Saturday, August 16, 2014

Running Event : Salomon Citytrail 2014 Philippines

"just because you are not out there in the big mountains and the wilderness, it doesn't mean you can't find freedom" - Anna Frost, Trail Runner & Salomon Athlete

Click on image to enlarge
When I don’t get to hike or travel and I find myself craving for scenery and a little bit of adventure, I go out for a run and just wander off. It was through this that I discovered interesting places – deserted alleys, red light districts, museums and parks. In one occasion, I even boarded a boat that cruised over Pasig river (blog here). 

So I’m quite excited to share with you details of the Salomon Citytrail 2014 which will be held on September 7, 2014 in the historic district of Intramuros, Manila, a former political center of the Spanish regime in East Asia. 

Salomon Brand Manager & Triathlete, Janice Tanada sharing a preview of the run during the CItytrail launch
This event promises to be fun and informative as the route will pass other historical landmarks within Intramuros. 

Date : September 7, 2014, Sunday
Gun Start : 4:00 PM, Fort Santiago 
Registration Information: 
August 1 to August 29 - Salomon stores (List here)
August 30 - September 5 - R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street (FB Page : R.O.X.)
Online Registration : Runners Runner (there's a 7% processing fee which seems fair if you're far from the registration venues)
Facebook Event Page: Salomon Citytrail 2014
Fees : 
P900 - 6km  category
P1,200 - 12km category 
Inclusions : 
All registrants will get a race bib, timing chip, Salomon Citytrail singlet, Citytrail cap, post race meal and a historical running tour of Intramuros City. 

12km finishers will get a Citytrail Finisher’s medal. Top three male and female winners per distance will be awarded with R.O.X. gift certificates, Salomon products, and other freebies. Salomon items and products from sponsors will also be given away to lucky participants on the day of the event

Baggage & Parking Information : 
There will be ample parking space during the event. Baggage counters will be situated near the Start/Finish line at Fort Santiago.

Gears : This will be a green event, meaning, cups will not be provided at the hydration station so you need to bring your own water bottles or hydration belts. 

If you're looking for new shoes, do consider, Salomon X-Scream. These colorful shoes are designed for those who do a combination of mountain and road running. It retails at P6,490.00 and is available in Salomon Stores in Glorietta 3, SM Aura, SM Megamall & R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street. 
Salomon X-Scream

Click here for the Gear Review by Pharmaton MVP & CityTrail Race director TJ Isla

Salomon Philippines
Facebook Account: Salomon Pilipinas
Instagram: @salomonph

Related blog on Salomon Citytrail 2014 : Do check out sir Rene Villarta's (jazzrunner) post.

This running activity is spearheaded by Salomon Philippines which is under the Primer Group of Companies, the retail company that brought other big brands here in the Philippines such as The North Face, Columbia, JanSport and more! 


See you there! :) 



Monday, August 4, 2014

Where to Stay in Naga City : Eurotel



A view of Naga River near the side entrance of Eurotel 
Just recently, I joined blogger friends on a two day adventure around Naga City and its nearby municipalities to check out several waterfalls, old churches, a pebble beach and most importantly, its restaurants (teehee!). 

Our accommodation was Eurotel, a hotel situated beside Naga River which serves as the starting point for the fluvial parade of the Penafrancia Festival, the city is known for. 
Lobby
This festival is held every September in honor of the Our Lady of Penafrancia. For 2014, the highlights will be on September 12, 2014 (road procession from Penafrancia Shrine to Naga Metropolitan Cathedral) and on September 20, 2014 the fluvial Procession where the image of the Virgin is returned from Naga Metropolitan Cathedral to Pe├▒afrancia Shrine. *Note that final schedule of the activities will be released on August 15.

(Please Like Naga Smiles to the World on Facebook for updates on the Penafrancia Festival. :) Naga Travel information at Pinoy Adventurista’s blog)

Swift check-in
I was assigned to a Studio room which has a beautiful picture of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France at the head of a queen-sized bed. It has its own private t&b, aircon, cable tv, safe and  free WIFI. I was also grateful for the complimentary water bottles as I had just arrived from a 12 hour bus ride from Manila the night before. 

Comfy bed
Eurotel has its own restaurant with the price range of the food ranging from 150 Pesos above which is quite reasonable for its taste. An overnight stay also comes with free breakfast. Buffet was available during our stay. The variants were simple, not too many options but I was quite satisfied with what was available. 
Breakfast is practically the first thing on my mind every morning!
Its location is across People's Mall and is 10-15 minutes away by tricycle from SM Naga and the central bus terminal (where you can catch a bus back to Manila). 

From the hotel, you can explore the city on foot (ideally early morning or during the evening to avoid the heat). The Oragon, a scultpure which depicts the bravery of the Bicolanos is a few feet away from the hotel.  From the Oragon, you can continue on foot to Plaza Rizal, which honors the Philippines' national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal (located along General Luna street). Another worthwhile stopover is Quince Martires along Penafrancia street, a plaza honoring the 15 Bicolano martyrs during the Spanish colonization. To read more about Naga City attractions visit their local government website.
So there you go, if you're visiting Naga, consider Eurotel. Staff are friendly (not overly attentive which is good because I want to be left alone) and despite being dubbed as a businessman's hotel, I actually felt at home. 

Eurotel Naga

#2 General Luna corner Riverside Road Bgy Dinaga, Naga City

Manila Line / Tel. No.+63 544-725321 / 6686131 
Mobile No. +63 0922-3100303
Email : eurotel_naga@yahoo.com
Website : Eurotel - Naga

Rates at 1,500-2850 Pesos depending on room type. 

Disclaimer : 
Our 2-day Naga adventure was made possible by Naga Tourism office and Naga Excursions.

Related Post :

Friday, August 1, 2014

Puerto Galera Series : Da Pirmeda

After several hours of touring under the suns, I was ecstatic when I finally felt some cold air brushed against my skin as our jeepney moved higher up the mountains. Though the rough road was relentlessly bumpy on some sections, the sides of the road were abundant with trees, its rich green hues complemented the sky which was as blue as a lap pool. 

Our group comprised of fellow travel bloggers and writers, led by tourism officer ms. Aileen Bareng  stopped 10 minutes away from our destination as the road was  a little too steep for our vehicle. As we were around an altitude of 2,000 feet, we were rewarded with the views of Verde island passage and other nearby islands. 


Owned by a member of the Mangyan-Iraya tribe, Leo Banaag, Da Pirmeda was built with a purpose to share Mangyan culture to others while providing a haven for travelers who want a quiet mountain get-away. 
Near the entrance, you can find a map of the place, its amenities and activities you can try
There are two pools with cool water running continously from the mountains. Fellow bloggers were quick to reference Singapore's Merlion at the sight of the water shooting from the pipe perched on a tree branch. With its clear inviting waters, I regretted not having extra clothes so I could take a quick dip. 


Overnight jungle tours which can cover up to a distance of 37 kilometers can also be arranged for 3,800 Pesos/head as well as survival skills training (500 Pesos/head). 

I got pretty excited when Leo brought out a traditional bow and arrow. As a fan of Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games book series,  I couldn't help but dream about being a bad ass archer - which I later found out, was a lot harder than I imagined. :P 


With Leo teaching us how to use the bow, we took turns hitting our unfortunate target, the trunk of a coconut tree situated near a cliff. I managed to hit the grass close to the tree. While it was a futile attempt, I was pretty happy I got to hold a bow and shoot an arrow. 

As I savored the view of the ocean and the thick foliage around me, I made a mental note to come back, swim at the pool and spend a night here for a quiet time and perhaps, try the jungle trail. 

Rates :
Entrance fee is at 250 Pesos. The rates are backpacker friendly too - there's huts for 250-450 Pesos/night which can be shared by 2-3 persons. 

One of my companions on this trip, sir Amadis Ma. Guerrero also wrote a very helpful article on Da Pirmeda. Read about it via Inquirer.

How to get to Da Pirmeda? You can bike, hike (it's a steep, hour hike) or hire a jeep from the city center. Resort's contact details below. 

Da Pirmeda
Brgy. Baclayan, Puerto Galera
Contact Information : 
Leo Banaag - +63 0920-669-2668 (Mobile)
Aileen Barang (Puerto Galera Tourism Officer) - aileenbarangtourismoffice@gmail.com  
Tourism Information Center at +63 043-287-3051 (Landline) or +63 0927-901-2318 (Mobile)

How to Get to Puerto Galera? Visit PuertoGalera.Net

Related Post :
Check out our visit to a Mangyan Village in Talipanan
Curious about archery but no time to travel to far? Check out my post on Kodanda Archery Range in Makati!  Click here.:)  


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Archery in the Philippines : Kodanda Archery Range, Makati


I’ve been wanting to try archery ever since I saw the Philippine Archery team in Philsports Arena where I used to go for a morning run. The team had started setting up just as I was finishing my last round on the track. It was a quiet scene, no balls being kicked around, no coaches yelling what to do and no loud banters. They raised their bow quietly, maintained their focus and hit the target. As someone who spent their adolescent years playing in a football team where yelling was mandatory as field was enormous, it was appealing. I supposed I’m just being human, drawn to what's different. :P 
Inside Kodanda Archery Range
The accessibility of archery ranges in the city was a struggle for anyone who’s interested to try this sport. I didn’t even know any archers back then. Fortunately - and you’re even luckier if you live near Makati, there’s Kodanda Archery Range at Makati Cinema Square. 

Opened in July 2013, this 7-lane, fully air-conditioned facility inside a mall gives everyone who's at least 7 years old and above a chance to try out archery. The rate of 550 Pesos/hour is inclusive of international-standard equipment, protective gear and basic coaching from expert instructors. You need to pay an additional Php30.00 for the target paper though which you can bring home after, so it sums up to 580 Pesos which is still cheaper compared to other ranges in the city. There is no membership required which is great if you just want to try it at least once. (Php 200.00 is the range rental per person, per hour if you your own gear.) 

Group packages up to 15 people are also available which would be a good bonding activity for peers or families. 
They also have a shop where you can buy bows, arrows and novelty items related to archery.
I had no idea how I'd fair with archery but I've always wanted to try it so I eagerly accepted Kodanda's invite. After a short lesson on how to use the bow, release arrows, proper form,  I was shooting like I was hunting for food. :P There's something addicting about focusing on that yellow target and releasing arrows. It feels therapeutic. :)
Unlike the rest of my companions who hit the bull's eye on their first session,
I completely missed it,  I'll get it next time! :P
Fun Facts!

  • In the 2012 London Olympics, two of the eleven-member Philippine contingent, Mark Javier and Rachel Anne Cabral, are proud archers. 
  • Syd Fraginal, a former Philippine National Team archer who was once a record-holder in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games is a full-time coach at Kodanda Archery Range. 
  • Kodanda Archery Range now holds Fun Shoot Competition almost every month. 
  • There's a branch of Aida's Chicken on the floor above Kodanda where you can eat after your work-out. :P Aida's a popular chicken joint in Bacolod, my fave! Aida's branch here in Makati serves more dishes but twice as expensive but service and food is good. 
What to Wear?
Rubber shoes or a footwear with a good grip is a must. Slippers not allowed. You don't want to slip on the floor in the middle of shooting an arrow. :P Wear something comfortable. remember, you will be raising one of your elbows most of the time.

Keep in Mind :
Archery requires focus so avoid disruptive noise.   Do not talk in a loud voice while others are shooting.  Do not talk to another archer who prefers to be silent.  Do not disturb people with loud mobile phone ringtones or speaking on the phone.
 
Lessons Offered :
  • Php6,000.00 for ten (10) sessions, one (1) hour per session 
  • Student will be issued a Certificate of Completion after the ten (10) sessions
  • Fees include the use of the archery range, rental of international-standard equipment and protective gear, and target paper.   
  • Dedicated coaching on basic or advanced archery from one of our expert instructors:
  • Syd Nerickzon Fraginal ( former Phil. player, sea games record holder)
  • Ronalyn Alvarez (former NCR Team member, Palarong pambansa winner)
  • Ronna May Alvarez (former member of developmental team of the Phil.)
  • Sessions will be adjusted to the student’s schedule 

Contact Information : 
Reservations and further inquiries, call +63(02)621.9109 and (0932)843.6614, look for May.  
Email address : kodandaarchery@gmail.com 
Facebook page: Kodanda Archery Range

Kodanda Archery Range
Upper Basement, Makati Cinema Square
Makati City, Philippines 
Business Hours : Mon - Sun: 10:30 - 19:30


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Waterfalls Hiking in Camarines Sur

Shower Falls
After settling in our rooms at Eurotel, I met with the rest of our group which included fellow bloggers Shawn (Life Beyond 8-5), Estan (Langyaw), Kara (Traveling Up), our hosts, Wayne, Rustom from Naga Tourism and Albert from NagaX, Naga tourism’s marketing arm. By private van, we traveled 45 minutes to Barangay Curry (pronounced as Koory)  in Pili, Camarines Sur's capital.  
Arrival at the trail head
The jump-off had a wide open space for parking, two spartan restrooms where you can change and a hut where we registered our names. 

After meeting our guides, we set off to a deeper section of the forest. The start of the terrain was flat but a little rocky which is quite manageable. Trees and shrubs surrounded us. Hues of green were strong and instantly, I felt even more cheerful, this is home! 


In about 20 minutes, our feet had to get wet as we crossed our first river. Water was cool and quite tempting to dip in. 


After resting, we proceeded to my favorite part of the hike, this daunting, steep section.  I felt nervous as I ascended, clung to roots and  made sure my feet were planted firmly on a rock or branch before I advanced. Fortunately, everyone in the group got to the top without any problems. 


After another 30 minutes of slow pace hiking  (we took the sweet time to take photos – it was just hard not to with all the trees and  insects we saw), we arrived at the first major fall, Twin Falls. Navigating our bodies on twisted tree branches and rocks, it felt like we walked in a special spot where magical creatures converge. 

Twin Falls with Kara of Traveling Up.com 
We resumed our trek on a slightly muddy trail caused by rain the night before. When it got too slippery, I took off my slippers and walked barefoot. (Note :Wear footwear with straps if you're vising all the falls!) 

The second major waterfall was Slide falls. Its lower part features smooth rocks which one can climb and slide into the water. Its water is also deep enough to allow one to climb a cliff and jump. Here we ate our packed lunch. (Note : No modern facilities or trash bins here so you need to carry all your trash down. :)) 

Slide Falls
15 minutes away on a non-existent trail via the river was Shower Falls, a magnetizing view of water cascading gently from its top. It does look like water coming from a shower head at home except this one’s very tall, could be 50 feet at least.

Shower Falls
A long tree log serves as a viewing deck for those who just want to sit and stare at the falls. It’s also wide enough for you to take a nap just as Kara did. Although I am not much of a waterfalls fan, this one’s quite impressive. I just sat on a rock and stared for majority of the time we were there.  :)

Taking at dip at Shower Falls
Rain threaten to fall from the sky so we packed up and took a different, much, much easier trail going back to the jump-off which is an ideal for those who are not up for a sweaty hike.  When rain poured, we were quite near to the registration hut.

If you want to visit the falls send a message through Choose Pili on Facebook, Choose Pili
or book your adventure with Naga Excursions.

Read more about our waterfalls adventure at Traveling Up - Chasing Waterfalls in Pili, Camarines Sur


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Puerto Galera Series : Mangyan Village, Talipanan

Widely known as one of the beach party destinations close to Manila, I was very amused to see the less popular but beautiful and bucolic side of Puerto Galera - something I missed the previous two times I was here since I didn’t get to explore and all I saw aside from the beach are people flirting and getting drunk. :P Nothing against those who enjoy these social pursuits, I just prefer quiet getaways where I see a lot of green.
Clear waters at Muelle Port

Raise both feet behind your ears if you're like me! :P  

Quiet, slightly remote, this settlement of Iraya Mangyans (Iraya, a sub group of Mangyans in Mindoro) are for visitors with a penchant for culture and meeting people. An enormous hut serves as a weaving area for our Mangyan sisters. The finished products- bracelets, storage bins, etc are sold to stalls a few blocks from the weaving area and would make awesome souvenirs as some takes weeks or months to complete. The people here are generally friendly and don’t mind you clicking away for souvenir shots but out of respect, ask permission first before taking any photos. 


Here, you can have a chat with the weavers. 
Talipanan is also the jump-off to Mt. Malasimbo, which takes roughly 5 hours to summit. 
(Itinerary via Pinoy Mountaineer). From the river, you can also trek for an hour to Talipanan Falls, a one story waterfall with a swimmer friendly basin. Guides can be hired within the community. 


Bridge leading to the rest of the community
To get here, take a tricycle from White beach (300 Pesos, round trip). Better arrange for a round trip as there’s no regular transportation.  Additional info can be read here. No entrance fees needs to be paid so it be great if you can purchase souvenir items from them. 
Souvenir shop showcasing the Iraya Mangyans weaving skills
For  a good grub after, dine at Luca Cucina Italiana located at the end of Talipanan beach, which serves thin crust pizzas (really good!) and al dente, flavorful pastas.

How to get to Puerto Galera? Read here.
Tourist Information Office
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines
Contact Numbers : +63 43 287 30 51 / 442 01 82 

Want to stay in an affordable Mangyan-owned Eco Resort? Come visit Da Pirmeda! Post here.

Related article on Mangyan Village via Inquirer.Net

This 2 day trip around Puerto Galera was made possible in collaboration with the municipality of Puerto Galera, Mayor Hubbert Dolor and its tourism office headed by Ms. Aileen Bareng. Awesome companions for this trip were fellow bloggers  Melo (Out of Town Blog, thanks for leading the team Melo!), Estan (Langyaw), Kara (Traveling Up), Andre (Philippine Beaches), writers sir Amadis Ma. Guerrero and the jolly guys from Business Mirror. 



Monday, June 9, 2014

Gear : Quantum Osprey Pack

I’ve been using Osprey Quantum for weeks now and I’m excited to share how it went. :) This outdoor pack from the US has been in the industry for 40 years and one that I heard good words about but it was only in 2013 when it was brought to the stores by local retail giant, Primer Group (which also owns all The North Face, Columbia, Mountain Hardware & R.O.X. stores in the Philippines). 
my new adventure buddy Quantum. Color : Fern Green
Osprey’s Quantum is designed for urban and weekend adventures, meaning it has specifications to suit those who intend to use it on and off the trails. It’s for people who switch roles at the blink of an eye, a corporate slave on week days, outdoor junkie on weekends. 

Among its many pleasant specs is its numerous compartments for a laptop, tablet, MP3 players, pens, keys, first aid kit, basically whatever you need to bring. Mine has a capacity of 34 liters which is perfect for work and post-work adventures. I exercise regularly so I seem to be always lugging a lot of stuff all the time.  
On a boat in Puerto Galera 
On days that I train for future hikes/food trips, I have to bring a lot  – personal effects, running/swimming gear, laptop, chargers, etc. Whew. I get an extra work-out carrying it all on my back but what’s great is that I don’t struggle in putting everything in because it has a wide opening and frame which can also be its downside if you’re petite.  I’m only 4’11 so sometimes I feel like the bag’s covering my entire back. 

I’ve also brought it on a trip to Puerto Galera where we went around eco-cultural spots and a lot of boat rides. Me being a little too carefree, meant the bag got wet, thrown around, stepped on, squeezed. It’s going to take more beatings over the next few months when I take it to other adventures but I feel confident it’ll stay with me for a long time. The tag comes with an All Mighty Guarantee and I’m pasting below a quote from their site “ 

“Osprey will repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect in our product – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer.”

The guarantee also applies to purchases from official distributors outside the US so make sure sure you check out this link of Osprey distributors before buying.

Here's another closer look on what the bag looks like :  

Here are other Osprey models available in the Philippines : 
Over the next couple of months, I will be bringing it  to backpacking trips or multi-day hikes. You can follow live updates via @jovialwanderer on Twitter and Instagram. :) 

Facebook Page : Osprey Packs Philippines
Website : Osprey Packs

Where to Buy Osprey Packs in the Philippines: 
R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street and will soon be available in other R.O.X. stores - Ayala Cebu, Ayala Centrio, Camp John Hay, MarQuee Mall, and The District North Point.

Check out Osprey features/Reviews by fellow outdoor lovers : 
Kestrel - Gideon Lasco, Pinoy Mountaineer | Dennis Lopez, Trail Goes On
Shuttle 22  - Ferdz Decena, Ironwulf & FerdzDecena.com 

Disclaimer :
Osprey Quantum was provided by the delightful team from Osprey Packs Philippines

Thanks  Melo, Ms. Ruby and the rest of  R.O.X. team! :) 




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