A Weekend of Eat and Run in Bacolod

Eat and Run Bacolod was a weekend filled with good food, wonderful people, scenic runs and a lot of wonderful memories.  Adventouristas Inc. gave us a one-of-a-kind tour to better appreciate the trails, nature and the variety of delicacies.

Eat and Run Bacolod

Matalan-og Falls

Matalan-og Falls

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

That’s one of the quotes posted in our homestay at Don Salvador Benedicto for the very first Eat and Run Bacolod.  I booked this trip organized by Adventouristas, Inc. upon the invitation of Maui Lopez last November.  Between then and now was a lot of overflow of stress from mounting a trail race, a fund-raising activity at work and some emergency situations before the year-end.  It was an escape I really needed to de-stress and refocus.  We get lost in the clutter of a busy life and it’s this escape that we re-discover that the best things in life are the simple ones.  Travel is the best ways to appreciate life.  It’s a big bonus when it comes with a fitness element and a lot of food.  It’s an adventure designed for people just like me who wants to make the most out of life and still enjoy it to the fullest.

Hello Ruins!!!

The Ruins

The Ruins

I’ve seen so many post about the Ruins and how beautiful it was.  Well, I can finally say that I’ve seen it up close and was able to explore it.  It was majestically built that even a fire couldn’t pull down its beauty.  The Ruins was our first stop coming from the airport.  While a version of me was looking forward to the dirt school part of the tour, there is always that traveler in me that gets awed by wonders like this.

Calea Cakes

Calea Cakes

After the ruins, we’re on our first stop on the eating part of the tour at Calea Pastries & Cake in Bacolod City.  Calea has the best cakes. I opted for the Blueberry Cheesecake since it’s been among my favorite cakes and their version was really such a delight to the sweet tooth in me.  Carla also shared her White Chocolate Cheesecake, which is among their specialties and I also liked it.  We also had coffee at Calea before heading to Salvador Benedicto.

Don Salvador Benedicto

Our assigned house.

Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) is around 1 to 1 1/2 hours away from Bacolod.  It’s also a popular tourism hub especially with the Baguio-like climate, the higher elevation and the view of Mount Kanlaon.  DSB would be our home for the next 3-days.  We were welcomed with another round of food and of course the warm hospitality of the Ramirez Family.  It was cold, foggy and a really great weather just to chill and relax.  We got assigned to the red house and I had my bed at upper part of the A-shaped house.

Foggy Times at Don Salvador Benedicto

Foggy Times at Don Salvador Benedicto

It’s Time to Run

Ready to Run!

Ready to Run!

After a sumptuous breakfast, we are now starting the dirt school part of the event.  Coach Ige Lopez is the one handling the dirt school.  When it comes to trails, I really learned a lot from Coach Ige.  I still use some of his pointers when I attended his dirt school at Mount Makiling last year.  There were so many insights about trails on the lecture.  You get to learn on how to prepare for a race and the other essentials of trail running and mountaineering. We also got to do some drills to properly warm up and prepare for a run.

Let's Run!

Let’s Run!

We were enveloped by a foggy backdrop with slight rains.  It was a really good weather for a chill run. Of course, we’d also want the skies to clear up for us to better appreciate the view of Don Salvador Benedicto.  We still had some time in the morning so we did a 5 kilometer out and back run.  It’s always a unique experience when you are in the trails.  Since it was raining, we got to do slippery dirt roads and mud tracks.  We also had to deal with a rolling course. In short it was not easy but the trails were run-able.  I went at an easier pace on the first run since we still would have another run in the afternoon.

Thanks to Navigation features of Suunto. W found our way back.

Thanks to Navigation features of Suunto. We found our way back.

It was fun to run in the wet weather with slippery grounds to play around.  I was with the tail-end of the pack and ended in a fork with three separate directions. In short, we’re lost.  Thanks to the navigation features of GPS watches now, we found our way back.

Lunch Time!!!

Lunch Time!!!

In between runs, we had lunch. There’s the Chicken Inasal, there’s KBL (Kadyos, Baboy at Langka), Seaweeds and Buco Pandan.  After a good run, it was perfect to eat again. We would have a few hours before the next and longer run for the day.

Run # 2

Run # 2

It was a bit colder and rainy in the afternoon but we’re good to go.  Trail running is an all-weather sports and it’s a different experience on dry and wet trails.  The roads were muddy and getting dirty at this point is normal for us now.  We made a short turn on single tracks heading back to the main road.

While waiting for the rest.

While waiting for the rest.

After hitting the main road, we stopped after a kilometer on the road to do some tree planting.  We planted one tree per participant.  That’s another highlight of the event. While we were here to run, it was a good thing that they incorporated some tree planting.

Tree Planting!

Tree Planting!

After the tree planting part, we headed to long and winding descent along dirt roads.  While the trails were slippery, there were some solid spots in the trails that would be run-able.  It was a continues run for a few kilometers but you’ll have to adopt fast on the changing surfaces.  When we hit the lower part of the trails, we hit some sugar cane plantations and also some rice fields.

Slippery Trails.

Slippery Trails.

The trails also shifted slowly from fire roads to single track roads.  The roads got muddier as the rains kept falling.  It’s all part of the experience though.  It was also time to slow down and be more strategic on your strides.  It’s like a chess match that you have to plan two to three steps ahead.  Each stride was heavier with the mud adding to the drag.  As we made our way back in the upper part of the trails, we made a turn to single track descending trails and it was really slippery. We took it slowly at this stretch.  After the long technical stretch, we saw another fork so we opted to use the navigation system of GPS watches and found our way back yet again. Even on a foggy weather, I can see that there are a lot of scenic spots in the trails.

It was boodle fight after the runs.

It was boodle fight after the runs.

We had a good boodle fight after the runs.  We’re just so glad that we’ve been burning calories all day so we can enjoy the meal guilt-free.  It was a good mix and a good meal.  After the meal, we had bonfire before calling it a day.

Bonfire

Bonfire

Matalan-og Falls

Hello Mount Kanlaon

Hello Mount Kanlaon!

While we loved the cold foggy weather, we were hoping that the weather would finally clear up so we can appreciate the views.  We got our wish on our last day and we finally saw Mount Kanlaon.  It was great to be up early to just appreciate the view of the area.

Yana was such a trooper

Yana was such a trooper

We are also scheduled to trek Matalan-og falls, which was about 4 kilometers away from our area.  We started from our area to run / walk until the jump off point heading to Matalan-og Falls.  I took it slow as this was my time to appreciate DSB without the foggy effects. I was also making mental notes on the direction back.  From the jump-off point, there was about 1.3 kilometers of technical trails heading to the falls.  It was another lesson of navigating technical trails for all of us.  Charlle and I stayed in pace with Coach Ige and her daughter Yana, who was such a trooper for her age.  It was a nice pace as we had to deal with slippery and steep descents. It also gave us the time to appreciate the view.

It's a challenging route.

It’s a challenging route.

As we reached the lower part of the trail.  We had to navigate through several river crossings as well as going over some rocky terrain.  The destination is worth all the effort though as the falls was really a visual delight and the cold waters falling off was really refreshing.

Matalon-og Falls.

Matalon-og Falls.

We stayed for some time in the falls to enjoy the area while waiting for the rest of the pack.  It’s among the more beautiful falls I’ve seen.  After a while we headed back to the top and was again challenged with the climb and the technical terrain.  We had suman before running our way back to our homestay for lunch.

Craft Beer to Send us Off.

Craft Beer to Send us Off.

We had lunch and really cold and delicious craft beer after.  It was a chase to the airport after as I barely made the boarding call and was the last one entering the plane before it took off.  That was an epic weekend, thanks to Adventouristas, Inc.

Categories: My Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Incoming: RF Pilipinas Run

Why do you run? There’s always a purpose behind each step you make.  RF Pilipinas Run, with its Tagline, “I Run for a Purpose,” was conceived as a national footrace to promote wellness as a lifestyle and help indigent but deserving students pursue their education. Be part of that purpose on March 12, 2017 at CCP Complex in Pasay City with 5K, 10K and 16K distance to choose from.

RF Pilipinas Run

Get this plate free or at a discount depending on the category.

Get this plate free or at a discount depending on the category.

Running can bring you some many positive.  It keeps you fit and healthy. It helps clear your mind. It helps improve your confidence. Running is also a tool to reach out and help others.  RF Pilipinas Run is designed just for that with Cavalry Christian Life School in Tuding, Itogon, Benguet as the main beneficiary.  The run is happening on March 12, 2017 at 2017 at the CCP Complex in Pasay City.

Choose your distance.  Get a feel of the running lifestyle with a short but sweet 5 kilometer run.  Go for a challenging 10 kilometer run or go for a longer distance 16K run.   RenderFarms Sports brings you a race that’s suited for all types of runners.  It’s gonna make your heart healthy with the run and it will warm your heart that each step you make will go to a really good cause.

The major sponsor of the run is Rain International with its SOUL product.  SOUL is a seed-based wellness products that will help complement your active lifestyle.  It’s your race nutrition coming from safer and natural sources.

Whatever reasons you run, just run and RF Pilipinas Run would be a perfect venue to enjoy a feel-good run with a good purpose.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: March 12, 2017
  • Venue: CCP Complex Pasay City

Fees And Inclusions:

  • 5K – 650 (singlet/finisher medal) the first 500 registrants will get “PROUD RUNNER” plate at a reduce price of 175Php
  • 10K – 750 (singlet/finisher medal) the first 500 registrants will get “PROUD RUNNER” plate at a reduce price of 150Php
  • 16K – 900 (singlet/finisher medal & shirt) the first 500 registrants will get “PROUD RUNNER” plate or Free.
  • All race kits will be sent by Courier for Online registrants starting from Feb 1 plus courier charges
  • The Cost of Proud Runner Plate is 500php for registrants only.

Registration

  • Online (December 15, 2016 – January 30, 2017) – Via Goorahna
  • In Store (February 1-28, 2017) – TBA

Race Updates

  • Contact via SMS RF Sports
    • (Sun) 0925-777-0956
    • (Globe) 0936-911-3845
    • (Smart) 0998-793-7976
    • (Pldt) 074 424-1869
Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Share Your #IWill Stories and Get A Chance to Win Under Armour Items

New Year! New You! That’s the strong theme of the 2017.  While you’re at it, why not get a chance to a full set of Under Armour Gear as you share your fitness resolution and #IWill Stories.

#IWill

Aim for a fitter New Year and Under Armour, the world’s top performance brand, is right there to support you.  Pledge a goal / challenge for 2017 and say I Will.  Tell them how you plan to achieve that goal and get support from your family, friends and network.  Let the #IWill story not only inspire you to be a better version of yourself but let it also inspire the rest to be fit, healthy and be a lot better in 2017.  Under Armour also has the full range of performance apparel that can help you reinforce that goal and you could win some too by joining the #IWill2017 giveaway.

Here’s how to join:

1. Think of a PLEDGE/GOAL/CHALLENGE that you would like to work on in 2017.
2. Show them how you plan to work on that PLEDGE/GOAL/CHALLENGE, in photo or video of yourself.
3. Post and tag @UnderArmourPH on instagram, include the hashtags: #IWILL2017 and #UnderArmourPH  (“ENSURE YOUR ACCOUNT IS SET TO PUBLIC”)
The TOP 3 most creative entries from the philippines will stand to win a full set of Under Armour gear (top,bottom,shoes) contest period till January 27 (23:59 PHT)
This is an Instagram exclusive contest.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Contest period: 16 Dec 2016 – 27 Jan 2017
  • The three winners from each country (SG, MY, PH, TH, ID) will be announced over Instagram throughout the week of 30 Jan 2017. Winners will be contacted via Instagram Direct Message.
  • Upon being selected, the participant has to provide the desired size of his/her top, bottom and shoes. Prizes have to be collected in-person in the respective countries (no authorization of another individual to collect on your behalf).
  • By entering, you are allowing UA Sports (S.E.A.) Pte. Ltd. and/or its affiliates to contact you via Instagram and Email.
  • UA Sports (S.E.A.) Pte. Ltd. reserves the right to amend or vary any terms and conditions at its sole discretion, at any time.
Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Color Manila Run 2017

Another Colorful Start of the Year for Me!

Another Colorful Start of the Year for Me!

For the 5th straight year, I’m starting the year the colorful way.  It’s just mesmerizing to watch the colorful display at the color powder ceremony. It’s just pure fun being splattered with color powders along the different color powder station each having a unique theme.  Happy Colorful New Year to One and All!

Happy Colorful New Year!!! - Photo by RJ of Running Photographers

Happy Colorful New Year!!! – Photo by RJ of Running Photographers

Read About:

Color Manila Run 2017

5 colorful years of Color Manila

5 colorful years of Color Manila

Honestly, I woke up late for the run because my body clock is still on off season. It was a good thing that I set my alarm an hour earlier, which made it possible to still meet the 6 am gun start.  It’s always like that on my first race of the year but knowing that its a no-pressure, all-fun run makes Color Manila Run my first race of the year. In fact, it’s been that way for the last 5 years.  I haven’t missed the event since it started and would probably be present in the next stagings too.   This would surely be fun!!!

Race Route

Race Route is powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports.

Race Route is powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports.

The race starts at Seaside Boulevard and heads to the right side of Diokno Boulevard and Sunrise Drive for an out and back before heading to Macapagal Boulevard at the 3 kilometer mark.  The race then goes to Macapagal Boulevard and V. Sotto for the u-turn at kilometer 5.  The race heads back to Seaside drive for the next 2 kilometers before going to the left side of Diokno Boulevard for an out and back and the finish at Seaside Drive.

The Race

Before Gunstart with Spongebob Runner

Before Gunstart with Spongebob Runner

After arriving 30 minutes before gun start, I went around the village to check on some running friends.  I first saw Merl (Spongebob runner) and his son so I went with them before the opening ceremonies.  After the opening prayer, national anthem and warm up, it was gun start.  I was planning to start slow as I’m no longer built for road races having been on off season and spending most of the time on the trails.

Another Colorful start of the year at Color Manila – Photo by Rj of Running Photographers.

At gunstart, I started fast for the first 500 meters just to have more running space given that there are thousands of runners in the 10K distance.  After that it was all easy pace for me.  I really felt rusty for this one and even early in the race, I had shin splints so I went on a shorter run- walk pace just to ensure I would still be pacing at a consistent pace.  That’s one of the good things I like about Color Manila Run. It’s a no-pressure race and most of the participants are there just to have fun.

A-Ok!!! - Photo by RJ of Running Photographers

A-Ok!!! – Photo by RJ of Running Photographers

After the out and back at Diokno Boulevard, the Purple Station was located at Sunrise Drive.  Each color station had a different theme, which made each visit at the color station a unique experience.  We got splattered by purple powders and we’d be keeping that color for quite some time as the next color station would be at the second half of the race.

having fun - Photo by RJ of Running Photographers.

having fun – Photo by RJ of Running Photographers.

I started to get more comfortable running again when I reached Macapagal Boulevard. I also saw the early finishers in the 21 kilometer category by the other side of the road.  I went on a longer run interval in Macapagal and V. Sotto heading to the u-turn slot and just like that the race is halfway through.  I went on a consistent effort on the way back to Seaside Drive promising myself to just enjoy the color station at the last 3 kilometers of the race.

With the Great Jared, Spongebob Runner and Son.

With the Great Jared, Spongebob Runner and Son.

The first was the Orange station and it had a sporty theme with several minor obstacle. I said hi to Coach Mherlz, who was part of the Orange station.  It was party atmosphere at Diokno Boulevard starting with the Blue Station with a really upbeat drums being played throughout the event.  The next was the green station, which was my favorite station.  They had a really upbeat music and the volunteers were really gamely dancing with the participants.

We love of Vitamin Boost!!!

We love of Vitamin Boost!!!

The other side of Diokno Boulevard had the yellow station which was another lively themed station.  The last station was the pink station, which was also fully entertaining and fun.  It was then time to head to the finish line with the last 500 meters of the race.  That was really fun and except for the rustiness, it didn’t feel like a 10 kilometer run because I was having so much fun in the race.

With LJ of Running Photographers.

With LJ of Running Photographers.

I then spent the rest of the time meeting running friends and of course, watching the much awaited Color Powder Ceremony. Justine of Color Manila made the last two minutes before the festival a lot more meaningful by reminding us that 2017 is a new year, a new start and a time for change.  Powders up and it was another glorious color display that has continued to visually amaze my for the past 5 years. Great job Color Manila!

Thanks to my Sponsor Lightwater/Vitamin Boost for the pack of Vitamin Boost.

Thanks to my Sponsor Lightwater/Vitamin Boost for the pack of Vitamin Boost.

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

Suunto Spartan Ultra is Definitely Progress Beyond Logic

Suunto Spartan Ultra is the ultimate sports and adventure watch. It keeps you aware of all the metrics you need on your workout.  It has a touch screen display, bluetooth connectivity and it’s an investment to a lifestyle of fitness and adventure.

Read About:

Suunto

There’s so many factors to consider in getting a sports watch.  You have to consider your budget, expectations and even long-term plans.  Different sports watches comes in different price range and features.  Low on budget, go for the basic features and it’s still good to go.  If you’re in for fitness and adventure for the long-term then having a Suunto makes lot of sense.  I’ve been a Suunto user since 2013 and that means covering thousands of kilometers running and biking with it.  Along the years, Suunto also got better from better features to an even better post work-out metrics and videos.

Aside from the video recap after the race. You can also save existing route and use it for navigation purposes on future runs.  You can customize your views and it can really help you on your race.  It’s really a mental edge being aware of the distance, pace, elevation, heart rate and a lot more.  I still use for Suunto Ambit 2 Sports for indoor cycling since it’s Ant+ compatible.  Starting with the Ambit 3 series, Suunto shifted to Bluetooth technology, which is more accurate when it comes to pairing of the devices. It’s also a watch that can go with you even on regular days as it can go as a lifestyle watch.

Suunto Spartan Ultra

What then sets Suunto Spartan Ultra apart?  The more obvious part is that it goes touchscreen and shifts to a colored display.  So it can go with a digital or analog display and you can vary your watch face.  It also has an activity monitor that allows you to monitor the calories and steps you make in a day.  I actually like this feature since I like watching my calories and activity in line with what I eat and do. Spartan Ultra can really make you more aware of your activities even on regular days.

Suunto Spartan Ultra has customized views per sport depending on the metrics you’d want to monitor.  You really don’t need to customize the views since you almost have all the metrics specially when you have 5 windows view available.   It helps having all the metrics in one view as you get to see everything already and saves you time shifting from one window to another. I actually discovered how to better customize the views with Movescount.

Just create a new sport mode and you can customize you’re views.  I prefer the average pace, heart rate, distance and duration on regular routes.  I would add the altitude and cadence on hilly routes.  The third view is the history of the laps in the run.  With that I’m good to go!!!

Operation Customize- Success!!!

Operation Customize- Success!!!

Suunto Sapartan Ultra In Action

Suunto Spartan Ultra powering my year-end climb to Mount Ulap

Suunto Spartan Ultra powering my year-end climb to Mount Ulap

If there’s one thing that I appreciate about Suunto Spartan Ultra is that it gives you awareness on the run or climb.  It’s really a mental edge when you know your elevation, your pace, your heart rate, your cadence, etc.  If you need to reach 1,000 meters of elevation, it helps to know that you’re slowly chipping in the elevation and  When you’re running a marathon, you’d like to know the distance and the pace to be able to control your energy reserves.  When you’re running a fast 10K, you’d like to know your heart rate to know if you can push yourself further.  When you’re an a rhythmic run, you’d like to know that you are maintaining your desired cadence.  Suunto Spartan Ultra can do all of that for you in real time.

Yellow Trails with Suunto Spartan Ultra

Yellow Trails with Suunto Spartan Ultra

Another clincher is the battery life. At best GPS accuracy, you’re good to go for 18 hours and it can go on for 65 hours at a lower GPS accuracy.  That’s a perfect watch for an Ultramarathons or for those going for overnight climbs.  GPS detection is fast, you’ll barely notice the watch searching for GPS when you start your exercise.  Having your watch on full power can really help you notice your progress especially on those seemingly endless trails and runs.  Suunto Spartan Ultra has also navigation features you can use when you get lost. You can also upload a route and the watch would guide you in terms of direction.

Tanay with Suunto Spartan Ultra

Tanay with Suunto Spartan Ultra

Suunto Spartan Ultra is your ultimate adventure watch and can go with different sports.  With it’s bluetooth connectivity, you can easily link it to your phone for easy loading of your work outs.  It also prompts you with messages from your phone and different apps even on workout mode.  Suunto Spartan Ultra is an investment to a lifestyle of fitness and adventure and that to me is priceless.

SUUNTO Spartan is distributed by Time Depot and retails at the following prices:

  • Spartan Ultra All Black Titanium P45,000
  • Spartan Ultra Stealth Titanium 40,000
  • Spartan Ultra Black 40,000
  • Spartan Ultra White 40,000

Available at the following stores nationwide:

Metro Manila

  • Time Depot Rockwell, Shangri-La, Festival Mall, SM the Block, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons’ Manila,
  • Maximus Athlete’s Café Shop

North Luzon

  • Time Depot Harborpoint Subic

Visayas/Mindanao

  • Time Depot SM Cebu, SM Davao, Centrio Cagayan de Oro
Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 32 Comments

Year of The Franc XI

2016 was a year of change. Change does not come easy.  It’s a road filled with struggles and failures but when you own up to your responsibilities, you’ll always find a way to succeed.  Lessons were learned and those would come in handy in 2017.

Year of The Franc XI

Towards the end of the year, I got a chance to visit my Lola at Bario Mamat-ing in La Union.  It was the site of a lot of childhood summers fun. Things were simple. We’d wake up, play all day, get dirty and call it a great day.  Well, my life is far from simple. In 2016, I made it even more complicated.  I started my own Company while still working full time.  I started a new website.  Through the website, we organized our own race.  I still had my training load as well as regular races.  To this day, I don’t know how I got past everything but I do feel how difficult it was to try to juggle so many things.  Having the Annual Year of the Franc post makes me appreciate the past 12 months including people who lent a helping hand along the way.

FrancRamon Enterprises Inc.

The first few months of setting up my own corporation was humbling. It was a big feat being able to start but the first lessons of business I got was reality is always far from expectation.  It wasn’t a walk in the park as I am the President, CFO, Accountant, Messenger, Driver and a lot more on my own Company. I hope it will expand one day but I am learning a lot from this venture.  Business is a game of innovation and always learning and finding ways of reaching out to your market.  I need to spend more time growing the business come 2017.

The Trail is My Playground

The Story of 2016 was my growing love for the trails. For the first quarter, I still was doing my routine races but when I started building up for Cordillera Mountain Run in June, it was trail love all over.  I was in the trails on a weekly basis and I was happy to visit a lot of new trails and growing my Tale of The Trail database.  Whether you are fast or slow on the trail, you learn to adopt faster the longer you stay in the trails.  Even after the race, it became routine now spending weekends at the trails or joining races.

PinoyTrails.Com

Pinoy Trails was born out of the love of the trails.  Together with several like minded persons, we founded Pinoy Trails.  We wanted it to be a forum where trail runners, mountaineers and trail enthusiast can share their stories and create a trail database to further promote the trails.  It’s always difficult to start but we’re slowly sending out message.  We’re slowly expanding our presence in trail events and also had our very own event, Sierra Trail Adventure Race to raise the brand awareness of Pinoy Trails.

Sierra Trail Adventure Race

Sierra Trail Adventure Race gave me the highest and lowest moment of my year.  Having your event cancelled by the typhoon was really depressing.  We got rid of the negativity, regrouped and started planning a great race.  The highlight of that journey was having people around you who are passionate enough to help without expecting anything in return. Honestly, we didn’t have much to offer since all the budget was gone even before the first staging.  With the very light environment and happy runners on race day, it made all the tough times before worth it.  We did learn a lot but I’m glad we had a group who took ownership of the responsibility and made it successful.

The Running Lifestyle

If there was something that partially took the backseat, it was my running lifestyle.  I was able to join 20 races but the bulk of it were on trails.  I opted to rest my injuries towards the last quarter of the year in preparation to bigger and badder 2017 races.  Even with less races, I still ensured that I still get my regular dose of calories burned.

FrancRamon.Com

While I still get my regular traffic, my own site has also taken a backseat with my busy schedule.  Though somehow, it’s also something I wanted.  I don’t want to over post on my site that it loses it’s personal touch.  I also invested time on my site in previous year that it can generate its own traffic.  I guess we’re in for a leaner and meaner Francramon.Com in 2017.

Bucket List

I had several out of the country trips during the year with trips to Taiwan, China, Singapore and Japan.  Japan would be the highlight of my year in travel.  While I don’t really officially have a bucket list hiking Mount Fuji is definitely worthy to be included in the list.  I personally make sure I do get at one big vacation or out of the country hike per year.  2016 would be the year for Fuji.  I was also able to visit Catanduanes, which was a beautiful as Batanes.

Towards Year 2017

A year always starts and ends in my home town, Baguio City.  Family will always be the one constant in your life the you can count on.  Honestly, I feel tired and burned out towards the end of 2016.  Having to mix up so many things can really take the energy right out of you.  The lessons came in 2016.  2017 will be smoother with the right focus and the right mindset. It’s time to make life a lot simpler.

2017, I’m Ready!

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

Coffee Appreciation Time at Maximus

There’s more to coffee than it’s bitter taste. It’s full of different flavors depending on the beans, the roasting and the preparation.  It was coffee appreciation time at Maximus Athletes Shop Cafe last December 17, 2016 in a session handled by Master Roaster RJ Zamora from Bean & Barley. 

Read About:

Maximus Athletes Shop Cafe

I got a better appreciation of coffee ever since Maximus opened this year.   When it comes to coffee, we always are on the lookout for that bitter sting to set in to awaken our senses.  Well, there’s more to coffee than that bitter taste.  There’s a different flavor when it comes to preparation. There’s a different taste when it comes to origin.  Some would have a natural citrus taste.  Some would have a tinge of chocolate in it. Some would have a nutty after taste.  Some can be a combination of flavors.

Maximus Athletes Shop Cafe was the venue of the coffee appreciation event hosted by Master Roaster RJ Zamora of Bean & Barley.  It was a two hour workshop, where we got a better appreciation of coffee as well as develop a more discerning taste buds in search for those different taste and flavors.  We started by testing out different types of fruit for us to appreciate the acidity in coffee.  Some coffee have a richer citrus flavor and some have a neutral or even drier acidity. We also got to try nuts and chocolates to learn to discern more on the different taste.  We also got to test the richness of different milk. We also got to differentiate coffee fragrance versus coffee aroma.  Coffee fragrance is the scent you get from dry coffee while coffee aroma is much more encompassing than just scent, it’s also about mouthfeel and flavor.

You have to utilize all your senses when it comes to coffee.

  • Sight to see the different coffee beans
  • Smell to get the fragrance and aroma of coffee
  • Taste to get the mouthfeel and flavor
  • Touch to feel the texture of coffee
  • Hearing to listen to the process of the coffee preparation

The next step was to taste the different coffee flavor from different type of beans.  Slowly, we were able to discern each flavor and characteristic or at least we are starting to get the hang of it.  By appreciating the different fruits, nuts, chocolates and milks, our taste buds were more equipped to get to be more discerning from one coffee with a citrus flavor, to another with a nutty feel, to another with more range of flavors and one that had a strong bitter taste.  Yes, there’s more to coffee than its bitter taste.

We also got to taste coffee with different textures.  Same beans, different textures means different taste. This is how important a coffee grinder is. After the session, we talked everything about coffee and we did learn a lot too. Where do we go from here?  First, stop bad coffee. We are used to just the bitter taste but once you start appreciating coffee, you turn a world of black and white to a world full of colors. We are in the next wave of coffee development and it’s time to try out the different specialty shops like Maximus and have a better appreciation of coffee. Explore and you’ll be surprised with the rich experience you’ll get with specialty coffee.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

Under Armour Opens Greenbelt and Robinsons Magnolia Brand Houses

Under Armour at Robinsons Magnolia

Under Armour, the world’s leading performance brand just got bigger in the Philippines. Under Armour has just opened their Greenbelt 3 and Robinsons Magnolia Brand House giving them presence in the Makati and Quezon City / Greenhills / San Juan area.

Under Armour

Under Armour is now in Greenbelt 3

Under Armour is now in Greenbelt 3

Under Armour’s presence in the Philippine market gets stronger by the minute. After their initial brand house in BGC a few year ago, they’ve successfully added SM Megamall, UP Town Center, Trinoma, Ayala Town Center in Cebu as well as expanding their retail presence in different retail store chain in the country. It doesn’t stop there as they have just added Greenbelt 3 and Robinsons Magnolia to their growing list of brand houses.

Greenbelt 3

Greenbelt 3

The Greenbelt 3 brand house is located at the heart of the country’s central business district.  It sits within the vicinity of Greenbelt, Glorietta, Landmark and SM Makati area, which has among the largest foot traffic when it comes to malls.  Makati is among the favorite locations for shoppers owing to the proximity of the area to their workplace as well as having the more complete chain of shops, food chains and restaurant making it also an excellent family hot spot.  Under Armour Greenbelt is located at 2/F Greenbelt 3.

Under Armour Greenbelt

Under Armour Greenbelt

Under Armour has also opened their Robinsons Magnolia Brand House. Robinsons Magnolia is located at Aurora Blvd. cor. Dona Hemady St., Quezon City, Philippines.  It’s located at the center of Metro Manila with easy proximity of Greenhills area, which is a shopping hub.  Robinsons Magnolia is among the newer hang outs coming from offices, school and residents in the area.  Under Armour Magnolia is located at their 2nd Floor Level.

Robinsons Magnolia

Robinsons Magnolia

The growth of Under Armour in the Philippines is a growth of the fitness community as well.  With its top-of-the-line technology when it comes to performance gear, apparels, shoes and accessories, it has provided athletes and fitness enthusiast a trusted brand that’s both fashionable and comfortable.

Robinsons Magnolia

Robinsons Magnolia

Follow Under Armour Philippines

Make sure to follow Under Armour Philippines via @underarmourph on Instagram and Twitter as well as Facebook at www.facebook.com/underarmoursea.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Incoming: Mount Ugo Marathon

Mount Ugo is among the higher peaks of the Cordillera Region at approximately, 2,170 M.A.S.L.  It’s a popular spot among mountain climbers and come February 19, it’s gonna be an arena to test the trail runners’ spirit as they try to conquer 21K and 42K distance.

Mount Ugo Marathon

Elevation Profile of Mount Ugo Marathon

Elevation Profile of Mount Ugo Marathon

If you’ve done half or full marathons on the road, why not try a different kind of challenge? You can level up by doing a Mountain Marathon.  That’s my mindset as I see Mount Ugo Marathon as among my next bucket lists of races.  It’s a different sets of challenges.  You have to have the physical strength and mental fortitude to overcome the long and seemingly endless climb.  You have to have the daredevil spirit in you to take advantage of the descent as gravity is at your side in chasing the cut-off.  You have to be consistent at each point of the race to keep on going and going and going towards the finish line.

Mount Ugo Marathon is happening on February 19, 2017 at Kayapa, Nueva Viscaya is not the easiest of Marathons but rest assured it’s gonna be a memorable one.  The hard climb is an excellent reason to slow down while catching your breath as this would allow you to appreciate the views at a really high altitude.  The descent will give you an adrenaline rush that we always seek on our weekend adventures.

Take the 21K distance and you’re in for a good hard times that will challenge you and would surely be in the look out for more mountain runs and trails.  Join the 42 kilometer distance and be minted as a mountain marathoner.  It’s also a big stepping stone to trail ultramarathons. Mount Ugo Marathon is part of the King of the Mountain Trail Run Philippines, which also includes the Old Spanish Trail 50k and Four Lakes 100K on April 1, 2017, Pulag 100K and Hardcore Hundred Miles (H1) on May 19, 2017.  It won’t be easy but it would be a big feather you can add to your trail running cap as well as it’s also a UTMB qualifying race, which will earn you 2 points.  Register Now.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Start: February 19, 2017, Sunday, 4:00 a.m. / Kayapa Central School
  • Finish: February 19, 2017, Sunday, 2:00 p.m. / Kayapa Central School
  • Awarding and Closing Ceremonies: February 19, 2017, 2:30 p.m.
  • Race Briefing and Race Kit Distribution: February 18, 2017, Saturday, 2:00 p.m. / Kayapa Central School
  • Cut-Off:
    • Marathon: Ten (10:00:00) Hours / February 19, 2017, Sunday, 2:00 p.m. (Runners must reach the turnaround in Mount Ugo Summit in 5:00:00 hours / 9:00 a.m.)
    • Half Marathon: Five (5:00:00) Hours / February 19, 2017, Sunday, 9:00 a.m.

Fees and Inclusions

  • Marathon:
    • PhP 2,000.00 for local entrants
    • USD 50.00 for foreign entrants
  • Half Marathon:
    • PhP 1,500.00 for local entrants
    • USD 35.00 for foreign entrants
  • Inclusive of trail fees, long-sleeved event shirt, pre-race snacks and post-race meal.
  • Official finishers will receive a finisher’s token.

Registration

• Bank Deposit: (Local Entrants)

  • Bank of the Philippine Islands – Savings Account
  • Account No: 2379 0362 39
  • Account Name: Constante C Mendoza Jr

Bank Deposit: (Foreign Entrants)

  • Bank of the Philippine Islands – Savings Account
  • Account No: 2379 0362 39
  • Swift Code: BOPIPHMM
  • Account Name: Constante C Mendoza Jr
  • Please refer to your bank’s current PHP rate vis-a-vis USD.
  • Telephone contact number for record is 63 999 998 7654

• Write name, gender, birthday, nationality, and shirt size (see Asian sizing chart) AND qualifying race on the deposit slip, scan/photograph and email to 2017kotm@gmail.com (Subject: 2017 MUM)

• Wait for an acknowledgment email to confirm your registration.

Route Description

Mount Ugo is one of the taller peaks in the Cordillera mountain range. It used to be the main source of lumber for a mining company operating in Benguet many years ago and was purportedly “discovered” as a destination for mountain climbers after a tragic plane crash in 1987 for which it is also infamously known.

The marathon takes runners to Mount Ugo’s summit, approximately 2170 masl.

The out-and-back course consists of only one kilometer or less of concrete road. The rest of the route consists of mountain-side dirt roads and single-track trails.

The race is worth 2 UTMB® points.

Race Start / Finish

Both the marathon and half marathon start at the KAYAPA MUNICIPAL HALL and finish at the KAYAPA CENTRAL SCHOOL (1121 masl).

From the start area, runners ascend a concrete road for about two hundred meters before entering the trailhead going to TALECABCAB.

They will pass dirt roads and intermittent stretches of concrete tire paths until they reach TALECABCAB WAITING SHED. From there, they are to proceed towards INDUPIT (1866 masl, 8 kilometers) which is marked by a small settlement and another waiting shed.

The next landmark is BUNDAO AID STATION (1835 masl, 10 kilometers), where runners will find two structures – a shed and a house. Assorted food/snacks and drinks will be available. This is the LAST aid station before SADDLE/DOMOLPOS STATION (7 kilometers away) so runners are strongly advised to fill up their bladders/water bottles and eat here.

Half marathon (21-kilometer) runners must proceed about 500 meters more until they reach the turnaround point at MOUNT SAMENTO WAITING SHED, where marshals will record their numbers. They shall make their way back to the finish line in KAYAPA CENTRAL SCHOOL via INDUPIT/ANSIPSIP Trail and TALECABCAB Trail (the same route they took going up in reverse).

Marathon runners will tackle the wide, open trails from this point. Their next landmark will be the ANSIPSIP WAITING SHED (1935 masl, 12 kilometers) which offers a view of the Mt. Ugo summit turnaround, even the city of Baguio, on a clear day.

DOMOLPOS VILLAGE (1700 masl), where locals reside, is the next landmark. From here, runners assault a single-track trail until the SADDLE.

SADDLE/DOMOLPOS WAITING SHED JUNCTION (1763 masl, 17 kilometers) is where another aid station is located. The shed won’t be hard to miss as it is painted pink. Spring water and assorted trail food will be available. Runners are advised to refill and eat here.

Runners will proceed around three kilometers towards the LUSOD AREA/BACUYAN JUNCTION (1770 masl, 20 kilometers) through a single-track trail.

At BACUYAN, runners will make a U-TURN towards the MT. UGO SUMMIT MARKER via a steep two-kilometer climb.

Runners’ times will be recorded at the MT. UGO SUMMIT MARKER (2170 masl, 21.2 kilometers).

From the summit, runners are to trace the same route they took going up in reverse till they make it to the finish line in KAYAPA CENTRAL SCHOOL.

GPX Profile:

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/704325070/share/1?lang=en&t=1479346199

Race Update:

 

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Incoming: Soleus Running Dance Festival 2017

Soleus Goes Sabor Latino. They are celebrating their passion for dance with Soleus Running Dance Festival 2017. No less than famed International Zumba® Fitness instructor William Flores will lead the post-race dance party.  Experience running and dancing combined, which is a first and the biggest celebration in the country on February 4, 2017 at SM Mall of Asia with 5K, 10K and 21K distances to choose from.

Soleus Goes Sabor Latino

Who is William Flores?  He is among the growing names in the dance world, being an an experienced dancer include 3 years of ballet, modern dance, jazz, reggaeton, salsa, cumbia, folk dance, merengue and hip hop. He has experiences as a performer at several major dance events including international events in Dubai, USA, Singapore, Mexico, Germany. Spain, Malta, France, Italy, Ireland are some of the countries he has performed in. William Flores is also a proud addition to the Soleus Family.  He brings in his energetic personality that made him a top International Zumba® Fitness instructor and a has been great performer for almost 4 years now.  Aside from his broad experience William Flores is passion personified, which means he gives 110% on every performance and he cares about his students  both outside and inside the Zumba® Fitness center.

At the Media Launch for the Soleus Running and Dance Festival 2017

At the Media Launch for the Soleus Running Dance Festival 2017

Whether dance is your passion or not, this event is right for you.  Well, it’s not everyday that you can share the stage in a dance fest with an International Dance Icon in William Flores.  It’s 2017 and it’s a great time to learn a new thing or two and with his expertise, you are in very good hands.  Of course, it’s a party atmosphere all event long with the members of Soleus and the running community.  There are so many reasons to love this event and seize this opportunity by registering for the race.  No other running zumba party can top that.

The Great Jared Modeling the Race Singlet.

The Great Jared Modeling the Race Singlet.

Be it 5K or 10K, which are shorter and sweeter distance, you’re in for a festive run. With marathon season happening in February and March, the 21K distance would be a great training block on your road to your marathon or ultra marathon.  It would come in a more relaxed environment that would make you enjoy the fun in the run.  Of course, all the running steps and the dance beat lead to the after party with William Flores and that’s gonna be Legen-wait for it-dary.  Register Now.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: February 4, 2017 | Saturday
  • Venue: SM by the Bay, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City
  • Distance Categories: 5K | 10K | 21K
  • Assembly Time: 3:00 a.m.
  • Gun Start:
    • 21K – 4:00 a.m
    • 10K – 5:00 a.m
    • 5K – 5:30 a.m.
  • Dance starts at 6:30 a.m

Fees and Inclusions

  • 5K – P600.00 | inclusive of Race Bib, Event Singlet and Finisher Medal
  • 10K – P750.00 | inclusive of Race Bib, Event Singlet and Finisher Medal
  • 21K – P950.00 | inclusive of Race Bib, RF ID, Event Singlet, Finisher Medal and Finisher Shirt

Registration

  • Online Registration:   Log on to www.goorahna.com
  • Thru Bank Deposit:   (starts December 13, 2016)
    • Bank: BANCO DE ORO
    • Account Name: Mirjam Ann G. Del Rosario
    • Account Number: 003980196644
    • ONCE PAYMENT HAS BEEN MADE: please e-mail the scanned copy of the deposit slip with your name, contact number and shirt size to soleus.dancefest2017@gmail.com
  • On-site Registration:   (starts January 3, 2017 at selected L Timestudio stores)
    • L TIMESTUDIO SM Mall of Asia | GROUND FLOOR (IN FRONT OF I-MAX)
    • L TIMESTUDIO SM Megamall | 3RD FLOOR, MEGA A
    • L TIMESTUDIO Market! Market! | 2ND FLOOR
    • L TIMESTUDIO SM Southmall | GROUND FLOOR (near SM Dept. Store entrance)
    • L TIMESTUDIO SM Marikina | GROUND FLOOR
    • L TIMESTUDIO Robinsons Place Ermita | 2ND FLOOR

Race Updates

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments