Running in Ala-Eh Country

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Visiting Batangas City has never been easier, faster and more accessible than ever before. With the extension of the Star Tollways from the former exit point in Lipa City all the way to Balagtas in Batangas City, the trip from Sto. Tomas to Batangas City now takes under an hour to traverse.

Last Monday, we motored to RK Village, Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City to accompany my balikbayan brother, SAM and his British friend, Nigel (now living in the Philippines for the past 6 years) to meet Sam’s friend and fellow balikbayan, Mariza De Guia who was also on vacation here. In tow with Mariza is her British boyfriend, Wayne, who the week before joined a contest in the popular noontime TV show, “Wowowee” and almost won in the “Hep-Hep Hooray” contest segment. Sam, Mariza and Wayne are housemates living in the same flat they’re renting in London and all three came home just days apart during the first week of this month.

Mariza invited us to sample food prepared by her mom and brother-in-law, the Batangueno way. Specially delightful was the hot “LAING”, the classic bicolano dish with gabi (taro leaves) cooked in gata (coconut milk) with some sprinkling of pork skin and shrimps and Beef Caldereta (stew) with its thick liver sauce giving added bite to the taste. While we also feasted on Pork Barbecue, Grilled Tahong (Mussels) and Tilapia, it was the Caldereta that took centerstage among us guests.

Right after lunch, i went out for a walk to check out the village and its environs and immediately liked what i saw: Long, empty roads will tall trees standing on both sides providing shade and a dirt trail that lead to a river with more trails passing along its banks! For the running addict that i was, this came as “BLING!…another place to run!” The river is picturesque, called the “Calumpang River” which lies in the heart of Batangas City. It’s wider than the Marikina River but a little bit polluted, as i observed. After checking this out, i headed back to the house and decided to do a run on its banks later in the afternoon when the sun would not be so hot.

It was a bit cloudy at about 3:30pm so i thought it was best to set out at this time for my run. My nephew Kevin wanted to tag along so he did. We tried to borrow a digicam from Mariza to record the events but she didn’t have one but we settled for the next best thing she offered us, a top of the line N-Series cellphone with a powerful camera. So off we went with Kevin running along me with his havaianas and did well recording my run.

We started in this trail inside RK Village, Brgy.Kulintang Ibaba

We started in this trail inside RK Village, Brgy.Kumintang Ibaba

Trail opens up to a road after a few hundred meters

Trail opens up to a road after a few hundred meters

A series of deserted roads leading to trails that will bring me to the river

A series of deserted roads leading to trails that will bring me to the river

Going deeper inside the village

Going deeper inside the village

Past pastures. Cows were within the area. Better than having dogs staking out at you.

Past pastures. Cows were within the area. Better than having dogs staking out at you.

Toward a narrow trail

Toward a narrow trail

A kilometer away from the river

A kilometer away from the river

Finally reaching the riverbanks. Calumpang bridge on the right side.

Finally reaching the riverbanks. Calumpang bridge on the right side.

Running along its edges

Running along its edges

The Calumpang Riverbanks. Bayani Fernando may be able to improve its present state.

The Calumpang Riverbanks. Bayani Fernando may be able to improve its present state.

View on the north side

View on the north side

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Kevin was trailing me throughout the run taking some pictures. Pretty good runner with only slippers on. Way to go, Kevin!

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Posing too at the riverbanks

Continuing our run, we explored more pathways along the riverbanks

Continuing our run, we explored more pathways along the riverbanks

8 kms into the run

8 kms into the run

A brief pause, not knowing where the road would take us

A brief pause, not knowing where the road would take us

Ahh...Shangrila! At this point, we were going thru an uphill with an old watertank that was overhead and lots of wildflowers surrounding the area

Ahh...Shangrila! At this point, we were going thru an uphill with an old watertank that was overhead and lots of wildflowers surrounding the area

Running amidst these foliage was invigorating, refreshing.

Running amidst these foliage was invigorating, refreshing.

We continued uphill and wished the view would never end

We continued uphill and wished the view would never end

Kevin sprints ahead and takes this picture of me towards him

Kevin sprints ahead and takes this picture of me towards him

Nearing the top

Nearing the top

Taking a break on the hill overlooking the river 70 meters below

Taking a break on the hill overlooking the river 70 meters below

Take a bow, Kevin!

Take a bow, Kevin!

Continuing our way up the great wall of Batangas City!

Continuing our way up the great wall of Batangas City!

We finished our run at about 5pm and when we reached Mariza’s house a few minutes later, our group were waiting for us ready for our trip back to Manila. It was a great experience running part of Batangas City and we thank Mariza and her family for their hospitality and generosity. Thanks Mariza for the pabaon of Laing and Caldereta! We hope to be back again next year!

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2 responses to “Running in Ala-Eh Country

  1. Nice river run! You may also want to try running in Mataas na Kahoy also in Batangas. Lots of trails, forests with cool climate.

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