The Daraitan trail route is refreshing! And that’s not just a comment on its cool and sparkling river (above). The Tinipak rocks mushrooming on both sides of the northern side of Daraitan river looks something like large chunks of ice falling down from the sky. Only, it didn’t melt away but gave the river an animating and intoxicating feel, ala scotch-on-the-rocks!
To describe yesterday’s test route run would be quite a task, but Pimco’s forthcoming Nature’s Trail Discovery Run-Daraitan Ultramarathon route this coming June 9 would be another jewel to their crown of showcase trails worth raving about. Pimco’s past trail races like the Daranak Falls Trail, the Calinawan Cave pass, the Maysawa trails, the Sta. Inez Peak were all worth every trail runners’ money and time and the Daraitan trail will be no less different.
STARTING LINE VENUE:
I had no clue where the exact location of the test run would start so i texted Manny Santos, big boss of Pimco Sports for directions to the venue. Running buddy Jun and I were set to go and we were taking with us Iris Cortulas who wanted to tag along and try out the route. We bonded together and set off to Masinag where we were meeting other runners so we could do a convoy and leave in tandem for the venue.
Reaching Masinag at 4:15am, we were able to touch base with Ultra runners JJ Layug, Mar Marilag, Bong Alindada together with Milo Fitness Coach Jackie Gutierrez so they followed us in their car with ours, leading. Our destination: The Ynarez Gym at the corner of Sampaloc Road and Marcos Highway in Sampaloc Tanay.
This is also going to be the starting line of the June 9 race.
THE TRAIL ROUTE:
We arrived at the venue at about 5:45am and were met by Manny and Alvin of Pimco Sports. We couldn’t start as yet as we were waiting for other runners to arrive as some had lost their way and had over-shot the venue. But since it was getting late, our group decided to go ahead and all the others who arrived late will just have to follow so a guide of Pimco was left to wait for them.
The run started at about 6:20am as we were led at the other side of Sampaloc Road, crossing the street. The first kilometer was on a concrete road that took us inside a residential area that led to the start of the trails. The trails measured a distance of about 3-4kms.
This is one of the nicest sections of the route, all trails of mostly single track and offers excellent footing, uphills and downhills, a pleasant scenery including the vast Sierra Madre Mountains, old-growth forests, a river lagoon, farm animals and a variety of trees.
As always, i struggled over those uphill climbs and slippery river crossings but got over those as time went by. Here are some pictures of the trails with short descriptions as we went along:
ON THE WAY TO DARAITAN:
Once we were out of the trails, we all found ourselves back on the main highway and it was a short jaunt to the road leading to Daraitan and to the Tinipak Rocks. We couldn’t help but stop on some areas to marvel on some views which you can never find in the city. To hell with smoke and smog, we were now breathing fresh air and savoring the soft breeze coming out of the mountain range.
A quick look on the way to Daraitan:
Look what we found here! En-route to Daraitan, Alvin led us into an obscure resort called the Macaira Garden Resort which would serve as the turn-around point for the 10k runners. Veering inside astounded us all.
Here is what we saw:
It was one of the most fascinating views i have ever seen! I cannot even describe to you succinctly how this rock formation came about as even the photos above don’t seem to do it justice. I could here some oohs and ahhs from the group as i could only mutter, wtf!
On to Daraitan!
After about 15 kms, we finally reached our destination! Daraitan with the Tinipak rocks looming everywhere like guards protecting their kingdom. I’ve been to this place once before about 3 years ago and it still was mesmerizing seeing it today like it was the first time i saw it.
The clear river was oozing with its rushing waves, the tall white rocks that everybody wanted to scale as soon as they saw it and the chorus of “WOWs” that emanated from everybody. The sight was absolutely stunning seeing so much of nature even just for a few minutes.
We lost no time in getting ourselves cool and intoxicated with the scene:
And before i forget, expect the 21k route to have some bonus kilometers added (the orginal 21k route did not include the Tinipak Rock section) and PIMCO has now decided to include this section so my estimate would be a total distance of 25 to 27 kms!
Registration for this June 9 race is still open. You can check out my previous post here: http://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/natures-trail-discovery-run-daraitan-trail-run-june-9-2013/ or visit PIMCO’s webpage at: http://www.pimcosportsevents.com/