a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mornings at Ultra (Pasig City)

I love spending time in Ultra. It’s quiet, has a nice view and the rubber track is nice. Ultra's new name is PhilSports Complex but people still fondly call it by its former name. It's within the vicinity of Pasig – a few meters away from the Valle Verde Country Club. I often see a lot of athletes, celebrities and normal people like me who are all gearing up for fitness or competition.

I’ve been going there for the past two years although not quite regularly, and last Saturday, while jogging, I noticed several people sitting at the top level of the bleachers - that one across the main entrance, and they seemed so contented just chilling over there. I got curious and after finishing my 10th lap, I decided to climb the bleachers to see what’s up. I didn’t think of going there before since the stairs looked really steep and I’m a bit acrophobic but I couldn’t contain my curiosity. I assumed the view would be great because of its height. I did one step at a time, feeling a bit nervous because the cement stairs seemed really old and some didn’t sound so stable as I put my foot over it. Finally I reached the highest level of the bleachers and momentarily, I felt a bit nauseous. It was so high!

I sat for a couple of minutes and stared at the view.

From there, I could see the entire football field and the area past Pasig City. I could see lots of trees and mountains from both left and right sides. I could see all the runners and joggers finishing their laps. The view was nice! If only there were no other buildings, it would have been better, but at least, I can see mountains from where I sat. The wind was blowing, refreshing my tired body. I found peace. After several minutes though, two kids followed me and played along the bleachers. I watched them closely, fearful they might fall down. So much for my peace and quiet – I swear, these are such rare commodities in the city. I went down after another set of minutes and for a moment my fear returned. Waa..how do I get down..I’m about 50 feet high from the ground…So, as usual, I did one step at a time, trying to focus on the sturdy cement and not looking at how I am progressing on my descent. Waa..couple of seconds more and I finally got down successfully. Wheew..that was more challenging than running!

So if you happen to drop by Ultra/Philsports Complex, do try going to that set of bleachers and check out the view after your run.

Running fee is at a minimal 29 pesos per person. Open Monday-Sunday 6am-7pm (but you can actually run until 9pm according to the guard). It's close on public holidays and on days where it’s reserved or when the archery team is practicing, you already know why..You can call them at 635-0102. You may also book the football field for practice games. There’s a fee but I don’t know how much you need to pay.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The BMC experience with the First Philippine Everest Team



I had a tiring but fun and informative weekend. Our outdoor group together with other trainees from Miriam college and some other working professionals just finished the lecture part of our Basic Mountaineering and Wilderness Leadership course led by Dr. Rted Esguerra, the physician of the First Philippine Everest Team. We met some of the other members of their team too. We received climbing tips and Everest stories - straight from Janet Belarmino and Noelle Wenceslao, two of the female trio who successfully traversed Mt. Everest last year. We were also trained to do Basic Life Support and first aid by some members of the American Heart Association, one of which was Peter Negrido. He was assisted by some of the members of the Paranaque Elite Rescue Unit and Val – an Igorot Emergency Medical Technician. We also received a lecture on intro to mountaineering by Fred Jamili, one of the pioneers of mountaineering in the Philippines. Bubuy Lagunday, also taught us emergency evacuation and some tricks on surviving in the wilderness. I now know how to use a condom in a wholesome manner. Hehehe! Really, did you know that you can use a condom to store water?!

It was one of the best trainings I’ve attended in my entire life and it’s not over yet because this coming weekend, we will have our practical application and we will be tested on how much we have learned. We will also have one major climb with them around October. Whew! There were a lot of useful information taught to us but the most important part of their lecture was about climbing ethics. We were oriented to be responsible not just for ourselves but also to our family and to the locals in the community of the mountain we are visiting, to support local products, climbing equipment and to give back to the community we are visiting. They’re really great people enlightening others through teaching what they know best. What I love most about them is their humility and openness to help others learn. How many veteran climbers can do that?! Unforgettable experience (and I just have to share this) Janet Belarmino and Fred Jamili personally assisted me how to tie a knot (screw what type of knot it was) so I was a bit giddy when they helped me out. The feeling is like having Ronaldo teach you how to kick a soccer ball. Hahaha!

Here are some of the pictures. I got them all from Rhone and Miracle – my co-trainees. I was too busy absorbing everything, I didn’t take a lot of pictures. We were in the Philippine Coastguard facility in Manila and I was so some amazed with the ships and all the muscular men around..hehehehehe!


Learning CPR - I just hope that when I really need to do this, I'll be able to remember everything and do it correctly

Morning exercise with Dr. Rted Esguerra

How to carry unconscious patients

Rendering first aid through improvised materials

Knot tying with sir Fred Jamili and Janet Belarmino

Group shot before going home - Day 1

Group shot before going home - Day 2

And here are the ships ....I'm just so amazed how huge these things are...

Sakay na!

Monday, July 14, 2008

One Run One Family One La Salle Run - The Experience

Whew..That’s such a long name for a fund raising activity. Me and my friends just finished the 5K run a while ago at The Fort and similar to the other runs I’ve joined, it was fun. In fact, I still feel elated even if I’ve already taken a bath – must be the happy hormones kicking in. I enjoy runs primarily because of three things – it’s great exercise, it has a feel great effect and it gives you a chance to socialize and oh, make that four – it’s such a great reason to eat!

What made this run different from the two previous ones I’ve joined is that – this is the first time I ran in a race while raining! It was not mild rain, this particular rain had me wiping my face most of the time. It started when the gun was fired to signal the start of the race and it stopped while I was near the finish line. Talk about excellent timing.

By the way, this run was for the benefit of One La Salle endowment fund.

My next goal is to join a 10KM, then a real marathon which has a distance of at least 42.195 KM. I have no plans of being a professional runner yet, I just want to be able to cross the finish line.

We capped the race with a meal from Chowking, where we shared more stories and laughter. I met some new people who were also from work and I also saw Parky and JC who ate with us – girls I’ve climbed with in the past. Together with Charwill, they were also part of this running org called Happy Feet and we saw some of their members. Me and my other friends were too shy to mingle with them but I saw some familiar faces like this muscular guy from the UP Mountaineers and the famous blogger Anton of Our Awesome Planet. I really wanted to talk to Anton and tell him that I love his blog but my shy hormones, which seldom manifests itself suddenly kicked in and I just chatted with Glee, Laurence and Addy – people I’m comfy with. Hehehe! Oh well, maybe I’ll ran into him when I travel. It was enough that I met new nice people like Addy and these two other guys.

My Time : I already know I wasn't a top finisher but I'm still waiting for the online results... will post it when it's up. I didn't really see how I faired but it sure felt great to finish.

Here are some of the pictures.

Must have been a thousand or more people who joined the race. The area near the NBC Tent became an ocean of green!

My climbing buddies - also my running buds

Falling in line for the loot bag

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