of us were on the same playing field because all of us are new in the trails.  

BROOKS – PURE DRIFT: Testing the trails

Also another new in the Pintong Bucaue trails was the shoes I used, which is the new Brooks Pure Drift. So, basically, the BROOKS PureDrift is designed for road running, more particularly for those who are used to run barefoot or running with minimalist shoes. The shoes is customizable to 4mm heel support if you place the inner sole and it will give a zero-drop heel differential if you take out the inner sole. 

Weight: 5.6oz (with inner sole ) 5.4oz (without inner sole)
Color: two-tone yellow nylon mesh construction with black Swede lining support.
Midsole: Blown foam (DNA + BioMoGo)
Outersole: Black tough rubber (Not Vibram)
Feature: NAV Band support

Maximum toe flex

The pure drift is among the lightest minimalist shoes I have ever tried, approximately 4.6oz with inner sole inserted and 4.4oz if you take them out. Personally, since I normally run barefoot on flat pavement, when I run the trails, I prefer shoes which are more closer to the earth as much as possible. 

NAV Band for arch stability

When you run trails, the basic criterion for footwear is the durability, and a lot of trail running shoes in the market today are constructed in such a way that it will endure extreme trail punishment. However, with these tough construction designs, more often than not, compromises weight and comfort. And when running a 21k trails with some additional baggage of water and mud, every ounce of weight in your shoes are felt by your body.

Only 4.6oz for Size 8 (mens)

BROOKS Puredrift, even not designed for the trails, I was able immersed its limitations on the trails last Merrell Adventure Run. At the first kilometer, the trails started on a very steep downhill. For other shoes, these are toe-nail killers. However, the Puredrift with its very wide toe-box, the toes have more space to move around and the front-end of the shoe were hardly felt.

A very steep descent...

The 21k route has several river traversing. With some of the light-weight trail shoes, in order to have a good drainage system, the outer-mesh constructions are much wider so that it will release water much quicker. But the trade-off with this design, the wider mesh will allow sand and small pebbles inside the shoes as well that would make running very uncomfortable over time. So, right after river crossing at Wawa River, many runners would sit down on the river banks and clean the debris in their shoes. 

Wawa River

The Puredrift has tight net-like mesh construction screen that prevented sand and small stones to get in. Amazingly, it didn’t hold much water either after several river traversing. It’s  a good thing also that the road was very dry that day and made my shoes hold on the dirt quite well. Another highlight of this shoes is the outer sole. It is not Vibram, which are more common in trail running shoes. It was a combination of tough rubber and blown foam slugs. The Black rubber slugs are placed in the mid or the blade part of the shoes all the way to the fore-foot area including the big toe. It’s a good thing that Brooks have thought of this design well, because for barefoot runners, those are the areas where shock load and pressure normally land. While the blown foam are on the heel and arch area. 

Yellow Slugs are made of Blown Foam and black Slugs are made of tough rubber

When I use trail shoes with Vibram soles, my difficulty is when I cross rivers. Vibram, noted for its toughness and durability on rugged trails, can’t seem to have a good hold on wet molded rocks. For me, I think that’s the only weakness of Vibram. Brooks PureDrift on the other hand hugs the wet rocks well because of the softer blown foam slugs that contours on the texture of the rocks. The down side is, blown foam may not withstand trail punishment much longer than Vibram.  

After the long river traversing experience, the rest of the course are all up hill, 10 kilometers long. On the 17th kilometer mark, a surprise obstacle welcomed all the runners. All of us were to cross a field of muddy rice field with knee-deep high. Some stopped and removed their shoes, but many just jumped in and battled with the thick sticky mud. As expected, after taking several steps, most of these runners left their shoes in the bottom of the mud. Their shoes simply couldn't carry the load of mud that was stuck to it. For some, who pulled them off the mud, the soles practically extracted from the shoes. That was the worst thing that can happen to shoes, most especially if you still have four more kilometers of rough uphill trails conquer. After the crossing the rice filed, I’m glad that my shoes stayed with my feet all throughout the crossing. I was kind of worried at that I might tear them apart, but luckily it didn't. 

The last kilometer was practically mountain hiking to the top. The 21k runner entered a narrow trail on the side of the giant tablet of the Ten Commandments. I finished the 21k at 4 hours flat, much longer than my previous MAR last year. This year’s was a tough one but I conquered it in one piece and so does my Brooks PureDrift. Not designed for the trails, but made it through with very minor damages. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Energizer Run: On its Third Year of Positive Energy

Truly, running is more fun in the Philippines. For the past decade, as more and more people have already jumping into the band wagon of pursuing the active health life style through running, organizers have likewise find more ways to make this simple yet very effective exercise a fun activity.

In the last two years, this running culture in the Philippines has evolved in many forms already from the traditional flat pavement running, to trails coupled with bunch of obstacles all in the purpose of making running a very enjoyable feat. And these innovations have brought more and more people to venture out and extend their physical limitations to these challenges.

In many fun runs, night races have already getting its own follower of runners who find thrill running at night. That’s why on its third year, Energizer will soon stage their fun run at the Bonifacio Global City famous running route on May 4, 2013 and the gun-start will begin after sundown.

Energizer, the leader in battery source products in partnership with GMA Kapuso Foundation will hosts this year’s Energizer Run to promote positive energy. This is an advocacy campaign to spread awareness about places in our country that doesn’t have electricity. One Million Light Foundation as a co-beneficiaries will identify three thousand house-holds who are still living their lives in “darkness”. This is just a part of a much bigger goal which is to illuminate one million house hold all across the country.

Last April 17, 2013, Energizer hosted a press launch that was attended by various fitness and sports media both traditional and online. Executives from the company shares the objective of the fun run and how people can help spread the advocacy of bringing suitable light to people who still uses kerosene-fed lamps which are harmful to health and are hazardous to safety.

Ms. Joan Mendoza, Brand Manager of Energizer shares that his run will be just one among many night races being staged from different parts of the globe, all to provide a better source of lighting to places where there are still none. In the Philippines, Energizer are set to distribute three thousand solar rechargeable lamps to poor communities where school kids are deprived from a suitable light where they can study at night. 

The Energizer Run, is hoping to target more than 2.000 runners who will challenge themselves running at night. All runners are provided by Energizer head lamps so that they can have a good depth of vision on the road. In the same way it will also give a spectacular view of other runners lighting the road with their own head lamps. 

Registration are still open in RUNNR Stores, BROOKS North Edsa, Toby’s Stores. Visit the website to know the details of the race.


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