The Trails of Epic Park–Tanay, Rizal: In The Eyes of Iris Torculas

My guest blogger is Iris Charine Torculas, an excellent trail runner as she recalls our recent test run at the Epic Park Rainforest Camp in Sampaloc, Tanay in preparation for the PIMCO Epic Park Trail Race on October 13, 2013.


Excited to go back to my playground! In case you’re wondering where that is, it’s in the mountains of Tanay. I prepared my things and made sure that I slept early. I woke up at 3:30am and was hoping to have the energy to run the trails even if i didn’t have anything for breakfast!

So Erwin, Jackie and i set off for the Epic Park, Rainforest Camp located in Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. Reaching the main road near the Sierra Madre Mountains, we were met with thick fog making us feel like we were in the Silent Hill movie. But then later we were greeted by the beautiful sunrise with mountains surrounded with sea of clouds. We were mesmerized by the views so even if we were already running late, Jackie asked to stop our car to go down and take pictures.

The views along the way

When we reached Sampaloc St., we didn’t know exactly where Epic Park was so we waited for Rene (Jazzrunner) and June who were just a few minutes behind us so they could lead us to where the exact location was. They arrived in a few minutes and we convoyed together going to the rainforest.

We now saw the entrance to Epic Park, proceeded past the security gate as we entered a large property with lots of pine trees. There, we were met by Sir Manny, Pimco’s President and race organizer with Alvin Balderama, his Race Director. I can smell the greens surrounding me and out of so much excitement, I told Alvin that we should run 21km that day. But my excitement turned into sadness after Kuya Manny told me that we shall be running only about 14kms that day and the full route was to be ran on September 1, the race day itself. Well, its saving the best for race day!

Chatting with the group

Our group pic inside the entrance

We were with about 20 other trail runners and we were off for the test run inside the rainforest camp. We made a turn at the courtyard, going to the beautiful mossy forest, the Elma trail. Actually this was a really funny experience. The trail was moderately hard and technical, it seemed like we were running a total of 4km already but was actually only 2km and we were separated into 3 groups going out from 3 different parts because there were lots of forks inside the forest.

Inside the forest

Rough and tumble

Slippery Trail

I noticed that there were no trail marks on the route so i suggested that they should put these marks on each fork so that no runner will get lost. The trail was full of slippery downward slopes and kind of steep uphills. We told Alvin that they should put a rope for runners to be able to hold on to because it will be hard to cling to branches as they have spiky thorns that can scratch and prick your hand. Moreover, there were lots of fire ants on branches and trunks so wearing gloves here is a must! Also, there will be times that you will have to push yourself up using your hands from the ground.

A forest marshal guides the runners

We eventually meet up again after getting lost inside the forest

We’re moving on. That’s me, getting to re-start the run!

One of several small bridges leading to the trails

That’s Jazzrunner and i got his back!

The one scary part here and the one thing that will test the strength of your legs is the narrow, slippery, single track slanting to the right facing a deep cliff. Scary because one wrong move and down you go to the ravine with sharp rocks covering a dry river bed… and did I mention before you reach the ground you’ll hit a lot of trees? So be careful, better not look down!

Past the rain forest

With Jackie and Alvin

During one of our stop-overs

On a stream with Jackie

My new styled shorts! Part half, part 3/4! Near Calinawan Cave!

The roads were muddy..i hope it won’t be on race day!

There will be some river crossings, though not like the other races of Pimco where you will really need to cross long kilometres of river. In this route, there will be just patches of river crossings to give you a chance to clean your muddy shoes only to get it muddied again. There will be a lot of deep mud trails so choose wisely where you will pass. Make sure you be careful as there are a lot of slippery and sharp rocks on the trails.

I love these trails

With the Jazzrunner and Jackie

Can’t wait for lunch..gutom nako!!!

Nasan ang patis?

With all the wonderful trails that we did this day, i was a bit shocked when Kuya Manny asked that (or should I say, requested, para gumaan lang loob ko) that I cannot run on the event day itself because he wants me to host the event, from start to end as i did with past Pimco races only after i have done my 10k races!  Awww… but I’m still glad that I was able to do the test run and did 16km. Not only that, I am glad because at least I will be able to support and greet ALL the finishers at the finish line. See you all on September 1 for the Epic Park Rainforest Camp Trail Run!

For more information about the race, you can check Jazzrunner’s blog here: or visit Pimco Sports webpage at: or Facebook page at:


8 responses to “The Trails of Epic Park–Tanay, Rizal: In The Eyes of Iris Torculas

  1. Sir, my friend and I are joining this trail run on Sunday? Can you kindly provide a map/landmark to reach this place ? Thanks in advance.

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