Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Run Laon 2015

AJ Mercado and his photo ops with Johnny Salinas at the crater summit
As I have maintained before, organizing events is not my cupof tea. But, once in a while, when I know that the event is worth sharing and the company is worth the time, I would go out of my way to make it happen.

The pilot Run Laon (which I did with just one buddy—Xerxis Tan) left a lot of my friends requesting for a second edition. My stopover in Cebu en route from Leyte to Manila this year was an opportunity to squeeze in RunLaon 2015!

I was joined by nine runners and trekkers from Cebu, Leyte, Negros and Iloilo, most of whom I had already run or climbed with. AJ Mercado and Johnny Salinas were doing this as training for their Mt Apo Sky Race 7 days after. With the help of the former head the guides association in Canlaon City, Jigz Santiago, our permits were secured.
The Mapot Trail entry
Then at 10 in the morning of April 26th, we started our trek/run at the Mapot trail. The lead pack reached Makawiwili Peak around 1pm. And they waited until the whole team assembled there at around 2. 
all ten of us at Makawiwili Peak
I joined the tail pack on our descent and we reached the shoulder campsite a little after 4pm. That time, the lead pack could already be seen as little human figures at the crater. 
The tail pack at the shoulder campsite
That was the cut-off time for the crater summit assault. I decided that the tail pack pass up the chance to take a peek into the crater. As we heard news that the Guintubdan trail authorities disallowed descent in the dark, we had no choice but to use the Mananawin exit trail. The tail pack started the descent and the lead pack caught up quickly at the grassland. 

After that, it was a swift downhill run. I joined the lead pack because I didn’t wanna be an inconvenience to the sweep guide (I didn’t have a headlamp with me).  AJ and I reached the road around 6pm. Immediately after, Johnny, Laurence Ortiz, Rey Angelo Padrique, Rey Anthony Narciso, Jake Liarta and Maria Mahinay joined us. We had to wait for Gene and Vince who joined us around 10pm.

Lots of lessons were learned and more friendships were forged. It felt good to give back trail running its original meaning—No medals, no finishers’ shirts, no competition. Just a natural high with the best of companions on the trail!  This realization has made me reconsider what I had told the team—that I wouldn’t organize events again in a very long time. I think K3 Run and another RunLaon are just around the corner!

The mossy forest of Kanlaon
the enchanted forest of Kanlaon
Feels great to be running with my buddy Jake Liarta again!
Laurence Ortiz who ran his first climb
Gene Libres who ran his first major climb
The ultramarathoner Vincent Parra who ran his first mountain ascent
Seasoned ultra trail runner Johnny Salinas training for his Mt Apo Sky Race his glasses for the last time. #alay
Awarded ultra trail runner Maria Mahinay proud endorser of Silangan Outdoor Equipment
Seasoned ultra trail runner Jake Liarta running down the crater summit

Photo credits to JOHNNY SALINAS

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Experience Palawan and Sagada in One Place

In 2005, I watched in awe as the guide shone his spotlight on the enormous cathedrals and told us every story of each of the stalactite and stalagmite formations in Palawan’s subterranean river which recently made it to the short list of the world’s new wonders of nature. Two years later I would be thrilled by the adventure in Sumaging Cave in Sagada as we scrambled and navigated through its many chambers.

This year, I experienced both of them in one place. 

This lovely waterfall substitutes Sabang beach as a prelude to the underground river

The inexperienced eye would say this is Palawan.

Explore the cave's immense chambers but instead of being on a boat, you get the thrill of swimming and wading through the underground river.

Without a powerful flash, this would be just total darkness and you wouldn't see how clear the water is.
the river could sometimes get dark and deep

The other exit is the icing on the cake.
The exit leads to another barrio.

Locals kids enjoying their own version summer chill! 

at the other end
The stalactite and stalagmite formations may not be that awesome but they're still camera-worthy.

Back at the entrance. Next time, I'll be sure to take my time to enjoy this natural swimming pool.
I'm so fortunate to have been able to enjoy the place before it gets too popular and expensive!

YOU deserve a holiday!

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