I was privileged enough to be part of a test run for the Clark to Miyamit (CM50) 50 Miler and 60 Kms Trail Ultra-Marathon conducted by Race Organizer and Ultra running’s trail blazer, Atty. Jon Lacanlale. And what a run it was! Counting the number of runners on the picture below, i was with 23 others who blazed through rough roads, trails, mountain passes, giant flies and undulating hills, hills and more hills!
After making a stop-over at the Caltex station along NLEX for a quick breakfast, Vener, Doc Romy and myself arrived at the Clark parade grounds at about 3:30am to meet up with the other runners. After a short briefing by the good Atty, we were hied off to Sapang Uwak in Porac and started the run at about 4:30am. We were to do 22 kms.
The early morning breeze was cool so we started the run quietly in the dark, no premonition yet of the hills that were to haunt us in the next 22 kms. The running monsters that they were, Vener and Doc Romy immediately took off, leaving me and the others taking it slow and easy. No more than 30 minutes had passed when the inevitable appeared. A slight series of upward slopes at first then the monster series of uphill climbs that literally took our breaths away.
Those uphill climbs were brutal and most of us were reduced to walking. Just as you hoped that there would be a flat section when you reach the top, no sooner will you discover that there will be another killer hill waiting for you in the horizon. This would be the reality for the rest of the run.
Out there to sometimes distract me from the relentless climbing that was already throbbing my thigh muscles were the magnificent Porac mountain ranges which reminded me of the Sierra Mountain range in Tanay, Rizal. Unspoilt green forests on both sides of the roads and the marshes going down to the Miyamit Falls. This is just unspoilt territory that few people are even aware of.
Here are pictures i took during the course of our run. If you are going to run the Clark-Miyamit 50 miles or60km race, the distance where we started was from KM 18 up to KM 31 (Miyamit Falls) which is the turn-around section for those doing the 60km race.
A group picture just before starting our run
Start of our trek at the mountains of Porac
From the Porac tunnels near the highway, route leading to Miyamit are mostly rough, dirt roads with some road constructions goin on on some parts
That’s a view of Mt. Arayat at the background
There will be some easy hills on the route but be prepared to encounter some monster climbs. Power walks will be of great use
The route include mountain passes where we cross each mountain until we reach Barangay Miyamit
We passed by various Aeta communities with their shackled nipa huts
There are sections of the route where “Bangaws”abound. These are big flies that will buzz near you but are not so annoying as to hamper your run
These are the views of the mountain ranges that we had to pass through on our way to Miyamit Falls
Dirt roads with views of the mountains
The rolling terrain will take you from one hill after another
A sample of the hilly mountain passes which seem to be endless
A view of the mountain ranges we had passed through so far. It was a continuous upward climb
An Aeta girl smiles as we passed by
The mountains are mostly inhabited by Aetas. Here, children watched as we took their pictures
This is Porac’s dirty version of the Shotgun Hill in Tanay
A peek of Mt. Arayat looming in the horizon
It was like a roller-coaster of a run. Quads were already crying in pain at this point
Taking a break before the assault of Miyamit Falls. In middle is ultra-running icon, Atty. Jon Lacanlale
Do you see those two white lines in the middle of the picture? That’s a glimpse of Miyamit Falls and it’s another 1 hour trek down those mountain crevices
It’s now mostly downhill from here…
Runners pose before our downward run to the falls. Among them Daphne, CJ, Jj, Pavel
The trail to Miyamit Falls
Single track trails going to the falls
The falls now visible from here
There are minor obstacles to overcome along the route so one has to always be on the look-out
Mother and son team of Simon Pavel Miranda. Actually, Pavel brought his whole family
The first streams coming from the waterfalls
A few more steps upstream before the falls
We finally see the falls, in all its magnificence!
All soreness and exhaustion vanished when we reached the falls!
Enjoying the sight of it all
The falls measured at about 100 feet tall
Water below was cold, perfect for dipping your tired and aching feet
The ladies enjoying the sights as well
With Vener and Doc Romy
The guys taking a dip on the cold waters
There were empty mini cottages near the falls but i’m not sure if they are still being used.
On the way back, the trails were more visible
Another 2 hours of run-walking now under the heat of the sun
What goes up must come up!
Thanks to one great adventure at Miyamit!
My heartfelt thanks to Atty. Jon Lacanlale for being such a gracious host and for the opportunity to discover the trails in your backyard. Thanks too to the other runners who i met for the first time. Wonderful being with you guys!
Many thanks also to one Aeta family living near the base of the view deck for sharing with me their water to drink and fill up my hydration bottle. The water was fetched from a near-by stream. You were life-savers. I would have not survived the trek back to base camp had it not for your precious water. Dacal a salamat!