Ultra 10 Mile Challenge

Squeezing in a Race on a busy week – Photo by Reggie Reyes

Distance: 5Kilometers
Date: March 28, 2015
Venue: Philsports (Ultra), Pasig City

It’s in the intimate races where you see that the running community is one big happy family.  Coach Roel’s Birthday run had different teams and running groups united either as volunteers or runners all working together in the run and the festivities.  Ultra 10 mile challenge was also an exploration of a fresh route of the Pasig Area, which also came with challenging inclines and a really competitive and fun track relay categories.

Read about:

Ultra 10 Mile Challenge

One of the few surprises of this run. – Photo by RJ Espiritu of Running Photographers

I was seriously considering sitting out the races this weekend as I’ve been in races all weekends of March.  It was also a busy time for me with the Annual Report Rush at work (Yes, I do have a demanding day to day job too.)  I had zero training mileage during the week so I thought that I should find a way to squeeze this one in for some mileage.  It would be a good breather from the work stress since this one comes in a very festive environment.  I ended up claiming my kit though I still was contemplating whether to run the 10 mile category or just go easy with the 5K category.  I ended up choosing the 5K category since I wanted to watch the track relay categories happening at 7 am.   I needed the workout too since I need to pile in some mileage for the week.  I like that it’s a fun and no pressure environment.

Race Course and Elevation Profile

Race Course in powered by Suunto Ambit 2S and Suunto Movescount

The Route was simple with the race starting at Ultra. It the heads towards Meralco Avenue and Julia Vargas.  The race shifts to Lanuza Avenue with the halfway point u-turn before proceeding to the other side of Lanuza.  The race goes uphill via St. Martin and re-enters Ultra for the Finish.

Elevation Profile is powered by Suunto Ambit 2S and Suunto Movescount.

The race starts with an uphill climb heading to Meralco Avenue before a slow descent along Julia Vargas.  There is a slight incline going to the u-turn slot in Lanuza before moving to the flatter part of Lanuza.  St. Martin is a steep climb at kilometer 3 before it goes flat again at the Ultra Track Oval.

The Race

Before the Start of the Race – Photo by Jack Morales of Running Photographers

Since I was working late the night before the race, I made sure that I set my alarm just in time to catch the 5:45 am gunstart.  I arrived at Ultra around 5:15 am, which was enough time to get my kit, warm up and see the 10 milers being sent off.   I also met Celebrity Karylle who’ll be doing 3K distance and joining the relay category later.  I didn’t set any expectations high for this one. I just wanted enjoy the run.  I also brought my GoPro Hero 3+ for my documentation needs.

I’m now a bigger fan of Karylle, not only as a singer and an actress, but how fast she did her part in the r4 x 100 relay category.

The 3K and 5K category had the same gun start.  As the race started the kids who were joining the 3K category went on at a fast pace to start the race.  I started fast too to start the race but inserted some few second walks as I am warming up my muscles.  After all the long distance runs, my muscles are not built already for short runs as it takes time before they get warmed up.  I just had to bare with the pre-warm up stiffness and also rustiness since this is just a shorter distance.  Thanks to the ultra soft cushioning of adidas Ultra Boost, I was able to keep a decent pace while warming up.  The Julia Vargas part was downhill so this is where I started going real fast.

It was a fast and furious 5K for me. – Photo by Ella Mara Perez of Running Photographers

I was all warmed up already at Julia Vargas so I can go at a more consistent and fast pace. I am now more familiar with this area because I was able to run with my friend Tracey here a few months ago.  It felt routine already from hereon as I made my way to the u-turn at Lanuza and the next water station. I met my friend  Inja at the water station and guess who got a dose of water? =>

My Friend Inja of Team Solues was manning the first water station.

After playing around in the first water station.  I went on to continue my run and. After reaching the end of Lanuza, I saw the steep incline of St. Martin.  I can choose to walk this part or do a sequence of run walk.  I preferred the latter as it would take me to the finish line faster.  I went on to do one minute run and 30 seconds walk and after just a few set, I was at the top of the hill.  I went forward and it was already the entry point to Ultra.  It was just about 200- 300 meters to the finish line from the entry point and it was the softer surface at track oval.  With the scent of the finish line, i went at full speed to finish strong at around 30 minutes.  The course was less than 5K though from my watch but I’m good with that as it’s still was a good run for me.

Pushing for that strong finish. – Photo by Reggie Cruz or Running Photographers

That was a good quick run and after finishing.  I was catching up with some friends while awaiting the relay.  We came up with a crazy idea of forming a relay team of bloggers.  So I was checking who was around, Roselle of runningdiva.ph, Redg of onereyna.wordpress.com and Jared of runningsuplado.blogspot.com and that makes a team.  At the same time, the hosts were already daring our team to join.  That would be fun but we ended up super nervous for this one as the track event is something new to us.

Team Bloggers for the Relay Category

It didn’t help watching the first few relay team blitz the track with their speed and form. Karylle also was fast and had a really nice form too.  When it was our turn, I volunteered to be the first runner since I didn’t want to have the pressure of missing the baton.  It turned out that the first runner had to do the starting track position, which was customary.  I told the marshal if it would be ok if I go for a running start since I’m afraid I might trip myself (yes, I am such a klutz.) but it was required so I had to try it out a few times before the actual start.  It was just a 100 meter run and we were up against track masters for this event.  It was an honor to run with them on the same course.  When the race started, I went out running as fast as I could though the other participants quickly sprinted their way to the first 100 meters.  Even at my fastest, I felt running slow motion at their full speed.  I was able to pass the baton to Redg then Redg was able to pass it to Roselle and finally, Roselle was able to pass it to Jared. That was an exhilarating experience at track.

Surprise, Surprise we ended up with a third place medal in the 4 x 100 relay category.

We learned a lot doing the relay as it showed a lot of difference between athletics and running like they can sprint all out since it’s just a short distance while we’re trained to do fast and consistent strides we can sustain in the long run.  They can go with an immediate burst of speed while we take time to warm up and speed up.  It’s two discipline but one could complement the other.  We were also able to watch the other track events and were impressed with kids doing well in the events.  After the boodle fight, I went home to catch up some sleep. Along the way, I was surprised with Jared sending a messaged that we placed third in the mixed relay category.  It was surprising but it was fun joining this one.  I guess it only felt real when I received my medal the next day.

Outfit of the Race

This was my outfit of the race – Photo by Beni of Running Photographers. Top – Adidas (My Runs singlet designed by Breakout Design), Cycling Short – Adidas, Shoes – Adidas Ultra Boost, GPS Watch – Suunto Ambit 2S, Eyewear – Spyder Nomad H, Socks – Vamos, Visor – Under Armour, Camer – GoPro Hero 3+


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Move: Using Dumbells the Smart Way

It’s the summer months and it’s the best time to show that toned body with defined Biceps, Triceps, Pectorals, Shoulders, Back, Hips and Legs.  A simple and regular workout using dumbbells can help bring a more toned version of you raring to hit the beach.  Move has the selectorized dumbbells that’s perfect for the occasion and it could save you a lot of space and investment on huge gym equipments. Here’s some smart ways to use your dumbbells to get optimal results.

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Smart Ways to Use Dumbbells

Even with the growing popularity of suspension training systems like TRX or resistance bands, free weights are still a primary training tool for both serious athletes and fitness buffs. Weight training is an effective method for building lean muscle mass, increasing bone density, strengthening the tendons and ligaments, as well as raising your basal metabolic rate so you burn more calories throughout the day.

A complete home gym is a dream setup for most homeowners, but of course all of the equipment like the bench press and weight stacks can occupy a fair amount of space. For those with limited space, all one needs to start an effective strength-training program are a yoga mat, a bench, and a set of dumbbells.

Here is a set of exercises that can be done to work on the upper body.

  • Biceps : Curls, Rotating Curls
  • Triceps : Extension
  • Pectorals : Bench Press, Incline Press, Flys,
  • Shoulders : Lateral Raise, Upright Row
  • Back : Reverse Dumbbell Row, 1-Arm Dumbbell Row
  • Hips & Legs : Squats, Overhead Squads, Stiff-Legged Dead Lift, ¾ Squat

Unless your goal is to achieve maximum strength and power, you don’t have to lift very heavy weights. For fitness-oriented needs and as a supplement to endurance athletes, weights should be your 10RM (Repetition Maximum) at most, done in just 3 sets. It’s important to focus on smooth technique all throughout each repetition. Avoid “jerking” the dumbbell to complete each movement. If you experience stiffness or cramping before you finish each set, stop the exercise. That’s your body’s way of telling you that you have achieved muscle failure. Don’t force your way through the movement as that will only lead to bad form and injury.

Note the rep and set that you were forced to stop, and try to do a little bit better after a few days. With proper technique and recovery, you should see strength gains in a few weeks. These will be quantifiable in the number of reps and sets you can complete, as well as the overall weight or Repetition Maximum that you can lift per exercise.

Performing a 30-minute strength training routine at least 2-3 times a week will be of great benefit to your form, posture, and overall well-being.

Recommended Gear:

Selectorized Dumbbells: simply add/remove the plates to set your desired weight. This simple, compact system eliminates the traditional need to have multiple dumbbells of various weights.

Grab your Core 90lbs Selectorized Dumbbells (P32,495) now at 30% off and up to 12 months 0% installment. The Move Summer Steal promo is valid until April 16, 2015 only.

For inquiries, contact Move Fitness at 887-1500 or visit their branches at 4th level of SM Megamall and SM Aura Premier. To get the latest updates from MoveFitness, log to their Facebook and Twitter accounts at facebook.com/MoveFitnessPH and twitter.com/movefitnessph .

About MOVE


From the retail specialists behind Philippine sports and fitness chains Toby’s Sports and Runnr comes a new concept, a new passion, and a new lifestyle for the world to enjoy. Enter Move – the country’s most innovative fitness lifestyle store in the country, which aims to inspire millions of Filipinos to a life of fitness at any place and time. Move’s vision involves a complete and holistic approach to measuring fitness and prescribing the proper lifestyle. Through personalized, in-depth fitness analysis, the customer is provided a complete workout plan, in which product categories are prescribed for optimal use. Not only does Move seek to improve the customer’s shopping experience, it also aims to help them become fitter, healthier, and happier without the hassle of going to the gym or hiring a personal trainer. Everything you need to become better is now in Move.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Cordillera Great Traverse is Ready to Take Off #CGT2015

The Cordillera Administrative Region is rich in culture, heritage and natural attractions.  Cordillera Great Traverse has connected the trails of Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City over the past few months.  It’s time to explore the Cordilleras in one great expedition that would show all the scenic trails, culture and heritage of the area.  The traverse would not only promote the trails as a tourist attraction, it’s also a way to study further protection of the ancient trails.  Gear up as the #CGT2015 is about to take off on April 1.

Read About:

Cordillera Great Traverse

Over the past few months, a team of National Geographic explorers, adventurers, nature lovers, ultrarunners, environmentalists, mountaineers, and fitness enthusiasts started mapping the trails along the 6 provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region, namely Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Benguet, Mountain Provinces and the charter city of Baguio in one contagious course.  That’s almost 400 kilometers worth of trails with about 18,000 meters worth of elevation starting in Apayao (Conner), passing through Abra (Maligcong), Kalinga (Lubuagan, Pasil and Balbalasang), Mountain Province (Barlig and Sadanga), Ifugao (Kiangan, Hungduan, Banaue, Assipulo and Tinoc,) Benguet (Itogon) and finally culminating in Baguio City. The Cordillera Great Traverse aims to be the first, most scenic, longest and sustainable trekking and hiking destination in the Philippines.   It will be called the Philippine Cordillera Trail.


  • Distance: The trail spans almost 300++ kilometers.
  • Start: Conner, Apayao
  • End: Baguio City
  • Elevation Gain: 18,057 m
  • Elevation Loss: 18,624 m

Trail Sections:

The team have initially identified the ideal jump-off or entry/exit points for the Expedition. After the Expedition, the team will work with the locals on further subdividing the sections into shorter segments/distance)

  • Conner to Maligcong , 88+ km**
  • Maligcong to Colayo  **
  • Colayo to Sadanga, 35.8 km
  • Sadanga to Barlig, 20.2 km
  • Barlig to Banaue, 31.5 km
  • Banaue to Hungduan, 33.5 km
  • Hungduan to Tinoc, 37.4 km
  • Tinoc to Lower Napo- Manaan, 11.4 km
  • Lower Napo to Kayapa, 39.7 km
  • Kayapa via Mt. Ugo to Itogon Town Hall, 32.7 km
  • Itogon Town Hall to Baguio City,  31.3 km
  • Estimated Total Distance                     361.50 km*

**There is an ongoing validation and trail clearing by the CGT2015 Team together with the locals of Maligcong, Abra and Conner, Apayao as of press time.

* The estimate distance and other data is not absolute. The CGT2015 Team Expedition on April 1 onwards will further validate the GPS reading and fine tune the Philippine Cordillera Trail map.

There are a lot of wonderful site along the Philippine Cordillera Trail

The CGT Team aims to capitalize on shared knowledge and skills to unearth a natural treasure that will put the Philippines in the same light as some of the world’s most famous trails and traverses such as the 3,500 km Appalachian Trail in the USA, the 250 km Great North Walk in Australia, The 220 km Drakensberg in South Africa, and the 180 km Gran Recorrido in Corsica, Europe.  The CGT has put together a three-fold approach in this endeavor.

  • Connect (The Trails). The Traverse will allow the team to establish the longest and most scenic hiking/trekking trail destination in the Philippines. This will be done through research, mapping, and immersion with the locals.
  • Explore (The Philippine Cordillera). The Traverse will allow the team, and eventually the public, to learn the culture of each ethnic group, which has held the mountains as home for centuries. The locals will act as guides to establish trails and trigger more discoveries about the region.
  • Protect (The Environment). The Traverse will serve as a means to mutually exchange knowledge on how to protect the mountains. As trails are mapped through the Traverse, preservation and protection of the Cordillera Mountains will be of utmost priority. Awareness for the preservation of the environment will be enhanced through education of visitors to the traverse, as well as volunteer and fund-raising efforts focused on such.

The CGT Team Presented the result of their Reconnaissance last March 26, 2015 at 100 Miles Cafe

November 2014 to March 2015 was dedicated to plotting reconnaissance routes, trail mapping, community immersion, GPS plotting and course marking. Majority of the trails have been already established and connected, and the remaining months will be devoted to completing the entire traverse route. Connecting the trails is no small feat by any measure. Teams of three to five people cover as few as twenty kilometers a day due to the uncompromising uphill gradients and arduous terrain in some sections.

April 1, 2015 will mark the launch of this monumental tour, The Expedition, and the aim is to journey across the entire traverse.

But connecting the trails is only the beginning of the CGT’s mission. To activate the second leg, Explore, will require months and maybe years of working with the local communities and LGUs to make the trails that run through their provinces visitor friendly for the city-dwellers who plan to make sporadic trips to the areas of interest. The trails will have to ensure the safety of visitors, while providing a pleasant and worthwhile trek through nature’s bountiful splendor that can only leave its guests overwhelmed and transformed. There will be routes along the trail that will cater to most every persuasion, regardless of fitness level or age; in addition, the distances to be covered can be molded according to the individual or group’s expectations.

A trip through any of the six provinces of the CGT will showcase each province’s history, culture, and natural beauty. The region’s historical significance is long and fabled, covering landmarks that date back to pre-Spanish era. The seven ethno-linguistic groups namely Abra (Tinggian), Apayao (Isneg), Benguet (Kankanaey and Ibaloi), Ifugao (Ifugao), Kaling (Kalinga, Isneg), and Mountain Province (Kankanaey) bring their individual nuance and charm to their respective locality. The great traverse is rife with majestic mountain passes, lush forests, calm rivers, raging waterfalls, breathtaking rice terraces, soothing hot springs, and ancient trails to dazzle and astound even the most jaded traveler.

The CGT hopes the exposure and experience of ordinary people will trigger the appropriate sentiment to push the third mission leg, that is, to protect the environment. The awareness raised should create an environmental conscience within each CGT visitor, enough to spur accountability in the form of volunteerism, donations, or simply abiding by the rules and regulations of the traverse, which includes the ‘Leave No Trace’ policy when exiting the areas visited.

In order to do achieve this, sustainable programs must be put in place, according to JP Alipio, team head for Environmental Protection and founder of the Cordillera Conservation and Trust, which focuses on conservation efforts and making sustainable livelihood to people living in the area. The CGT will be a conservation corridor that will protect large landscapes in the entire Cordillera range, says Alipio. Working with communities and companies that share a common advocacy for environmental protection, preservation, and growth is the critical going concern of the expedition.

The CGT is a monumental undertaking that requires commitment of time, resources, and patience. Unlike most projects that have a beginning and a conclusion, this venture will be a perpetual work in progress, seeking to preserve and propagate the concept of living harmoniously with nature and its inhabitants. To the visitor and the advocate, the traverse will uncover wonders that will astound, amaze, and captivate beyond the price of any man-made spectacle.

The Cordillera Great Traverse is the expedition that will make you view the Philippines as you’ve never done before.

Follow the CGT Team as they explore the Philippine Cordillera Trail.

The expedition is not a race with a time frame of 15 days to explore the whole area of the Philippine Cordillera Trail. The Expedition shall allow the CGT 2015 Team to appreciate and learn the culture of each of the ethnic groups who have held the mountains as their home for centuries. The locals shall act as our guide to establish the trails and lead us to discover more about each province.

  • CGT shall pave the way to establish the Philippine Cordillera Trail. The trail passes through mountain ranges, forests, rivers, waterfalls, rice terraces, villages and ancient trails. It highlights areas of historical and cultural value, areas of high ecological significance and scenic route, which are major tourist attractions.
  • The trekking paths in each province will allow visitors (recreational hikers, nature lovers, adventurers) to plan their trips according to their desired destination, distance, and duration.
  • We shall provide information on proper ingress/egress points, trail markers, and trail guides per location will provide visitors convenient and safe journeys.
  • The exposure to the beauty of Philippine Cordillera Trail engendered by CGT will create interest in ‘back-to-nature’ treks, concern for environment, and other positive effects.

The CGT Team also went through a Red Cross Life Support Training.

The Traverse will serve as an avenue for both conservation and development bringing much needed trailside economy to remote villages and serving as a conservation avenue for the entire region protecting the surrounding landscape around the trails from encroachment from economic activities not compatible with its use as an avenue for trekking and tourism. It will essentially become a 300 km protected landscape from one end of the Cordillera Region to the others.

  • The CGT seeks to increase awareness and involvement in the preservation and protection of the mountains by involving both the locals and visitors in the area.
  • The Team works closely with Cordillera Conservation Trust to ensure that its activities are centered in ensuring environmental awareness and protection.
  • The CGT shall pave the way to potential key projects and programs focused on protecting the environment and culture in the Philippine Cordillera Trail.

TRAIL PRESERVATION AND ITS BENEFITS (read more at www.cordilleragreattraverse.com)

  1. Conservation and Eco-Tourism
  2. Education
  3. Environmental User Fees and Ecosystem Benefits Charges
  4. Mixed Sustainable Land Use
  5. Eco Tourism And Its Impacts

“We walk the mountains of our home, not merely because they are here; nor do we wander them in search of gold or buried treasure. We walk the mountains to show the Philippines and the world what we will be leaving in the future.”, JP Alipio

This just a start of something bigger!!!

Being a fan of the trails, the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle, I’m really excited with the Cordillera Great Traverse. I was able to interact with some of the team members during some of my races, most recently the Cordillera Mountain Marathon and some I met during their recon works and I can see the volume of work and time they’ve put into this project.  Once the trails have been established, it would be easier and safer to explore the trails and knowing me, it’s just a matter of time before my adventurous feet explore more areas in the Cordillera.  Their website would now be a database for the Philippine Cordillera Trail. It’s also a big step in preservation of the ancient trails and our natural resources.  Lastly, trail exploration can boost tourism in the country and provide livelihood to the areas affected.  Have a safe trek #CGT2015 team and leave footprints for travel and adventure junkies like me to follow.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Getting the adidas Ultra Boost Advantage

Finding the perfect shoes takes time.  You have to play around with the amount of cushioning for support and the weight of the shoes for easier and smoother run cadence.  adidas Ultra boost gives you both a cushioned sole and support and at the same time stays lightweight at about 9.5 ounces. It gives you a soft cushy feel when running or walking which goes a long way when you factor in the number of foot strikes you do in a run.  The seamless prime knit shoe material gives a snug fit feel yet remains flexible in terms of foot natural expansion and shift in strides. The energy boost material of the ultra boost rewards powerful strides with a more powerful return and the cushioned feel limits impact on the feet, which can get you going on the longer runs.

Read About:

Adidas Ultra Boost

From Energy Boost (First two photos) to Ultra Boost (Last Photo)

I’ve been using the Energy Boost in my runs and I like how the cushioned feel from its boost foam technology.  It keeps the feet relaxed as it absorbs the impact of the foot strikes and returns it as energy for the next foot strike.  It’s comfy when you run at a regular pace and it’s even more powerful when you speed up.  adidas Ultra boost adds more comfort, more power and more control to your runs.  In terms of that soft cushy feel when you stride, they added 20% more boost cushioning material.  That’s immediate comfort for every stride and considering you get to have tens of thousands strides in a single run, that saves you a lot of impact and energy.  The big change is the use of the prime knit upper which allows the ultra boost to have a snug fit feel on the feet and still have all the leeway for foot expansion and movement.  That gives you a better feel of the road, which develops into a faster returns and less irritations on the feet.  It basically reduces the discomfort of running and makes it a more pleasant experience.

Using adidas Ultra Boost at Corregidor International Half Marathon – Photo by Noriel De Guzman

It usually takes my feet some time to adopt to new shoes but with the adidas Ultra Boost, it was love at first strike.  I didn’t need time to adjust since it practically eliminates the impact of all the bad habits you do when using a new shoes.  The boost material, which has an additional 20% more cushioning makes each foot landing much smoother easing the impact on the knees, the calves and rest of the body.  Aside from the reduce impact, the boost material transforms each foot strike into energy making the next foot strike a lot more powerful than regular strides.  If you’re fast, the ultra boost makes you even faster.  I had several runs at my usual training route which was Salcedo Village using adidas Ultra Boost and it felt really comfortable and pain-free even as I navigated some uneven terrains along the streets of Tordesillas Street and Valero.  The biggest test was having to run the Corregidor International Half Marathon using the adidas Ultra Boost.

Testing the adidas Ultra Boost at Corregidor International Half Marathon – Photo by Philip BF

Corregidor can really give you all the terrains and surfaces you can try for a shoes.  It has steep climbs. It has suicide drops.  It has a rocky beach front.  It has some trails and grasslands.  On flat grounds, it can really be a fast shoes as it can really give you a rhythmic return with lower impact of each stride.  It helps a lot in the climb as the additional energy return adds power to conquer the climbs.  I did a run walk sets for some of the climbs and to my surprise, I’ve reached the top sooner than I expected.  Going downhill can really be fast but it’s also the one that has the biggest impact on the knees. Snce ultra boost has the most comfortable cushioning you can get, you can go faster on the descent without worrying too much on the knees as a lot of impact is already absorb by the shoes.  It also was good on different surfaces as it had good traction plus the snug fit feel of the shoes allows a better feel of the road to make the transitions in the different surfaces including uneven trails much better.  The prime knit material gives a glove like feel yet still keep your Achilles and ankle supported preventing sprains and injuries. I always consider Corregidor as the most challenging course ever and there even was a time that I had cramps on both calves here a few years ago but with the adidas ultra boost, it was a really comfortable and fast ride.

Despite a challenging terrain, the energy return component of the ultra boost saves a lot of fatigue and muscle pain. – Photo by Philip BF

Being the toughest half marathon ever, I need all the help I can get.  The reduced impact can really help reduce the wear and tear and fatigued in a run.  With a prime knit finish, it leaves room for the flow of air in and out of the shoes to prevent the feet from overheating.  That means a lot since we had an 8 am gun start and was running under the scorching heat of the sun for hours.

Using the Ultra Boost on a Fast and Furious %K Run at Ultra and Pasig. – Photo by Jack Morales.

I was able to use it on a quick 5K Run for the Ultra 10 Mile Challenge which had the streets of Pasig and the Ultra Track Oval as event site.  It felt like an added boost on the climbs coming from the energy boost coming from the shoes.  The descents felt like flying as it keeps the leg cushion as you speed and let gravity be on your side.  It was perfect on the soft track oval surface as it keeps me fast and bouncy heading to the finish line, which allowed me to finish within 30 minutes.  I was also able to join a 4 x 100 meters relay and it was perfect for that fast and all-out sprint at the track with a faster cadence and more efficient strides. We ended up placing third in the 4 x 100 meters relay.   The adidas ultra boost is a really efficient shoes and it’s the shoes that rewards effort.  The adidas ultra boost plus proper training and preparation can really take you a long way.   It would be exciting too as new colors and models with the ultra boost material comes out.

The shoes is designed with the best materials to give you the best run you can have.

Your greatest run ever awaits with Ultra BOOST at www.adidas.com/ultraboost. adidas Ultra BOOST will be available in leading adidas stores in the Philippines and sports retail outlets at P 8295.  Join the adidas Energy running movement by following @adidasph on Twitter or Instagram.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Incoming: Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2015

It’s the tough races that ends up as the memorable ones from the high elevation gains, to the more technical parts of the trail to all the challenges you get to surpass.  Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas is called “Xtrail” because it’s far beyond the regular trail.  The previous editions had very challenging climbs with steep ascents and suicide drops.  2015 edition will provide a different flavor with more of the technical aspects and different surfaces for trail running.  The new venue, Anvaya Cove is where the mountains meets the sea so expect those climbs, expect different surfaces, expect a wonderful sea view and add some Bataan heritage site in between.  Registration is ongoing.

Read about:

Salomon XTrail Pilipinas

That’s me after an exhausting 2014 Salomon XTrail.

I’ve got exposed to world of Xtrail in 2014 and what I expected as a usual was nothing quite like it.  The climbs were challenging. The descents were exhilarating.  The cut-off was tight.  That’s what makes it different and that’s what makes surviving it special.  Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2015 shifts its venue from Hamilo Coast in Batangas to Anvaya Cove, Morong, Bataan.  Anvaya Cove is where the mountains meets the sea so that would be among the things you would expect.  There would still be the usual climbs along Anvaya Cove and the area of Morong Bataan. You get your mountain climbs and river crossings and you get to see the scenic beach front which comes both with a soft sandy surfaces and a challenging rocky path with uneven steps.  It’s gonna be more technical than previous xtrail but it would also add some historic places like the Vietnamese Camp in Morong, Bataan as well as a glimpse of the community in Morong.

The view from the Vietnamese Camp of the trails with mountain terrains, river crossing and a whole lot of trails.

The Salomon X-Trail Run is a series of trail running events in the Asia-Pacific Region. For more than 5 years now, the X-trail Race has attracted numerous participants, from ‘newbies’ to ‘hardcore’ loyalist of the brand. The Salomon ‘X-Trail’ branding is reputed to be a more technical trail running race, with mixture of different terrain surfaces including vertical ascents, long uphill climbs with multi-surfaces of dirt, rocks, sand & concrete paths. For the past two years, the Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas event was held in exclusive venues: in Tagaytay Highlands and in Hamilo Coast– with more than 1,200 participants, making it one of the most well-attended trail run races in the country. This race embodies the Salomon slogan—“#1 in trail running.”

A Scenic View of the Sea and a Rocky Surface to Conquer

This year, the Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2015 will be held in ANVAYA COVE, one of the country’s premiere developments in Morong, Bataan by Ayala Land Premier. New trail routes will be created exclusively for this event, to attract more trail running enthusiasts. Race distances are 6km & 12km Road to Trail, and 24km & 32km Mountain Run. The Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2015 Race is a GREEN RUN. No disposables will be provided at the hydration stations. All participants MUST bring their own provisions. All Registered Participants get 20% discount, across all regular priced items. Valid at Salomon Stores: SM Aura, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa Annex, Glorietta 3, Abreeza Davao, and in R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street.

You’ll navigate through different trail surfaces at Anvaya Cove. – Photo by Rene Villarta

Alongside this distinct destination, new trails and new routes will be created exclusively for this event. This outstanding trail network will feature the most rugged but sophisticated course inside Anvaya Cove, the impressive cliffs and exciting view atop the indigenous Kanawan Aeta community, and the fresh air of the ocean passing through the stunning long stretch of Pawikan-conserved beach.  There will be 6 kilometer and 12 kilometer road to trail categories for newbies and experienced trail runners and 24 kilometer and 32 kilometer mountain run categories for advanced trail runners and adrenaline junkies.  It’s a fresh scenery for a trail run and Anvaya views facilities would impress you as you outdo yourself at Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2015.

Gear up for the race with the New SLab Series.  I’ve high respect with the Salomon brand seeing and meeting some of their top athletes and ambassadors navigate the trails with ease and eventually have a podium finish.  It turns out that each Salomon model undergoes a trial period with their top athletes in their labs and tested under different condition before it comes out for commercial use.  This is one of the reason why the brand has been so effective as a trail running shoes.

Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet during the run.

More photos of the trail at Francramon.com Facebook Page

Race Details


See you at the Xtrail!!!

Date and Venue

  • April 25, 2015, Anvaya Cove, Morong, Bataan

Distances and Inclusions

  • 32km mountain run
    • Targeted for advanced trail runners who look for more adrenaline-filled adventures. This route involves a mixture of different terrains from asphalt, to sand, to rocks, to river crossing & technical ascents. This category simulates ascents of Skyrunning races – the arena wherein Salomon dominates.
    • Mandatory gear for this category: Headlamp, whistle, Hydration Pack/belt. This will be checked prior to race start. No Mandatory gear, No race.
    • Registration Fee: P1,600 (with race bib, timing chip, Salomon Xtrail technical jersey, Salomon water bottle, Post-race meal. Finisher’s medal for those who finish within cut-off time).
  • 24km mountain run
    • Targeted to trail runners who want to take their race to the next level, with technical ascents and varying terrain. This category simulates ascents of Skyrunning races – the arena wherein Salomon dominates.
    • Mandatory gear for this category: Headlamp, whistle, Hydration Pack/belt. This will be checked prior to race start. No Mandatory gear, No race.
    • Registration Fee: P1,400 (with race bib, timing chip, Salomon Xtrail technical jersey, Salomon water bottle, Post-race meal. Finisher’s medal for those who finish within cut-off time.
  •  12km road to trail
    • The 12 km “Road-to-trail” nature targets runners with basic trail running experience who wants to level up and experience technical terrain.
    • Registration Fee: P1,100 (with race bib, timing chip, Salomon Xtrail technical jersey. Post race meal will also be served.
  • 6km road to trail
    • The 6km “Road-to-trail” category targets beginners who want to explore the world of trail running. Road runners are very welcome, to experience a different adrenaline rush.
    • Registration Fee: P850 (with race bib, timing chip, Salomon Xtrail technical jersey. Post race meal will also be served.
  • Optional: Add Php 600 – get a Bus slot from R.O.X. to Anvaya Cove & back, for the first 300 registrants. Buses will be available to the first 300 participants, for an additional Php500. To avail, please click on the tickbox in the registration form & include payment with the race registration fee. Each registrant may avail of ONLY 1 additional seat in the bus (maximum of 2 seats per race participant). Please save the Bus Stub in your registration form/waiver. This will be surrendered upon boarding the bus on race day.


  • Registration starts on Feb 20, 2015 until April 20, 2014. You may register via the ff:
    • Online registration via credit card – www.salomonxtrailpilipinas.com
    • Online registration via bank deposit – Fill up the online form & deposit payment to (Runner’s Runner Bank details).
    • Registration Centers :
      • Salomon Store SM Aura, 4th floor, SM Aura Mall, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
      • Salomon Store SM Megamall, 3rd floor, Bldg D, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong
      • Salomon Glorietta 3 Store, 2/f Glorietta 3, Ayala Center Makati City
      • Salomon Store SM Annex North Edsa, 2/f, SM North Edsa Annex Building, Edsa, Quezon City
      • R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street , Fort Bonifacio Taguig, 3/f Runner’s Runner Booth (Starting March 17)
  • Distribution of Racekits are all at ROX BHS, starting April 10 to 23, at the 3rd floor (c/o Runners’Runner Booth).

Gun Start

  • 5:00am – 32km
  • 5:30am – 24 km
  • 8:00am – 12 km
  • 9:00am – 6km

Race Updates

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Cordillera Mountain Marathon

The Most Scenic 11K Ever!!!

Distance: 11 Kilometers
Date: March 22, 2015
Venue: Mount Pulag, Kabayan, Benguet

Life is a climb.  You have to take in the struggles to appreciate the finer moments.  Cordillera Mountain Marathon gave a really lung-busting, muscle-aching, heartbeat-raising and mentally challenging climb to the top of Mount Pulag.  The Cordillera Mountain Run had us chasing sunrise as we hurdled the tough climbs heading to the top of the country’s third highest mountain at about 2900++ meters above sea level.  The prize was the majestic view of sunrise with a panoramic view of the Mount Pulag and the sea of clouds that surrounds it.  It was a bucket list adventure you’d love to do over and over again.  It was a race, a tour and a contribution to the cause of forest conservation. #BerghausPH #LiveForAdventure

Mt. Pulag Enveloped by a sea of clouds.

Read about:

Cordillera Mountain Marathon

When I first saw the video from Cordillera Conservation Trust (CCT) above, I just knew I had to be a part of it.  This was something I want to promote and this was a cause I would go for.  I went on to promote the event on my site and when registrations opened, I registered immediately just to ensure I would have my spot.  Unfortunately, some of my friends who wanted to join ran out of slots but that’s okay since I was sure that I would meet someone I knew at the event since we belong to the same community of runners.  As the days of the event grew near, I realized going to Mt. Pulag was not as easy as driving myself to BGC for a run.  I had to find my way to Mt. Pulag for the first time, on my own.  It was good that CCT was up-to-date in posting travel alternatives and home stay options.  Also,my friend Tracey mentioned that their tour group went via monster jeep and I started to google for contact person for Monster Jeeps going to Mt. Pulag.  Fortunately, I found one and was able to reserve myself for a seat.  All the while, I thought that the rented jeep were a group of runners making their way to Mt. Pulag but on the day itself, I discovered that it was a tour group going to Mt. Pulag.  Long story short, I had an extra tour of the Ambuklao Dam and Hanging Bridge before I reached Mt. Pulag to go on my own.  That was just so cool plus I did meet some new friends and tour contacts along the way.

Impromptu Tour Before Heading off To Mt.Pulag

My homestay was in Pultak Lodge where I would be sharing sleeping area with some runners.  It turned out that the group of runners knew my cousin in Baguio and also included the husband of another cousin.  It’s a small world.  I also met most of the dominant trail and ultra runners during the event.  It was such a relaxed atmosphere for a run even during the briefing.  It was great to hear from JP Alipio that this event had employed more than a 100 persons in Benguet, Nueve Viscaya and Ifugao area as the 42 distance category would be passing along these provinces, as well as raising funds for forest conservation.  It was such a proud moment to be part of the event.  We also got our environmental briefing from DENR and got to learn more on forest conservation.  There were two distances which was the 42K, which had a more competitive cut-off and an 11K Mountain Run, which had a generous cut-off enough to really appreciate the views in Mt. Pulag.  I did the 11K mountain run just to appreciate the views without a very stringent cutoff to worry about.  Even before the run, it was challenging going from one area to another as it all involves a climb, which was just an appetizer for the even bigger climb the next day.

The Mt. Pulag Sunset to end our day.

Race Course and Elevation

Race Route powered by Suunto Ambit 2S and Suunto Movescount

The race starts at the ranger station and it was a straight climb passing through Camp 1 at km 2.5 and Camp 2 at kilometer 5.  There is another 500 meter climb to peak 2 for the u-turn area.  The race heads back to the ranger area on mostly descents.

Elevation Profile is powered by Suunto Ambit 2S and Suunto Movescount

The race starts of at 2,400 meters above sea level and goes on a moderate climb for the first 2 kilometers.  The climb gets steeper and more technical at kilometer 3 with about 200 meters of elevation gain in that area.  The climbs shifts back to a moderate climb at kilometer 4 before another steep climb of 200 meters heading to peak 2 which is the u-turn slot at 5.5 kilometers into the race.  The race heads on downwards back to the ranger station from the u-turn slot.

The Race

It’s still dark, it’s a good thing I’m using a fitletic headlamp to guide my path.

Since we were staying at Pultak’s Lodge, we were just 10 steps away from the starting line.  I took a bath the night before the race as it would be too cold to take a bath at the wee hours of the morning considering the climate in the area.  It was a real-life ice cold bath challenge.  I was up early the next day since most of my housemates would be doing 42 kilometers.  They are a tough bunch of Baguio runners.  After the 42K runners were sent off, I made my way to the start area to warm up since our gun start would be at 5 am. We had a cutoff of 7 hours and my initial plan was to go slow for the climb and take it from there but since the gun start was moved to 5:00 am, there was an added incentive of chasing sunrise happening around 6 am.

It was chasing sunrise, which means we have to cover 5.5 kilometers in over an hour.  You can see in the #SuuntoRun video above on how the sun was moving across the distance. This wasn’t easy considering that this was almost purely climbing and the air was thinner at this elevation.  Since I didn’t know how my body would react on the thinner air, I used a more conservative approach of using brisk walks with bigger strides on the ascent and run a little on short descents.  The first two kilometers was tolerable. Going to kilometer 3 would be the real test since it rest on a really steep elevation and has a more technical terrain with large rocks and uneven steps.  It was lung-busting is I had to stop at times to catch my breath.  The effort was raising my heart rate level so the stops help in normalizing them.  It was also tough on the legs as the uneven steps and the dark surroundings made it difficult to manage my strides.  It was a good thing, I was wearing Berghaus, which had excellent traction across different surface.  The tough stretch was about 500 meters leading to the aid station at km 2.5.

The View was awesome from all angles.

After the aid station, I made a wrong turn but luckily it was just the comfort room so I had to go back to the right course.  Most of my pace mates were still resting and I was ready to go as I always want to keep moving even at a slower pace just to cover more grounds.  I was alone on this stretch and it was creepy to be in the forest in the dark and by my lonesome.  The elevation was more tolerable at this point and I tried to make up for lost time by doing this part faster.  Before entering the 4th kilometer, the terrain descends a bit and just as I was about to run, I realized I have a minor sprain from all the wrong steps on the uneven grounds.  So instead of running, I went on at a fast walk pace with me being mindful on my steps so i won’t end up hurting my ankle.  After the tough 3 kilometers the succeeding climbs felt easier.  It reminds you that we become tougher by getting past all the struggles.

The Light at the end of the trail is a sea of clouds.

At kilometer 5, we were out of the Forrest trail and we were in a sea of clouds.  You could already see the peak and the magnificent view that comes with it.  This was also the no pass zone, which meant the only way to overtake was to ask permission to the one in front of you as the organizers don’t want the runners to create new trails.  It was a really steep climb to the peak but seeing the beauty and having to stop for photos at every step of the way, the climb felt refreshing.  We were able to catch the midpoint of the sunrise and it was worth all the difficulty in the climb.

It was a scenic delight on overload as we approach the peak.

It was a scenic delight on overload. Every angle you see was just majestic.  It was humbling to be in this spot admiring nature’s raw beauty. This was the third highest point of the Philippines and the highest in Luzon and it was just surreal being at this point.  I slowly made my way to the peak with each step an admiration to God’s creation.

My Mt. Pulag Moment

As I made my way to the u-turn, we had an even better view of the sea of clouds and the morning sunrise.  The best things in life are free but we have to work hard to be able to appreciate them.  Every drop of sweat, every twinge of muscle pain, every breathless moment, every ounce of tiredness was nothing compared to the raw beauty of Mt. Pulag.  I stayed almost an hour in Mt. Pulag and finally saw a familiar face.

Hello Donna!!!

I’ve worked with Donna Fuentes on several race and social media projects and she was also a mean runner.  After picture taking overload, I think I was good to go on the road back.  I asked Donna if she wants to go back to so we can pace together on the way back.  The descent from the peak was also a bit of a challenge as the morning mist made the ground extra slippery so we went on a slow descent from the peak and re-entered the Forrest trails.

Heading back!!!

It was faster on our way back as we were already familiar with the trails, we went on a fast brisk walk and also met a participant from Australia who paced with us.  We were telling her about the wonderful places in the Philippines and the run she could join in the country.  She paced with us for about a kilometer and pulled back after we went fast on the last ascent at kilometer 8.  We went on back to the brisk walk pace and slowed down only midway the 8th kilometer as this was the technical part with uneven steps and steep terrain.

The scent of fertilizer and the finish line.

At kilometer 9, we saw daylight, dusty trails and some vegetation.  I was wondering what the scent in the area was and finally realized that it was the smell of fertilizers on the vegetation.  I remembered the scent since my grand father had a farm in La Trinidad when we were kids.  It was also starting to get hot but the view was still amazing with the sea of clouds still visible at some areas.  We were moving faster because of the descent.  I promised myself a strong finish so when the trails ended and the concreted roads started, I burst into a sprint 500 meters into the finish line for that strong finish with a time of 3 hours, 21 minutes.  I got my medal and seriously thought about going for a second loop since I still have more than half the time before cutoff. I ended up watching the strong finishes of the 42K runners and taking some photos.  I guess, it’s my second nature to cover events or take photos when I’m not running.

One of the more heartwarming photos I shot, Yana waiting for Coach Ige Lopez to cross the Finish Line.

Let me end this off by congratulating Cordillera Conservation Trust and JP Alipio on a successful Cordillera Mountain Marathon.  I also was impressed for those who did the 42K kilometer distance as it was a really challenging, scenic and exciting course as they made their way to 3 provinces (Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Viscaya) in a single run covering 3,000 meters worth of elevation gain.  It was so difficult that if there was P1,000 placed every time the word ITBS (Iliotibial band syndrome) was said, it would raise a lot of funds for Cordillera Conservation Trust.  That just means they gave it all they had and went to the finish strong.  Cheers to them.

My Outfit of the Race: Shirt – Berghause #TaleofTheTrail designed by Breakout Design, Jacket – Oakley, Shorts, Compression Tights, Visor and Socks – Under Armour, Shoes – Berghaus, Watch – Suunto Ambit 2S, Glasses – Rayban with Transition Lenses, Hydration Bag – Suunto,Headlamp – Fitletic and Camera – Go Pro Hero 3+

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 76 Comments

Why Do I Run??? #BrooksRunningPH

Running is something that grows on you and sometimes you don’t even know why you run, you just do because it makes you feel complete.  #BrooksRunningPH and Ben Alves, a celebrity athlete tells you why he runs and how it has become a part of his day.

Read about:


Brooks Run Happy 3 Finish Line in the Sky Last Year

Brooks has brought in the shoe technology that had the runners in mind. It covers both runners who want a greater feel of the road with their lightweight shoes and those who want to feel the float in their run with their more cushioned models. They also have models for those who love the trails and the fresh outdoors.   Running has been a part of Brooks DNA as running has been a part and lifestyle of runners.  Ben Alves shares his passion on running and how running has been a part of who he is.  Ben Alves is a talent and a model of GMA Network and despite his hectic schedule, his love for running remains.  Brooks is the perfect shoe companion for passionate runners as it is designed and built with the runners needs in mind.  It’s definitely a happy run with Brooks.

Yes, Run Happy at it’s finest.

As for me, I’ve been running since 2010 and apart that it completes my day and keeps me healthy, running is already a lifestyle.  Races end but running doesn’t.  There are always new goals to chase and new records to achieve.  It’s your ultimate stress buster, endorphins-source and your passport to a healthier life ahead.   See you on the road!!!

How about you? What makes you run?

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Incoming: Cyburban Wildlife Adventure

Cyburban Wildlife Adventure  is the first of its kind app based adventure game.  Do a series of task that will challenge you physically, mentally, socially competing against time and against other competitors.  The Cyburban app would guide you and monitor your progress in the adventure game.  You have the whole 22.7 hectares of the Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center as your playground on May 2.  This is the ultimate test of team play so start teaming up and do as much task as you can to be the TOP TEAM at Cyburban Wildlife Adventure

Read About:

Cyburban Wildlife Adventure

Berghaus Urban Adventure Games last year

We had our first encounter on how an Cyburban Adventure Game is conducted last November with the Berghaus Urban Adventure Games.  We had a list of to dos which included some physical challenges like crossfit and parkour challenges, a test on details with an app based scavenger hunt, mental challenges like puzzles and riddles and some skill and sports challenges.  It was really fun as we raced against the 4 hour time limit to finished as much task as we can at Circuit Makati.  It’s gonna challenge you in all aspects.  Cyburban Wildlife Adventure takes off where the Berghaus Adventure Game left off with more challenges and a lot more scenic backdrop in the 22.7 hectare Ninoy Aquino Park & Wildlife Center as your playground.

Teamplay would be tested at the Cyburban Wildlife Adventure

It’s gonna be a test of team play and strategies would prove critical as you unlock one adventure after another within the 4 hour time limit.  Test your strength and endurance with physical challenges from Crossfit Halcyon. Play memorable childhood games like Shato and Patin. Solve puzzling riddles and go on a wildlife scavenger hunt that will test your patience and resilience. First aid checkpoints from Argonix EMS will test your emergency preparedness aside from providing safety and medical services during the whole event.

Be ready to get physical

It’s anything goes when it comes to challenges.  It can be those physically challenging task that would bring out the fitness freak in you.  It can also be as simple as enjoying and reminiscing a childfood game of shato as you hit the stick as far away as you can and shout shato as long as you can.  It can be like searching each tiny spot of the Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center for bar coded clues in a scavenger hunt.    It can be mind-bending puzzles and riddles or it can be a fear factor type challenge. As I said, it’s anything goes.

Fear Factor Challenges can also be a part of the adventure

So Join the first of its kind app-based adventure race to kick-off the Pacquiao-Mayweather weekend.  Spend your Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center for 4 hours worth of competitive challenges that will take your team around the 22.7-hectare park.  And, by joining this Wildlife Adventure, you are helping Greenpeace’s campaigns to protect our wildlife and save our environment.

Adventure Details

Date and Venue

  • May 2, 2015, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife


  • 4 hour Competitive Challenge
    • Team of 2-3 participants (P1,000 per participants)
    • Inclusive of Wildlife Adventure singlet & badge, waterproof mobile pouch, first issue event magazine, lifelong memories to tell your grandchildren.
    • Reminders:
      • Bring your own water bottle to support zero-waste practices.
      • Aside from a minimum of one Android or iOS phone, no other special equipment are needed for the challenges. Y
      • You are encouraged to wear protective gear for your own safety.


  • Online via Cyburban
  • Please input Referral Code of CWA1001 or Franc or Franc Ramon or Francramon.com
  • Payment is made through bank deposit at either BPI, BDO or Metrobank branches.
  • Bank Details will be sent after registration confirmation.


  • Venue-wide Scavenger Hunt
  • Wildlife Trivia Challenges
  • Physical Challenges from Crossfit Halcyon
  • Educational and Mental Challenges from Cyburban
  • Riddles and Puzzles from Cyburban
  • Social and Playful Challenges from our partners
  • Food Challenges for the brave
  • and a lot lot more!


  • This event will take place in the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center at the Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City on May 2, 2015 from 7AM to 2PM.
    • Each team is a group of 2-3 players.
    • Teams will be divided into waves.
    • Game Orientation starts at 7:30AM sharp.
    • Game starts at 8AM sharp.
    • Physical & non-Digital Checkpoints will end at 1PM.
    • Game officially ends at 2PM.
    • You may opt to complete Digital Challenges until 4PM.
    • There are Water Stations, Charging Stations, and Medical Stations around the venue.
    • This is not a race or a run. No need to be extremely competitive.
    • This is an adventure game. Have fun and enjoy!
    • There will be special prizes for secret categories.
    • There will be prizes that can be found on some checkpoints.

Race Updates

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Incoming: 21K Uphill Challenge 2 #DashForTheOrphans

Tagaytay has one of the best views with a cooler climate, higher elevation and the sight of Taal Volcano.  Let’s make it interesting with the route starting at General Trias, going to Amadeo before heading of to Tagaytay, that’s about 576 meters worth of climbing spread out in a 21 kilometer distance.  That’s definitely gonna make you stronger and have you enticed with the surrounding views.  21K Uphill Challenge 2 is not only a physical workout as it is also a race that warms the heart with Bahay San Rafael Orphanage as a beneficiary for the run.  Register now and the race is happening on May 17, 2015!

Dash for the Orphans

Running uphill is not the easiest thing to do but it strengthens your quads, lengthens your stride and improves your breathing in the long run.  You just get better running hills and gets you a more developed leg-power in the process.  21K Uphill Challenge gives you a venue to push yourself to be better and stronger.  For the second straight year, it’s gonna be a dash for the orphans with each participant contributing to the cause of the Orphans of Bahay San Rafael Orphanage.  It won’t be easy but it would be worth your while and for a good cause.  The view in Gen. Trias, Amadeo and Tagaytay would definitely refresh your eyes.  The fresher provincial air would be a welcome breather from your usual city runs.  The distance would test your limit and be a good training ground for future long distance runs.  It’s happening on May 17, 2015 at General Trias Cavite and get ready to conquer a half marathon that’s tough on the leg, warm on the heart and visually enticing to the eyes.

Race Details

Date and Venue

  • May 17, 2015, Governor Hills, Manggahan, General Trias, Cavite

Distances and Inclusions

  • 21K
    • P600 (Early Bird – March 9- April 13)
    • P800 (Regular – April 14 onwards)
      • Race bib, finisher shirt, medal and drink


  • Onsite:  New Balance Store, The District Mall, Imus, Cavite (Monday to Sunday) – 10 am – 9 pm
  • Via Bank Deposit
    • BPIBank Deposit.
    • Please deposit the fees in favor of Co-Race Director: Michael Maleriado
    • Savings Account number: 0959 0489 59
    • Please send the scanned copy/photo of the validated deposit slip with your Name and Shirt Size to neweraraceeventmanagement@gmail.com. Please include your cell number. They will send confirmation of the registration with full details of the event.

Assemby Gun Start

  • Assembly – 3:00 Am
  • Gunstart – 5: AM

Race Updates

Race Maps


Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Corregidor International Half Marathon 2015

The hardest half marathon can be finished by patience and great company

#4Peat is what I can say about #CorregidorInternationalHalfMarathon and it has transformed from just a bucket list race for me to an annual event.  This feels like a Bachelors degree in #CIHM and this one was the hardest of all the four editions I joined because of the scorching heat of the sun.  I guess when you’re used to crossing the finish line, you’ll eventually find ways to overcome the obstacles that this race has to offer from the really hot weather to the long stretches of UpHELLS.  The raw beauty of the island and the historical significance do make up for those countless shut-up leg moments and test of mental fortitude. Tough people endure and that’s why were called Conquerors.

Read about:




Bachelor of Science in CIHM\

I wonder if I can add the title Bachelor of Science in CIHM as doing the event 4 years in a row feels like a degree on it’s own.  I guess CIHM is a the science of getting past the tough parts during the race and it doesn’t get any tougher than Corregidor.  Hill are spelled HELLS in this part of town and definitely feels like HELL with not only long uphill stretches but also steep and lung busting ones.  Then there’s a heat factor that made the hardest half / full mary even a lot harder.  Brave men fought for the country and for this island and we get a little bit of that valor in being conquerors of the challenging race.  It’s all not tough times, shut up legs moments and lung-busting climbs in this island as the heritage and raw natural beauty makes it a visual enticement to go around the island by foot for hours.  The journey to my 4th CIHM medal was not as easy one with the race event getting bumped of to the hotter month of March because of the Pope’s visit last January.  It’s a totally new race with this being the hottest of all previous runs in corregidor.  I also had a bad tummy going into the race and a little bit sleep deprived coming into the race with an event the night prior to the race.  No Excuses, I’ll just find ways to finish this one.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Map is powered by Suunto Ambit 2S

Race Starts at the South Dock and proceeds to Malinta Tunnel and climbs Malinta Hill for the first two kilometers before a short drop going into the Japanese Garden of Peace and the Corregidor Resort approaching the third kilometer of the race.  The climb goes on until the 4th kilometer at the Filipino Hero War Memorial before the rolling terrain going to Kindley field in the 6th Kilometer.  The race goes back on the Filipino War Memorial and heads back to Malinta Tunnel,  After approaching the north dock, the long climb at the Ramsay Ravine starts which then heads to the mile long barracks going to kilometer 12.  The route switches from road to trail covering some of the barracks and heading to several battery area in the 12th to 14th kilometer mark,  The race then heads to the other side of the barracks and Pacific War Memorial heading to the 15th kilometer and enters the freedom torch and trails going in the 16th kilometer. The next 3 kilometer is downhill before the long and steep climb at the 19th kilometer before heading back to Manilta Tunnel and North Dock for the finish.

Elevation Profile Powered by Suunto Ambit 2S and Suunto Movescount

The race starts with a climb at Malinta hill for the first two kilometers before a steep drop and climb going to the 3rd and 4th kilometer. The course shifts to a rolling terrain with mostly descents entering the Kindley Airfields going to the 6th kilometer and climbs back on the next two kilometers.  The race then heads downward to Malinta Tunnel before the long climb starts at kilometer 9 until kilometer 16 of about 200 meters of elevation.  The race goes on a long descent of 200 meters until kilometer 19 before going on a really steep climb of 70 meters going to the 20th kilometer.  The race ends on a descent headed to the Malinta Tunnel and the Finish.

The Race

Had my Handy GoPro Hero 3+ for my Race Coverage – Photo by Rene Villarta

Two days before the race, I had a bad tummy and I hope to recover before the race.  The night before the race I had to attend an event which would take away a lot of my sleeping hours before the race.  The day of the race, I was looking for a way in CCP area since there was a run ongoing during that time.  Each of this situations made me think if this was the year I would miss Corregidor but as always, I found ways.  I parked my car at SM Mall of Asia and got a cab who was wily enough to find a way going to the ferry area.  I was able to reach the ferry on board Corregidor for a day tour including the run.  I was planning to sleep during the ferry trip to at least catch up on some lost sleep but I wasn’t able to sleep instead, I caught a glimpse of this.

Catching sunrise on the way to Corregidor.

I was able to catch sunrise on the way to Corregidor, which I rarely see.  The trip took over an hour and we were able to reach Coregidor around 7 am.  It was hot already and this was one of the effect of having a race in March instead of January. Honestly speaking, I wasn’t ready for a hot race so I’ll just see how it goes and adjust my pace and strategies.  I saw a lot of familiar faces at the starting line and after the ceremonies, it was gun start at 8:15 am.  I tried to start fast just to get the feel of how my body would react to the heat and I was tiring out faster than I usually do.  I tried to attack the hills 2-3 minutes at a time.  Of course, I couldn’t resist stopping by the creepy and famed Malinta Tunnel.

Before entering the tunnel about 500 meters in the race.

The Malinta Hill was about a 2 kilometer stretch of moderate climb and took it slowly though whenever, I had a good song on my playlist since I’m using the Yurbuds Leap Wireless, I’d speed up.  With each water station, I’d take time to stop, drink water and El Lobo Drinks and pour water into my head to douse the heat.  After the climb, I took advantage of the descent going to the Corregidor resort to speed up and went on to go 30 seconds run walk on the climb heading to the 4th kilometer.  It was extremely hot already and instead of just pouring water on my head, I was practically taking a bath with several cups of cold water and sponges to cool down.  I have to commend that the hydration was really overflowing.  I also started bring in a tube of water for more regular dousing.

The view from Corregidor Resort.

It was terrain management starting from the Filipino War Memorial heading to Kindley fields.  I would speed up on the descents and walk on the climbs.   The route had nice views on the side and the barren Kindley Fields felt even hotter along the 5th and 6th kilometer.  The road back to the Filipino War Memorial were mostly climbs so I was trying to insert some efforts in between but the story is the same that I can only sustain small surges of runs with the terrain.

Scorching Hot Kindley Fields.

I was also taking some photos of the race since I had my GoPro Hero 3+ with me.  I would stop once in a while for a good view or a familiar face to take some photos.  At least, it gave me more to time to recover during the run.  I took the descent back to Malinta as a chance to speed up since this would be the last descent before the very long climb that starts at kilometer 9.

Heading now to the second part of the race. – photo by Rene Villarta

The second part of the race was the tougher but more scenic part.  The next 6-7 kilometers would be mostly climbs.  There was a big climb at kilometer 10 and 11 heading into the mile long barracks area.  I switched to brisk walk on this part.  After 2 kilometers of climbing, I felt I was losing the mental part of the race so I went on more runs at the mile long barracks area.

The Mile Long Barracks.

The legs were there but I was really tiring fast so I went with shorter run – walk intervals just to cover the mileage faster.  It was a bit mentally draining here, not to mention creepy, as I had a large area with a few runners nearby. I was planning to go patiently with the shorter run-walk interval for the whole race until I was able to catch up with my friend from Ateneo Graduate School of Busines Menoi and I decided to pace with her.  One way to finish the race is to put some efforts consistently and another one is to spend it with good company so you can appreciate the views better.

Hello Menoi!

We went on a slower pace especially that we started on trails that had views of the barracks.  The 13th – 14th kilometer had several of the old batteries in the area.  We also took the chance on the descents to speed up and recovered on the climbs.  The longest barracks, the war memorial zone and the freedom torch can be seen in the 15th kilometer as well as another set of trails.

Back in the trails

Even if it was not a fast pace, I guess time and mileage moves faster with company.  The trail was about a kilometer heading to the next 3 kilometers of descent.  We discussed on whether we’re going on suicide mode and do the descent at a fast paced. We decided to just go on at our relaxed pace.  It would prepare us better for the dreaded 19th kilometer.  My favorite view is the road approaching the 19th kilometer as from the dock, you get to see the West Philippine Sea, the rock formations and nearby islands and after the beauty comes the beast, with a very steep 1 kilometer climb that’s really lung busting and really tough on the legs.

Oh that long-endless steep climb called kilometer 19.

One good thing about the relaxed pace on the descent, we were fresh on the killer climb of the route.  I tried using bigger strides here and was able to get past some of the runners struggling on the climb.  With patience, consistency and just going and on and on and we were finally at the end of the exhausting climb.  We had our last water stops and it was downhill from there for the last kilometer.  After the third trip to the Malinta Tunnel, we went on to sprint the remaining part of the race for a solid finish.


This was definitely my hardest half marathon to date because of the heat and lack of preparation, I’m just glad that Corregidor will be back on it’s usual cool January event date next year.  It’s 4 years of CIHM running and it’s 4 different stories to tell.  Let’s see what’s the story on year 5.

Thanks to Team Smart for keeping me accompanied during the tour around the island.

Outfit of the Race

This was my outfit during the race: Top – Oakley (designed by Breakout Design), Shorts – Under Armour, Shoes – Adidas Ultra Boost, GPS Watch – Suunto Ambit 2S, Eye Wear – Spyder Nomad H, Earphones: yurbuds Leap Wireless Visor – Pinoy Fitness, Compression Sleeves – Zensah, Socks – Under Armour, Muscle Tape – Rock Tape and Camera – GoPro Hero 3+

More photos here: Francramon.com FB Page

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