Saturday, August 20, 2011

Livestrong Day 2011 - Sunday, October 2

The anniversary of Lance Armstrong's cancer diagnosis is a global day of action.  On October 2, we gather to celebrate survivorship and commit to working towards a world without cancer. 

This year, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide. LIVESTRONG Day is an opportunity for people from all walks of life to work toward the common goal of ensuring that the 28 million cancer survivors around the world have the information, resources and support they need to live with strength and dignity.  Cancer affects everyone. Each year more than 12 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer, and eight million people will die from the disease.  In 2010, cancer became the leading cause of death worldwide.

Join us on Sunday, October 2, 2011 at the Bonifacio Global City grounds for the Livestrong Day Philippine event (  Starting at 4am, we will have fun runs for 3km, 5km, & 10km;  at 6am, a 30km road bike criterum race, and at 8am, a 25km critical mass ride for all types of bikes.

Show your support for LIVESTRONG Day and help cancer survivors around the world with your registration inclusive of donation.  

Messages from Lance Armstrong on Livestrong Day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bike Safari in Batanes

May 4-12, 2011 - a 9-day, 8-night bike holiday in the beautiful and refreshing Batanes group of islands.  Seair offered a hard-to-resist promo last November 2010, giving us exactly 6 months to prepare for the trip.  Although nothing can ever prepare one for RP typhoons, which eventually extended our stay from 5 nights to 8 nights.  The airline will take in your bike in a bag as check luggage, just pay the excess to the 10 kgs they allow for free at P100 per kg.  Keep your stuff in a hand luggage or backpack at max 7 kgs.  Local accommodations are plenty, and we were happy at the new Batanes Seaside Resort Annex at a reasonable P800 a night, which went down to P600 during our extended period. Double-bed rooms with hot & cold shower, cable TV, free WiFi & filtered water - remarkably good value for money at a place like Basco.

All of the above shots were taken at the famed "Marlboro Country" as the locals call it - protected area for cattle grazing, overlooking some spectacular views of the ocean, jagged beaches & rocks deformed by the waves, and bordered by amazing cliffs.  One can not help but pose for pictures for posterity to recapture the moments, notice the bikes are simply laid down and not ridden. (with pictures from Bruce, Cesar and Jun)

The rest of the bike rides are around glorious asphalted zigzag  roads leading to other towns or hilltops, generous trails to satisfy a mountain bikers desires, and challenging uphills which are generously rewarded by spectacular views of the ocean and the mountains.  There are historical bits to see, like the Japanese Bunker up a hill, which you can enter and explore even into its different rooms and turret gun placements;  the Pacita Stone House, which is beautifully located up a hill with the expected spectacular views, supposedly having the best rooms you can rent for your escapades in Batanes;  the Basco Lighthouse, perfect photo location and having one of the best views of the sunset in Basco, with its cute Bunker Cafe serving semi-gourmet dinners & the best banana turon we ever tasted in Basco (we kept coming back for dinner to this place for 5 nights).

Skyway Running at Condura

16 kms - up from my usual 5ks!

Initially it sounded formidable, having been accustomed to running 5ks for 3 years or so.  We were challenged by the PDA Team (Philippine Diabetic Athletes) for whom I am wearing the colors for this run.

So I train up, running 8 to 10 kms every other day, doing hills every 2 km loop.
A week before the event, did the full 16 km practice run.

Come race day, it was a bit of a challenge figuring out where to park the car (at The Fort where the race will end) and how to get to Ayala Avenue in Makati City where the 16 km event will start.  Eventually got into a cab, and hitched 2 other runners waiting for a ride to the starting line as well.

At the starting grid, I was glad to meet a biking friend Tsi who has done longer runs than me, at least I can keep pace with her. Other members of the PDA Team were there too, but some are running the half-marathon 21k.  Off we go, into the dark lanes of the skyway.  Happy to see very organized placements of water stations every 2 kms and urinals every 5 kms, and plenty of marshals to guide us.  When the sun eventually showed up, some runners were having more than the usual fun in run events - they were stopping for photos, as this is a rare opportunity to be allowed to run at the skyway.  There were some pretty views for photo opps, like the church windows somewhere near Guadalupe, which became a popular photo-stop.

As we labored back towards Makati City down Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, my shoes started to feel heavy, like there was bubble gum stuck at the heel.  I checked and there was none, but still it felt like I was dragging my feet already.  All of a sudden, I felt a tap on my back, and encouraging words from another runner, saying "you can do it, it's only a few more kms".  I was wondering why he did that, but appreciated the concern just as well.  I saw bananas being given out at the next rest station, I felt better after re-loading with 2 bananas.  Just before we tackled the flyover at the end of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue towards The Fort, I heard another runner tell me "we are so encouraged by your participation, keep it up, only 2 kms to go".  Again, I wondered and was glad of the words of encouragement from them.  Then a lady runner ran beside me, saying, "good thing you're doing this, not allowing your diabetes to hinder you".  That was then when I remembered that my tri suit had my name at the back, saying I am a Type 2 diabetic.  I am glad we were able to inspire people at the event, and I am proud to wear the Team uniform of PDA.
Well, as I was running down the homestretch, I came across other biker friends Rene doing the 21k and Lex doing the 10k.  All 3 of us were just too happy to have reached that far, as we crossed the finish all at the same time.  Till the next run, see you guys.....

(With photos from & Rene Martin Go)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

First Triathlon in Subic

April 30th, my first foray into the world of triathlon - K-Swiss ITU Subic Bay International Triathlon, organized by TRAP (Triathlon Association of the Philippines).  I joined the Sprint Section for the Male Adult Category (Masters, aged 50 & up), sporting the blue & black colors of  PDA (Philippine Diabetic Athletes as a Type 2), sponsored by Multi-Sport Magazine & the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

We drove to Subic the day before with Ryan, my on-board pro photographer/videographer, using a 23,000 km mileage Honda Civic lent to us by a cousin, as it is more gas efficient than my own rides.  We first did a "recon" of Dungaree beach where the swim part will happen, then surveyed the 10 km bike route to check for the nasty uphills on the way to Morong Gate.  The run part should be easy as it just goes around the major SBMA roads. After registering and getting the race packet, we headed for the Subic International Hotel to check in, had an early dinner, double-checked my gear, and turned in early for the night.

Come race morning, we started around 4 am to drop of my T2 gear, then drove to the Subic airport area for T1.  I set up the bike and we're ready for the race.

The swim part started well, got my share of kicks and thugs as I struggle with the rest of the pack in my category as we were swimming towards the turnaround buoy some 375 meters out to sea. keeping the buoy line in sight beside me.  As we grew closer to the turnaround, the buoy line disappeared down the water, as I noticed other swimmers were sitting on it while others grab on it, holding on to gasp for air.  I was concerned if I was still following the correct line, but confident that I still have the canoe marshal in sight at the turnaround.  I managed to get back at my usual swim pace, got through the turnaround and  comfortably swam the other half of the swim leg, with enough  reserve energy for the bike part. I had a pleasant surprise after exiting the sea water - there was a fresh water shower along the way to T1, just perfect to wash away the salty water from my face.  After wearing my bike helmet first, I cleaned my feet of sand, wore my bike shoes & sunglasses and off we go for the bike part.  This was generally uneventful other that the killer uphills towards Morong Gate (but not quite at that gate) for the turnaround, as the return trip towards SBMA proper was generally flat.  I made my first mistake as a newbie and missed T2, such that I had to bike an extra loop to get back to T2, properly dismount before it, and walking towards the bike racks.  After doing it right the second time around, got T2 done now with running shoes on, went on to finish the 5k run.  I did not really pressed on that hard on the run, knowing I can comfortably finish the whole race now.  I was just smiling while running, knowing I have just licked my first tri.

My road bike's first tri too - it served me well.  Kudos to Ibis, thanks Goyo...

Biking in the Cordilleras

Mountain biking in Baguio - that's one of the desired destinations of most bikers.  Mountain biking in the Cordilleras - even more desirable.  Barring thin air to breath, amazing views before downhills and killer uphills (and there's a lot of them), biking the Cordilleras is a great experience for anyone from the 'downland' cities.

Last May 21, 2011, we joined the Globe Cordillera Challenge bike ride for the benefit of the Cordillera Conservation Trust.  A little under 200 bikers joined the event contributing P1,000 each, with the end view of helping out in the tree planting campaign of Globe Telecom.  The ride started at 6am at Burnham Park and ended 3pm at the Benguet Provincial Capitol in La Trinidad, covering some 40 kms of combined road and trail sections.  Led by the Globe Adventure Club (GAC) bikers, it was participated in by bikers from the Philippine Mountain Biking Forum (PhilMoFo), the Pinoy Mountain Biking Community (PMTB), Team Holcim and various other individual participant-bikers.

The first 20 kms are mostly road and is easily finished in under 2 hours.  There is an optional quit stop at this stage which also ends at the Benguet Provincial Capitol.  The next 20 kms is a loop around the Capitol but mostly mountain trails and challenging uphills and downhills.
Some of the stronger riders finished this in another 2-3 hours, so as early as 11am some bikers were already resting at the finish and taking an early lunch.  All in all it was a great experience and something to look forward to again next year.  Thank you Globe Telecom for giving back to mother nature, and sponsoring this ride.  Our P1,000 contribution is well worth it - great jersey & arm covers, comfortable ride to & from Baguio, wholesome accommodations & warm meals, careful transport of our bikes, excellent event organization & marshaling, sufficient media coverage, reassuring medics & security, generous co-sponsors, and best of all - the great company of biker friends and new biker friends.

As I was at the receiving end of generous assistance from biker friends when I had a flat tire on my road bike in one night ride down Cabading where they shared their tube patches, I may only be able to repay your good deeds by helping out the next biker in need.  To the Holcim rider who had cramps, I hope you're well & good now;  to the PMTB biker who now has a new chain link, nice knowing you friend.  This is the very essence of biking camaraderie - pay forward.

(with excellent shots from Allan Bantucan, Mountain Bike Philippines, & Ronald Oruga)

Scuba Diving in Boracay

Well, this is the other thing I'm into - scuba diving.

For so many years in the past, we have been visiting Boracay Island in Aklan Province, Philippines, as often as 3 to 4 times in a year. For the fun of it, I always try a new sport or activity while in the island, other than swimming and enjoying the beach scenes. I have tried hang gliding (with a VW motor mounted on a hang glider taking off from the water), wind surfing (I had some good 10 minutes of fame standing on the board after 50 minutes of lessons), ocean wake boarding (till my arms nearly got dislocated from my shoulders, boy - this is really hard to do in the open water towed by a speed boat), and scuba diving!

You guessed it, I loved scuba diving more that any of the other fun stuff I tried above, so I got hooked on it after completing my first certification as an Open Water Diver.  Soon enough, I found myself back in the island for my Advanced Open Water Diver course.  This is where the real underwater fun starts as after the second course, I am now able to do night dives (sounds creepy when you only get to see where your dive light is directed to, not knowing what lies beside you, but fun seeing all the nocturnal creatures under water, those glow-in-the-dark-like critters which come out only at night), drift dives (diving deep enough to allow under currents to take you and
learning how to manage it, ending up over a mile away from the dive boat), deep dives (sometimes down to wreck but only around it, not penetrating or getting inside the wreck), and other fun dives.
Diving in Bora with my brother

Last year, I spent 2 weeks back in the island completing my 3rd course as a Rescue Diver, & the Emergency First Response course on CPR & First Aid, as pre-requisites to my target, becoming a Divemaster.  In the process of completing the required minimum of 60 dives, I got to dive the wreck so many times to qualify me for a Specialty Course in Wreck Diving.  I have now recently completed the required 8 exams for Divemaster, passed all of them (never studied so hard in 3 days to prepare for them), and now eagerly awaiting for the official notification of my becoming PADI Professional - a Divemaster!

(with pics from Blue Mango Dive Resort, Boracay Island, Aklan, Philippines).

Maiden Voyage

It has been a long time plan to get into blogging, what with all the fun activities and travelling I get into.

Well, here goes - my maiden trip into the blogging world, to share my life experiences from triathlons, bike-camps, scuba diving, and in the future, hopefully - flying!

Stay tuned for more lengthy articles in the near future.

Bye for now.

Find out the places I have been to in the Philippine Map below: