Trail Chronicles Recap: Highlights of 2014 (Part 1)

I look at this past year 2014 and i can say that it was one of my most active year of running. As 2015 comes in my midst, i am grateful for the opportunity the past year has brought me in terms of health and fitness and being able to gain a lot of friends through our common love of trail running.

I’m still mesmerized at the places that i had been to with fabulous scenery, mountain peaks, gushing rivers, water falls and forest trails that are a staple of most of my trail runs. For 2014, i have done a chronicle of all my trail runs through my “Trail Chronicle” articles which have become one of my blogs’ highlights.

All in all, i have done a total of about 24 trail runs which include races, test runs and training runs with perennial running partner Jun Santiago where we both shared the joy of discovering new trails.

Now, i would like to look back on some of those highlights and share them once again to you. Here is PART 1 of those chronicles:

Trail Chronicles Year Opening: The Lost Gardens of Maysawa (January 24, 2014)

In the mountains of Tanay, one place holds a special allure to those who have ran its trails and crossed its rivers…the rugged scenery of Sitio Maysawa.

The Maysawa trails are beautiful but jagged, rocky on some parts, wooded on the inner portions  following shallow but crystal clear rivers plus a couple of different ridges through the woods. It throws in a couple of relentless uphills and descents. The terrain on the end part, after reaching Brgy Laiban is a mix of woodlands, creeks, open space and the occasional cultivated field.

We managed to run and walk endlessly for about 2 hours and discovered three falls from rushing streams, white rocks and a garden-like deep pond where we had to cling on rocks to get over the other side of the stream.

It was as surreal as it can get, the deep green-colored water was hollow on its surface but you can just see the deepness when you get near its core where the rushing water was like waterfalls pouring into a garden of rocks.

Probably Tanay’s version of the lost Garden of Eden, if ever there was one.

Trail Chronicles #2: Kaybanban Trails (January 31, 2014)

Running buddy Jun Santiago and i have been pinning to discover these inner trails just outside of Tunkung Mangga and it was awesome to discover long, vast, open and wooded trails. And running within its rustic backdrop made me all high, every area has its picturesque settings.

Trail Chronicles #3: A Look At Laiban Trails (February 5, 2014)

Laiban offers amazing views of the Sierra Madre Mountains and its clean, pristine rivers. There are whole branches of trails you can take if you’re feeling adventurous though i suggest to thread on the main trails first if you’re running here for the first time.

Trail Chronicles #4: New Daraitan Route Trail (February 11, 2014)

Jun and i were really excited to try on these new paths going to the Tinipak River and Rocks at Daraitan without going through much of the long rough dirt stretch along Daraitan Road which we did last year. This is a great new running jaunt with lots of magnificent views of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Trail Chronicles #5: Tinipak River and Rocks (February 16, 2014)

What a find in Tanay’s wilderness! We went back to Tanay for the second consecutive week to complete our unfinished business of test running the whole 32k route of the PIMCO Love A Tree Daraitan Trail Run for next week (February 23). With me this time were veteran ultra runners Tin Ferrera, Chito Carreon, newbie Rhett Del Rosario and our ever sprightly running guide, Emer of Pimco Sports.

Trail Chronicles #6: Paradiso (February 18, 2014)

As we moved eastward from Tungkong Mangga going towards Licao-Licao near Norzagaray, we noticed several trails that were branching out from Baranggay San Roque, San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) in Bulacan. Jun and i weren’t sure about any possible running routes in the area but we were game to discover places.

Apparently you don’t have to wander much around SJDM to discover many trails that can go on for plenty of kilometers on end. So we decided to stray a while and entered a side trail in a small Baranggay called Paradise or Paradiso, as the locals would put it. We started on a trail head just past the Paradise Farms and Community School.

Trail Chronicles #7: The Boondocks of Norzagaray (February 20, 2014)

As with other trails in Bulacan, i don’t see how you’re not going to enjoy this rustic but arresting trail route, loaded with interesting sceneries like wide vegetable plantations, farms and the ever present mountain ranges of the Sierra.

Though the trails are easy to follow during the first few kilometers of the route, it becomes more intricate once you venture inside the wooded areas as there are several smaller trails that branch out. That said, it can be easy to get a bit lost inside these trails.

Trail Chronicles #8: The Trails of Macaira (March 4, 2014)

Tucked in the inner borders of Sampaloc, Tanay lies the little barrio of Macaira, a farmland known as a gateway to the resort town of Daraitan. But more than being a gateway to its more popular cousin, Macaira boasts of breath-taking scenery, a quaint little community, plenty of wonderful running trails and its No. 1 visitor attraction, the Macaira Garden Resort.

Trail Chronicles #9: Pintong Bukawe (March 21, 2014)

We first discovered these wooded trails way back in 2009 when  June Santiago and i were first enthused into trail running. Tucked behind the sprawling Timberland Heights in San Mateo, Rizal, it stretches far north-west to Wawa in Rodriguez and Calawis in Antipolo on the east side.

Trail Chronicles #11: Kay Ibon and Duhatan Trails (April 7, 2014)

Just when you thought you’ve covered all trail routes worth running in Tanay, another rave scenery was just waiting for us to discover, tucked in an inconspicuous entrance along Tanay’s main highway.

Alvin of PIMCO was leading all 14 of us trail runners to test run this new route for the 1st Leg of their NTDR Trail Race for May 25 and we were running along the main highway wondering where he would lead us, when we suddenly swerved right into a single track trail and found these sceneries. The views were pretty amazing!

I had ran through great waterfalls, mountain ridges, river trails, shaded single track trails, all in Tanay but this is something else.

I’ll be showing you a few pics of our run which are the Kay Ibon and Duhatan trails.

Trail Chronicles #12: Mt. Batolusong and Maypatag Plateau (April 11, 2014)

Like the Kay Ibon Trails/Falls and the Duhatan Trails , Mt. Batolusong and the Maypatag Plateau are very panoramic.

Its trails, green views, rolling pastures, ridges and deep ravines is a running hot spot, a perfect back drop for pictures, hiking and of course trail running. Mt. Batolusong is one of its attractions – a bit difficult in the beginning (until you reach the Maypatag Plateau), but plenty of places to stop for a breather and to catch a view.

It’s not a tall mountain, but it will definitely give you great views of the nearby Susong Dalaga peaks, Banahaw, Cristobal, Laguna, Rizal and as far as Quezon. It does have a couple of spots where elevation can cause you to huff or puff a bit.

Trail Chronicles #13: The Salomon X-Trail Run (April 16, 2014)

Quite possibly the most technically demanding trail race i have ever joined! The 32k route was relentlessly hilly with the inclines so steep that even the best of the trail runners i know were reduced to staggering zombies, our faces etched like doomsday ahead of Semana Santa!

The last picture you’ll see  is probably what most of us (for that day) felt what “surrender” was, when instead of a pick-up bus transporting those who never made it to the cut-off time, were whisked away in this transport…in style!

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