Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SynRUNize your adventure…

For the past five years, the running phenomenon that has grown exponentially brought many people to engage in a thriving health and fitness lifestyle thanks to the many running events that happen almost every week not just here in Metro Manila but also in other major cities all over the country. With the growing running population, many organizers have raised the norm by giving runners extra challenges and twists in the usual fun run events. 

A few years ago, I had the opportunity of joining adventure trail running events with obstacles along the routes. They were 21k distances with add-on challenges that we needed to hurdle along the way. A 21k distance can be very challenging as it is, but with various physical obstacles added to the route, it could become a gruesome battle of physical limitations. This type of races simply separates the men from the boys, which is why many newbies do not dare to try.  

It's a good thing that the Guerrilla Race organizing group made another version of this adventure run in a much shorter distance. Last week, I encouraged my wife, a newly converted runner to join me at SyncRUNize, which was held at the new ARCA South by Ayala Land Inc., a fun run event for the benefit of HERO Foundation Inc. It was a 5 kilometer distance obstacle race located at the old FTI Complex. This “fun run” adventure race featured a mobile app that measures your performance as you go through the obstacles that comprises not just physical challenges but tests of wit as well.

Since it was Ruth’s first time to experience this kind of race, I decided not to be competitive and just enjoy running the course alongside her. The participants were dispatched in waves and we were among the first batch that took off. The first obstacle was math problems solving and, since both of us are not fond of math, it took us a while to figure out the solutions. 

The first few obstacles were very easy for my wife but she met her match when we got to the monkey bars. She made several tries but failed to go all the way, so she decided to just skip the challenge and accept the 5 minute delay penalty. As we went through the obstacles, things even got harder but I’m so proud of her because she pushed herself to her limits. I’m really glad I was there with her to set the pace and make the challenges a little easier for her to conquer. 

The last two obstacles involved some military boot camp drills that were manned by Philippine Army soldiers, which added more pressure to the course and made us feel as real Army recruits. 

The final obstacle was a vertical wall climb with almost no footholds to step on. Thus, one needs to get help from other participants to get over it. However, Ruth was exhausted by then and didn't want to make the effort anymore. She once more took another 5 minute delay penalty before we finally proceeded to the finish line.

But wait, there's more...

Just when we are about to cross the finish line, four gladiators barricaded the path and played a short "patintero" with us for the last time. 

For me, SyncRUNize was a good adventure race for first timers. The experience will help them prepare for more serious adventure challenges in the future. As to Ruth, it was a very new and yet very challenging experience, but I’m quite sure she had fun doing it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Red Kitchen + Bar: If you love food and Good Music

My love for Jazz music came from different influences of my family who are equally musically inclined. Even when I was in high school, my choices of music were way off from the usual fads that were popular among my peers. While many of my friends were gone gaga in new wave music, I chose to listen to the music of Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, David Benoit and Antonio Carlos Jobim. I remember when I used to watch Jazz concerts such as Philip Morris Superband, Chick Korea and Bobby Enriquez at the Rizal Theatre in Makati just by myself, my friends found it a little weird but I enjoyed it every single time. 

RED Kitchen + Bar is Located at River Park, Filinvest Festival Mall

That is why during my college days, my usual hang outs with my like-minded college friends and which I truly miss, were the Jazz Bars. Gone are these places where they played Jazz music in original vinyl records and sometimes live jazz music from very few popular jazz bands that were around that time. Unfortunately, many of these really good jazz musicians have grown older and settled to retire from doing gigs and little by little replaced by younger musicians who were not as good as their predecessors. 

 The second floor holds the bar and karaoke sessions...
And speaking of music enthusiasts, there these two people I met recently, who likewise miss the good old eighties days and decided to bring back the nostalgia of the 80’s jazz joints in the Alabang area. Me and my wife were invited to visit the place and checked out all the good stuff that this newest hub in the south can offer. 

The Owners, Mr. Martin Suarez and Mr. Ruffy Biazon

We were very fortunate to meet the owners of RED Kitchen +Bar, Mr. Ruffy Biazon and Mr. Martin Suarez. Yup, you heard it right, Ruffy Biazon the former congressman and former commissioner of Bureau of Customs is venturing into the food industry together with his high school buddy, Martin Suarez. The two owners were good friends’ way back in their Malate Catholic School days. These two high school buddies shared a lot of interests and two of which are food and good music. In fact, these two had their own shares of music gigs back in the 90’s where they used to spin disks at some popular jazz bars which I frequently visited. After decades in the corporate worlds and Politics, these two decided to put their passions together and came up with the RED Kitchen +Bar

 Pasta Bolognese (P325)

 Steak Carbonara (P345)

RED Kitchen + Bar is unique in this part of Alabang where people can just relax, enjoy good food and reminisce the good old 80s days. The restaurant has live band performing jazz fusion music every night and at the upper room, holds the karaoke night sessions, where one can sing-along with your favorite 80s and Jazz songs all night. 

The Comedy Cartel

Ruther Urquia and Lolo the marriage councilor...

The RED kitchen serves the typical resto favorites like pasta, cocktail picka-a-pickas and Chorasco, a Brazilian barbeque in metal skewers served smoking hot. Once a month, the upper room also holds a stand-up comedy session with the Comedy Cartel. We were fortunate to watch these group of stand-up comedians performed with their hilarious antiques. Ruther Urquia, One comedian even brought a puppet that personified a very funny character.  

The Chorasco. Grilled shrimp, pork, chicken and beef on metal skewers...

The RED Kitchen + Bar is located at the far end of the newly opened River Park area of Filinvest Festivall Mall. The restaurant is open seven days a week with open mike every Friday nights. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Philippines Jiu-Jitsu culminates National Championship at SM Sucat

Okay, so this is what Jiu-Jitsu looks like. For the longest time, my idea of Jiu-Jitsu is a generic term to any Japanese Martial Arts, may it be Karate, Aikido or Judo. I’ve been hearing this type of martial arts before but this is the very first time I witnessed a real competition and I found out that it wasn’t even Japanese of decent but Brazillian

However the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ should not be construed with Capoeira because these are two different kinds of martial arts. BJJ focuses on the grappling and pinning an opponent down to submission by strategic hugging, head-locking limb twisting, etc. It is more like Judo without the throwing, while Capoeira is like a rhythmic dance with kicking and much better performed with Samba Music on the side.  

Last week, the Philippines Jiu-Jitsu Association held their National Championship at SM Sucat Paranaque City. The championship was battled over by various teams coming from both local and international Jiu-Jitsu federations. I’m so glad I was able to witness real Jiu-Jitsu battle between different competitors. They even have female fighters who competed just as fierce as the men. This contact sport is beginning to intrigue me and I’m hoping to see more of these in the future. 

The following are the official results of the recently concluded Philippines Jiu-Jitsu National Championship:


TEAM FABRICIO dominated the two-day Philippine Jiu-Jitsu Gi/ No Gi National Championships held at the SM Sucat Event center over the weekend with a total haul of 60 medals including 22 Gold, 18 Silver and 20 Bronze Medals.Team Deftac Ribeiro came in second place in the medal standings with 12 gold medals, 18 silver and 13 bronze while Ronin BJJ won 12 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals for a third place finish.

Over 200 competitors from Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Australia, the United States and the Philippines competed in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi and No Gi divisions, as well as juniors and Children’s categories.The tournament is recognized by the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation and is locally organized by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation of the Philippines (BJJFP) in partnership with SM Sucat. It is considered a precursor to the biggest gathering of JiuJitsu enthusiasts in the country which will be held in May at the SM Mall of Asia.

 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art, combat sport, and a self-defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. It was developed to allow a smaller, weaker person to protect him or herself from a larger, stronger opponent by using proper technique and leverage. Tournament organizer Stephen Kamphuis says he considers the Philippines as the “strongest nation in jiu-jitsu in Southeast Asia,” and that Filipino fighters have the potential to compete against the world’s best.

 “The growth of BJJ is here is amazing,” said Kamphuis, who also served as a referee during the two day event. “We are the biggest practitioner of the sport now in Asia, after Japan and Australia in the Pacific, adds the New Zealand native. Kamphuis, who owns the popular KMA Martial Arts and Fitness Gym in Makati, credits the sport’s friendly atmosphere saying “BJJ can be practiced by all players of all ages, men and women.”


Leading the gold medal winners in the women’s white belt division was actress Mara Yokohama of Team Atos’ (under-53.5kg), Origin BJJ’s Paui Pena (u-58.5kg) and Team Fabricio’s Vanessa Lu (Over 58.5kg) who also won the gold in the women’s absolute class. Another celebrity who participated in the event was actor Rocco Nacino, who came up short in his first bout as a blue belt.In the master’s white belt 2 class the gold medalists were Ethelbert Chang (U-76kg) and Froilin Basco (O-82.3kg).

In men’s white belt division, the gold medal winners were Isaiah Paolo Salazar (U-64kg), Daniel Uychoco (U-70kg), Wilander Ordinado (U-76kg), Chuck Harold Luya (U-82.3kg), Monch Santiago (U-88.3kg), John Paulo Rolluqui (U-94.3kg) and Peter Witley (Over-100.5kg) who also bagged the gold medal in the men’s white absolute division.

The gold medal winners in the mens’s purple belt division were Gian Dee (u-64kg), 
Shawn Weisenburgh (u-76kg), Gerard Gallos (u-82.3kg) and Chang-hoon Suk (over-94.3kg).
Meanwhile, Fitness Fight Club dominated the purple absolute division. Bagging gold in men’s brown belt division were Ken Noda (u-79kg) and Myengse Hwang (over-79kg) who also won the men’s brown absolute class.

 In the children’s white belt-gi division, Gabriel Lorenzo Alava (u-30kg), Lucas Aguilar (u-35kg), Joshua Benjamin Dy (u-45kg) and Nicolas Gabriel Ceriola (u-55kg) emerged as gold medalists. Antonio Louix Ceriola won the gold in the children’s over 60kg event.


The gold medal winners in the junior white belt-gi divisions were Christian Mortil (u-58.5kg), Ef Sevilla (u-62kg) and Vince Leon Gatan (u-67kg). Dara Jorquia won the gold in the u-51.5 kg, while Vanessa Lu of Team Fabricio won the gold for over 56.5 kg and basic absolute. In the Mens Basic the gold medalists were Nelson Mendoza Jr. (u-55.5kg) Ariel Rosario (u-61.5) Jowar Agao (u-67.5) Archel Gaboleo (u-73.5kg) Joshua Chino Cua (u-91.5kg) JC Lopez (u-97.5). JC Lopez also won the gold for men’s basic absolute.

In the men’s advanced Shawn Weisenburgh won the under 91.5Kg while Ken Noda won the under 79.9kg men’s elite. Myengse Hwang of Machado-Korea got the gold for men’s over 79.9kg

Know more about the art of jiu jitsu and keep tabs on the exciting combat by following SM City Sucat on Instagram and Twitter (@smcity_sucat), and on Facebook (SMCitySucat).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

SyncRUNize brings adventure to Ayala Land's new CBD ARCA South

My first experience to join an adventure run was around three years ago with Immuvit Challenge. After that, several race organizers followed the same theme garnering more adventure seekers and seasoned runners to participate. But lately, race organizers went back to the usual road race and trail races which are bit easier to organize.

For the participants, I guess many who are just starting thought that such adventure are too difficult to do, with the running and obstacles in between. Maybe because the distances before are longer that is why many novice runners, as much as they would love to try, would rather not to seek the thrill of joining.

SyncRUNize event is specially designed for the new adventure runners who wish to experience the thrill of running with obstacles with less risk involved. This event is a 5 kilometer route with some easy challenges set in between. The challenges are not all physical because some involve a challenge of wit and one can only move to go forward is to solve a particular problem.

It is a first of its kind to use mobile apps to synchronize your performance as you go through the routs and obstacles. For the seasoned adventurers, some may find the obstacles very easy but some are not because pit stops requires other talents for you to finish the race. 


Synchronize your watches for a grand adventure in ARCA South. The 74-hectare Taguig property, set to become a new “city in sync” as master-planned by Ayala Land, Inc., is hosting a mobile-app integrated adventure run on Saturday, September 19, 2015.

SyncRUNize will be unlike other regular 5 km runs as it challenges both body and mind through a number of physical obstacles and mental drills. Racers will first have to download the exclusive SyncRUNize mobile app available on Google Play and iOS. The app directs participants from one checkpoint to another where they will have to accomplish the physical or mental challenge before they can get to the next.

ARCA South has partnered with Guerilla Race, organizers of the fierce sport Guerilla Race Series, to specially design the obstacle course. Mental drills, which can include calculations, stock knowledge tests, or abstract reasoning were designed by Go Go Hunt. Other partners are The North Face, Fox, Oculus Archery and as the partner-beneficiary of the event, the Help Educate and Rear Orphans (HERO) Foundation. Part of the proceeds from SyncRUNize will serve as educational aid to the children of soldiers incapacitated or killed in the line of duty.

Racers can compete as individuals or as teams of four.  They will get a chance to win P90,000 worth of cash and prizes for individual and group winners. At the end of the race, participants can celebrate their victory at Sync City, where they can enjoy the interactive booths and the food market.

“SyncRUNize is the kind of event that embodies the principle behind ARCA South as a City in Sync,” said Mr. Stephen Comia, ARCA South Project Development Manager. “The development is envisioned to be the newest CBD in Taguig where all the elements that make a city are present and in sync. In addition, the efficient management of the road network, traffic, communications, environment, security and other systems in ARCA South are primary.”

With DOTC’s planned Integrated Transport System (ITS) –South Terminal being recently awarded to Ayala Land, Inc., ARCA South will become one of the most highly connected districts in the city. This world-class transport terminal will rise beside ARCA South and increase accessibility to the property. The direct link to the Skyway and C5/ C6 highways will also make ARCA South minutes away from Makati, Bonifacio Global City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

ARCA South will also eventually operate with a centralized system for traffic, power and security management, furthering its vision of being a city in sync. The district will be highly pedestrianized, punctuated by green spaces and streetscapes, and integrated basement parking to free the streets.
Registration for SyncRUNize is available on www.arcasouth.ph or in Chris Sports branches nationwide until September 18, 2015.

To get to ARCA South, participants can take the East Service Road along South Luzon Expressway or C5 in Taguig.  While for those interested to take the public transport, for a minimum fee of P30 per person per roundtrip, participants can also avail of shuttle services to the race via pick up points in Tower 1 in Ayala Avenue, Makati; TriNoma Mall, Quezon City; and Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Fitness First Signature Programs: A Holistic approach to a Full body Workout

In the last few years I’m beginning to notice a cultural revolution among my peers. Before I got into running and fitness, my life revolves among friends who are the usual contents of cocktail bars where we used to drink and eat a lot. And that lifestyle took its toll when I was admitted in the hospital for high blood sugar and high cholesterol. I was almost 180 pounds. 

Now that I’m an advocate of fitness and good healthy living, I’m glad that my “old-life” was over and I surrounded myself with people who shares the same interest that I’m into. A year ago, I get to hang around with my old friends with a hope that I could encourage them to try doing some running, but unfortunately I didn’t get any converts.  

But in during the 39th Milo Marathon, I was so surprised and happy to see my old drinking buddies running along Roxas Boulevard and finally seeing them crossing the 10k finish line! So my previous encouraging efforts were not in vain after all. I’m glad that more and more people are making a big change on their lifestyle and keeping a slow and steady fitness regimen.

For some who wish to get into shape but don’t know how, just pay a visit a Fitness First gym nearest to your office. If you’re work place is in Makati, there is one Fitness First at RCBC that offers comprehensive work-out programs that will suit your preference. Fitness First also offers three particular workout classes that are signature programs. These are Pro-cycling, Fitness Group Training and Flow-yoga. 

Just last week I was able to have an opportunity to try two of these signature programs which are Pro-cycling and Fitness Group Training. Together with four other fitness bloggers, we started our Fitness First experience with Pro-cycling. It is actually a simulation of how pro-cyclists do their training on the actual oval track. But this one were on are stationary road-bikes. We were given several intervals of difficulties where we adjust the tension of the pedals from light to hard. For runners like us, cycling can be a challenge because we are using an entirely different group of muscles for it, and my body is not set for the fatigue. After 30 minutes of cycling, my quads were about to explode, but it was a good workout for the legs. 

After which, Coach Connie Fortich, the Gym General Manager, lead us to the Fitness Group Training were we used weights and circ-fit equipment. The FGT is executed in pairs. Each pair will do a different set of workout for one minute then will switch places and do a another set. One good thing about this workout is how the pairs can draw motivation from each other. Both can push the intensity even further with a partner.  Another signature program Fitness First offers is the Core and Flow Yoga. Unfortunately, the time allotted for us was not quite enough to try it. But at least that is another reason to visit Fitness First again soon. 

These signature fitness programs are being offered in all Fitness First branches all over the country. Whether you are a seasoned fitness buff, an athlete preparing for the next competition or just a novice in the fitness lifestyle, Fitness First can help you achieve your goal, because you don’t need to be skilful in the field of sports to be fit and healthy.


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