#TaleOfTheTrail Timberland Heights (San Mateo, Rizal)

Timberland Heights has been my recent trail playground. It has a large trail ecosystem that gives you a variety of surfaces, terrains, forested trails, river treks and even waterfalls.  The trails is also a scenic wonderland with a view of the mountain ranges and the forested trails.


I’ve been to Timberland Height trails several times for recon and once for a race.  It’s a perfect place to train for trail running with a mildly rolling terrain and a lot of run-able stretches along the way.  As of now, it’s more popular as a bike trail but it has also been a home for several trail runs and events.  It just gets better in the future as Timberland would be developing a lot of unexplored areas for runners.  I’ve also tried the trails in both wet & wild and hot & humid conditions yet it remains to be such a scenic trail playground.

Wet & Wild Timberland Trails

The first time we explored the trails it was wet and wild. We entered via the Blue Trail .  We had a mix of single track trails with overlooking view of the mountain ranges that also came with a lot of surprises like this one.

That’s a really steep climb of 400-500 meters.  We had to crawl on some parts and also had to rest as it literally took our breath away. After the long climb, you get rewarded by a scenic view of the mountains.

Now this one makes up for that really steep climb.  It was also wet and wild at that time so I did have several slips and slides but it’s all part of the fun.  After the steep ascent and the magnificent view, we took the trails heading to Ka Vergel, which is a common pit stop here for Mountain Bikers.

It was a fun descent that added to my slip and slide total of 4.  There were muddy areas, which was all good.  We took a short break at Ka Vergel and proceeded our way out of the trail.

Short and Sweet Timberland Trails

The second visit was a quick 6K loop we have to squeeze in before heading to our meeting that day.  We took the spine road this time and headed to the main trail passing by the chapel, which was about 1.5 kilometers mix of single track and forested trails.  The main trails leads to the rolling mountain trails that gives you an even better view of the mountain ranges.

It was drier this time around though there are still some puddle of muds at some areas.  The trails lead to a short river crossing before it ascends again.  Since we are short of time, we took the road heading to Ka Vergel mid way into the climb before heading out of the trail for a short but sweet 6K loop. Even on a short course, the trails can really amaze you.

Timberland Falls

The third trip we had was to go check out the Timberland Falls.  Basically we had to follow the trails on our second visit except that we had to climb further up to the overlooking part of my Timberland, which is fast becoming my favorite part of the trail.

This is the same overlooking part we visited on our first trail but the climb was much more tolerable from the river area compared to the first one.  It was a bit foggy this time but the view is still breathtaking.  From the overlooking part, we went further to the trail before we descended towards the trail leading to the river.  When you reach the river, you can actually do a river trek but it would be more difficult since you have to pass by slippery rocks along the way and it was raining.  We took the upper trails, which was a much better idea since it was also a scenic one.

As we went up the trails, we hit the ridge area with the lush green surroundings as your backdrop. It was all way down from here.  It was a bit of a challenge going down on the lower part of the trail though there were steps that would help you on the descent.  The trail leads to the river and from there was a mix of rocky surface as well as river treks to hit Timberland Falls.  It was raining then but it was tolerable though you have to watch where you step as there are some deep parts of the river.

Timberland Falls was beautiful.  There were some deep parts, which is good for a swim.  The water was cold and refreshing.   We stayed a while to enjoy the falls before we took the road leading up the trail.

It was a series of uphill climbs at this point.  Some were steep but the climbs were tolerable as we divided the climbs to several segments.  The climb brought us back to the spine road. We then tried out the Green Zone which is a beginner-friendly trail with switch backs along forested trails before we called it a day.

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The Earth Got Softer with Brooks 2018 Collection

Photo by Jinoe Gavan

Is it just us or DID THE EARTH GET SOFTER?  Brooks ushers in the cushioning revolution when it comes to running shoes with its 2018 collection in Levitate 2, Ghost 11, Transcend 5, Glycerin 16 and Adrenaline GTS 18.

Brooks Running

I won a Brooks Levitate 2

Brooks has been in business since 1914 and that’s over a century’s experience when it comes to performance footwear and apparel.  I’ve been a Brooks user for about a decade now and innovation has always been among its key strength.  They have both the feel and the float models that can cater to different type of runners, which that makes it a leading brand worldwide.  It has adopted its shoes depending on the runners need. With its latest models in 2018, it’s now entering the cushioning revolution with shoes so soft that would make you feel that the earth got softer.

Brooks is introducing new additions to its popular cushion and energize shoe category giving runners everywhere the power to run further and go faster. The new shoes – Levitate 2, features Brooks’ innovative DNA AMP, Ghost 11, and Glycerin 16 features the newest technology of Brooks: DNA LOFT, while Transcend 5 still has SUPER DNA but an updated guide rails and Adrenaline GTS 18 has its original BioMoGo DNA.  When it comes to shoes Brooks is a shoe made with the runner’s DNA embedded in their shoes with a fit that we’ll make you feel that it’s a part of your anatomy. Brooks has fine-tuned two features into its latest collection.

DNA Loft – The NEW standard in soft

A finely calibrated mix of EVA foam, rubber, and air, DNA LOFT is the new midsole cushioning in our softest running shoe yet. Engineered for unequaled comfort, EVA Foam puts more “ahhhhh” in every step, making this the softest midsole we’ve ever offered. Also an added rubber means you can stop worrying about your cushion holding up and enjoy the same blissful softness whether it’s your first – or 500th – time lacing them up. Extra air in the midsole ensures that DNA LOFT won’t weigh you down. Because cushioning that’s soft as a feather should be as light as one, too. Get lost in your run with the cushion that’ll keep you comfortable, step after step, run after run.

DNA AMP – The power to outrun yourself  

DNA AMP is a polyurethane (PU)-based cushioning system strategically engineered to provide unparalleled energy return. The foundation of DNA AMP is a PU foam that naturally expands, returning energy as force is applied. To deliver an amplified experience, Brooks encased the foam in a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) skin that resists horizontal expansion to deliver energy directly back to the runner. The result is an engineered compound that provides exceptional energy return.

Levitate 2 – Maximum Energy Returns

The new Levitate 2 returns more energy with every stride, so runners feel like they can run further and faster. Combined with an outsole that moves quickly from heel to toe and a new sleek knit upper, Levitate 2 delivers maximum energy with every stride.

Ghost 11 – The smoothest ride possible gets softer and lighter

After a decade of engineering, the Ghost has more than earned its name. Straight out of the box it’s as comfortable as any shoe you’ve worn for years. And the Ghost 11’s ethereal feel is rivaled only by its responsiveness and durability

Transcend 5 – Running’s most advanced support system, served super soft

Offering super soft cushioning and plush comfort, the Transcend 5 features Guide Rail Technology, an advanced support system that provides holistic support from feet to hips. 

Glycerin 16 – The ultimate in softness and supreme comfort—now even softer

You might be able to outrun our engineers. But when it comes to supreme comfort, super-soft cushioning and mile-after-mile plushness, you’ll never out-engineer them.

Adrenaline GTS 18 – Perfect balance of soft cushion and support, modernized

Now in its 18th version, the best-selling Adrenaline GTS is better than ever, with the same trusted cushion and support runners have grown to love, plus a new, streamlined look.

Run Happy

The latest addition to the Run Happy Brand was launched last September 12, 2018 at Torch in BGC over afternoon snacks.  Brooks Ambassadors Noy Basa, Al Gonzales and Jojo Macalintal gave testimonials on the soft cushy feel of the 2018 collection of Brooks Running Shoes.  All of them have been long-time Brooks users and are really happy.  I’ve yet to try the new collection but I’m high on the Levitate 2 from feedback from fellow athletes.  Since I won one pair, I’m going to do a separate review once I get a decent amount of mileage with the shoes.  It’s gonna be interesting to check out the cushy feel of the new one after also being able to try out their Pure Project collection, Adrenaline GTS and their trail line in the previous years.  To get to know more about the feel check them out at Runnr and Toby’s Stores below.

  • All Runnr Stores
  • Tobys MOA
  • Tobys SLP
  • Olympic Village Glorietta
  • SM Department stores MOA, North Edsa and Davao.


  • Levitate 2                    Php 7,495.00
  • Ghost 11                     Php 6,495.00
  • Transcend 5                Php 8,295.00
  • Glycerin 16                 Php 6,995.00
  • Adrenaline GTS 18      Php 6,295.00
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Run 2 Me 2018

Run 2 Me

Run 2 Me was a character defining race. The unli-putik gave us the struggle on the climb and those heart-beat stopping moments on the slippery descent but that’s what make this a memorable one.

Run 2 Me

The first kilometer was uphell at its finest with the dark adding to the obstacle on the wet, extra muddy and technical surface.  That first kilometer set the tone that this would be grind out race and you have to find your inner strength to outlast the mental and physical challenges of this race.

The Race

Run Wild!!! – Photo by Joreb Valdez

It’s my third time in Mount Ayaas. The first two times the climbs were tolerable with the first and last kilometer of the 5-kilometer climb being the tougher ones.  Just add water and the trails changes into a totally different playground.  Run 2 me was a mud-fest and the difficulty of the climb was probably multiplied by ten at this conditions. That’s the beauty of trail running, the experience is never the same.

The 10K distance started at 5 am and I thought that it should be ok since I can get pass the technical part before being able to see the overwhelming long climb.  Well, I was wrong as the lack of visibility despite the headlamp made it a lot tougher. I had several missteps along the way and slipped several times. I’m just glad that the shark-teeth like traction of Evo Jawz was reliable in this type of trail condition.

6.95 oz for Hoka One One Evo Jawz with probably 20 pounds of mud the whole race =>

The first kilometer felt like forever.  I started with a slow and steady pace on the climb.  I was able to sustain the pace without stopping for the first kilometer but I felt the struggle of each mud-filled stepped.  The soft extra muddy surface added to the drag of the climb and made me add a few resting stops to catch my breath.

Km 1 was a mixed of muddy, rocky surfaces.  It was a difficult climb and it made me re-think that the earlier option was just to sell Pinoy Trails share while the trail was ongoing but I’m here now so I must find the hidden strength to finish the race.  We were out of the climb about a kilometer and a half into the race.

On flatter grounds. – Photo by Joreb Valdez

There’s a short flat and descending stretch before the climbs would resume.  What I thought would be a respite was not as the mudfest continued and we had two cross several short wooden slippery bridges along the way.  The drag was there in each step.  I took this part to recover a bit as the climb would resume a few 100 meters after.  I set my sights on the first hut along the way as my next resting stop followed by the store, mid-way into the climb.  It was another muddy climb and you can feel that each step was a lot heavier compared to my previous climbs here.

I just had a few drinks at the aid station at the store and went on the next set of trails. There was a short downhill trail leading to the river, where I took the chance to clean my shoes and lessen the drag coming from the mud.  I set my mindset that I have to gut-it-out until I reached the relay tower, which is about a kilometer from the aid station.  It was pure uphill but knowing that I can rest at the relay station gave me a goal to look forward to.

Resting in between climbs. – Photo by Joreb Valdez

I had a short rest at the relay station and proceeded to the last part of the climb.  There was a short flat stretch along the bamboo invested area. This is among my favorite area as the bamboo gives a different feel of the trail.  When the climb resumed, it was the steeper climbs so I had to be more conservative. I would go 20-30 steps on each set of climb and rest a few seconds before the next set.

Nearing the peak. – Photo by Joreb Valdez

When I was in the open part, I knew that there were several false peaks before the actual Mount Ayaas Peak so I had to take it a peak at a time.  The views were overwhelming as always.  I knew once I reached the peak that the race is over as it would be mostly downhill after that.

U-Turn Slot

Mount Ayaas is my favorite peak in Wawa area as it shows you a panoramic view of the mountain ranges nearby. It was breathtaking at this peak and I had my usual photo-ops at this part before I went down.

It’s not the mountains we conquer but ourselves.

I then proceeded on the second half of the race.  It was less of a struggle despite the steep descent as I felt the lugs of the Evo Jawz kept me stable.  I was already setting up for a faster descent when one of the runners approached me and told me that one of my friend was having a hard time and is already feeling light headed.  It was Redg and I asked her if she was ok and she was not so I joined her on the way down at her pace.  I kept looking back just to make sure she is still ok.

Mount Ayaas

About a kilometer with Redg, I saw the marshals from Run Heya and told them that Redg was having a hard time so they joined her on the descent.  I still kept within range to make sure she’s ok.  It was a smooth descent heading into the aid station.  After the aid station, I went ahead knowing that the Marshals are with Redg though I would alert all marshals I met to check on her when they meet her.  The rest of the descent and the short climb went smoothly until the last kilometer.

The last kilometer was downhell at its finest.  It was difficult navigating over a mix of boulders, mud tracks while the sun was up and adding to your exhaustion level.  It was a mental battle hereon.  One struggling step after another over the varying surfaces and I slowly descended the trail, which led to the bridge and the finish line.  Unli-Putik + Unli-Climb = Wasak!

Happy Birthday Master Lao!

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Pocari Sweat Colors and Bubbles Fun Run

Chill 5K done. First race for my Hoka One One Make.

Pocari Sweat Colors and Bubbles Fun Run brings back the fun in the run with a feel-good route at Alabang Town Center with music, color and bubbles bringing in the smile in your run.

Pocari Sweat Colors and Bubble Fun Run

There was something different with this run.  Except for the organizing team, I can count the runners I know and that’s a good sign for me.  Pocari Sweat Colors and Bubbles Fun Run was not only able to attract the newbies, it was also able to attract the “No-bies”.  No-bies is a term I coined for people who isn’t into running or fitness at all.  I’ve been running for 8 years now and I’ve seen people progress into more competitive sports like triathlon, longer endurance sports like ultramarathon or the more scenic trail running.  Yet, you can count the new breeds coming in.  So I’m happy to see the new faces of running and hope that more events like this happen and just remind runners of the fun of running.  Sometimes, we stay so tuned in to chasing PRs, going for longer distances or taking insurmountable altitude that we forget how fun it is too run.  Great job on attracting new runners on the fitter side of life Pocari Sweat and Active Pinas.

The Race

Photo from Active Pinas

I was supposed to join the 10K distance, which is a two loop course along the perimeters of Alabang Town Center and the neighboring areas.  I actually like loop courses as it divides the race into segments.  Since I arrived in the area and the runners have left, I opted to downgrade to the 5K distance. 5K is still better than nothing.  We were launched at exactly 5:45 am and away we go.

Photo from Active Pinas

I always love when I’m running on a new route because it’s always refreshing seeing new surroundings.  That’s one of the reason I am the trail more often than I’m on the roads because of the repetitive nature of the routes for Manila races.  Alabang Town Center is a new route for me and I’m loving the wide roads, the less congested streets of Alabang.  The terrain is rolling but remains run-able.

Photo from Active Pinas

We took the left side of Alabang Town Center from Alabang Zapote heading to Commerce Avenue until Madrigal Ave before taking the looping inner roads of the area.  I started with a run to start the race before shifting to an easy run-walk set as I’m just enjoying the run and not being time conscious.   I’ve barely checked my watched the whole race.

Halfway into the race, I was past the 3K runners and it was nice to see young kids run in the race and being more competitive than their parents or companion.  Kids are such a burst of energy.  I remember one kid who was carried by her dad when I suddenly passed them.  The kid asked not to be carried because she doesn’t want to be overtaken.  The last stretch of the race was a haven for photographers as Active Pinas were there to cover the runners moment.  There was a color station entering Alabang Town Center and the pool of bubbles at the finish line.

Post Race Group Shot.

That was such a fun run because of the feel-good and happy atmosphere. Thanks Active Pinas for reminding me how fun running is again and also introducing fitness to the next breed of runners.  ‘Til the next run.

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Itogonia Wild Country Trail Run

Photo by Tony Santillan

Run Wild, Run Free and Run Happy and that’s how it was running Itogonia.  The route featured both the nostalgic yellow trails of Camp John Hay and the unexplored Itogon trails for the longer distances.  It was not an easy run as the technical descent on wet surfaces and unlimited climbs added to the spice of the run.

Itogonia Wild Country Trail Run

There’s so many stories to tell about Itogonia as I was there since Day 1. I was able to try a one way route to the turning point of the 32 kilometers.  I also tried out the 16K route and I raced the 8K route.  Since Day 1, it has always been planned as a runner’s race from the overall feel, to the pricing and to the inclusions.

We were also lucky enough to be supported by sponsors from Camp John Hay through JHMC and BCDA, who’s always gave us access to the trails. We had the all out support of the Municipality of Itogon and the town Mayor even shared a few words during the awarding.  Then there’s the usual support of SRI which included Brooks, Drymax Socks and Gu Energy Gels.  We had the support of Suncoast Brands with Lightwater, Vitamin Boost and Emco Musli.  Off Grid Racing & Exploration (OGRE) designed the shirts.  Amihan Sports Gear also provided some of the prizes and assisted in the logistics for the shirts.    Sanctband and Off The Grid Outdoor Co provided the prizes.  Le Monet was also our gracious venue host while Suntrust Properties Inc. also provided man power and logistics support. Cinco Antonio Bistro provided the post-race food. Smart provided the finisher arch. Of course, special thanks to the volunteers who manned the race route during the race.

The Race

Since the event was co-presented by Pinoy Trails together with Team Malaya and Active Pinas, I was at the Le Monet at 2:00 am for the race preparation.  So to cut the story short, I did part of the hosting, part of the gear-check, saw the earlier waves on their gun start and all the little chores just to make sure that the event goes on smoothly.

Check out the New Pinoy Trails Tech Shirt

After all the 8K runners claimed their kits, I joined them and started at the back of the runners.  The 8K route is the traditional Yellow Trail loop taking the lower part of the trail then followed by a steep climb mid-way and an out in back to the tree-top adventure area before heading back via the upper part of the Yellow Trail.  That’s also my regular route every time I do a training run at Camp John Hay.

The first kilometer was mostly downhill but this was my slowest kilometer because of the slippery surface from the wet trails.  When the trails are wet, gravity becomes a disadvantage.  It was a slip and slide first kilometer and since we’re just doing 8K, this would only be our technical descent compared to the longer distance who get a longer descent until Gumatdang area in Itogon.  When the trails went smoother after about a kilometer, I shifted to brisk walk pace on the rolling terrain.

While the surface was wet, the soil was more compact so it was more tolerable.  I love the lower part of the Yellow Trail with its pine rich backdrop that gets better when you go deeper.   The single track leads to the log cabin and the trail heading downward. There’s a fork in this area, one which leads further downward to the 16K and 32K routes while we had to take the steep trail upward.

Halfway into the climb.

About 4 kilometers into the race, it s the steep climb that’s about 200 meters in elevation in just 500 meters in distance.  For me, this was the race in itself since after this part, it would be a walk in the park already.  I divided my effort with several pushes on the climb and 3 resting breaks until I finally reached the top.  Upon hitting the upper part at the Embassy Area, we proceeded to the out and back to the tree top adventure area.  This has been my favorite spot on the trail as this area gives you a view of the Cordillera Mountain Range.

U-turn Slot

I started doing some run-walk stretches at this part until the u-turn slot at the red fire hydrant heading into the tree top adventure area.  It was the same run-walk effort going back as I was counting down the remaining kilometers of the race.  I started to pass runners at this time.  I stopped a bit at the embassy area for one final shot before heading back with about 2 kilometers to go.

US of A

The next part of the trail was a mixed of single track and some stretches with mud puddles as it started to rain.  I went to run most stretches at this point and passed a few more runners who took it slow on the mud puddles.  It was run and brisk walk at this point as I traversed the upper part of the trails.  It really helps that I am familiar with the trails so I know when to push or reserve my energy.  With a few effort I was back to the road segment and then to the finish line.

8K done!

That concludes the race part and the race was to see the other distances finish throughout the day.  Congratulations to the finisher as it was not an easy race especially for the 16K and 32K distances.  Seeing the finish times, the 16K felt like 25K on normal surfaces and the 32K felt like 42K on normal surfaces. Hats off to everybody and continue to Run Wild, Run Free and Run Happy.

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Incoming: Run for Wellness 9

81 years of Southstar Drug and 9th Year of Run for Wellness leads to a colorful celebration in a run at Plaze Quezon, Naga on September 9, 2018 with 3 and 5K fun categories.

Run for Wellness 9: Color Your Run

Race Map

Naga City – Southstar Drug celebrates 81 years with Run for Wellness 9: The Color your Run which is now on the 9th installment!  Color your run and color your life by joining the fitter side through a fun-themed run along Naga City. Register for 3k or 5k in select Southstar Drug branches in Bicol and get 10% off until August 31, 2018. Run for Wellness 9 will be held at Plaza Quezon in Naga City on September 9.

The Color your run with two categories that you will surely enjoy, 3K and 5K Color Run. With the combination of different colors with shades plus giveaways. RUN FOR WELLNESS will truly be remarkable and you can just FEEL THE WELLNESS in the route.  It’s a run that’s friendly even to non-runners who just wanna try out a short one.  The festival of colors will make it worth your while too. When you finish your run, you get to enjoy Zumba with the finale of color blast.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: September 9, 2018
  • Venue: Plaza Quezon, Naga City

Fees and Inclusions

  • Php 300 FOR 3K / 5K (Inclusive of Racebib, Singlet and Finisher Medal)


  • Select Southstar Drug branches:
    • NAGA
      – Crown Hotel Bldg., Cor E. Angeles St. & P. Burgos St. San Francisco Naga City Camarines Sur
      – #77 Concepcion Pequeña, Naga City, Camarines Sur
    • DAET
      – Elevated Plaza Vinzons Ave., Daet, Camarines Norte
    • IRIGA
      – Alfelor St., Cor. Rotary Road, Iriga City, Camarines Sur
      – Rizal St., Legazpi City, Alba

Race Update and Information

  • Visit: www.southstardrug.com.ph
  • Call: Tel. No. +63 (2) 643-3137
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Incoming: CM Adventure Time Run 2018

Cartoon Network’s crowd favorite TV series, Adventure Time is coming to McKinley West on September 23, 2018 with the CM Adventure Time Run.  Here’s a fun run for all runners of all ages and experience level with 3K, 5K and 10K distances to choose from.

CM Adventure Time Run 2018

When it comes to bringing the fun in the run, Color Manila team has consistently brought happy and exciting memories over the years.  Aside from the usual festivities in the run, CM Adventure Time Run 2018 brings the popular Adventure Time tandem of Finn and Jake in the running field as they venture into a new territory at McKinley West, Taguig on September 23, 2018. The event is co-presented by Color Manila and Cartoon Network.

The Race brings us to the world of Finn the Human Boy and Jake the Dog as the runners conquer fun distances of 3K, 5K and 10K along McKinley West area.  Register Now!!!

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: September 23, 2018
  • Venue: McKinley West, Taguing

Fees and Inclusions


Race Updates

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Girls Running in Trails 2018

GRIT 2018 is a race to highlight women empowerment. It’s also to support Sandi Menchi’s journey to her upcoming international race in Scotland.  I joined the short but sweet 6K route which was a tour of Eastridge’s Bike Trails.

Girls Running in Trails

Good Luck Sandi!!!

Let’s start with the girl of the show, Sandi Menchi.  She’s bound for Salomon RIng of Steall Skyrace in Scotland next month and part of the proceeds would support her journey.  Sandi’s among our top trail runners in the country and last year’s GRIT paved way for her strong showing in UTMB-TDS Distance race. I joined the 6K Sub-Sandi category but I’d want to think that I joined the 6K Individuals instead as the Sub-Sandi categories were filled with mamaws.  The Sub-Sandi category was a special category for men in an all-women race.

I haven’t done a race this short when it comes to trail races but I must say, it can be as tiring as the longer runs.  Sometimes, when you feel like resting, you’re reminded that it’s just a 6 kilometer race and you can exert more effort.  Not as fast as I wanted to but stayed consistent throughout.

With Mai and Aggy – Photo by Glairold Recella

More than just a race, GRIT was also a chance to meet friends in the community; as well as, share the time for people who share the same passion.  Great job for Race Yaya for coming out with this concept and I’m glad that you have invited me to your event.

With Mariel and Myk.

The Race

The Starting Line

Let me describe the starting line.  Sub Sandi included the Wawa Boys and Team Run Heya and then me and Rene.  Running at the same time would be the female 6K individual.  We’re obviously out of place in the Sub Sandi wave since we’re not fast and the speedsters in front of me would finish about half an hour ahead of me.  The plan was to let the speedsters go and just go with the flow for the 6K individual participants.

Habulin. – Photo by Myk Nagrampa

There was a short hill at the start.  I started running on the road stretch before entering the first set of single tracks at the trail head.  The pace was a bit lighter as I was following the pace of the group in front of me on the single track.  This led to the next set of trail after passing the aid station and it was wider trails so I resumed running.

Photo by Glairold Recella

At about a kilometer into the race, I felt that familiar pain on my shin when ever I start too fast before my muscle gets warmed up, Shin Splints!!!  I wanted to stop just to stretch but since this was a short race, I’d just bear with the pain until my legs gets warmed up and feel better.  I shifted to brisk walk pace just to keep a steady pace.

Photo by Myk Nagrampa

The trails were on the ascent but the climbs were moderate so I didn’t really have to stop to rest since I can rest on the flatter areas.  Since I was just brisk walking some of the runners were overtaking me and I’m used to it by now.  The climb lasted for the first two kilometers and we enjoyed several overlooking views of the mountains.

The views.

There were several viewpoints to appreciate.  It started to get warm towards the 3rd kilometer and you can feel it on the open trails.  There was a  wooden bridge in the middle of two rocks to cross.  It’s a bit of a struggle walking on wood especially with the short drop but all added to the fun of the race.

My legs also felt a lot better the second half of the race.  It got dizzying at kilometer 3.5 with the course shifting looping switchback “bitukang manok” kind of trails.  I started moving better and was able to pass a few runners along this stretch.  The area all looked the same so you’d get the feeling that you’re going around in circles.  I’d take note of even small changes in the course like if its a bit muddier than the last part just to make sure I’m moving forward and around.

Photo by Glairold Recella

The lower part of the trail was a lot muddier and after a muddy stretch comes another wooden ramp bridge.  It’s now a lot more slippery with wet shoes. Exciting, Right? After this stretch it was several muddy routes before the climb back to the starting area. As we made our way back to the road stretch, we had one last wooden bridge ramp to climb before heading to the finish line.  That’s my weekly dose of dirt at GRIT 2018.

With Sandi and Rene

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#TaleOfTheTrail Mount Ayaas (Rodriguez, Rizal)

Mount Ayaas

Mount Ayaas is another playground of the trail idols.  It provides various difficulty on the climbs with a share of dirt roads, steep paths, technical terrain and an overlooking view of the nearby mountain ranges being one of the higher peaks in Rodriguez, Rizal.


I’ve traversed this trail on two occasions. First was when we were feeling out the trail with Rene and Jun and the next was a few weeks after with Mike, Mariel and Inja.  Both trails were done at an easy pace though we had fewer rest stops on the second climb.  Mount Ayaas is among the favorite trails of experienced trail runners as it gives them a 5 kilometer climb that can also be a jump-off point for longer runs when you include the nearby areas as part of the trail loop.

Mount Ayaas

Trekking Mount Ayaas

Mount Ayaas

The start of the trek is at Wawa Tourism area where you take the hanging bridge near the covered court area.  There are several trails you get to visit from this parts and one of them is Mount Ayaas.  It’s a 5 kilometer climb to the peak with about 600 to 700 meters of elevation gain.  It has different trail surfaces and ascending trails for training.  The first 500 meters is the short stretch from the start to the foot of the climb.

We’re off to a rocky start.

The first part of the climb is a technical one with uneven rock paths mixed with some dirt roads.  I usually prefer my Hoka Evo jawz for this kinds of trail for better grip on rocks especially when wet.  It start with some steep ascents and then a series of rock paths.  I hate this part because of the drag but I also love that it help me familiarize myself with the surface.  There are moderate parts but there are also parts where you have to take a bigger step.  Once you get to the top the trails get easier.

Flatter grounds.

After the rocky part of the trail comes a short descent on dirt roads heading to the foot of the next set of climbs.    These is a short forested part with trees and bamboo shafts over a rolling terrain.  It’s a short stretch but this could be a good breather before the next set of climbs.

Steeper climbs

The climb resumes over a mix of single tracks and wider dirt roads.  The climb gets a bit steeper and for these parts, I try to cut the climb into shorter sections.  The store is about the mid way point of the climb and that’s my usual rest stop for a short round of drinks.  It’s a bit pricey here compared to the price at Wawa area but you got to understand the effort to bring the goods over 2-3 kilometers of climbing.

After the store, there’s a short descent before the climb resumes.  There’s another house along the way, which can be a rest stop. There’s a short paved road at the side.  That one heads to Mascap area so remember not to take road especially heading back.  Since we’re climbing a mountain, let’s take the road going up. The next is another set of climbs on dirt roads and it gets steeper again heading to the relay tower.  I’m sure you’re getting the formula now. The higher you get, the steeper the trail it gets.

Searching for Kung Fu Panda.

The relay station can be another rest stop since the next part would be a lot technical and steeper.  The last part is about 500+ meters to the summit but as the formula goes, the higher you are, the steeper it gets.  It’s mostly single tacks from this point.  I like the area surrounded by Bamboos as it feels like I’m searching for Kung Fun Panda.  I usually take it 50-100 steps effort before taking a break for a few seconds to catch my breath.  I’m just glad that the Evo Jawz have excellent traction even on the technical parts. It’s a grind out climb but it’s tolerable.

On false summits…

After going through a series of steep technical trails, I’ve finally seen daylight, which meant I was nearing the summit.  Yes and NO!!! There are several false summits as just when you dig deep to reach the summit, you see another set of climbs and you repeat the process until you reach the summit.  It’s worth it!!!

Summit High

Mount Ayaas summit is 627 meters above sea level and is among the higher peaks in the area. You are rewarded with a panoramic view of the mountain range.  It’s one of the best view points of the majestic beauty of the mountain trails of Rodriguez, Rizal.

What else can I ask for?

While it was open at the summit, it was also windy so we didn’t really mind staying for a while just to enjoy the view.  There’s also trail access points to Malasya and Mascap area.  Maybe next time, we get to climb Mount Ayaas from these areas or go longer to explore this regions.

My Trusty Hoka One One Evo Jawz

While the climb can be long and agonizing, the descent was pure downhill fun. We barely noticed getting out of the stretch from Mount Ayaas peak to the relay station as we were running over the technical trails.  I think it’s much safer to run this part because of the downward momentum.  I’m just glad that I had good traction to rely on.

Downhill fun!!!

It was another downhill run heading to the store where we rested and had a few snack.  The way back was probably half the time going up until the last 1.5 kilometers, which is the rocky portion of the trails.  There were run-able paths and there were portion, you had to slow down because of the uneven terrain.  I’m just glad to have a good grip and faster response time on this stretch as I made my way out of the trail and back to the Wawa main area.  Mount Ayaas has always been a good work out.

Going Down

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Over 2,000 Mudders Joins the 1st Tough Mudder Weekend in the Philippines

The first Tough Mudder Philippines event also attracted participants from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even USA.

It was a weekend of mud as Tough Mudder made its Philippine Debut at Portofino Amore in Alabang last July 21-22, 2018. Over 2,000 Mudders braved the mud, the obstacles and even the stormy weather for a the initial staging of Tough Mudder in the Country.

Tough Mudder

Over 2,000 participants from the Philippines and overseas, joined the first Tough Mudder Philippines weekend, which took place last July 21-22, 2018, at Portofino Amore, in Alabang.

The event marked the first collaboration between Tough Mudder, Inc., and Proactive Sports Management, which is better known for their highly successful ColorManila Run series.  The event also highlighted team work as the participants made their way through the obstacles as a team.

When asked about his thoughts regarding the first Tough Mudder Philippines event, Tough Mudder Senior Operations Manager for International Events Nathan Bassett, says, “Yes it has been fantastic.  I think the ColorManila team and Proactive, have really done a good job pulling off an amazing event.  It has been a challenging week with all the rains and the flooding, but the event that they put on this weekend has been fantastic, and I see that the participants are all having a great time. 

“Today we got a taste of having the 5K and the half (8K).  And we’re hoping to bring the full (16K) over here, and bring the best obstacles that we’ve got for a full event.”

Proactive VP Justine Cordero, adds, “We’re very happy that we have a lot of mudders today who joined.  I’ve seen the participants enjoying themselves as they went through the obstacles, and they’re also helping each other out,…it’s all about teamwork.  It’s also about exceeding, challenging your own self, and overcoming your fears.  The Filipinos really know how to have fun.”

Some of the participants included Tough Mudder Ambassadors Raymond Guttierez, Gretchen Ho, Eduardo Lara, Noel Agra, Christi McGarry, Lahaina Mondonedo and Fabio Ide.  They were also joined by Tough Mudder influencers Will de Vaughn, Alex Diaz, Carla Piscoso, George Irineu, and other well-known celebrities such Marc Nelson, Erwan Heussaff, Nico Bolzico, Vince Velasco, Moritz Gastl, Luis Hontiveros, and Dyan Castillejo, among others, who were all seen enjoying the event, at Portofino Amore, in Alabang.

Tough Mudder in the Philippines is held in partnership with Proactive Sports Management, a sports events company which started in 2012, and is known in the industry for staging various marathons and mass participation events.

The event was made possible by Cobra, Merrell Philippines, Black Arrow Express, Pretty Huge Obstacles, Vivere Hotel, Crystal Clear, Anytime Fitness, Snippet Media, and Manila Times.

Proactive’s next event will be the Yakult 16-miler, to be held on October 7, 2018, at the CCP Grounds.

For more information, please visit www.toughmudder.ph and FB/ToughMudderPhilippines.

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