Taray Pamulinawen 2011: Laoag Sand Dune Challenge


After the huge success of “Run Ahead, Raising A Roof” Run held in Laoag City last December of 2009, Triathlete/Runner & Race organizer Faivo Bartolome brings another unique event up North, the “Taray Pamulinawen 2011, Laoag Sand Dunes Challenge” to be held on February 26, 2011 and will start and end at the Laoag City Hall.

This race, hosted by the Laoag City government will be a first of a kind wherein runners will be running in the Sand Dunes of La Paz, a municipality of Laoag which is well-known for being the setting of well-known foreign films like Tom Cruise’ “Born On The Fourth Of July”, Mel Gibson’s “Mad Max” series and local films like Nora Aunor’s “Himala” and the “Panday” series of the late Fernando Poe, Jr.

The sand dunes viewed from above a hill

Very fine sand that towers up to two stories high

Also known as “The Desert Of The North”, the Sand Dunes of La Paz offers a very challenging terrain not only with its varied uphill climbs but also for its arduous surface which is like threading on very soft and deep desert sands and would be twice as difficult to traverse whenever strong gales coming from the Pacific Ocean blows the sand away and is quite painful once the sand gets into your eyes.

The Pacific Ocean on the horizon

Wilnar and I threading towards the beach

I, together with some runner friends had the chance to run in this difficult terrain and it was one of the most exhilarating experience we ever had. This was during the “Run Ahead Race” in Laoag City and our adventures can be read here: running-the-sand-dune-trails-of-la-paz and here: run-ahead.

The trail going towards the sand dunes

Running atop one of the sand dunes

Finally arriving at the beach front

Great view!

The Taray Pamulinawen 2011 sand Dune Challenge is envisioned to become one of the North’s biggest and unique running events that will highlight the City of Laoag as a major tourist destination and an investment mecca.

The route will cover some of the most scenic spots in Laoag like its centuries old churches, pristine beaches and some of the old landmarks of the city.

The race will feature a 10-mile trail run (which will include the sand dunes), a 10k Road Run, 5k Road Run, 3k Family Run and a 750 meter Kids Dash.

 Registration fees are as follows:

DURATION Jan. 3 – Jan. 31

Early Bird Registration


Feb. 1 – Feb. 19

Regular Registration


Feb. 20 – Feb. 23

Late Registration



10 mi. Trail Run       

Php 350.00       

Php 400.00       

Php 500.00       


Php 150.00       

Php 200.00       

Php 250.00       


Php 150.00       

Php 200.00       

Php 250.00       

3km Family Run       

Php 150.00 each       

Php 200.00 each       

Php 250.00 each       

750m Kids Dash       

Php 100.00       

Php 125.00       

Php 150.00       

For other details and to download registration forms, please visit www.laoagcity.gov.ph or call/text 0917-5530050 (Faivo Bartolome).


Viva Vigan Heritage Run: May 2, 2010

I still can’t forget the Ilocos Norte adventure runs we had when McCoy, Wilnar, Dhentz  and I travelled to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte to join the Run Ahead, Laoag City Raise the Roof Run last November 29, 2009. Aside from the race in Laoag City itself (laoag-city), we had a whirlwind tour of the province with adventure runs at the beaches of Blue Lagoon (pagudpud), Saud (saud), and the Sand Dunes of La Paz (la-paz), courtesy of our gracious hosts, Faivo and Babette Bartolome. It was a very well-organized race, one worth returning to.

Come May 2, 2010, there will be another race up north in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, the Viva Vigan Heritage Run organized by the Metro Vigan Runners Club (Tarayem) and it will be a 3k, 5k, 10k and 15k run. The run co-incides with Vigan’s famous Binatbatan Festival of the Arts from April 30 to May 5, 2010. If you want to know how much it would cost you to register for the race, please read on their press release below:

Another summer spectacle unfolds in Vigan from April 30 to May 5, 2010- the Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts! The festival was crafted in 1993 as an effort to nurture the pride of Biguenos on their identity as residents of this unique and historic city. With the collaboration of the LGU and the private sector, it metamorphosed into one of the biggest and most colourful attraction in the North, drawing crowds from all over the Philippines and abroad, who come to celebrate a city festival in a setting replete with history and heritage, cultural treasures and reminiscences.

This year’s festival marks another milestone of the city of Vigan with the inclusion of the “1st Viva Vigan Heritage Run” which will be held on May 2, 2010 with a theme “A Run for a Clean and Honest Elections”. The event is sponsored by the city government of Vigan headed by Mayor Eva Marie S. Medina. This race is being organized by passionate runners from Vigan, TARAYEM (Metro Vigan Runners Club). Race categories: 3K, 5K, 10K, 15K

What to expect from this race?

  • Very affordable registration fees
  • On-line registration allowed
  • Accurate race distance
  • Kilometre markers
  • Directional signs
  • Road marshals (Police, Traffic aides, Barangay Tanods)
  • Clean in-house rest rooms situated every 3 km
  • Abundant water stations (every barangay)
  • Experience running on a cobblestones along the Heritage Village ( all race categories)
  • Running alongside a river that connects to the South China sea (15K category)
  • A glimpse of Baluarte ni Chavit (10K and 15K category)
  • Carbo-loading party on May 1, 2010, 6PM in front of Vigan city hall(local carbo-rich delicacies)
  • Souvenir shirts
  • Enjoy the weeklong Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts



“A Run for a Clean and Honest Elections”

5:00 AM, May 2, 2010

Vigan City Hall, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Race Organizer: TARAYEM (Metro Vigan Runners Club)

Objective: To create awareness on the health benefits of running and to promote and showcase the tourist spots of the City of Vigan through this road race.


3K Kiddie Run, (12 years old under)

  • Male
  • Female

5K Fun Run (13 years old to 18 years old)

  • Male
  • Female

10K Adventure Run (Open Category)

  • Male
  • Female

15K Le’ Tour de Vigan (Open Category)

  • Male
  • Female


3K Kiddie Run (Male, Female)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 1, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 1, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 500.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: Medal

5K Fun Run (Male, Female)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 2, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 1, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 1000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: Medal

10K Adventure Run (Male, Female, Open Category)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 3, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 2, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 1000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: PhP 400.00 each plus Medal

15K Le Tour de Vigan (Male, Female-Open Category)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 4, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 3, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 2000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: PhP 500.00 each plus Medal

Registration Fees:

3K: Free

5K: P30.00

10K: P50.00

15K: P80.00

Deadline of Registration: April 30, 2010

Registration areas: Vigan City Health Office Mon-Friday from 8AM to 4PM c/o Dr. Lymuel Pascua or Mr. Jessie Ancheta, Planet Sports General Merchandise, Plaza Maestro, Vigan City, Bantay Bread at Brgy. Boquig, Bantay, Ilocos Sur or download registration form and fax it to (077) 722-3838.

Running The Sand Dune Trails of La Paz

(Our Ilocos Norte Sojourn, Part 1)

We arrived in Laoag, Ilocos Norte at 10:15am Saturday, a grueling 9 1/2 hour road trip from Manila. Dennis (runningpinoy) and i rode together in a Maria De Leon Super De Luxe Bus while McCoy and Wilnar arrived 15 minutes later via the Farinas Bus Lines as they could not reserve any more seats with the former bus liner.

With Dhentz on the bus

Our trip was made through the courtesy of Jinoe Gavan (takbo.ph) and Faivo Bartolome, well known Laoag businessman and the organizer of the Run Ahead, Raising A Roof Race. The four of us immediately checked-in at the Laoag Renzo Hotel, a cozy 3-star hotel located within the commercial hub of Laoag City. It would be my 3rd trip to this wonderful city, having been assigned here on various job related visits in the past. For Wilnar, McCoy and Dennis, this would be their first.

After a hearty lunch of famous Ilocano dishes with Faivo, we were brought to the Sand Dunes of La Paz, Desert of the North, as it is called which is about 6kms away from Laoag City proper. We were immediately struck by the uniqueness of the place. The approach to the sand dunes may seem ordinary, with rolling hills, the rustic scenery of thatched nipa huts and grazing goats which seem to look bothered with our presence. However, getting into the inner sanctum of the place, you immediately notice the mounds of sand dunes with heights ranging from 15 to 40 meters and get a panoramic view of the South China Sea a kilometer beyond.

View at the top of one of the dunes

The South China Sea at the background

With our host and race organizer, Faivo Bartolome in the middle

It’s like living out of a scene from every desert or adventure movie you ever saw when you were young and no wonder, these sand dunes were settings from foreign films like, Born On The Fourth of July, Mad Max and so with local films like Himala and the Panday series of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.

The few foliage found on one of the dunes

Since we didn’t bring our running gear with us, we decided to go back to our hotel and prepare all our running essentials and head back again for the dunes. It was 3:00pm and some friends of Faivo fetched us and we requested to be dropped-off 3 kilometers before La Paz proper so we could run the remaining 3kms to the sand dunes.

Pat, McCoy and Wilnar setting out the pace

Rustic view near the entrance

Farm goats huddled during our run

Trail leading to the sand dunes

A small pond in the middle of the desert

Finding my way out

McCoy atop a ridge

We follow suit

Running towards the seashore

Reaching the shore, at last

Enjoying the rush of fresh water

Enjoying the scenery

Catching the sunset view

(L-R) Mac, Wincet & Dennis

On our way back

We shall return for the La Paz Sand Dunes 15k Trail Run next year!

Running in the sand with your shoes on isn’t easy, so running barefoot seems to be the only option but when the sand is as hot as the tin surface of a water kettle that’s just been boiled, arrgh..you better don on those shoes again!

However difficult the terrain is, with the ocean views on the horizon, the breezy cool air permeating your body and the endless miles of beachfront you can run forever, this is simply one of the most eye-popping running experience you will ever have!