Pine Tree Marathon

I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as  a tree...  – Joyce Kilmer.

This was the theme of the Pine Tree Marathon, the final leg of Team Malaya's Cordillera Series.  I have always wanted to participate in a race in Baguio so, upon the prodding of some long time friends living in Baguio and with a free weekend to spare, I decided to head for the mountains and join this race.

Baguio is very well known for its winding roads and killer hills which is why I opted to run the 21 km event and not the full Marathon.  The Race Start and Finish was at Panagbenga Park located right in front of John Hay with the race route making it's way through Kennon Road up to to the Lions Head which was the turn around point.  The first half of the race was mostly downhill. Though you tend to pick up speed, it also was very jarring on the legs.  At the turnaround point we already knew what was in store for us, a winding and uphill battle back to the finish line.  It didn't take long before you feel your legs slowly giving in to fatigue and the high altitude and thin air was “lung busting."  I charged every hill, pushed myself hard on each turn and only walked during those occasions when dogs from nearby stores would give chase or to give way to incoming trucks that would be hurdling towards me (or else!)

Despite the challenges this race had to offer, I still felt really good when I crossed that finish line and even more so when it was later disclosed that I had officially come in at 2nd place ( I mean... who knew?!! Seriously?!!  )  I just had to wait a few more hours before the official awarding ceremony and was pleasantly surprised when they presented to the awardees a tradional Ifugao head gear, sash and wooden medal which was so in keeping with the traditions and heritage of Baguio. I must admit, finishing 2nd and getting an award is such a major ego boost for a 51 year old "foggie" like myself.  It just made a great weekend even more memorable.  As they say in Ilocano - "Pinakamayat ken pinakanaragsak nga weekend ko."  
"Best Weekend ever"!

***So it's Monday, day after the race, and my body is aching all over.  Major reality check for a 51 year-old runner who was on an all time high yesterday.   You may still have it old man but you ain't immortal !  

Weekend at La Mer

The long weekend break saw me and the rest of the family heading out to the beach while still keeping track of the Pope's visit here in the Philippines.  It was a weekend filled with lots of laughter, sumptuous food, lively conversations, some playtime by the pool with kids & pets, magnificent sunsets and even a whale shark siting!  As much as I love spending time outdoors, soaking up some sun and getting in some major R & R, at the end of the day, it's all about spending time together and creating memories that will last a lifetime. 

Sierra 51050

 *Please also note that there is a change in venue but just 5 minutes away from the original place: Ten Cents to Heaven.
December 16, 2014 MANILA, Philippines – Sierra 51050 has proven that running is not just a solitary sport. Runners formed groups to battle it out who is the fastest in the relay category.

On March 1, 2015, iTracc Maxxed Sierra 51050 Relay & Half Marathon will happen at the hills of Sierra Madre in Tanay, Rizal. The route runs along Sitio Mayagay, Barangay Sampaloc and Barangay Cuyambay.

iTracc Maxxed Sierra 51050 has the Relay 51050, Half Marathon and 10k for race categories. Early registration starts December 16, 2014 to January 4, 2015 while regular registration starts January 5, 2015 and will end on February 15.

The half-marathon and 10k distance categories are open to individuals who would like to try the hills of Sierra Madre, while the Relay 51050 will compose of five (5) members in a team who will run 10 kilometers each summing up to 50 kilometers.

Early registration for iTracc Maxxed Sierra 51050 Relay & Half Marathon is available in selected sportshouse stores (SM Bicutan, SM City Fairview, SM City Novaliches, SM Marikina, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, Robinson’s Galleria and Trinoma) and all Second Wind Running Specialty Stores (Malingap St., Teachers Village Quezon City/Unit 107, G-Strip, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan/Ortigas Home Depot Julia Vargas, Pasig City).

For more information about iTracc Maxxed Sierra 51050, interested participants may visit the Sierra 51050 page (
 and Rundezvous, Inc. page (

CEBU MARATHON 2015 - Redemption Run

 Being able to make it to the CEBU MARATHON this time around brings forth a lot of memories.  I had signed up for the Cebu Marathon way back in 2010.  I recall having trained really hard for many months, racking in the needed mileage and was physically and mentally prepared for that race.  I was all set to go and fly out but was forced to cancel at the very last minute which I shouldn't have - had I been a stronger person then, but that's a different story....

Instead of feeling depressed and having all those months of preparation go to waste,  I ran my own marathon in Manila on the same day as the Cebu Marathon where the only runner is me; my own personal race devoid of the crowd and all the fanfare.  I finished at a time of 4:31:41 for a distance of 42.195 km. Though I have no medal to show for it, at least It felt good to have done it. 

So fast forward to 2015, five years after, I finally got my chance to run in the CEBU MARATHON...  this is Redemption for me. 

I would estimate 1500 joined the 42.195 km Marathon event which started at exactly 3amsharp.  The race route, which started and ended at the IT Park, Cebu City, had us coursing through the Cebu south costal road and the SRP (South Road Propeties) Tunnel twice. Another added bonus apart from the weather which was nice and chilly, was making our way through the cities (Cebu & Talisay), passing some historic sites, beautiful scenery and quaint towns and barrios each having it own unique character which I really loved. 

I had only one game plan going into this marathon and that was  to simply not have one.  For starters, my training regimen was rather simple and straightforward without overdoing it and come race day, I just ran and went for it pushing myself every step of the way even ignoring that twitch in my leg that has plagued me so many times before.  I then decided to pick up the pace during the last 2kms and to my surprise, finished with an unofficial time of 4.22 !!! 

Perhaps it was just a good day for me or maybe it was the carbo-loading I did prior with a little bit of LECHON on the side which was key, but whatever it was that made me run well makes me truly grateful and happy.  All things considered, the Cebu Marathon is beautiful and probably one of the best I've run thus far in the Philippines.  I highly recommend you include this marathon in your bucket list. 

Pre Race Meal
Post Race Meal

Things i saw 
Coffee Shop serving beer :-)
A Marathon finisher worst nightmare ... STAIRS !!!!