Holy Week Trail Running @ the City of Pines

It can’t be all a visit to Mines View Park, a stroll along Session Road, shopping at the public market, a banca ride at the Burnham Lake, nor church visitations that you do when visiting the City of Pines during Lenten week… and though I witnessed all these activities when I visited Baguio City last weekend with my running team, it was a whole new chapter when you’re with like-minded runners.

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Burnham Lake

Often flooded with tourists during Holy Week, what I did was to initiate a trail run along the pristine trails inside Camp John Hay, a favorite running haven for those in the know where you can enjoy peace and solitude, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, for a change.

My team, not used to a lot of trail running, were also looking forward to a break from their road run trainings back home, and this was a great opportunity to show them what the trails in this mountain city had to offer. This was their first time to explore the area and what a fabulous way for them to experience running the Blue and Yellow trails inside CJH.

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At the start of the Blue Trail

The Yellow and Blue Trails provides an oasis for runners, and hikers. Good thing that majority of this trail is now off limits to horse-back riding as they have been confined only up to the trail-head.

Betty and I readied our cameras to catch snaps of our run-hike and just put our minds to auto-pilot and let the undulating trails take us through hard-packed single track trails, groves of pine trees, glimpses of mountain tops, pine top needles, ravines and flowering ridges. Despite a sprinkling of occasional hikers, it was amazing how serene these trails could feel.

It’s one of the most beautiful places to run in Baguio City and a great destination for trail runners who would like to explore a short but exhilarating run inside Camp John Hay.

Leaving you with some pictures we took along the route. Happy trail running!

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With Tita Betty

 

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With trail running champ, James Telias

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Burnham Park

 

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Strawberry Taho

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MGM Bravehearts Trail Run 2017: Registration Closes Tomorrow, January 17, 2017

To those who have not yet registered for the MGM Bravehearts 7k and 11k Trail Run Uphill Challenge on February 12, 2017, you only have until 12 noon tomorrow, January 17, 2017  to register instead of January 20 because all slots for both distances have already been filled-up. An advisory have been released by the organizers announcing the closing of registration tomorrow:

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While the MGM organizing team wishes to accommodate all trail runners still interested to join this event, registrations has already reached its limit, and its decision to close registration this early is for the assurance of the safety and control the volume of runners that could overcrowd and compromise the fragile quality of the trails.

Should you have any more queries regarding registration, please PM them on their FB page, https://www.facebook.com/mgmfoxproductions/ or Dbb DelosAngeles.

So for those willing to beat the deadline tomorrow, here are the details on how you can still register:

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11K Finishers Shirt

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Bravehearts finisher’s medal for this trail run is made from recycled wood and each carefully laser crafted.

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Valley Trail Challenge 2016: August 20, 2016

6th Valley Trail Challenge 2016

August 20, 2016
Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
16K / 25K / 50K
Organizer: Frontrunner Magazine


The Valley Trail Challenge has a cult following of trail runners, from the hard core down to those who just would like to experience an easy, almost flat course and it’s among the gems of local trail running events.

This race really has something for everyone. For the road running regulars, it is a chance to test yourself against the trail running habitues on an almost flat terrain whether tackling the 50k ultra distance or shorter. For the slower, but fearless, there is an opportunity to do the course here in Nuvali, (in danger of being phased out because of rapid residential and commercial development) which covers approximately most of the scenic route.
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The event is surprisingly one of those very well attended and is well organized, from friendly marshals, adequate aid stations, a well-marked course and a sumptuous breakfast…all under the leadership of Race Director Jonel Mendoza and wife, Con.
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IF you are new to trail running or want to try to finish your first 50 km ultra, i can’t think of a better race. It also can serve as a great training run for something a bit more challenging.
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Here’s the review i did on this race last year when i got lost and wasted some precious time in back-tracking for the correct route. Hope this wouldn’t happen to you. https://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/valley-trail-challenge-2015-my-short-race-experience/
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Registration is in full swing! Check out below for details:
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REGISTRATION FEES:

16K – P 950.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt and Finisher Certificate, Post-race meal and drinks, a week’s supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.

25K – P 1,500.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt and Finisher Medal, Post-race meal and drinks, a week’s supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.

50K – P 2,000.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt, Finisher Shirt and Medal, Post-race meal and drinks, a week’s supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.

REGISTRATION PROCEDURE:
Registration period is from July 11 – August 12, 2016.

You may fill out registration forms and pay race fees at any of the following venues:

  • MULTISPORT HUB, Ground Floor Space-1, Building F, Solenad 3, Nuvali Sta. Rosa, Laguna, telephone: (049) 258 0824
  • GARMIN STORE, 3rd Floor, Glorietta 5, Makati City
  • ANTEL PLATINUM TOWER, Ground Floor Lobby, 154 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

You may also pay via Bank Deposit to Bank of the Philippine Islands: (BPI) Account # 2371 0034 71
Account Name: HARDCORE PUBLISHING HOUSE, INC.

Print your name, shirt size, race category and contact number on the deposit slip together with your signed and duly-accomplished registration form and waiver. (DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM and WAIVER HERE). Scan or camera-capture and email to frvtc2016@gmail.com. Make sure to email before the deadline for registration and check that you receive an acknowledgement email within 24-48 hours to confirm your registration. Please do NOT post on Facebook.

RACE KIT CLAIMING:
Race kits can be claimed from August 17-18, 2016 at Antel Platinum Tower Lobby, 154 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Bring a valid ID and your proof of payment.

All race kits unclaimed during this period may be claimed at the Frontrunner booth at the Start area on race day, at least one hour prior to gun start.

Start/Finish Line: NATURE AVENUE, NUVALI, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
ASSEMBLY TIME AND RACE BRIEFING: 1:00 AM (50K), 2:00 AM (25K) and 4:00 AM (16K)
GUNSTART AND CUT-OFF TIMES:

16k Start: 5:00 AM, Cut-off time FOUR (4) hours
25k Start: 3:00 AM, Cut-off time SIX (6) hours
50k Start: 2:00 AM, Cut-off time TEN (10) hours (Km 25 @ CP4/East Conservation Road Cutoff – 5:00:00 Hours and Km 37 @ CP 2/Miriam Cutoff – 7:30:00 Hours). Runners unable to meet this deadline will not be allowed to continue and will be brought back to the Start/Finish area.

Please be on time. Latecomers will not be allowed to join the race as we will strictly implement all cut-off times for everyone’s good. However, runners unable to complete their event will still be entitled to post-race items, except the Finisher medal and/or shirt.

THIS IS A TRAIL RACE. Please note that in keeping with the true tradition of trail running, environmental protection and preservation, runners are encouraged to be self- sufficient. Runners must bring their own refillable bottles/cups.

Littering will be strictly prohibited and is a ground for disqualification. Garbage bags will be available in all checkpoints.

Here are pictures taken from the race last year (Valley Trail Challenge 2015).

With Trail Running friends

Main Aid Station

Got a little pacing help by trail demigod, Manolito Divina.

DBB Mt. Batolusong Trail Run – August 7, 2016: A Sneak Peek

MGM Productions Present: DBB Mountain Rockstar Trail Run

MGM Productions takes you back to the most awaited trail run in Tanay, Rizal, the DBB Mountain Rockstar in 3 different distances. The route traces to beautiful trails through stunning mountain of clouds backdrops, plenty of fresh air and water, friendly marshals and a welcoming race atmosphere for everyone.

The distances include a 50km ultra distance which gets you to three (3) mountains – Mt. Batolusong, Mt. Maynoba & Mt. Cayabu which organizers call the MGM Trio. The race will also have the shorter distances, the sweet 12km and exhilarating 25km categories.

Each distance will take you to some magnificent landscapes with long-winding ascents, cloud-swept mountain tops that will put a smile on your face. There will be river crossings, run through farm-fringed valleys, weave through towering forest trees and sweep along flowing trails beside rivers, creeks, many water falls and mountain lookouts.

Registration is ongoing!

Mt. Batolusong, Barangay San Andres, Tanay, Rizal
August 07, 2016

This is part of the MGM Trail Running Series.

Distance: 12km / 25km / 50km

Start Time: 4:00AM (50km) / 5:00AM (25km) / 5:30AM (12km)

Cut Off Time : 12km (6hrs) / 25km (9hrs) / 50km (15hrs)

Starting/Finish Area: Barangay Hall of San Andres, Tanay Rizal

Registration Fee:

Php 1,150.00 / 12km Mountain Trail Run
Php 1,450.00 / 25km Mountain Trail Run
Php 1,800.00 / 50km Mountain Ultra Trail Run

Inclusive of the following: Finisher Shirt, Medal, Race Bandana, Personalized Bib Number and Post Race Meal.
* 25km and 50km finishers will get a FREE MGM Mountain Rockstar Cap

Registration Period: June 21 – July 22, 2016

Registration Procedure:

Deposit the registration fee to
Account Name: Rayman D. delos Angeles
BPI Savings Acct Num: 3199-1456-56

Send a scanned copy of the deposit slip to mgm_mtbatolusong@yahoo.com with your name, gender, race distance and size of finisher shirt . Subject: MGM MT. BATOLUSONG REGISTRATION”. Please keep and present the deposit slip when claiming the race kit on the race day.

LIMITED SLOT ONLY!

No onsite registration
Once all the slots are filled up we will close the registration
No distance switching

****** The event takes place RAIN or SHINE! ******

Here’s a sneak peek of the race route which was held last year and is going to be used for this year’s race edition.

GETTING THERE:

** Private Transportation
From Cubao take Aurora Blvd. East Bound and continue straight to Marcos Highway. You will pass by Sta. Lucia Grand Mall, Masinag, and Cogeo. After Cogeo, you will traverse zigzag roads.

You will pass by Palo Alto and Garden Cottages. A few meters from Kilometer Post 51, the Welcome Arch to Barangay San Andres is on the other side of the road (left side). This is actually the place that locals refer to as Batangasan or Batangas.

Follow the road leading down to the valley that is Brgy. San Andres. You will pass through two small bridges. Take the left turn after the Brgy. Chapel. The Brgy. Hall cum registration area is located 30 meters from the main road and just before the covered court. From Batangasan, the Brgy. Hall is more or less 4 kms in distance.

Early morning travel from Cubao to Brgy. San Andres is 1 hour 45 minutes.

** Public Transportation
From Cubao, take a jeep or FX to Cogeo Gate 2 (Php 35 FX). Once in Cogeo, proceed to the jeepney terminal adjacent to the market and take the jeepney going to Sampaloc/Tanay. Tell the driver to drop you off at Batangasan/Batangas. (1 hour travel time).

Hire a habal-habal or tricycle to San Andres Barangay Hall. (15 minutes travel time).

Preview: A Sneak Peek of the Rizal Mountain Run

Like all the best trail-mountain races held recently near Metro Manila, (think Mt. Marami, Mt. Batolusong, Mt. Sembrano, among the few), the Rizal Mountain Run (RMR50) promises to be another trail race destination for your 2016 bucket list, something not to be missed! This trail run, which features a beginner’s 15k, a 30k and an ultra distance of 50k will be held on FEBRUARY 28, 2016.

Starting from the Basekamp Resort in Sapinit Road, Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal, the route traverses into a short concrete road before it dives straight into the heart of some of the most rugged trails, scenic mountain ranges and endless river crossings of the Rizal provincial landscape.

I was fortunate enough to be invited with fellow trail runner-bloggers for a sneak peak of the RMR50 route, a short 12k run that forms part of all the distances to be traversed by the runners. The trails are not exactly new to me having ran them for both training and races in the past except for a fire road called the New Casile Road. The route is a visceral landscape, with the river snaking over a long vast track of valleys, with the Sierra Madre mountains always lording over our heads.

We started from the top of the new Casile Road and the route follows wide dirt roads, rolling hills and into Pintong Bukawe’s interior which will expose runners to a variety of terrain, including long downhills, single-track trails, lung-busting uphills and views of the Marikina-Casile River. For the 50k and 30k runners, the trails cuts into river crossings that would slow down runners, specially on parts where the river currents are strong, deep and slippery.

15k Finisher’s Shirt

The trails will be hot and dry late in the morning, shoes will be all wet every-time runners cross the river, taking with you small pebbles wriggling beneath your feet so it’s best to wear them trail gaiters if you have one. But the route takes in also subtle terrain, with trees giving shades on some parts specially the trails in Puro, Malasya and in Pintong Bukawe.

After the race, packed breakfast will be served while other nourishment and snacks will be sold at the cafeteria inside BaseKamp.

Many thanks to Atty. Aldean Lim, Ronald Declarador, Jael Wenceslao, Majo Liao, Gene Olvis and to the rest of the organizing committee for the invitation and for making this recon run a successful one!

Our test-run group

Rizal Mountain Run

February 28, 2016
Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal

Event Distances:
15K / 30K/ 50K

Registration Fees:
15K – P1,000
30K – P1,500
50K – P2,000 (Limited to 150 Slots only).

50K Cut-Off Details:

Assembly Time: 1:00AM
Pre-race Briefing: 2:00AM
Start Time: 3:00AM
Intermediate Cut-off Time: AS4 – Sitio Wawa (KM 34) – 12:00PM local time (9 hours)
Cut-off Time: 4:00PM
Time Barrier: 13 hours

Registration is via online only at their website: http://rizalmountainrun.com/event01/rmr50-2016-reg

Deadline of Registration and Payment is on February 20

Follow them at:

For more information:
Website: http://rizalmountainrun.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RMRUltra

Leaving you with pictures of the route! Registration is still open!

The new Casile Road

A huge boulder that would be visible to all runners

Our run was supported by 4×4 vehicles which brought us our supplies during this test run

Some rock formation along the route

Dirt roads that goes downhill

Part of an uphill route with scenic views of the Sierra Madre mountains

A group picture with the mountains as backdrop

Perfect spot for a selfie.

Jun Santiago leaving his dust behind him! 🙂

Great views of the mountains at every turn

View of the Marikina-Casile River below

Our support vehicles waiting at every turn

Part of the route

Congregating at another scenic view

More on the Casile River below

Emerging at the 6k mark

At the single track trails

One of our river crossings with Majo, Iris and Adrian

Trails towards a valley

Lunch at the Basekamp Resort, start/finish line of the Rizal Mountain Run

With the ladies and the photobombers! 🙂

Hope to see you at the race!

The Blue Lagoon (Gasgas River) Trails in Solsona, Ilocos Norte: Part 1

A great joy of trail running is the feeling you get when you venture on some place completely new, a venue you haven’t seen nor experienced before. Many locations for trail running offer unique amenities like waterfalls or mountain ridges but there are only a few locations that offer one full package of a truly amazing experience.

Found one of this wonder of nature when we traveled in the town of Solsona, a 3rd class municipality in the province of Ilocos Norte, when rivers connects to waterfalls or when mountain tops stretch to a vast plateau offering a savanna like no other!

We were guests of Mr. Rene Santillan, Executive Secretary to the Mayor of Solsona, Mr. Jhong De Lara to explore the trails around Solsona and we were amazed at the variety of terrains, rich with undulating mountain climbs and treks atop single track trails over-looking the river. While the Cordillera/Mountain Province region gets all the attention when it comes to trail running, Solsona’s Cordillera mountain part offers the solitude of non-stop trail-blazing with far less people setting foot on these parts.

The mountains and the long river takes precedence here. From our base camp at the Karinking Mountain and River Resort (KMRR), we wandered into a established trail with leads at once into views of a long river below with paths of rocky single track terrain and an assortment of fauna that envelopes the area.

There are numerous epic treks that can be inter-connected to each other but the trail to the GASGAS River or what the locals fondly call the BLUE Lagoon serves an easy 30 minute single run-hike that connects to the DUA Falls and some more trails at the base of the mountains.

My trail running buddy Jun Santiago including another trekking visitor of the place Mario and our guide, Fernan were to trek on this scenic landscape beginning at the KMRR by scaling on ascending and descending boulders that offers lots of challenges. If the trails were to steep or too narrow to pass over, we slid down on ravines that leads to the river banks which were much safer to maneuver instead of risking of falling down from unsure footing. Once we find another opening to scale up, we do so to re-connect with the trails.

And when you conquer this quirk jaunts up those trails and emerge at their famed Blue Lagoon and look at at the vastness of this river, you will feel the true timelessness of this place.

Don’t forget to freshen up while in the river. The water is cold, by the way but it beats the heat that you were subjected to while scaling the trails. Enjoy!

Start of the trail

A detour to avoid the narrow, loose trail above the banks of the river

The rocky trail overlooking the river

Making a stop, enjoying the view

Another boulder atop the edge of the river

A flat portion of the terrain

Getting down from those limestones

Blue Lagoon (Gasgas River) now on view

The fast current makes it so difficult to pass through

Jun and the guide crossing on the shallow part

 

Trying to balance at the slippery rock

Trekking our way further on the eastern side of the river

One of the Dua waterfalls

The Yellow and the Eco Trails of Camp John Hay

There’s no other city on the northern part of Luzon than i am more fond of than the cool, charming summer capital, Baguio City. It’s been countless of times that i’ve been to this summer resort since the 70s but for some odd reasons, have not been able to visit this place for the last 7 years. But last week, when fellow blogger Franc Ramon invited me for a week-end of trail running at Camp John Hay (which is a few minutes from his home in the city) and at the Sta. Fe Trail Run in Ampucao, Benguet, 40 minutes further away, (story here)  i couldn’t resist the invitation.

Tha many times i’ve visited the “City of Pines”, our itinerary would include Camp John Hay (CJH), the former R&R facility of the US Armed Forces, now under ownership of the Philippine government. CJH for me was more of a place to dine, stroll along its manicured gardens, go horseback riding or set up picnic on one of the picnic tables and view the awesome natural surroundings.

However, it was only recently that i learned about the running trails inside the camp, knowing that these were used exclusive for horse-back riding and was the venue for the North Face Trail run series a few years back. So Franc, being very familiar with these trails brought me along for a short run-walk jaunt and being here for the first time was magical!

Start of the Yellow trail

The Yellow and Eco Trails provides an oasis for runners, mountain bikers, and hikers. Good thing that majority of this trail is now off limits to horse-back riding as they have been confined only up to the trail-head.

Franc and I readied our cameras to catch snaps of our run-hike and just put our minds to auto-pilot and let the undulating trails take us through hard-packed single track trails, groves of pine trees, glimpses of mountain tops, grassy fields and ravines and flowering ridges. Despite the sprinkling of mountain bikers and occasional hikers, it was amazing how serene these trails could feel.

Along the trails, we met fellow trail-ultra runner, Epoy Poblete who was also venturing into these trails for the first time.

It’s one of the most beautiful places to run in Baguio City and a great destination for trail runners who would like to explore a short but exhilarating run inside Camp John Hay.

Leaving you with some pictures we took along the route. Happy trail running!

With Franc Ramon

Bumping into Epoy Poblete (middle) who was also venturing out into the Yellow Trail

ECO TRAIL