Looking At The Route: Soleus Cross Country Challenge 2016

I’ve ran this route several times, both in training and during races and the course is truly unique with all the trimmings of a great trail run. From the casual runner/walker to the serious trail runner, this route of the Soleus Cross Country Trail Run Challenge, to be held on July 10, 2016 at Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal has something for everyone: river crossings, single-track trails and fire roads, woods, unrelenting uphills and downhills, farm fields, and magnificent views of the Sierra Madre mountains!

Just recently, Judith Staples of L-Timestudio and Coach Roel Amabao-Ano, the event’s Race Director led a test run of the route comprising of members of Team Soleus and some friends in the trail running community. I absolutely love the views along the trails with the backdrop of the Ten Commandments tablets at Mt. Sinai serving as the starting point of the run.

The single track trails and the main fire road descends into the Casile River for roughly 5 kms., crossing this river a few times before turning around and heading back uphill which will be long and arduous climb. Nevertheless, it will all be worth the pain and effort if you love being challenged with all those magnificent views as backdrop. The Soleus Cross Country Challenge will offer 21k and 12k distances.

(See registration details below).

Here’s a sneak preview of the route with Team Soleus:

The 10 Commandments “tablets” which serves at the starting line of the race. With race proponent, Ms. Judith Staples of L-TimeStudio.

With the super-fit Judith Staples

If you haven’t registered yet, take advantage of the registration discount as the early bird registration will only be available until May 25. Regular registration starts on May 26 to June 30 or until supply lasts.

Details are as follows:

Finisher’s Shirt

Finisher’s Shirt Design (L-R): Tin Ferrera, Coach Roel and Sheryl Quimosing

Amor Sanz and Coach Roel

World Vision Run 2016: Run For Health and Nutrition

For the past five years, the World Vision Run brought people from all walks of life to run in the hope of sending more underprivileged Filipino kids to school. This year, World Vision is inviting everyone again to run and show their care for the children to help fulfill their dreams for better lives. World Vision Run 2016 is for the benefit of malnourished children and to fund nutrition interventions in areas where chronic malnutrition is most prevalent.

By joining the World Vision Run 2016, running more kilometers , sharing the cause and experience with your family and friends, or even considering to sponsor a child will definitely contribute in helping more children have brighter futures ahead.

What: World Vision Fun Run 2016
When: June 26 2016
Where: Blue Bay Walk, Pasay City

Registration Fee
PHP300 – 500m
PHP600 – 3km
PHP700 – 5km
PHP800 – 10km
PHP1,000 – 21km (with finishers medal)


TECH SHIRTS (Choose Your Color)


About World Vision Child Sponsorship

The best way to help a child is to help his community become a better place to grow up in. For a donation of P600 a month, you will help provide children and his community with access to: education, health care, nutritious food, clean water, livelihood opportunities and more.

Child sponsorship ensures that the community will be able to provide children with the basics they need to help them grow up in a healthy environment and have a chance for a better, more sustainable future.

How Child Sponsorship Works

Child sponsorship is an exciting journey of transformation – for the child you’re helping and for you especially if you use all the tools available to help you bond with your sponsored child.

It works by linking a poor child to an individual/ group who is committed to give a regular gift of P600 a month per child or P7,200 a year. Your monthly pledge is pooled with those of other child sponsors in the Philippines and overseas. Pooling together resources/ donations enables World Vision to maximize the productivity of every peso.

When you decide to sponsor a child, you’ll meet the child that you’ll be sponsoring by receiving a welcome kit that includes your sponsored child’s photo and profile, along with ways to connect and be updated with your new sponsored child.

Sponsorship fosters sustainability. World Vision plans and works alongside community members to help build healthy communities for children.

To know more about Child Sponsorship or other ways you can make a difference, click on this link: http://worldvision.org.ph/

Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas 2016: Registration Now Open

If you think you’ve trained hard to be tough enough, be there! Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas raises the bar as it hosts 2 races this 2016. The Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas Asian Invitation in SM Mall of Asia and Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas World Series in Clark, Pampanga. This is one of the Premier duathlons organized in the country in terms of number of participants, and it will be bigger yet this year with more than 3,000 duathletes expected to participate.

These races will have good volunteer support, well-marked course with marshals controlling traffic at intersections, technical t-shirts, finishers medals, free massages, nice swag, etc.

Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas, the Philippine affiliate of the International Powerman Association (IPA) is set to hold its 2016 duathlon race series in November and December this year. On November 20, the Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas Asian Invitational consisting of a Powerman Short (5km run-30 km -5km run) will be held at SM Mall of Asia by the Bay.

On December 3 and 4, the Powerman  Duathlon Pilipinas World Series will be held at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.  Aside from featuring a Powerman Short, events will also include the Powerman Classic (10 km run-60 km bike-10 km run), Powerkids (for kids ages 6-16) and Powerteens leg.  The Poweman Duathlon series will be an important sporting event with around 3,000 participants expected to attend.

Race proponents of the Powerman Duathlon during its recent launch at BGC

Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas is a qualifying event for the Powerman Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen, Switzerland. The event welcomes professional and highly competitive age-group athletes, seasoned multi-sport athletes who want to take on a different challenge, and beginner multi-sport athletes.

Register Now!


You may register to Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas Asian Invitational and World Series 2016 via our official registration hubs.

  • THE BRICK MULTISPORT STORE Unit 1, Woodridge Apartments, McKinley Hill, Taguig City (across Venice Piazza, just at the bottom of that deadly hill we all dread at races!)
    Phone : 02-9854890
  • CYCLING ZONEShell Pacific Gas Station, Alabang-Zapote Road, Muntinlupa
    Tel.: 02-809-6736
  • BIKERS’ CAFESM CITY MALL OF ASIA, Seaside Boulevard, Pasay
    (02) 556 0680

Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas Asian Invitational

(Sunday, November 20, 2016, MOA)

  • SHORT – ELITE: PhP3,500.00 Details
  • SHORT – INDIVIDUAL: PhP3,500.00 Details
  • POWERTEENS – 15-17 y.o.- INDIVIDUAL: PhP3,100.00
  • SHORT – RELAY: PhP1,767.00 Details

Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas World Series

(Saturday, December 03, 2016Sunday, December 04, 2016)

  • POWERMAN CLASSIC – 18y.o. & above – INDIVIDUAL : PhP3,900.00
  • POWERMAN CLASSIC – 18y.o. & above – RELAY: PhP1,967.00
  • POWERMAN SHORT – 18y.o. & above – INDIVIDUAL: PhP3,300.00
  • POWERMAN SHORT – 18y.o. & above – RELAY: PhP1,667.00
  • POWERTEENS – 13-17 y.o.- INDIVIDUAL: PhP3,100.00
  • POWERTEENS – 13-17 y.o.- RELAY: PhP1,567.00
  • POWERKIDS – 6-8 y.o.: PhP1,500.00
  • POWERKIDS – 9-10 y.o.: PhP1,500.00
  • POWERKIDS – 11-12 y.o.: PhP1,500.00

Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas Bundles


The early bird discount for Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas 2016 is only until June 14, 2016! Register now to avail of the early bird rates! #BeAPowerman this coming November 20 in SM Mall of Asia by the Bay and on December 3-4, 2016 in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga!

Sign up and get this! All participants of the Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas Asian Invitational and World Series 2016 will receive this special #PowermanPH In Training Shirt available EXCLUSIVELY for Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas participants! Registration is now on-going at http://www.powerman.ph

Race Director, Thumbie Remigio

Power Training with Anytime Fitness

A primary purpose is to encourage more people of all ages and from all walks of life to live a healthier, more active lifestyle, and perhaps consider taking on the challenge of becoming a Powerman. The goal is to invite people to try alternative sports activities so that runners can also start biking, and bikers can likewise enjoy running.

But to help even the seasoned duathlon participants prepare for their events, Anytime Fitness has devised a Power Training program that will help boost stamina and improve athletic ability at the races.

Apart from the requisite physical training, the program will include Power Camps and Power Clinics. These are venues where guest coaches and other mentors will share their expertise to help participants improve  techniques, or overcome other physical and mental barriers that may impede optimum performance.

Gael Le Bellec, Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas Ambassador and Powerman World Champion for 2014 &2015 will be one of the guest coaches.

Powerman Gives Bikes to the Batang Tri Grassroots Program

Part of the proceeds of Powerman will go towards buying bicycles and other gear for the Batang Tri Grassroots program. This is a program that supports young individuals who do not have the financial means to enter the world of multi-sports. Starting out as an initiative of CEO and president of F&F International Events Group, Inc. and restaurateur Raymund Magdaluyo, Batang Tri is currently headed by Coach Jojo Macalintal, Coach Ivan Leopando and Coach Melvin Fausto, and is supported by Seafood Island.

Visit www.powerman.ph to register. Or check out  Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas on Facebook for  more information and updates.

SERYE: Pinoy Restaurant and Cafe

Sérye, owned by Alvin Reyes Lim comes from the anagram “Reyes”, the last name of Alvin’s great grandmother, Engracia Cruz Reyes, the founder of the Aristocrat Restaurant. The homey, casually chic but distinct Filipino decor and its easy-on-the-eyes menu at Sérye’s second branch in Sucat, Paranaque City (the first is in Quezon Memorial Circle), might explain how they can do what they do: serving authentic, home-style Filipino food in the metro at very reasonable prices.

The Foyer

With its smart looks, daily menu of simple yet popular dishes and carefully chosen desserts, it could give the best mega Filipino restaurant joints a run for their money. When we visited last week to try their best sellers “The Fab 5” dishes at their newly renovated branch in Sucat, this place let the food do the talking! Well, it helped when owner, Alvin Lim vividly describes and peppered us with brilliant asides and interesting facts the origin of their signature dishes, like the “Kare-kare”, the “Boneless Crispy Pata” and to a lesser extent, their classic “Bibingka” and “Chicken-Pork Adobo”.

The Fab Menu

Trivia: While Serye owner Alvin Reyes Lim’s Great Grandmother, Engracia Cruz Reyes was the founder of Aristocrat Restaurant, his grandmother, Teresita Reyes (one of Engracia’s daughters) was known as “Mama Sita”, whose name now represents the famous Paste, Stew and Sauce Mixes in the market. However, these ingredients are not being used at Serye as only natural spices are utilized in their kitchens.

The key to these cuisine is authenticity. Take for example, their best-seller “Kare-Kare”. This dish was recently hailed “the best” in Food Network’s show, Food Wars Asia. It all starts with using the best ingredients.

Precision cooking was evident in making the Kare-Kare from scratch to sumptuous. They make the peanut sauce themselves, roast the peanuts in-house. The sauce is rich, thick and flavorful; the vegetables are served crisp and not soggy; the meat is tender, the oxtail and tripe taste so clean. The bagoong, which they  also make in-house, is neither too sweet nor too salty, it’s seasoned just right and complements the kare-kare very well.

Our orders of Kare-Kare came in their usual pots, piping hot, the oxtail tender and juicy. Eaten with their home-made bagoong, it was heaven! This was one of those dishes that make you dread the moment the pot becomes empty!


Lumpiang Sili at Kesong Prito

Aside from their Classic Kare-Kare, our Boneless Crispy Pata arrived crackling crispy and tender, the Binagoongang Lechon Kawali was a contrast of healthy and fatty good, and Laing Con Camaron Rebosado was better than most authentic Bicolano restaurants serve!

Boneless Crispy Pata

Binagoongang Lechon Kawali

Laing con Camaron Rebusado

Kinilaw na Tanigue

Kilawing Tokwa’t Baboy

Save room for dessert. Their Bibingka Classic and Special Halo-Halo have developed their own following specially during merienda time. Their cakes and pies are of exceptional quality together with their siphon brewed coffee. Their baked goods are equally distinguished, especially the Macapuno Pandan Cake which is made from real pandan leaves, without any artificial flavoring. The Pineapple Pie is worth trying too.

Bibingka Classic

Pineapple Pie

Chicken Pork Adobo

Crispy Tuna Tail

Owner, Alvin Lim went to study French Cuisine at Ecole Des Arts Culinaire et des l’Hotellerie in Lyon, France–and it shows. It was during his stay there that he noticed how the bistros served everyday French comfort food in a nice, cozy set up. And thought he could do that for Filipino food as well. The rest is history.

They serve straightforward Filipino food made without shortcuts based according to their taste and the way they’ve always known them. However, they also keep  abreast of changes in their customers dining habits and preferences as well as new developments in techniques in food service and preparation so that they can follow or even direct the natural progression of their cuisine.

Macapuno Pandan Cake

Mango Pie Fleurette

With its central location in the south of Manila, two main dining areas with high ceilings and classy decors, Sérye is popular with the post-work crowd and families who want some grand time eating their favorite Filipino dishes. Service is fast and friendly, even when busy, making this a valuable destination in the heart of Paranaque.

Kain na!


Regular diners will be happy to know that there’s Klub Sérye. Members are entitled to special discounts and freebies. Those who sign up immediately will receive a 20% off e-coupon. They can register by visiting any Serye branch and requesting for the registration sheet.

Serye can accommodate private functions. Catering is also offered. For food delivery, you may call the outlets directly or use their online delivery partners: http://www.twoanyone.com (landline: 212-1212), http://www.foodpanda.ph, and http://www.zomato.com.

Serye is at Quezon Memorial Circle, Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City is open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, you may reach them at (02) 9243411 / (02) 4262693. At Santana Grove, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, San Antonio, Parañaque City, they are open from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, you may call them at (02) 8254691 / (02) 8269317.

Online, Serye can be found at http://www.sérye.ph and Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Séryeph, Twitter: @séryeph and Instagram: séryeph.

The 2016 North Face TNF100: A Short Review

Every trail has its own unique characteristics… it has its magnet of charms, its allure speaking at you to discover it. Many are mostly gentle, letting you savor its calm terrain and green scenery. But it can also be harsh, forcing you to climb its steepest hills and stumble when you step on outgrown roots, hidden on soft, mushy pine needles.

Its sternness however reminds us that for every route that we take, there will be gale winds to blow our faces, higher mountains to trek until we are out of breath, rivers to slip into its cold waters until we reach the other end and only then would we be rewarded and discover who we truly are.

Last week-end, i was one of those fortunate to run the 2016 North Face Trail Run Challenge at the paradise-like Camp John Hay in Baguio City.

A loop going to the Eco Trails with the 11k runners

The John Hay Country Club was the start of the 100k, 50k, 22k and 11k trail run distances as the route showcased the scenic mountain ranges and the pine tree-lined trails of the Cordilleras. The race course is not new to me, having ran it several times with blogger and trail runner, Franc Ramon during my visits in his hometown here in the City of Pines. As part of the Primer Group Media Team led by Ms. Aileen Frugal, Media Relations Officer of the Primer Group, we were able to observe the activities of this premier race and witness hundreds or maybe a thousand trail runners testing their mettle in this scenic but harsh route laid out by the organizers.

Media and bloggers converge at the Microtel before our respective races

The 50k runners on their way

Leaving Manila at about 10am, we arrived in Baguio City at 3:00pm, checked-in at our designated hotel, the dainty MICROTEL with just enough time to freshen ourselves before the race briefing and race packet claiming for the 50k and 100k runers at the nearby Newtown Hotel which started at 4:00pm.

When we arrived, the place was teeming with hundreds of trail runners, many familiar faces, old friends and others i met for the first time. The briefing was held in a convention hall of the hotel that was large and pretty expansive. The packet pick up was an easy process and the organizers took turns in discussing all details of the race and an open discussion of concerns ensued.

At the race briefing center in Newtown Hotel where hundreds of trail runners came to pick up their race packets

With known personalities in the trail running community (L-R) Iggy Lopez, Monolito Divina, Thumbie Remigio and Wilnar Iglesia.

The following morning, Saturday was the race of the 50k and 100k distance runners with the latter taking off at 3:00am while most of the Baguio City residents were probably still tucked in their blankets. The 50k runners were sent off an hour later. Later that morning, our media team had the chance to visit and survey parts of the route, visiting various Aid Stations while watching runners come and go during their breaks on these stations.

U-Turn of the 50k runers at Itogon, Benguet

Last shot for 50k runners before they turn around on their way back

We saw first hand the difficulty of the terrain these runners had to endure, specially the 100km runners who had to battle intense heat, miles of undulating steep climbs, freezing cold when they reached the top, sudden downpours, cold sweeping winds, deep ravines, and thick fogs that rendered their head lamps useless. It was a difficult course navigating, exacerbated through the storm’s calamity. Later learned that many were not able to finish the race because of these trail hazards. Still a gallant effort for all these trail warriors!

100k Veterans, Jon Las Bruce and JC Igos on their lunch break at AS5 (Camp 1) before their assault back at the mountains. Both finished their race just 3 hours before cut-off time

While the 100k and 50k runners were out on their journey on the trails, the media and bloggers had a long Press briefing with Tim Sedo (L), TNF Regional Marketing Manager for HK and Asia and Jundel Llagas, Jr. (R), TNF Division Manager. Both had committed to support the TNF races in Asia, particularly in the Philippines where trail runing has grown leaps and bounds. They both assured that the TNF Trail Challenge Philippines will be in Baguio again next year, 2017.

The following day, Sunday was our turn to blaze the trails inside John Hay. I was originally set to do the 22km distance but didn’t want to bring havoc to my still recuperating left Achilles tendon so i decided to downgrade to the 11km distance.

With two of my media friends

Before the start with the 50k runners

We arrived at the venue at about 4:30am with cool weather and some morning fog enveloping the area. I was with about 10 other runners from the media and were poised just to have a good time running on one of the most beautiful paths of Baguio City.

With the SMART Communications Team and their Big Boss, Ian Yu aka Dagul Runner (L).

Champion of the 50k distance from South Korea who came in at 5:34:18

The 11k distance actually measured to 12.6k. It was a feeling of exhilaration combined with moments of exhaustion because of the arduous ascents on the middle stages of the route.

One of the best views running at the Yellow Trail

Highlights of this run are the rolling hills of the Eco Trail, the 500 meter zigzagging climb up to the Yellow Trails where i experienced some kind of oxygen debt just trying to put one foot over the other in reaching the top, the pine tree-laden Yellow Trails and the 45 degree, 300 meter slippery descent towards the embassy area which you will have to climb back once you reach the turn-around point. Best highlight many first-timers were raving were the great views all through-out, from the mountain ranges, deep ravines and the exceptionally wonderful trails with the pine trees surrounding it!

Runners at the Eco Trail

Congestion during the downhill parts of the trails

At the Yellow Trails

This was my 2nd time running the TNF Trail Challenge as last year’s race in Nuvali was one i didn’t savor too much as it was warm and humid compared to the cool mountains of Baguio. The TNF100Ph2016 lived up to its hype as it had what the organizers said it was…cool breeze, fresh air, awesome mountain views, umbrellas of pine trees, wooded forests, friendly race marshals and a lot more.

Some markings on the trails (c) Randy Belen

In no way do i get runner’s high or anything that will impress me anymore but having said that, it was still a great experience! The hills almost ate me alive, but I didn’t let me get the best of me. It was quite the hilly course but the people i ran with, the views and great camaraderie make it for an unforgettable experience.

Over-all, a amazing race and a majestic course.  Never have I experienced anything like it. And I highly recommend the short distance races (11k and 22k) for those new to trail running as a bucket list. Anyone can do it. Thank you TNF and Aileen Frugal of the Primer Group for hosting a great event!

Here are some pictures of our TNF experience. Enjoy!

With Ricky Francisco and his friend, Judith

With Cardimax-Clark Ultramarathon organizer and Simple Hydration Ambassador Tin Ferrera


With the Antique Hangaway Trail Run organizers led by Toto Manie Magbanua (second from left)

With 50k finisher, Marie Joyce!

With Pat and Tolits

At the MICROTEL where we were billeted.

With Iron Iris

The one and only Jose Ramizares!

With Majo Liao and the Great Jared!


The one and only shot from the Running Photographers! Thanks!