Different Faces of an Ironman

It’s gonna be a historic day come June 3, 2018 with the Philippines hosting its first ever full IRONMAN event.  Triathletes of all walks in life gets to earn an IRONMAN milestone on home soil.

Century Tuna Ironman

The Philippines finally hosts its first full IRONMAN. A title sponsor for previous Ironman 70.3 events since 2015, Century Tuna is excited to play a huge part in the inaugural full-distance triathlon race in the country happening on June 3, 2018 in Subic Bay.

Filipino triathletes now have the opportunity to join on home soil. With only over 300 Pinoy triathletes completing a full IRONMAN, it’s a testament to just how tough the swim (3.86 km), bike (180.25 km), and run (42.2 km) event is.

But here’s the encouraging part, IRONMAN finishers come from all walks of life. What does it take to be an IRONMAN? Here are stories of five people who’ve put in the work and finished a full-distance triathlon

Robert Jonah Rivera, 52, Manager


The dream of becoming an IRONMAN seemed impossible for Robert Jonah Rivera. He once weighed 220 lbs and was unable to run three kilometers continuously.  But three years after getting fitter and getting into triathlon, Rivera wanted to test his limits.

“I was training every day for six months. It’s hard yet you feel a good sense of satisfaction whenever you’re done for the day. It drives you to improve,” Rivera shares.

He is also a testament to getting by with the help of friends—something that happened during his IRONMAN race.  “I saw my buddy Joey Marcelo at T2 and we ran together. We pushed each other, crossing the finish line after 13 hours and 31 minutes.”

His advice to aspiring Ironmen is to be prepared. “You need to be whole heartedly committed to training and finishing the race. Join as many races as you can leading up to your first IRONMAN. It builds your confidence.”

Jay Jacinto, 40, Priest

A priest from Naga City, Jay Jacinto earned his IRONMAN badge in 2014 in Melbourne, Australia at the age of 37. He saw it as part of fulfilling his religious vocation.

“By finishing the IRONMAN, I wanted to help people understand what it’s like to be a priest. I wanted to show that priests can also have fun and live an active and healthy lifestyle,” shares Jacinto.

Regular training and following a meal plan was tough with Jacinto’s unpredictable schedule as a priest. But thanks to encouragement from his peers, he pushed on.

Jacinto recounts nearly quitting a day before the race. “While celebrating Holy Mass a day before the race, I prayed to God for courage, and during the Holy Communion the choir sung one of my favorite songs ‘Be Not Afraid’, giving me the response I was asking for.” Now, he’s not only a priest, he is also a certified IRONMAN.

Vanj Endaya, 45, Executive


Vanj Endaya first earned her IRONMAN badge in Langkawi, Malaysia in 2014. Her second successful attempt was last September in Barcelona, Spain.

“Just the thought of crossing the line after so many hours, with the emcee stating ‘you are an IRONMAN!’ gave me immense satisfaction,” she shares.  

Her game plan: maintain a steady and sustainable pace throughout the entire race, and avoid the desire to push ahead. “The feeling is indescribable. It was a combination of euphoria, exhaustion, relief, and I think a little sadness that it was over.”

After crossing the finish line, the knowledge that her body was capable of much more shifted her attitude towards facing daily challenges—from “I can’t” to “I will.”

Gianluca Guidicelli, 56, Businessman


The father of actor Matteo is proof that age is just a number. Guidicelli was 52-years old when he completed his first IRONMAN in 2014.

“Since I started in 2010, I knew I’ve always wanted to do an IRONMAN. I wanted to be ready and it took me four years.”

His three children Paolo, Giorgia, and Matteo are all into the sport and are actively competing as part of Team Ford Forza.

“We are very much into living an active lifestyle. We train every day and share the joy of it with our family and teammates,” he says.

His advice to new triathletes? “Take your time in preparing for an IRONMAN, the right time will come if you’re ready for it.”

Ani De Leon-Brown, 43, Philippine National Triathlon Coach


A pioneer and fixture in the local triathlons, Ani De Leon-Brown, has completed 12 IRONMAN races. She made headlines recently for finishing the holy grail of IRONMAN races—the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii last year.

Aside from her duties as National Triathlon Coach, De Leon-Brown is also a mom. True to the definition of an IRONWOMAN, she was able to complete an Ironman 70.3 in Singapore and IRONMAN Australia just months after giving birth.

While she doubted herself, she carried on with training. She had no illusions of being competitive but merely wanted to achieve her goal.

When asked if it gets any easier as she notched more races, De Leon-Brown says “ it definitely doesn’t get easier. But you learn more each time.“

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Hoka One One is the Official Shoe for Ironman Philippines

Sunrise Events Founder Fred Uytengsu and Quorum International President Toby Claudio presents the 2018 Hoka Collection

Sunrise Events Founder Fred Uytengsu and Quorum International President Toby Claudio presents the 2018 Hoka Collection

It’s Time to Fly for Triathletes in 2018 as not only get to race in the country’s first ever full IRONMAN distance, they also get a whole range of Hoka One One shoes for athletes who would love to fly on the run leg en route to a strong finish.

Hoka One One


While HOKA One One has been known for their maximalist shoe design, it also is starting to gain traction in the triathlon market, both locally and internationally.  This is among the reason why Hoka remains an award winning shoe brand when it comes to the runners globally. Last year, HOKA was the number one shoe brand worn at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, which was participated by 2,455 of the best triathletes from around the world.

Quorum International Inc., the parent company of leading sports retailers RUNNR and Toby’s Sports, and the official distributor of HOKA ONE ONE in the country announced that it has partnered with Sunrise Events Inc., the organizer of IRONMAN Philippines, to make HOKA the official shoe of the first full-distance IRONMAN in the country. The race, which will be held in Subic Bay on June 3, 2018, will be a special edition for one year only, marking the 10th anniversary of Sunrise Events.

Sunrise Events Founder Fred Uytengsu discusses the first ever Full Ironman event in the Philippines.

Sunrise Events Founder Fred Uytengsu discusses the first ever Full Ironman event in the Philippines.

“IRONMAN has met such incredible fanfare in the Philippines, and the same can be said about HOKA ONE ONE, which was the fastest growing running shoe brand in the country in 2017, making this partnership a big deal in the running and triathlon community,” said Toby Claudio, President of Quorum International Inc. and Founder of RUNNR. “As the leading sports organization in the country, we continue to partner with companies that best represent our advocacy of promoting sports and fitness to Filipinos nationwide. Sunrise Events, a premier organizer of world-class sporting events in the Philippines, definitely fits the bill.”

“We are very happy to partner with Quorum International and HOKA for our first and only full-distance race this year in celebration of our 10th year Anniversary.  Quorum and Sunrise have been long-time partners and will continue to be.  Together we will promote a healthy lifestyle and grow the multisport community,” said Wilfred Uytengsu, Founder of Sunrise Events.

The first full-distance IRONMAN Philippines sold out its first 1,000 slots within 24 hours.

Introducing the 2018 “FLY” Collection


The Mach is among the latest models introduced to the Hoka line.

The Mach is among the latest models introduced to the Hoka line.

RUNNR has also unveiled HOKA’s new “FLY” collection, three new performance running models that offer versatility and a pleasing aesthetic alongside their utility as serious running footwear.  They are introducing the 2018 colorways for their usual models, recovery slides and slippers, and they are adding their FLY collection,  which is a perfect shoes for the faster pace of a triathlon race.

HOKA’s FLY collection premieres sleek, lightweight, performance footwear aimed at a growing group of fitness-minded runners who take their workouts seriously, but simultaneously care how their shoes look and feel as well as how they perform at a variety of tasks in and out of the gym. The FLY collection introduces three new shoes (Mach, Cavu and Elevon) to HOKA’s line designed to empower fitness runners who will enjoy HOKA’s ride characteristics along with a cleaner, simpler visual.

All three FLY models offer protection as well as propulsion with HOKA ProFLY technology in their midsoles. They feature a softer heel for a more forgiving landing – characteristic of high-cushioned HOKA models – as well as a firmer, more responsive forefoot for more propulsion and quicker turnover.

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Vermosa Sports Hub is the New Haven for Athletes

Gutz Gutierrez, Rico Manuel, Vice Mayor Ony Catimbuhan, Bobby Dy (President and CEO of Ayala (and), Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi, Meean Dy (SVP & Head of SCMG ALI), Jay Teodoro (Estate Head, Vermoso ALI), Joey Marcelo (President Sante Barley), Aris Cajucom, Joy Caniza – ALI EXECUTIVES

Gutz Gutierrez, Rico Manuel, Vice Mayor Ony Catimbuhan, Bobby Dy (President and CEO of Ayala (and), Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi, Meean Dy (SVP & Head of SCMG ALI), Jay Teodoro (Estate Head, Vermoso ALI), Joey Marcelo (President Sante Barley), Aris Cajucom, Joy Caniza – ALI EXECUTIVES

With a growing populace of fitness enthusiasts comes a haven for Athletes to harness their skills.  Ayala Land has recently opened the country’s first premier and professionally managed sports facility in Vermosa Sports Hub to the Public.

Vermosa Sports Hub

The fitness trend has continued to blossom in the country from runs, swim, cycling, multisports to athletic events being held frequently.  With more people pursuing the active lifestyle comes a fitness hub that’s gonna take them to new heights.   The Philippine sports scene climbs a notch higher as Ayala Land Inc.’s Vermosa Sports Hub, the country’s first premier and professionally managed sports facility, opens its doors to the public.  Creating the ideal environment for athletes, sports buffs, and fitness junkies who aim to reach the top of their game, Vermosa Sports Hub is equipped with training facilities designed for international sports competitions.

Vermosa Sports Hub is home to groundbreaking features that include an Olympic-size swimming pool equipped with the latest timing system by Omega and the Anti Wave Starting Blocks; and the Philippines’ first 9-lane track oval built in accordance with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards.  For football and field sports enthusiasts, there’s also a standard sized football field with natural grass and a sand sub-base, which makes it an ideal playing surface that is able to divot, or give way, under foot traction. For a sport that involves sliding tackles, this is a prime feature that minimizes the risk of injuries caused by having the player’s get caught by strong traction. The Vermosa Sports Hub will also soon unveil bike lanes, jogging paths, and other outdoor sports facilities.

To complete the development is a training and fitness club equipped with a sports science laboratory especially suited for athletes who want to take the next step to reach peak performance. To be managed and operated by Sante Health & Fitness, Inc., known as one of the fastest growing global providers of organic health and wellness products and services, the Sante Fitness Lab is a one-stop shop that will include a strength and conditioning fitness facility, sports rehab areas, a dance studio, a spinning class area, bike shop and services, a nutrition and fitness café, VO2 max/lactate testing by using a machine that can test an individuals level of oxygen while training , plus conference and lecture rooms.

Aside from the sports facilities, other components are also designed to promote healthy and active living. Retail outlets will soon open, and these will include health and sports merchants, providing users of the sports hub easy access to the equipment, accessories, and other sports and fitness essentials they need.


To ensure that Vermosa Sports Hub is accessible to the growing market of sports enthusiasts, competitive rate packages and period-based membership passes are being offered by the company. For those who avail their passes until April 2018, they can enjoy a 20% discount.

  • Facilities
    • Track Oval – P90 for 6 hours
    • 50m Lap Pool – P220 for 4 hours
  • Special Passes
    • Annual VIP – P5,600
    • 1 Month Unlimited Pool Pass – P2,250
    • 3 Months Unlimited Pool Pass – P5,600
  • Passes purchased until April 2018 will have a 20% discount.
  • All rates are inclusive of 12% VAT.
  • Rates are subject to change without prior notice.

Located at Daang Hari Road

Vermosa Sports Hub is located at Vermosa, Daang Hari Road cor. Vermosa Blvd., Imus, 4103 Cavite. It is situated within the 700 hectares of space in Vermosa, a masterplanned mixed-use estate of Ayala Land Inc., the Vermosa Sports Hub is envisioned to be a complete destination designed specifically to provide an effective and complete training experience for the athletic lifestyle, offering a seamless integration of facilities and sports-related elements,

Vermosa is currently the fourth largest mixed-use estate of Ayala Land Inc. It will be home to 6,000 households that highlight the diverse living options with the presence of four of ALI’s residential brands – Ayala Land Premier, Alveo, Avida and Amaia.

More About Vermosa

 Vermosa was coined from two Latin words, Verde and Mossa. “Verde”, meaning green, references the lush environment within the healthy, sustainable, and suburban living concept of the estate. “Mossa,” meaning movement, represents the active elements of the project.  Combined, Vermosa represents a modern suburban community that promotes healthy and active living that stays true to its name.

It’s time to experience world-class sports facilities and amenities. Check out the Vermosa Sports Hub and discover a place where athletes can truly grow. Learn more about it at this LINK.

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Mount Sembrano Mountain Run 2018

15K Done

15K Done

Overheard: “Ang hirap pala nito, kaya pala yung deadline ng registration ng DBB Mountain Rockstar kahapon para wala ng atrasan.” 

Mount Sembrano is definitely a trap with a really painful technical climb but if you put that aside, you get to play around the scenic ridges of Mount Sembrano for most of the run.

Mount Sembrano

In terms of difficulty, I have high regards for Mount Sembrano.  In fact, I spent much of the past few weeks trying to find an excuse to chicken out of the race.  The adventurous side of me prevailed and from then on, I was conditioning myself for the long, arduous and painful climb towards Mount Sembrano.  I was on this slopes two years ago and the 4 kilometer climb to peak 1 is among the toughest I’ve done.  It’s practically a vertical kilometer with a technical twist.  It’s not a TRAP for me since I know how tough this race is gonna get but at the same time, I was excited to enjoy running around the scenic of ridges of Mount Sembrano, which is rich in mountain and Laguna de Bay.

I was able to join Ayala Triads in their shuttle since my regular trail mates were not available for the run.  The plan was to take the first 4K easy and just be consistent.  After that, the tough part would be over and It’s time to enjoy the race.  I also want to take the chance of testing my Hoka One One Evo Jawz in technical trail conditions.  As the race started, I went with the pack to run the short paved segment before the climbs.  The first part of the climb was partly paved so I was able to sustain a good hiking pace for this stretch.  I had shin splints on both legs, which took a lot longer to recover from because of the continuous strain on the legs of the climb.

Finally got the It's a TRAP cap.

Finally got the It’s a TRAP cap.

The second kilometer had us going through a rougher trail stretch, which was still tolerable.  I still went at a consistent hiking pace but would take a few seconds to catch my breath after 100 or 200 steps.  After the second kilometer, IT’S A TRAP.  The trails shifted to steep single track technical trails. The race practically slowed down as there were queues on some areas because it required to hang on some branches or get over a huge rock just to get to the next part.  Shoe traction came to play and the Evo Jawz didn’t disappoint me.  It was a struggle though keeping up my endurance lacking and my legs being stiff from the effort.  I just had to bear the pain and keep moving on.  It was a mentally challenging stretch as after the third kilometer was another kilometer worth of technical trails and the steep climb to peak 1.

Selfie before Peak 1

Selfie before Peak 1

While Peak 1 was already visible, getting there was a different story.  After being exhausted on the technical trails, the steep climb felt like forever.  I took it a few steps with short rest stop in between and a selfie before finally reaching Peak 1.  The view just gets better at this point.  At peak one, you can see Mount Sembrano, Laguna de Bay along with long ridges of mountain trails.

Peak 1

Peak 1

The first four kilometers was both physically and mentally exhausting.  My legs was stiff and still painful from enduring the shin splints for that long.   There’s a rolling trails along the ridges heading to the Aid Station between the 6th and 7th kilometers.   I took the first few meters to try to loosen up the leg before switching to faster brisk walks and a few runs.  I wanted to keep an even pace from here on.  It was nice seeing familiar faces as you meet runners heading back from the aid station.  After the long climb of the first four kilometers, the short climbs at the ridges felt like routine.  I then headed to the aid station at a consistent pace since it’s a net descent.

Heading back to Peak 1

Heading back to Peak 1

The way back to Peak 1 was a lot tougher since it’s a net climb for the next two kilometers.  I maintained a steady pace.  I speed up on flats and descent then I try to remain consistent on the climbs.  It was cool on the first part of the ridges with the strong winds keeping it cool.  I’ve finally reached Peak 1 and the next part would be a 1 kilometer descent and climb to Mount Sembrano. The first few hundred meters was easy because it was a descent but the next was another tough and endless stretch.  It’s a steep and long climb to Mount Sembrano with about 150 meters of elevation in just 500 meters of distance.  I would take a few steps, rest, drink or have candy.  With the heat now becoming a factor, I alternated taking sips of Nuun and having candy since after the climbs there would still be 5 kilometers more of trails and I didn’t want to run out of hydration.

Mount Sembrano

Mount Sembrano

One effort after another and I finally hit Mount Sembrano.  I just had a few photos and left to continue the race.  Mount Sembrano is such a scenic peak with the mountain and sea backdrop.  It was a different route this time around since 2 years ago, it was a 5 kilometer straight to Mount Sembrano and this year, the Peak 1 and summit climb came in different parts of the race.

Mount Sembrano

Mount Sembrano

The next 5 kilometers were mostly downhills.  I was surprised how steep the drops are and I see people hanging through shrubs just to stop their momentum.  This was the part that I was glad I had the Evo Jawz.  With its shark teeth like lugs, I felt secure on the steep drops.  It’s not as cushioned as other Hoka One One trail shoes but it’s now my go to shoes for technical trails.  The long descent felt dragging so I was really pleased after entering the ridge part of the descent.  We were walking on long scenic ridges where you got to see Laguna de Bay in a mountain meets the sea backdrop.

Photo by Wild Spaces

Photo by Wild Spaces

I would have wanted to enjoy the scenic view with a few photos but it was a really hot morning already.  I just kept on moving since taking rest stops on the open ridges would be too hot.  I just enjoyed the view and managed my hydration to counter the hot weather.  It was about 4 kilometers of ridges and a lot of descents.

Photo by Wild Spaces

Photo by Wild Spaces

At the end of the ridges, I reached the first store and inquired if they were selling soft drinks.  They didn’t but they offered water instead, which I gladly took.  I was able to grab a soda a few meters after before going on to finish the race.  Between my two races here, this was a tougher but more scenic one.



It was an exhausting and punishing race.  I have to work on my endurance and mental toughness by I’m glad to finish this one and get me ready for the next cluster of races.  The almost 10 kilometers at the ridges of Mount Sembrano made all those climb worth it.  Great job Be Trail Ready Team.

Thanks to Tin Salazar for lending me her headlamp.

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Meggie Ochoa Wins Gold at Grand Slam Jujitsu World Tour

UA Athlete Meggie Ochoa has again brought pride for the country with her recent Gold Medal win at the Grand Slam Jujitsu World Tour last March 10, 2018 in London.  Annie Ramirez and Kaila Napolis also took home the Silver Medal in their respective divisions.

Meggie Ochoa

Meggie Ochoa, UA athlete, hailed as the Asia’s Jujit-su Princess, bagged Gold again in London on March 10 at Abu Dhabi World Jujitsu tour. She competed in the 49kg purple belt division. She fought against Spain for her first match, which she won by points.  Meggie then faced Indonesia for her second match, which she won via Choke hold.  

Aside from Meggie, there were 

other Filipino fighters in Annie Ramirez, Kaila Napolis and Gian Dee with coach Ali Sulit.  Annie fought in the 62kg purple belt division while Kaila competed in the 55kg purple. Both competitors won Silver.  

The event was held at the Copper Box Arena. Each medalist won cash prizes and the Philippine delegation were supported by Philippine Sports Commission headed by Mr. Butch Ramirez and Philippine Sports Institute Marc Velasco

“All for the His  Glory”, exclaimed by Meggie.

She has back to back projects while on training for her International fights. She is leading an Advocacy event on June 16 at SM Mall of Asia Music Hall with her co-fighters and coaches in titled Fight to Protect.

Herewith schedule of her trips and projects:
  • March 8-13: London Grand Slam Competition
  • March: E2E Overall Planning
March 25: Local Competition for Students and Kids
April-June: Built to Empower Project
April 20-29: Abu Dhabi  World Pro
  • April 29-May 29/June: San Diego Training Camp
  • May 8-12: CAFO Conference
May 26: Local Competition for Students and Kids
May 29-June 5: European Ju-Jitsu Championships (tentative)
  • June: Thailand Open
  • June 16: Fight to Protect Event
July: Know to Say No Project
  • July: Asian Ju-jitsu Championships Kazakhstan Competition
  • July: Tokyo Grand Slam Competition
  • August: Asian Games
  • September 7-9: Asian Open (not joining but help teammates prepare)
September 8: Local Competition for Students and Kids
  • September: E2E expansion plans
  • October-December: San Juan VAWC Program
Watch out for more of Meggie at Sanctband Club Ph.
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Incoming: ASICS Relay Philippines 2018

Join the first ever night relay race in the country as the Philippines opens up the Asics Relay 2018 Season on May 26, 2018 at the SM By the Bay in Pasay City.  Manila would be the first stop of the 5 country relay series, which also have Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore legs. Be part of a 4 person relay team to complete the half and full marathon distance for ASICS Relay Philippines 2018.

ASICS Relay Philippines 2018

ASICS, the true sports performance brand is set to hold the first ASICS Relay Philippines 2018 on May 26, 2018 at the SM By the Bay in Pasay City.   ASICS is giving a new twist to the half and full marathon events with a 4 man relay team completing the distance.  4 pairs of legs is better than 1 as runners get to work as a relay team towards completing a full distance.

While it will be first staging of the relay event in the Philippines, the event is a follow up to the 2017 staging of the event with stops at Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.  ASICS relay expands to the Philippines in 2018 and it will also be the kick-off event of the series with an expected 750 teams (3,000 runners) joining in the event.  It’s also a first when it comes to a night relay event in the country.  It features 2 distances 42 Kilometers (Full Marathon) and 21 Kilometers (Half Marathon) with three relay categories per distance – Male, Female and Mixed Team.

The ASICS Relay highlights the uniqueness of a team relay as it encourages teamwork among the participants over individual abilities.  It also opens up the longer distances to novice runners who get to experience running the distance with 3 other participants.  There would be a 5.25 kilometer loop at SM By the Bay and each participants is required to complete 2 loops of 5.25 kilometers for the full marathon and one loop of 5.25 kilometers for the half marathon distance.  The preceding member of the team will need to hand the relay token to the next runner within the designated transition area.  There would also be several activities in the race venue to keep the participant entertained and the mood festive on race day.

Participants of ASICS Relay Philippines 2018 will be rewarded with a finisher medal, personalized bib and an exclusive branded race tee.  Winning teams of the full and half marathon categories will win cash and product prizes worth Php 790,000, while the Champion Team of the Full Marathon Race Category will be walking away with a grand prize – team slots of any of the ASICS Relay Race held in another country, inclusive of flight tickets and accommodation.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: May 26, 2018
  • Venue: SM By the Bay, Pasay City

Fees and Inclusions

  • Race Categories and Fees
    • Early bird rates (March 14th till April 4th)
      • 21km: Php 3,400 per team
      • 42km: Php 3,600 per team
    • Normal rates (April 5th till April 27th)
      • 21km: Php 3,600 per team
      • 42km: Php 3,800 per team
  • Inclusions
    • 4 x Asics Branded Tee
    • 4 x Finisher Medals (for Finishers)
    • 4 x Relay Race Packs with Sponsors Goodies
    • 4 x Personalized race bibs
    • 1 x Relay Token
  • ASICS Store Promotion (First 140 Purchasers)
    • Receive a complimentary team slot to ASICS Relay Philippines 2018 when you spend PHP 5,900 and above in a single receipt in any of the participating ASICS store.
    • Valid from March 14th to April 14th, or while promo codes last. (Terms and conditions apply).


Race Updates

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The Long Road to IRONMAN

Triathlon came late for Chang but several years after she started, she raced her dream race in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.  

Chang Hitalia

The first time I saw Chang race, I became a fan!  Minutes away from the leading runner of her age group on the 3 loop run course, Chang pursued the lead runner like a hungry predator, catching up by the second loop and leading by a mile in the last loop.  She’s definitely a winner.  That was year’s ago and just last year at the age of 52 years old, Hitalia finished strong at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. It is by no means an easy feat. After all she only started doing triathlons at the age of 46. Hitalia may have a tiny physique but she’s powered by a strong desire to achieve her fitness goals—a must for anyone who wishes to be an IRONMAN.

Let’s follow her Road to Kona and get ready as the Philippine gets to hold the first full IRONMAN race on July 3, 2018 at Subic Bay.  Century Tuna, a title sponsor of the IRONMAN 70.3 since 2015 is bringing triathlon’s toughest race to Subic Bay.  The IRONMAN entails for triathletes to accomplish the following: Swim 3.86 km, ride a bike for 180.25 km, and run 42.2 km. It’s so tough that only 1 out of 10,000 people actually finish it.

Road To Kona

While it means logging in many hours of training and loads of self-discipline, an athlete who’s determined to put in the hard work can eventually cross the IRONMAN finish line. One example: Celma “Chang” Hitalia.  Hitalia was like most people wanting to be a better version of themselves. Her journey began eight years ago when she joined a running group with the goal of shedding a few pounds. Regular running gave her a high and soon, she joined races. In 2010, she started yearning for a tougher challenge. She added swimming and biking to her routine and soon, Hitalia was a full-fledged triathlete.

Unlike her running pursuits, Triathlon is much more demanding in terms of training time, cost, and motivation. Hitalia needed to make major adjustments to her daily routine to ensure she gets to train for all three sports and still have ample time for other things. Soon, Hitalia aimed at loftier goals in the sport and in 2014, she finished strong in the Langkawi IRONMAN, bagging second place for her age group despite it being her first crack at an IRONMAN race.

Hitalia continued on the swim, bike, run mantra, competing in two Ironman 70.3 races in Hefei and Xiamen, China in 2016. The latter earned her a coveted slot to compete in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

“It was always a goal to qualify since I embraced triathlon as part of my life,” Hitalia shares. After qualifying, she knew the sacrifices she needed to make in order to finish strong in Kona.

Hitalia spent seven months building her strength, and conditioning to endure the IRONMAN’s swim, bike, and run leg. In between, she joined a number of races to check her progress. With the help of her teammates at Century Tuna Tri-Hard, she also trained in different conditions—hot weather, strong winds, and uphill routes—essentially what the Kona race was known for.

Despite being prepared, Hitalia says that “you have to come in and fight” as far as IRONMAN races go. During the swim leg of her race in Kona, water conditions were not ideal to swim in.

“Starting off with more than 600 female age groupers was really a struggle. I kept my calm and stuck with my rhythm,” she recalls.

The bike part was equally brutal, too. “The hills were punishing, the heat and humidity were harsh, and it was crazy windy,” she describes.

Hitalia made up for lost time during the 42.2 km run. However, as with the tough nature of IRONMAN races, fatigue soon set in. Thoughts of giving-up creeped up in her mind.

With her dream almost within reach, Hitalia decided to soldier on. As she crossed the finish line, she describes the experience as nothing but amazing.

“The cheers from the crowd, the festive mood, and the red carpet made it an overwhelming experience. Suddenly all the pain subsided and all my hard work became reality. The happiness when you finally hear your name being called out is surreal,” Hitalia shares.

Having accomplished her goal of crossing the finish line in Kona, Hitalia’s next target is to finish strong on home soil. She’s focused to achieve this in June at the Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines.

Knowing what it takes to finish the grueling race and the elation that takes over, Hitalia wishes for her fellow Pinoy triathletes to experience this. Her advice for those looking to join: Respect the distance.

“Train right, work with a certified coach, and come in adequately prepared. When race day comes, enjoy the experience,” Hitalia says.

With the Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines posing a challenge for Filipino triathletes in June, the brand sponsor also hopes to inspire more Pinoys to pursue fitness and be part of making the Philippines a healthier and fitter nation.

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Sanuk is Back in the Philippines

Smile!!! Sanuk is back in the Philippines to bring in the Good Vibes and remind us the Power of Smile.  We have a rich source of happy place, be it those scenic beaches, majestic nature trails or just the plain outdoors.  Sanuk is the perfect pair of footwear to keep you spreading the happiness vibes all around.

Sanuk Ph

One of our greatest strength as a nation is our resiliency.  That comes from having the positive mindset even on difficult times.  We have a large database of happy memories from closely knit family ties, wonderful outdoor destinations and even willingly jumping out of our comfort zone with our friends.  Sometimes, we forget how good life is and how blessed we are in so many ways.  Sanuk is back in Manila with a campaign to #SmilePassItOn Light Someone Else Life with the Power of Smile.

Sanuk is our go-to lifestyle footwear as we enjoy the finer side of life.  It’s a global lifestyle brand that’s unique, hip, styling and comfortable that lets us make the most of the outdoor.  I have my share of Sanuk footwear in the past and I always associate it with fond memories at the beach and comfortable strolls and walks in the City and in Nature.  It just reminds us that positivity brings strength of character and its contagious.  So pass on the smile and it’s gonna be a better world out there.

Smile Pass It On is a call to action to simply pass on  your positive vibes to everyone with a smile.  Smiling is the most contagious and delightful gestures one can make. Aside from the fact that it instantly makes as feel better, flashing a smile at someone can turn their whole day around. Smiling at somebody makes you want to share the feeling of happiness and positivity. And that’s what Sanuk is all about.  You smile is a beam that radiates to the next person and creates a chain of good vibes.

Faces of Sanuk

Bea Benedicto and Benj Manalo are the new ambassadors of Sanuk.

Bea Benedicto and Benj Manalo are the new ambassadors of Sanuk.

Sanuk continues to stay true to its brand identity of having an uncompromising and fun attitude.  They handpicked two ambassadors in actor Benj Manalo and social media darling Bea Benedicto.  Benj is known for his role as Pinggoy in the prime time series Ang Probinsyano and as Tolits in the hit musical Rak of Aegis.  He’s also a professional dancer and was part of the hip-hop dance group All Stars.  Bea started as a print ad model until she was able to penetrate the world of television and online programs via the shows Upload, Tanods and Kontrabando.  She is now one of the most engaging personalities on social media, showcasing her unique style and signature online material.  Both Benj and Bea perfectly represent the confident and fun nature of Sanuk.


Benj finds fulfillment and freedom from dancing.  It’s what keeps him happy and when he performs in a crowd he loves to see people smile and be inspired by what he does.  Bea likes to make people smile with her quirky antics and just being her dorky self. She wants to share her happiness and be a sunshine to other people.  It’s important for both to have a positive outlook in life, and as entertainers, they love to make others happy, which makes them the best fit for #SmilePassItOn campaign.

“I just love the comfort and style of Sanuk.  The footwear is not afraid of using vibrant colors and patterns.  It’s not afraid to have fun, like me. It suits my personality, says Benj.

“I like that it’s an easy, everyday kind of footwear. Very comfortable, not restricting, and really cute, ” shares Bea. 

Spring / Summer 2018 Collection

Sanuk presents their 2018 Summer Spring Collection with the Quiba Quest Knit and Yoga Sling.  The next generation of Sidewalk Surfer, the Chiba Quest Knit gives you that weightless feel on your feet that’s made for the journey to your happy place.  The Yoga Sling is perhaps the most comfortable sandals that you’ll ever wear that will cushion every step during your daily walks and activities.

Shop online at their FB Page @Sanukph or you may visit selvel Toby’s Sports stores for the latest collection.  Sanuk will also be available in choice Stoked outlets soon.

Visit @sanukPH Instagram to know more about their campaign and the brand’s new ambassadors.

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Trail Festival 2018

Trailfest done

Trailfest done

If I had a home court, it would be the Yellow Trail of Camp John Hay.  This is one of the things I like about Trail Festival 2018.  It’s familiar yet it never grows old on me.   It has the pine forested feel with a challenging high altitude and rolling terrain.

Trail Festival 2018

The Yellow Trail of Camp John Hay is my playground. It also comes with a lot of nostalgia from previous races up to even childhood memories.  Running or just hiking this trail is what completes each of my trip in my hometown.  I’ve probably ran every twist and turns of the trail and have variation when I want a hill workout or just want to have a chill time.  It’s familiar and it never grows old on me.  I still enjoy the cold climate and the pine rich reserve now as I enjoyed each visit of the trails when I was still a kid.

It’s another intimate run for trail fest.  I joined the 16 kilometers category.  I was planning to just hike this one (especially that it had a 4 hour cut-off) as I’ve always done with each visit here since I have no training nor mileage for the week.  At gunstart, people started running and I went with the pace.  I went at a fast pace just to go with the crowd since it starts downhill.  The race started at the open-field and heads down to the lower part of the Yellow Trail.

The lower part of the Yellow Trail also means that once you’ve descended, it’s a gradual climb to the upper part before hitting the steep climb between the 3rd and 4th kilometer.  I continued at the pace until I got my usual warm up pains in my shin splints.  I always have shin splints whenever I start too fast or have no mileage so I shifted brisk walk pace.

I also inserted some runs to keep the legs warm.  It’s always a scenic race in Camp John Hay with the pines and the hays.  It was routine at this point before hitting the fire road mid way the 3rd kilometer.  I started to run at the fire road since it’s a bit more even and descending.  As I expected to go left downwards to the lower part of the trail, we were asked to do an out-and-back on a steep hill.

Steep Climb - Photo by Arel Tayag

Steep Climb – Photo by Arel Tayag

At the end of the fire road was an intersection, one leads you to a view deck and two trails going downward.  We took the short steep hill heading to the view deck.  It’s just about 100-150 meters but it’s probably about 50-60% incline.  It was a struggle especially that I came from a running stretch but I’m a trooper. One step or crawl after another until the top and it was time to go down.  It was equally hard going down but I trust the traction of my Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2.

The trails may be steep but it's beautiful. - Photo by Arel Tayag.

The trails may be steep but it’s beautiful. – Photo by Arel Tayag.

The next set of trails were going downwards but I opted to slow down here because I knew what was coming next.  It was about 500 meters worth of climbing with about 150-200 meters of elevation gain.  I had to keep my heart rate low so I can take the climb with less struggle.  After the descent, I walked my way to the climb and started counting steps, I would usually take a few seconds breathing breaks after about a 100 steps.  The counting was also there to distract me on the steep climb ahead.  It’s always a challenge on this stretch though I always look forward to this whenever I go here.

One of my constant trail companion, Amihan Hauler

One of my constant trail companion, Amihan Hauler

After huffing and puffing my way to the top of the Yellow Trail, I knew that the hard part was over as the climbs would be tolerable at this point.  The top of the Yellow Trail is among my favorite viewpoints as aside from the pines, you get to see the rest of the Cordillera Mountain Range in your line of sight.  I started at a walking pace just to stabilize my breathing after the long climb and after that I was back at my running pace.

Speed Instinct was perfect for this trail, it's light on the feet and still gives you the usual cushioned feel of a Hoka Shoes.

Speed Instinct was perfect for this trail, it’s light on the feet and still gives you the usual cushioned feel of a Hoka Shoes.

This was also a run-able stretch with single tracks and moderate ascents heading to the tree-top adventure area.  The trail heading to the tree top adventure had a bit of a jungle feel with different type of trees, plants, shrubs and twigs along the way.  It’s a bit technical so I slowed down a bit.  The next set of trails were mostly downhill heading towards the u-turn slot.  I took note of the downhill as after the u-turn I would be climbing this again.

Time To Fly

Time To Fly

At the u-turn, I took my Gu Energy Gel, had one banana and a cup of water at the aid station.  I rarely stop in a race so it’s either I’m running or walking.  I was on my way back starting with the climb back to the Tree Top Adventure area.  I power hiked my way through the climb and started running again when things went down hill.

Going back - Photo by Arel Tayag.

Going back – Photo by Arel Tayag.

I usually divide races in sections so after the hard part, it was time to coast.  I coasted to the upper part of the yellow trail as well as the steep descent.  I’m just glad I have a downhill running shoes with the Speed Instinct 2 as I felt protected even with the impact of each descending stride.

Photo by Arel Tayag.

Photo by Arel Tayag.

There was another climb after the steep descent but after the steep climb earlier in the race, this one would be routine.  I went at a steady pace until the top of the climb before heading to the fire roads, where I started running again.  I was counting down the kilometers in to the race.  I just went at a run – walk pace on the lower part of the trails before the climb.

To the finish.

To the finish.

I noticed that  the course was short so I was thinking maybe they would include the Eco-Trail on the way back so I was reserving my energy.  I went steady on the climb back to the main road and was looking for any sign that says, 16K runners please go to eco-trail.  There was none so I ran my way to the finish line for a strong finish.  I did enjoy the fast and fun pace of the Trailfest.

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

Jervy Cruz , Tobys Sports and One of A Kind Marketing Opens Toby’s District 3×3

From left to right: One of A Kind Maketing CEO Engr. Allan Majadillas,Managing Director Christine Majadillas, PBA Superstar Jervy Cruz and Ali Lumio

From left to right: One of A Kind Maketing CEO Engr. Allan Majadillas, Managing Director Christine Majadillas, PBA Superstar Jervy Cruz and Ali Lumio

There’s nothing like grass root basketball to see the potential of the Sports.  It was fun to watch basketball at its simplest form, 3×3 action at Toby’s Imus as several showed their natural skills and teamwork for Toby’s District 3×3 last February 17, 2018.

Toby’s District 3×3



The Philippines is a basketball crazy with courts at each district always available and one of the more common games of street basketball is 3×3.   Toby’s Sports, alongside One of a Kind Marketing with the presence of  Under Armour PH athlete and PBA Ginebra Star Jervy Cruz successfully launched the Toby’s District 3×3 with the best ballers of the south. With 112 players 28 teams joined the Basketball 3×3, 10 teams for Open Category, 10 teams for Under 18 Category and 8 teams for Under 14 Category all in fire showcased their skills on 3×3 Basketball.  This route is in accord to the roadmap plan for the FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup in the Philippines this June.



 Toby’s Sports, the leading multi-brand sports retailer in the Philippines, launched Tobys Imus Store and held a Basketball 3×3 as part of the activities last February 17, 2018 at The District Ayala Imus Cavite.

Under 18 Players with Jervy Cruz

Ms. Christine Majadillas owner of Toby’s Franchise Imus/Managing Director of One of A Kind Marketing said “This is a launch of the summer-long sport’s campaign of Tobys sports. Basketball being the no. 1 sports in the Philippines is the pilot activity of the many sports activities we will be doing this summer. And the portion of the proceeds of this program will go to Kings David foundation and we shall have another activity come March. We are happy to have worked with the different clubs and school here in the south to have this platform for us to identify talents from the south and a bonus is that we shall have a wildcard for this as we give them a bigger avenue come Under Armour Southeast Asia’s Ultimate 3x 3 this year. We are working with the best coaches in the country,NBA Phil coaches such as Coach Christian Luanson and the local Coaches of the south. We are happy that UA sanctband Wilson and Ayala has supported this event and One of A Kind Marketing the franchise of Tobys Sports District Imus.”

 The Culminating activity was graced by the partners/owner Director for Sales Ali Lumio and  Allan Majadillas, Chief Operating Officer of One of A Kind Marketing, also the Tournament Director of the said event.

The said winners for basketball 3×3 are,





The event was made possible with Sanctband, Wilson, Under Armour, The District Ayala Imus and Metro Gaisano.

 Next UA 3X3 Leg will be on March 22, eliminations, finals at Ayala District Imus March 23, and April 28 & 29 Bonifacio Global City. Secure your slots now Tobys District Imus. And via email at vjasonclinton@gmail.com.

Watch out for the next 3×3 event. For updates please check out Toby’s  District Imus and FB Sanctband Club PH.


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