Uplift Lives with Kariton Ministry

Diane celebrating her birthday with the families of the Kariton Ministry.

Poverty is not an end but once people get the feeling that the world is against them, they lose hope.  We don’t have to do a grand gesture to generate that glimmer of hope that can make a world of difference.  Kariton Ministry is helping ease poverty one family at a time. That little nudge has helped the supported families pick themselves up and eventually be self-reliant.

Kariton Ministry

Kariton Ministry started through the initiative of Tin Santos in 2014.  She saw two little boys sleeping in the pavement and got the urge to interact with them. While she wasn’t successful the first time, she tried again. She was able to talk to them and she discovered that their father was in jail and the had no money for rent or food. She took initiative to pay the rent and have some of the basic necessities available.  To her surprise, their mom was able to get a job and also took initiative on helping others too.  They also promoted weaving as a livelihood for mom’s who needs to work at home to take care of the kids.  Eventually, many more good Samaritans also joined and more needy families were supported by the program.

Diane’s Birthday

I got to meet the people and families behind the Kariton Ministry when I attended Diane’s Birthday.  Diane is a friend from Graduate School who I don’t get to meet much but I do consider a keeper.  Diane opted to have her birthday celebration extended through having a good meal with the supported families under the Kariton Ministry at McDonalds in C5.  There were several families who came and the kids did have fun with the games handled by McDonalds.  They also got a chance to see Grimace.  Diane and her husband Richard also brought some basic supplies for the families.

Grimace getting mobbed by the kids.

You don’t have to do much to make a difference.  You just have to lend an helping hand and hope to pull as many out of the depths of hopelessness.  Kariton Ministry’s mission is to give families living on the streets of Manila an opportunity for a better life for themselves and their children.  They are committed to helping families find proper homes and providing them with mentors and with the training and supplies they need to provide for their families by making high quality, handcrafted products. This gives them a job they can be proud of and the funds to provide for their family’s needs and to send their children to school.  The goal is for people to enjoy and appreciate them as well as the stories behind this beautiful product.

Supporting Crew

It was nice to see the wonderful smiles in the kids and the families.  What’s admirable here is how the families themselves work their way to be self sufficient.  The Kariton Ministry just started with a family and has grown to support more and with more people supporting initiative, they can help rid poverty one family at a time.

Learn more about Kariton Ministry through their website (http://www.karitonministry.com/)

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Watt Up Cycling Takes Sufferfest to Another Level

I wrote this piece a few years ago about Sufferfest at Pinoy Fitness Magazine.

Working out indoors just got fun and extra challenging with Watt Up Cycling powered Sufferfest workouts.  Sufferfest brings you to different cycling races and footage from Tour de France, Tour de Suisse and several legs of the UCI World Championships and other cycling events.  Watt Up Cycling upgrades the Sufferfest experience with their cycling turbo trainer – WAHOO KICKR.

Sufferfest Videos

Sufferfesting in Watt Up Cycling Style.

I discovered Sufferfest videos a few years ago and I really enjoyed working out with it.  It’s a bit dragging to bike indoors with the absence of views and it’s hard to find a good rhythm to match your cadence.  While some use music, I prefer to bike indoors using Sufferfest videos.  Why?  The videos are a compilation of cycling videos worldwide and throughout time that puts you into different actual race scenario like Tour de France, Tour de Suisse and several legs of the UCI World Championships.  It divides a workout in manageable segments that matches each race scenario.  You’re actually going on a virtual tour in the cycling world with stops in Switzerland, France and a lot more.

Each video is a different cycling adventure on its own.  There’s a quick Revolver Sufferfest video that gives you an intense 45 minute interval workout.  There’s a Local Hero video that gives you a journey to be a world champion with several race scenario leading to the championship intervals.  There’s an Angels workout that simulates several climbing scenarios.  There’s A Very Dark Place video that brings you to the mentally challenging part of races.  There’s also videos of simulating the chase and the feel of being chased in Hell Hath No Fury and The Hunted.  There’s more videos that gives you different situations and training focus.

Watt Up Cycling

Watt Up Cycling uses the best indoor cycling turbo trainer — the Wahoo KICKR. The Wahoo Kicker can attach to your bike (with 10 to 11 speed) so you can still bond with your bike while doing the workout.  What difference does the turbo trainer make?  For Sufferfest, you manually adjust your gears depending on the requirements of the video.  Wahoo KICKR automatically adjust the resistance based on your efforts.  Bike a little slower, the trainer gets heavier. Bike faster and it gets lighter.  In other words, there’s no place for chill mode except when the gear automatically lightens on the recovery intervals of the video.  With the automatic shift in the gear, your legs do feel the actual resistance of the video.  One feature I like is that you can load an actual bike route and the trainer adopts the actual elevation and resistance required to conquer the said route.

This really helps for those training for a specific race and route.  It gives you a familiarity of the effort needed for the race.  It also can be a bit harder as you don’t have accumulated momentum to propel you on a climb or the help of gravity on a descent.  More than everything else,  Watt Up Cycling is a power meter based workout as training load is based on your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). The FTP is the highest power output you can sustain for a one hour time trial effort. It will serve as the baseline parameter for the intensity of your next workouts.  You can measure your performance or you can even do an actual race on a simulated course using the Sufferfest with Watt Up Cycling.

Amanda Fernandez of Sparta tries of the Sufferfest powered by Watt Up Cycling at Maximus Athletes Shop Cafe

Since it bases on your existing power level, the workouts is more synced to your capabilities.  I also appreciate that Watt Up Cycling helps you assess and improve through all the metrics in your rides.  You get to see your actual performance as you do your workout.  When I tried out the workout, I was so drawn with all the metrics in front of me.  I love that I can see the my actual cadence to the required cadence based on the video.  I have a slow cadence but I was surprised that if I focus on it, I can match the required cadence. I’m still a work in progress but it does help a lot to see your real-time stats while doing the Sufferfest videos.  They also send you a summary of your workout after each ride.  You get instant feedback on how you are progressing by checking on the metrics.

Watt Up is the only Sufferfest-licensed training facility in the Philippines and the first in Asia to use it in conjunction with Wahoo equipment.  I can say it’s a lot tougher than a regular Sufferfest workout as the automatic gear adjustments of Wahoo will make sure you don’t sandbag anytime during the workout.  I don’t cycle competitively but I do find it useful on giving me a good beating on a work out.  It beats you up to be a stronger version of yourself and a much capable one when pitted against the pack.  As every Sufferlandians know by heart, I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow.

Try Watt Up Cycling

WattUp Cycling Studio Contact Info and Schedules:

  • WattUp Cycling Studio
    • Address: 36B, Scout Ybardolaza, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City
    • Studio Hours:
      • Tuesday – Friday
        • AM – 6:30, 8:30, 10:30
        • PM – 12:00, 4:30, 6:30, 8:30
      • Saturday – Sunday
        • AM – 8:30, 11:00
  • Maximus Athletes Shop Cafe
    • Address: Sparta Complex, 126 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City
    • Studio Hours:
      • Tuesday and Thursday – 5:00 PM and 7 PM

Contact Details (For Booking and Rate Inquiries)

  • Globe: 0927-5250854
  • Smart: 0998-3134426

Follow Them:

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Incoming: Omni Light for Change Run

The world is a much brighter place with OMNI Electrical and Lighting because of their high quality, energy-efficient and environment friendly products.  For their 20th year celebration, they are bringing that positive light in a race, Omni Light of Change Fun Run happening on September 18, 2016 with 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K categories at the CCP Complex.

Omni Electrical and Lighting

Omni Light of Change Run Photo by Running Photographers

Whenever I see an Omni light bulb, I always appreciate it for being energy efficient and being environment friendly.  It has given the consumers more alternatives when it comes to electrical and lighting devices.  Omni has been a leading and trusted brand in electrical and lighting solutions in the country ever since they were introduced 20 years ago. This year marks their 20 year milestone and they are celebrating it with the running community in Omni Light of Change Run happening on September 18, 2016 at the Liwasang Ulalim, CCP Complex, Pasay with 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K categories.

At the Launch Event – Photo by Rickpets Lens

The fun run is one of the highlight of the 20th anniversary celebration of Yatai International Corporation, makers of Omni. Light of Change run is inspired by the renewed hearts of Filipinos for reform, which also reflects OMNI’s commitment to instill positive change with its consumers through its high-quality, energy-efficient and environment friendly products.  While Omni initiates change through the households it serve, the fun run will be a venue for healthier, happier and more confident individuals who wish to start change by adopting an active lifestyle as real change starts from within.

Finisher Shirt and Singlet design – Photo by Running Photographers.

The run would also be for a cause with the net proceeds of the fun run would be to fund lighting projects for University of the Philippines’ Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute.  Omni shares the thrust of the institute in developing the next generation of talented and globally competitive engineers who can continue and sustain the advocacy of using energy efficient products.

Medal Design – Photo by Running Photographers

Be a part of the positive change and let the run kick start the change from within. Omni will help light that fire burning in you to be a better and fitter person.  Register Now!!!

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: September 18, 2016
  • Venue: Liwasang Ulalin, CCP Complex, Pasay City
  • Assembly Tim / Gun Start:
    • 21K: 3:30 am / 4:00 am
    • 10K: 4:30 am/ 5:00 am
    • 5K: 5:00 am / 5:30 am
    • 3K: 5:15 am / 5:40 am

Fees and Inclusions

  • 3K – P 550 inclusive of Single and Race Bib
  • 5K – P650 inclusive of Single, Race Bib and Medal
  • 10K – P750 inclusive of Single, Race Bib and Medal
  • 21K – P 900 inclusive of Single, Race Bib, Medal, Loot Bag, Timing Chip and Finisher Shirt


  • Online via www.affinitea.run (Starting July 29, 2016)
  • In Store (Starting July 29, 2016)
    • Chris Sports
      • SM MOA
      • Glorietta
      • Megamall
      • Market Market
    • Affinitea Stores
      • SM North
      • Osmena
      • Binakayan

Race Updates

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The Story Behind My Takbo.PH Runfest 2016

Takbo.PH 2016 Photo by Tong Pascua for Photo-ops

Takbo.PH Runfest is an annual tradition for me.  This year, I was supposed to pace for the half marathon category but it turned out I’m still on the road to recovery from my cough.  I had to do the next best thing, which was to support the event behind the scenes.

Read About:

Takbo.PH Runfest

With Gryf, Vanj and Chang

I rarely get sick but when I do, it takes me a week to recover.  I felt my coughs starting last Monday. It takes me a lot of rest and several days to be back to normal.  Previously, I agreed to be a pacer for the race for the half marathon category with fellow bloggers Jham and Roselle.  I was hoping that I would be well by Race Day and it turned out, I still have some cough during race day.  If I did run, I would end up straining myself and extended my cough for another week.  Since I already committed to the event, I went to the venue to support the race. I was early too just to see the pacers being sent-off to the starting line to lead their own pace group. I also had a lot of time to chat with my friends before the start of the race.

The Race Begins

Time moves faster when you’re in the background compared to when you race.  A lot of things happen in a race as each new kilometer experience is a story on its own.  My Takbo.PH Runfest experienced has evolved to be a journey on its own.  I guess when you miss this year’s race, you get more time to reminisce the past races. I started running in mid 2010 and I missed out on the first Takbo.PH Runfest. Why? It got sold out early. They featured a personalized singlet with your name on it.  I guess at this time, it’s a collectors item now.

Takbo.PH 2011

So after a year, I was able to finally join my first Takbo.PH Runfest in 2011. It was a 16K adventure that you’d surely remember. Back then when you do races in BGC or McKinley, it’s either you get to use the BGC route or the McKinley Route.  Takbo.PH was among the firsts to use both routes, which resulted to be a very challenging combination because of the long climb from BGC to McKinley.

Takbo.PH 2013

Takbo.PH Runfest took a breather in 2012 and was back with more surprises in 2013. The longest distance this time was the 21 kilometers. So expect the surprises right? BGC – Makati – McKinley – Lawton loop was no longer new at this time.  Of course, it won’t be an epic race without the surprises.  It turns out that there’s a newly opened flyover heading to C5 and that happened toward the last few kilometers of the race.  Just as you were breezing down 5th Avenue, you’ll realize that there’s an out and back in the c5 flyover. Epic, Right?

Takbo.Ph 2014

After finally trying out all the flyover and the climbs that BGC-McKinley-c5 Route has to offer, you’ll think nothing can surprise you already but it’s not a Takbo.Ph race without its surprises.  They made a small adjustment in the route by extending the stretch of McKinley Parkway until the area near SM Aura.  It was quick getting to that area after the Lawton stretch but going back was a struggle as it was a false flat that had you on long ascent.  I also made a mistake of trying a new flavor of energy gel that didn’t sit well with my tummy. I ended up running the last few kilometers on a bad tummy including the C5 flyover stretch.

Takbo.PH 20 Miler 2015

The Takbo.PH 20 Miler is not part of the run fest series but it was a special race design by Takbo.Ph to help those building up for their marathons in early February.  It was a 2 loop course around BGC, Makati and Lawton area that was 16 kilometers per loop.  It was the perfect marathon preparation for me as it featured a lot of climbs in Kalayaan Flyover, 5th Avenue and Bayani Road.  I wouldn’t have broken my marathon PR if not for this race.

Takbo.PH Runfest 2015

Compared to previous races, this had a more straight-forward course but still included the usual climb.  I took it a little bit easier during this race as I was under trained for this one.  I still managed to finish the race since I usually just go for a run-fest approach. Run the first part and enjoy the festivities on the second part of the race.  The thought of struggling in a race was also fuel for me to be more consistent in my training and also getting ample rest before each race.  I apply that lessons to this day.

And Back to Our Regular Programming

After the runners were released, I stayed at the Ahon Booth to talk about a topic of common interest, trails.   After a while runners started to come back with the 5K runners starting to come in before 6 am. I took some photos around 6:00 am and headed back to the Pacers Tent before 7:00 am to assist the pacers after finishing their respective times.  I sure wish I was out there running but seeing the usual smiles and people’s story of the race is the next best thing.  Congrats Takbo.Ph for another Epic Runfest. It was nice seeing the runfest at a different perspective for a change.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 54 Comments

Incoming: Run 4 Ur Future

Run 4 ur Future is a multi-stage race that puts premium to the value of saving and giving especially for the OFWs and Seaferers’ Community.  The Race will have its Davao Leg on July 17, it’s Cebu leg on July 31 and their Manila Leg on August 28.  It’s offering 3K, 5K, 10K and 16K categories for runners to choose from. The Manila leg will be held at SM Mall of Asia

Run 4 Ur Future

At the event launch – Photo by Running Photographers

Saving is a really good way to ensure our future.  Even if people have the capacity to save, most of the time, people lack awareness of its value. Run 4 ÜR Future is a race-series which will take place nationwide on July 17 (Davao People’s Park), July 31 (Cebu Business Park), August 28 (Manila SM By The Bay). The race features the following distances: 16K, 10K, 5K, and 3K categories, expected to attract an estimate of 1,000 – 3,000 participants per venue from Maritime Schools, Training Centers, land- based and sea-based Manning Companies of OFWs and running enthusiasts.  The run would be a venue for self-empowerment on simple life lessons like savings and taking charge of your life.

Run 4 UR Future (Live, Save, Give) is brought to you by the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines and the Media Vessel TV and Event Production.  The key purpose of the run is to promote self-empowerment among OFWs and Seafarers. Proceeds of this event will go to various foundations. For Davao leg, the beneficiary will be Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home Inc. For Cebu leg, it will be the World Vision Learning Kit, and for Manila, the Jesus Christ Cares for Cancer. Each foundation has in its primary goal to support education and health of poorest of the poor.

Early Registration fees for the available categories are PHP 750 for 16K, PHP 650 for the 10K, PHP 550 for the 5K, and PHP 450 for the 3K. While, regular registration fees are PHP 850 for 16K, PHP 750 for 10K, PHP 650 for 5K, and PHP 550 for 3K. All participants shall receive race bibs with timing, singlet, and freebies. Additionally, 16K and 10K runners will get a finisher’s medal and shirt. Cash and gift check prizes are in store for top male and female contenders of the race categories.

The Run 4 UR Future is made possible by the following sponsors: Alphera Marine Services Inc. Sealand Skills, Generika, Medpadala, Fern-C, MX3, Snowtime, Media Partners Trilife Magazine, DZIQ 990 am.

Get ready to Live, Save, Give and run for a really good cause that will not only raise the financial literacy of people but it would also alleviate the hardships of those who need it the most.

Race Details (Manila Leg)

Date and Venue

  • Date: August 28, 2016
  • Venue: SM by the Bay, Mall of Asia
  • Gun Start:
    • 16K: 5:00 mm
    • 10K: 5:15 am
    • 5K: 5:30 am
    • 3K: 5:45 am

Fees and Inclusions

  • Early Registration (Online) is from July 15, 2016 until August 1, 2016
  • Regular Registration (In Store and Online) August 5 – August 22, 2016


  • Online: Via Google Docs
  • In Store:
    • Chris Sports SM North
    • Chris Sports SM Megamall
    • Chris Sports SM Mall of Asia

Race Updates

Race Maps

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Incoming: Valley Trail Challenge 2016

Nuvali is the perfect trail for newbies with mostly flat terrain and a slightly rolling course.  It also has the longer distances that seasoned trail runners are looking for. Valley Trail Challenge is happening on August 20, 2016 with 16K, 25K and 50K distances available that will showcase the runner friendly trails and wonderful views of Nuvali

Read About:

Valley Trail Challenge

2015 Valley Trail Challenge – Photo by Rai Cabanig

If there was a course that would perfectly introduce you to trail running it’s the Valley Trail Challenge. In fact, it’s on its 6th year already with increasing number of runners falling in love with the trails.  Nuvali has the friendliest course with mostly flat single and double track dirt grounds. It is also a great venue to train yourself in following ribbon markers and directional signage as one wrong turn could lead you at a different part of the trail.  In any case, it would be important to be keen and cautious on the markers and in case you get lost, just retrace your steps on the last marker you noted.

2014 Soleus Valley Trail Challenge

It’s a trail you can definitely blitzed with no long or steep climbs.  It is also a mental challenge as the trails can go deep into the Nuvali area.  There is a newbie-friendly 16 kilometer distance that can be a fast out and back course just to get you the feel of trail running.  There’s a 25 kilometer distance that will take you deeper in Nuvali showing the wonderful sights in Nuvali’s trail.  There’s of course, the 50 kilometer ultra distance that gives a full course view of the Nuvali trails and is an excellent entry point for the ultra trail category.

The race is scheduled to happen rain or shine. Don’t worry though, the Nuvali trails are safe even when its wet.  It just gets exciting from there but it’s still run-able.  Save the Date on August 20, 2016 at Nuvali, Register and Let’s all Enjoy the Trails.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: August 20, 2016
  • Venue: NATURE AVENUE, NUVALI, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
  • Assembly Time and Race Briefing: 1:00 AM (50K), 2:00 AM (25K) and 4:00 AM (16K)
  • Gun Start and Cut Off Time:
    • 16k Start: 5:00 AM, Cut-off time FOUR (4) hours
    • 25k Start: 3:00 AM, Cut-off time SIX (6) hours
    • 50k Start: 2:00 AM, Cut-off time TEN (10) hours (Km 25 @ CP4/East Conservation Road Cutoff – 5:00:00 Hours and Km 37 @ CP 2/Miriam Cutoff – 7:30:00 Hours). Runners unable to meet this deadline will not be allowed to continue and will be brought back to the Start/Finish area.
  • Please be on time. Latecomers will not be allowed to join the race as we will strictly implement all cut-off times for everyone’s good. However, runners unable to complete their event will still be entitled to post-race items, except the Finisher medal and/or shirt.

Fees and Inclusions

  • 16K – P 950.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt and Finisher Certificate, Post-race meal and drinks, one week supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.
  • 25K – P 1,500.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt and Finisher Medal, Post-race meal and drinks, one week supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.
  • 50K – P 2,000.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt, Finisher Shirt and Medal, Post-race meal and drinks, one week supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.


  • Registration Period: July 11 – August 12, 2016.
  • On Site Registration:
    • MULTISPORT HUB, Ground Floor Space-1, Building F, Solenad 3, Nuvali Sta. Rosa, Laguna, telephone: (049) 258 0824
    • GARMIN STORE, 3rd Floor, Glorietta 5, Makati City
    • ANTEL PLATINUM TOWER, Ground Floor Lobby, 154 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
  • Bank Deposit
    • Bank :Bank of the Philippine Islands:
    • (BPI) Account # 2371 0034 71
    • Print your name, shirt size, race category and contact number on the deposit slip together with your signed and duly-accomplished registration form and waiver. (DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM and WAIVER HERE). Scan or camera-capture and email to frvtc2016@gmail.com. Make sure to email before the deadline for registration and check that you receive an acknowledgement email within 24-48 hours to confirm your registration. Please do NOT post on Facebook.

Race Kit Claiming

  • Race kits can be claimed from August 17-18, 2016 at Antel Platinum Tower Lobby, 154 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Bring a valid ID and your proof of payment.
  • All race kits unclaimed during this period may be claimed at the Frontrunner booth at the Start area on race day, at least one hour prior to gun start.


  • THIS IS A TRAIL RACE. Please note that in keeping with the true tradition of trail running, environmental protection and preservation, runners are encouraged to be self- sufficient. Runners must bring their own refillable bottles/cups.
  • Littering will be strictly prohibited and is a ground for disqualification. Garbage bags will be available in all checkpoints.
  • Checkpoints/refreshment stations will be located at Km 4 (Xavier Trailhead), Km 13.5 (Miriam), Km 19 (Gate 5) and Km 25 (East Conservation Road), where all runners are free to refill and eat. Take note that this is an out-and-back course, therefore runners will be passing the same aid stations, save for their respective turnaround points, twice.
  • While refreshments will be available at the checkpoints, participants are highly advised to bring extra hydration and food supplies since the distance between stations are farther compared to the usual set-up in road races. It is recommended that runners carry a minimum of one liter of water at all times.
  • Runners are strongly advised to wear appropriate trail running gear and MUST bring their own headlamp/flashlight, first-aid kit, windbreaker/waterproof jacket, whistle, and functional cell phone.
  • The race route will be marked by ribbons and/or directional tarpaulins. Runners must exercise utmost caution in all sections of the race course and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
  • No time credits will be given for runners who get lost, therefore all runners are encouraged to pay attention to race markers/signs.
  • Runners who decide not to continue the race must contact the Race Director or inform the nearest security/aid station marshal for proper accounting.
  • NO free shuttle service to and from NUVALI is provided.
  • FREE parking is available at designated areas. While security will be provided, runners are solely responsible for securing their belongings. Race organizers and management will not be held liable for any damage or loss to personal items.
  • Baggage deposit counters will be available at the Start/Finish area. Runners are advised not to leave valuables and fragile items.
  • The Race Organizers reserve the right to use pictures and videos taken during the event for publication in any form of media without any consideration, monetary or otherwise. Owners of published photos/videos will be duly recognized.
  • The Race Director/Organizers may, at any time, make revisions on the course and race details/rules for the benefit of all runners.
  • Any runner caught cheating, sabotaging course markings or violating the race rules will be subject to outright disqualification. The Race Director’s decision is final.
  • The event takes place, RAIN or SHINE, unless the organizers announce its cancellation at least 48 hours before race day.
  • Enjoy the trails and prepare to get dirty!!!

Race Updates

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Soleus Cross Country Challenge

Soleus Cross Country Challenged Survived!

Add a little bit of rain and the trail becomes a whole new playground. Soleus Cross Country Challenge was a challenge indeed.  It was a challenge on how you’d navigate the muddy and slippery trail.  It was a challenge on your courage as you go daredevil mode on the long and steep descent. It was a challenge on your sanity as you endure a very long ascent back to the finish line.  It’s tough but we just get tougher with all these challenges!!!

Read About:

Soleus Cross Country Challenge

Camp Sinai

This race is both a fast trail and a slow trail.  There’s a huge part of the race that gives you a long descent to blitz if you can go on fearless mode. It gets slow on the way back as you crawl your way back from the river.  I had the perfect game plan and that was to cruise the descent and remain steady on the climb.  That’s until the rain came in.  It was a totally different trail adventure as the descent goes slippery.  The muddy area was even harder to navigate as you struggle to find balance while your shoes gain added weight from the accumulated mud.  Well, it’s a challenge after all so let’s so how we do on this trail.

Race Map and Elevation Profile

The Race starts at Camp Sinai with the first 2 kilometers on rolling and muddy trails.  It goes on a long descent for the next kilometer in the next 4 kilometers until the river for the u-turn.  The race shifts to climb as you navigate 400 meters of elevation over the next 4 kilometers until Pintong Bukawe.  It then goes back to the muddy trails for the remaining distance to the finish line.

The Race

Beautiful Mount Sinai

It has been raining all week before the race so the question on my mind was never whether the race will push through or not but on how wild it’s gonna get.  It becomes an all new adventure when you go on wet trails.  There was a slight change in the route, which takes away the river stretch for safety reasons.  It’s all systems go and we’re ready to roll.

With Glads and Abet. – Photo by Jack Morales

I was the designated driver for today picking up Mark and Glads in Makati at 3:30 am and Mike and Inja in QC at 4:00 am.  It’s always an earlier start when it comes to out-of-town trail races. You have to factor in the travel time. San Mateo is about 45 minutes to 1 hour away from Quezon City.  We arrived at the venue past 5:00 am with still a lot of time to warm up stretch and socialize with running friends.  It was nice to see the large turnout for the event.

With Trail Master Rene and Newest Trail Sensation Mike.- Photo by Jack Morales

Gun Start

The 21 kilometer runners were released at 6:00 am and we had our gun start at 6:20 am. As soon as we had a gun start, I knew it was a totally different trail because of the wet and muddy trail.  The descent gets extra slippery so you have to watch your step.  It was also a bit congested because of the single track trail. I had to stop and reassess my strategy.

Time to reassess my strategy – Photo by Active Pinas

The mud made the trail extra challenging.  It was slippery and it also makes your shoes heavier.  I took it easy on the congested part to preserve my energy when the trail gets wider.  I went on to speed up if I see more solid surfaces so I can pull my way out of the congested area. I had to walk on the climbs and remain cautious on the slippery parts and that’s the strategy for the first two kilometers.

The Long Descent

It’s time to Speed up. – Photo by Jack Morales

As soon as I got out of the muddy stretch, I started to run and this would be more 4 kilometers worth of descents. The first 500 meters were on paved grounds so took advantage of this stretch to speed up.  The surface then shifts to rough roads with some stones.  The stones can be a bit slippery so I used my poles to add some balance when I run.  I also visualized the course and opted on the areas where the surface is more solid.

Catch me if you can. – Photo by Jack Morales

The wet trail changes the game as even when gravity is on your side.  It can also make you slip, slide and fall.  I just braved the descents but remained cautious and alert on the changing surface conditions.  I inserted a few seconds of walk in between. I don’t want to over exhaust myself on the descent as I would need all the energy on the climb.  I descent goes steeper as you approach the river area.  I was finally able to reach the river area and went on at a relaxed pace to ensure my heart rate is low when I start the climb.

Climbing Time

It’s time to climb, – Photo by Jack Morales

As I went on the u-turn, I knew this was the tough part.  It took me an hour to hit this spot and it would surely take much longer going up. I switched to using two poles as it would be more efficient on the climb.  There’s no easy way of doing the climb, you just have to endure  it.  I made a mental note of dividing the climb into 2 segments.  The first 2 kilometers had a much steeper slope while the next two would be moderate but continuous ascent. I’ll take it easy on the first 2 kilometers.

It’s a mental challenge – Photo by Pido.

I went on with the climb with a steady walk and using the pole to let the upper body assist in the climb.  I was just focused on taking one step at a time while greeting fellow runners a huffing and puffing good morning as I struggled on the climb. It was really steep on this part with no flat area to recover.  There’s a water station after my first kilometer of climbing. I took time to take my energy gel, eat a banana and drink water before I resumed on a much steeper 2nd kilometer of climbing.

My Toughest Kilometer

There’s no easy way in doing a climb. = Photo by Pido.

The 2nd Kilometer Climbing and the 8th kilometer of the race was my longest.  It had a more technical surface with a tougher incline.  No other way to do the climb but to endure it.  I went on with the crawlfest and I just went one step after another.  It was a mental challenge but I knew if I would make it past this stretch it would be a lot easier.  I just tried to endure this stretch, a bit slower but I did it with consistent effort.

Last Two Kilometers of the Climb

Huffing and Puffing my way out of the climb – Photo by Pido.

The good part of dividing a climb is that it’s easier to think about it in chunks.  The next two kilometers were moderate climbs and there were a few stretches of flat lands or descents.  I used this area to recover so I have my full lung capacity when I resume the climb.  It was a steady effort until I hit the paved area and eventually heading to the final two kilometers of the race.

The Final Two Kilometers of The Race

Struggling on the muddy area. – Photo by Active Pinas

While the final 2 kilometers were not my slowest kilometer, it was the most mentally challenging part.  The wet and muddy surface had me slipping every step I take. It also makes my shoe heavier because of the accumulated mud. I can’t even speed up on the descent as it could mean slipping or falling of somewhere.  You could hear the host of the event on some sections of the trail yet it still felt far.  I just ignored everything focusing on each step making sure that I was moving forward.

The face says it all. – Photo by Active Pinas

I was inching my way to the finish line.  The last 300 meters was a tough one as it was a continuous ascent on the muddy trails.  Some times you move up two steps and slip one.  I just went on to move forward until I finished the race. Time check, 2:37 covering 12.5 kilometers of Soleus Cross Country Challenge.  I enjoyed the race and the challenge.

With the Pretty Ladies after the race. Rochelle and celebrities Andrea del Rosario and Wendy Valdez.

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Be Visible in the Night, Be an EyeCatcher

I am always more comfortable running at night except when I have an early morning race.  It’s much cooler at night but it also means that you should be more visible.  Eyecatcher has vest and led identifiers that will make you more visible in the Dark. #‎eyecatcher‬ ‪#‎beseenbesafe‬ ‪#‎runsafe‬ ‪#‎woweyecatcher



I have this age old battle with my alarm clock when it comes to training in the morning.  So far, the alarm clock has been winning the battle except of course, when I have early morning races.  No worries for me as I can always train at night.  It’s a much cooler time to train. I don’t have to worry about missing too much sleep either.  I guess, it’s part of my normal cycle now.

The only downside is that it can be scary running in the dark.  It helps to be visible in low light condition for your safety.  Eyecatcher Vest and Led identifiers makes you more visible in the dark.  You’ll be an eyecatcher, no doubt.  You’ll be noticed by approaching traffic of cars, motor vehicles, bikes and even people.  That added visibility can go a long way when it comes to your safety.

Running With Eyecatcher

Being a natural night runner, Eyecatcher has been a perfect addition for me. I have the vest and I also have the LCD identifiers.  I use the LCD identifiers more often especially that I do my training runs on short loops instead of long roads.  The vest would be perfect for those doing long runs in highways as this would give you maximum visibility.  It can also help you when you go for overnight trail or hiking activities as visibility is really important when you get lost or you try to locate your companions.  Another good thing about eyecatcher is that once the led runs out, you just need to replace the led.

The eyecatcher led indetifiers has 3 types of lighting you can you.  You can go with a fast blinking emergency mode.  You can go with a slower blinks with just enough visibility.  You can also go with a steady light just for minimum visibility.  Either way, it gives me a flashier look plus I am more visible with moving vehicles.  Eyecatcher is so light that you’ll barely notice the added weight in your shoes.  It can easily be strapped to your shoes or you can wear it on your arms. Either way, you’ll be an eyecatcher.

The Eyecatcher vest has a neon body with silver reflective strips that can be visible from a distance.    It’s made of breathable and sweat-proof material to prevent accumulated sweat from dragging the vest to your body. The V-Shape design accompanied by the velcro strap will help you adjust the vest based on your body structure. This would make the fit perfect that you’ll barely notice the vest.

It’s all about safety, here’s the best time to wear eyecatcher

  • Night or Early Dawn Runs or Ride
    • Use Eyecatcher led identifiers for regular runs
    • Eyecatcher vest can keep you visible on the road while biking
  • Long Slow Distance Run along Main Roads
    • Eyecatcher Vest and led identifiers can keep you visible from incoming cars on main roads
  • Overnight trails or hikes
    • Eyecatcher Vest can keep you visible on night hikes
    • It’s easier to locate you when you are lost
    • It’s also easier to account for each hiker on a large group
  • Racing at Early Dawn
    • Eyecatcher identifiers will help identify runners in the course and avoid bumping into each other.

Racing  with Eyecatcher.

Running with EyeCatcher – Photo by AV Photography

  • The common denominator with road races is that it starts at dawn with average gun starts from 2:00 am to 5:00 am.  While there are road closures, it still helps to have the Eyecatcher vest or led identifier to get you through the dark spots in the race.  It helps identify runners in the course and avoid bumping into each other.  It’s an added safety devices for road races.
  • It’s almost a must to have them on longer races like ultra marathons with a fewer participants running on open roads.  You get to explore more at Ultra Marathons but there are also risks involved.  You’ll need maximum visibility for cars to identify you on the long winding dark highways.
  • The same goes for long bike races both on road or on trails.
  • For longer trails that involve exploring the mountains in the dark, take the vest as identifier.  It will help you locate each other along the deep forest and it will be easier to find you when you get lost.

Be safe, stand out and be an Eyecatcher!!! I might just be the life saver you’ll need on the road.


For more details about Eyecather, follow them on Facebook: Eyecatcher

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 36 Comments

Run GNC 2016

Easy and fun 10K at Run GNC 2016

Run GNC 2016 was another feel good run.  It had thousands of participants but it had enough leg room to for you to run.   It was a fast and flat course with a little bit of flyover.  It’s a welcome variety for a 10K MOA and Roxas Boulevard route to utilize the flyover at Buendia for that hilly feel. 

Run GNC 2016

With Philip BF and Supladong Irish Runner

For me a race starts days before the race as I need to keep my regular mileage to be in race condition during race day.  I missed a chunk of my training for the week because of the weather and a busy schedule.  The goal for the race was just to enjoy the course and have my weekend mileage.  I opted for the 10K distance as I enjoy the faster pace of the shorter distances.  I actually get to exert myself more on a short route than doing a half marathon.  Either way, it’s always a fun weekend when you’re out there in a racing environment.

Race Map

The race starts at Seaside drive and heads to Macapagal Boulevard and CCP area for the first kilometer.  The race shifts to Roxas Boulevard heading to EDSA passing by Buendia Flyover for the next two kilometers of the race until the u-turn slot.  The race then head back to MOA area for the finish.

The Race

Race Ready. – Photo by Ryan Moral for Pinoyfitness

I’m starting to enjoy the feel of weekend races again.  It’s more of a lifestyle now than just chasing a specified time or distance.  I love the challenge of a fast 10K where you can push yourself harder since you know it’s a shorter race.  I often get exhausted more over this distance than a half marathon.  I still am not use to waking up early but I was able to be at the starting line 30 minutes before gun start for proper warm up.  There was about 900 participants in the 10K category.

Running in the dark. Photo by Active Pinas.

Despite the lack of mileage for the week, I felt more adopted to the road running mentality than I was a week ago at World Vision after being in the trails the past few months. At gun start, I went on to join the rest of the pack starting fast. I’ll try how long I can push myself and slow down a bit when I get tired.  The first kilometer was a breeze in the SM Mall of Asia Area.  I was able to keep in pace at the second kilometer in Macapagal Boulevard.   I was still able to sustain the pace on the third kilometer exiting the CCP area.

White is the New Flashy!!! I’m glad I had these eyecatchers to keep me visible in the dark.

I was approaching the hilly part of the course so I tried to go more at a controlled pace.  I slowed down heading to the flyover and went on a 30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk on the climb.  I like using the run walk method to keep myself from being lazy even when I slow down. I kept walking breaks to a count of 20.  I went on to speed up after the climb then went back at an easier pace heading to the u-turn slot at Roxas Boulevard.

Heading back! – Photo by Active Pinas

One thing I like about out and back courses is when you hit the u-turn slot, you can start counting down the kilometers back.  I was still able to keep a longer run interval by the kilometer 6 and had to do 30 seconds run and 30 seconds walk on the climb back in the flyover.  I was slowly depleting my energy reserves.  10K races always makes me feel that way because I don’t give myself long rest intervals on shorter distance runs.

I just love racing on weekends – Photo by Diwata ng Bicolandia

With 3 kilometers to go, I had to shift to a shorter run walk interval.  I would run for about a minute and have a recovery walk for 20 seconds then I would repeat the sequence.  With a more distributed recovery walk, I was able to improve my average time per kilometer.  It was now routine as I get to count down the final kilometers of the race.  I was able to reach Macapagal area with about two kilometers to go.  I was able to Mall of Asia area with a kilometer left.

To the Finish Line – Photo by Ryan Moral for Pinoy Fitness

On the last kilometer, I had a photographers’ interval.  Since there were several photographers lined up Seaside Boulevard. I would go on to run about a hundred meters until I pass by one photographer then rest for 20 seconds to go on the next push. It would look better for photos that way.   I did this set up until I was able to inch my way to the finish line all soaked in sweat.  I even had a better time from last week’s run.


I really enjoyed this run as it had a lot of leg room to move.  There were sufficient hydration every 1.5 kilometers and it was a nice route.  I had to change quickly after the race as I was dripping in sweat. It was a shorter run but the effort was always there.   I guess that’s a great way to start a Sunday, the weekend warrior way.

Outfit of The Race

  • Top: Berghaus with #TaleOfTheTrail design by Breakout Design
  • Shorts: Under Armour
  • Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 5
  • GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
  • Cap: 2xU
  • Socks: Features
  • Eyewear: Oakley Radar EV

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , | 52 Comments

Incoming: Mount Batolusong Mountain Rockstar

When you want to be a rock star, you have to enjoy life like a rock star.  Mount Batolusong Mountain Rockstar would make you feel like your on top of the world with its high altitude and scenic trails.  A Rockstar’s journey is never easy but its gonna be a wild ride with endless climbs, gorgeous trails, deep ravines and a lot of picture perfect moments as you challenge yourself in the race.  It’s happening at Mount Batolusong on August 7, 2016 with 12K, 25K and 50K categories available.

Read About:

Mt. Batolusong Mountain Rockstar

I got the MGM Production Brand of trail run when I joined Mount Sembrano Mountain Run this year.  Well… It was not easy.  It had a really long, steep and technical climb that’s gonna challenge your physical limits, mental toughness as well as your sanity.  The reward is a scenic view of Mount Sembrano and Pililia area.  Mount Batolusong is another high effort, high reward race that’s tough to do but always definitely worth it.

That’s what I love about trail races.  It can give you a lot of variety and can be a mental and physical challenge.  It’s gonna make you love the challenge and at the same time, it’s gonna keep you coming back for more.  The climbs would hurt. The deep ravines can be heartbeat-stopping.  The distance can be long and exhausting.  You’ll still love the challenge of the course since your eyes would be feasted with  the wonderful surroundings.  Mount Batolusong Mountain Run gives you gorgeous trails, green views, rolling pastures, ridges and deep ravines.

It starts on a difficult climb until you reach Mapatag Plateau.  Take it slow, catch your breath and enjoy the views.  While you struggle on the climb, there’s the splendid view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range to keep you in awe.  It’s not the tallest of mountains but it has its bright spots with views from the nearby Mt. Susong Dalaga and also sights of Mount Banahaw and Mount Cristobal. It’s just about 670 meters in elevation but its technical trails and steepness can really take your breath away, both literally and figuratively. Choose your distance. Go short and fast at 12K, go longer and enjoy more scenery at 25K or go all out at 50K. Register now and prepare early as you’ll enjoy the wonderful scenery come August 7, 2016 when you are ready to be a Rockstar!!!

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: August 7, 2016
  • Venue: Mt. Batolusong, Barangay San Andres, Tanay, Rizal
  • Starting/Finish Area: Barangay Hall of San Andres, Tanay Rizal
  • Start Time: 4:00AM (50km) / 5:00AM (25km) / 5:30AM (12km)
  • Cut Off Time : 12km (6hrs) / 25km (9hrs) / 50km (15hrs)

Fees and Inclusions

  • Php 1,150.00 / 12km Mountain Trail Run
  • Php 1,450.00 / 25km Mountain Trail Run
  • Php 1,800.00 / 50km Mountain Ultra Trail Run
    • Inclusive of the following: Finisher Shirt, Medal, Race Bandana, Personalized Bib Number and Post Race Meal.
    • 25km and 50km finishers will get a FREE MGM Mountain Rockstar Cap


  • Registration Period: June 21 – July 22, 2016
  • Registration Procedure:
    • Deposit the registration fee to:
      • Account Name: Rayman D. delos Angeles
      • BPI Savings Acct Num: 3199-1456-56
    • Send a scanned copy of the deposit slip to mgm_mtbatolusong@yahoo.com with your name, gender, race distance and size of finisher shirt . Subject: MGM MT. BATOLUSONG REGISTRATION”.
    • Please keep and present the deposit slip when claiming the race kit on the race day.

Race Updates:

Getting There:

  • Private Transportation
    • From Cubao take Aurora Blvd. East Bound and continue straight to Marcos Highway. You will pass by Sta. Lucia Grand Mall, Masinag, and Cogeo. After Cogeo, you will traverse zigzag roads.
    • You will pass by Palo Alto and Garden Cottages. A few meters from Kilometer Post 51, the Welcome Arch to Barangay San Andres is on the other side of the road (left side). This is actually the place that locals refer to as Batangasan or Batangas.
    • Follow the road leading down to the valley that is Brgy. San Andres. You will pass through two small bridges. Take the left turn after the Brgy. Chapel. The Brgy. Hall cum registration area is located 30 meters from the main road and just before the covered court. From Batangasan, the Brgy. Hall is more or less 4 kms in distance.
    • Early morning travel from Cubao to Brgy. San Andres is 1 hour 45 minutes.
  • Public Transportation
    • From Cubao, take a jeep or FX to Cogeo Gate 2 (Php 35 FX).
    • Once in Cogeo, proceed to the jeepney terminal adjacent to the market and take the jeepney going to Sampaloc/Tanay.
    • Tell the driver to drop you off at Batangasan/Batangas. (1 hour travel time).
    • Hire a habal-habal or tricycle to San Andres Barangay Hall. (15 minutes travel time).

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments