Picture Of The Week #15

18 03 2013

At "The Rock", Philex Ridge, Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet

At “The Rock”, Philex Ridge, Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet





Cairns

21 02 2013

You can “google” the word if you want to know what the word means. These are stone or rocks being compiled or grouped together to form a certain structure. They are mostly made by men on top of mountains or hills or in a certain part of a trail. The cairns could be seen as a pile of stones and rocks or simply some formations of rocks or stones.

In the history of making cairns, there are so many meanings and purposes why people would make these structures. From one continent to another, their purposes are varied. Some are simply markers to signify that you are at the peak of the mountain/hill. Some would point to a certain direction; some would symbolize as a mark of honor to somebody; or some would simply wish good luck for one’s trip or hike in the mountains.

I am not sure if we practice on making cairns in our country. In my peak bagging activities last year, I haven’t seen any cairns on the peaks of the mountains that I visited. I think I might as well start the said practice of making cairns on the peak that I bagged or visited. Well, it takes some extra effort to collect such stones or rocks within the area of the peak of the mountain but the effort is worth if the purpose is well meant and comes from the heart.

So, I’ve started making some cairns on the peaks of hills and mountains that I’ve visited for the past days and weeks. These cairns had been dedicated to special friends in the ultra running community to wish them good luck in their present condition. Miguel De Alba is supposed to join the 2013 BDM 160 Ultra last January but due to an accident during the “test run” last December, he is now recuperating from a broken bone in his right leg. I have dedicated the cairns that I’ve made in one of the peaks of the Verdugo Mountains in Glendale, California and at the peak of Mt Lukens in Arcadia, California.

Cairns @ One of the Peaks at the Verdugo Mountains For Miguel De Alba

Cairn @ One of the Peaks at the Verdugo Mountains For Miguel De Alba

Cairns @ The Peak of Mt Lukens For Miguel De Alba

Cairn @ The Peak of Mt Lukens For Miguel De Alba

In my visit to the Echo Mountain in Pasadena, California, I made a cairn for my good friend, Andre Blumberg of Hongkong, as a symbol of appreciation to the selfless support to my elite ultra runners for their participation to the Vibram Hongkong 100K Trail Run for the past two years. It is also my way of wishing him good luck for his participation in the 2013 Ultra Running Grand Slam in the United States.

Cairns @ The Peak of Echo Mountain (Pasadena, CA) For Andre Blumberg

Cairn @ The Peak of Echo Mountain (Pasadena, CA) For Andre Blumberg

Another View of the Cairn For Andre Blumberg

Another View of the Cairn For Andre Blumberg

If ever you will be visiting on these places where I made some cairns for these gentlemen, you are requested to add more more rocks into them.

As I continue in my peak bagging feats, I will be making more cairns and feature their pictures in this blog. Their purpose will be to honor the “gods” of the mountain for them to keep us away from harm and danger and at the same time wish good luck to our hike/trek on the said mountain. And if you happen to see these cairns, you are enjoined to add more rocks into them.

See you on the mountain trails and peaks in the coming days, weeks and months!





“Train As You Race”

12 01 2013

In Special Units in the military, you always hear their mantra as, “Train As You Fight”. Among elite runners, their mantra should be “Train As You Race”.

In order to have a quick look and observation on the training & preparation of Gerald Sabal and Marcelo Bautista for the 2013 Vibram Hongkong 100K Trail Run in Baguio City, I have to personally see for myself how their training was on-going with regards to their acclimatization to cold weather environment, altitude training, and feedback about their training program & workout. I went up to Baguio City and see the progress of their training. I had a chance to join in one of their daily workouts.

On my first day in Baguio City, I treated them to a lunch and it was there that I was able to give my instructions about their schedule of training; suggested running route in the city and its environs; and gave them their running apparel/kits and their nutrition needs, courtesy of Andre Blumberg who brought the items from Hongkong to Manila during his participation in the latest edition of the TD 100 Ultramarathon Race.

Gerald, Girlene (Wife of Gerald) & Marcelo @ Good Taste, Baguio City

Gerald, Girlene (Wife of Gerald) & Marcelo @ Good Taste, Baguio City

Gerald and Marcelo were instructed to use the Hammer Perpetuum as their source of nutritional needs during the race in order to minimize spent time in stopping in every Aid Station for their food intake. And they should be used to be taking such food mixture/supplement every time they have their daily workouts until it becomes natural for them during the actual race. I clearly explained to the two runners on how to mix the Hammer Powder with water in their hydration bottles and how the mixture is being consumed during the run.

I asked them to run with me all the way to the peak of Mount Santo Tomas on the following day and be able to start using the Hammer mixture as their food intake during the run. We started at 4:00 AM when the temperature in Baguio City was at its coldest at the Marcos Highway & entry to the Green Valley Subdivision. It was still dark and we were able to use our headlights and hand-held flashlight. The two runners were using their respective Salomon S-Lab 5-Liter Hydration Pack where one bottle is full of Hammer Mixture and the other bottle was full of water. As for me, I brought a single bottle of Simple Hydration filled with water and no gels or Power Bars.

Danin Marcelo Gerald 083

At sunrise, we were already at the peak of Mt Cabuyao and it was cold and windy. We pushed, jogged and brisk-walked, for another 4 kilometers until we reached the peak of Mount Santo Tomas. Before we reached the peak of Mt Santo Tomas, I felt all my fingers were already numbed and could hardly clench my fist because of the cold temperature. The wind had become stronger, producing a distinct loud sound within the surroundings. Marcelo told me that it is always cold and windy as one approaches the top of Mt Santo Tomas. We end up on the building structures and antennae on the peak of the mountain and we had some picture taking moments.

At The Peak Of Mt Santo Tomas (2,250 MASL)

At The Peak Of Mt Santo Tomas (2,250 MASL)

After a few minutes, we started our descent towards Mt Cabuyao but my fingers were still numbed and hard! It was an easy jog in going back to Mt Cabuyao. From Mt Cabuyao, I took some pictures of the two elite runners going down towards Marcos Highway.

My run to the peak of Mount Cabuyao and Mount Santo Tomas officially started my next season of “peak bagging” feats. It is a “short” but long 24K run but it took me 4 hours & 20 minutes for the said workout.

After the workout, I had another chance to get feedback from my runners. They told me that they like the Hammer Mixture and they did not have any stomach issues. I instructed them to use it every time they have their workout until they taper down before the event.

For one of their long runs before tapering, I told them to run the Baguio City-Ambuklao Dam-Baguio City route and be able to use the Hammer Mix during the duration of their run. They were able to follow my instruction and they were able to finish the course in 7+ hours! The feedback was that they liked the Hammer Mix and they did not have any stomach issues.

A good teamwork developed between the two runners for the three weeks that they have trained together in Baguio City. The two shared their strengths and weaknesses and I could see that both runners respect each other. Practically, both runners lived together in one place during the duration of their training.

I can’t consider myself as their Coach & Manager but I think I am a “facilitator” and a “father-figure” to them with regards to their training and preparation for the “Big Dance” in Hongkong. Sometimes, I would still act as a Military Commander & General to them just to stress and give importance to what I am telling them. However, the bottom line of what I’ve been telling them is all about Discipline& Being Focused to their Goal! And impressed on them the mantra, “Train As You Race”!

As these two runners are tapering for the running event and preparing for their departure to Hongkong in one week’s time, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the runners, local & international, who contributed financial support to these two runners and to Andre Blumberg of Hongkong who is the Principal Sponsor for our Pinoy Elite Runners to the 2013 Vibram Hongkong 100K Trail Run. Thank you very much!





Pictures Of The Week #11

16 10 2012

This is a very unique BR’s Picture of the Week because it consists of successive pictures that tell a story of the people living in our mountains. For this particular Picture Story, all pictures were taken while I was on my “peak bagging” run at Mt Miyamit, Porac, Pampanga last Saturday. The following pictures are self-explanatory but I would still put some captions to each of them.

Brisk Walking Towards The Top Of The Mountain With A Boy On A Carabao & Sled Infront of Me

“Sidestepping” To Pass The Carabao & Sled (Note: “Makahiya” Plants On the Side of the Trail). Kid’s Companions Are On Top

Was Able To Join The Group (One Family) & Talked To The Father. The Family Would Stay In The Mountains For Days To Hunt For Food & Harvest Banana Blossoms (Puso Ng Saging) To Be Brought To The Market.

Initial Picture With The Family

The Whole Family Plus The Kid On The Carabao (Not In The Picture), A Family of 9 Children!

My message in this Picture Story is to remind us that we are blessed with so much material things within our grasps as compared to this Family that I met in the Mountains. Next time that you go to the mountains, find time to engage them in a conversation, the least that you can do if you don’t have a spare of cash or food with you which you can share to them. Maybe, on my next “peak bagging” runs, I will make sure that I will bring something to give to these people in the mountains.

Happiness in a family is not measured by material possessions, title and money but on the unity and bonding of each member.





“High Peak” @ Mt Tapulao

15 10 2012

“High Peak” was the name/title of the Event Page as posted on Facebook by Bong Alindada.

One day after my “Run For Peace” in Negros Island, I was on my way to the Dampay Salaza Resettlement in Palauig, Zambales to experience peak bagging to Mount Tapulao, the highest moiuntain peak in Central Luzon!

I was invited by Bong Alindada and the rest of the Team Maligno whose members are seasoned ultrarunners and peak baggers. Even if I knew I will be directly involved in the “Run For Peace” and will be running a distance of 87 kilometers, joining these ultrarunners will be fun and worth the experience. I would not miss the camaraderie of this team/group.

Planning and Schedule were duly published and discussed on Facebook’s Event Page and the details of the event was set. All was needed was for me to rest the whole day of the 22nd of September (Saturday) and travel early to Palauig, Zambales on the next day.

Dampay Salaza Resettlement Area is the trailhead to the peak of Mt Tapulao. It is a resettlemt area for those families affected by the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in 2001 whose houses were buried by lahar. Most of the families are Aeta tribe and residents in most of the barangays of San Marcelino, Zambales.

If one has a personal vehicle, it can be reached through the Olongapo-Alaminos Highway going north. After passing the Poblacion of Palauig, Zambales, there is a road crossing going east from the Highway before reaching the town of Candelaria, Zambales. An appropriate directional board of the Resettlement Area can be seen along the said Highway. For those who would like to commute by bus, they can take the Victory Liner Bus up to Iba, Zambales and then hire those tricycles at the Bus Station. Although it is more expensive, hiring one tricycle would cost P400 which could accommodate 4 persons. The distance from the Highway Crossing to the Resettlement Area is 7.8 Kilometers.

Team Maligno/Runners To The Peak Of Mt Tapulao (Minus the Photographer)

I met the Team at Dampay Salaza Resettlement Area at 6:30 AM of Sunday, 23 September and with a few minutes of preparation and picture-taking, we were off to the peak of Mt Tapulao.

Mt Tapulao is very popular among Mountaineers. The trek to the peak of this mountain and camping overnight serves as the Initiation Climb for the new mountaineers in almost all the famous Mountaineering Clubs in Luzon & Metro Manila.

Entry To The Trail Is Full Of Rocks Already

A gradual and non-stop incline awaited us as soon as we left the Barangay Hall of Barangay Dampay Salaza which serves also as the Office of the Barangay’s Tourism Office. I think we paid Twenty Pesos per Climber for the Registration Fee and each climber has to register at the said office before he/she climbs the mountain.

What is very distinct and different among the other mountains that I peaked is that this mountain’s trail is full of small, medium, and large rocks. The trail is wide for a 4 X 4 jeep or truck to traverse or travel. I have the suspicion that the PNOC had constructed the trail for their heavy equipment to reach the peak of the mountain. The trail’s construction has a similitarity with that of Mt Natib’s trail to its peak. The PNOC could have been exploring for possible source of energy as these mountains are considered as volcanoes.

These Are The Small Rocks!

I was in the company of my ultra friends from Team Maligno. We had 9 males and one female. I brought two of my men who served as the official photographer and “mule” for our food and water provisions not knowing that there are many sources of water along the trail. Not only I had running friends but also mountaineers as well and those who I have influenced in peak bagging. Bong Alindada served as our guide as he became the “talk of the folks in the barangay” for having registered the fastest time to reach the peak of the mountain a month ago! Team Maligno was in good hands and there was no chance for anybody of us to get lost on the “assualt stage” towards the peak of the mountain.

The people at the Barangay could not believe when we said to them that we would be back before sunset when they noticed that we did not bring any heavy backpacks for our camping needs and extra food & water provisions.

Our ascending pace was very fast! I was left behind with my two men and for having ran a 87 kilometers two days ago gave my leg muscles and knees a “recovery” workout! It’s weird but I think I considered this peak bagging event as my “after ultra recovery workout”. I tried to keep in pace with the last man of the front group making sure that the main group was always on my sight!

Brief Meeting & Talk With “Jeffrey”

Our first “pit stop” is a water source (spring) at Km # 6.3 and we enjoyed our water and food. I shared hard boiled eggs which appeared to have their shells separated from the egg itself due to the jarring effect caused by eggs knocking each other inside a “tupperware” container! It wasn’t a problem, the egg is still an egg and it’s a nice food for endurance athletes if dipped with some salt! I offered some boiled sweet potatoes, too! The next water source is at Km # 9.

We received information from the Barangay Tourism Office that there are at least 75 persons who climbed the mountain the day before and they slept with their camping tents at the base of the peak. Some of the persons are with the DENR who are conducting some studies on the “birds’ habitat & presence” in the area.

Our Pit Stop!

Jeffrey With The Smiling Team Maligno

While we were resting in our first “pit stop”, an adult Aeta who appears to be taller than the usual height of the tribe, reached our resting place and he was carrying half sack of rice and other supplies for the DENR personnel at the peak. We invited him to join us, shared our food and tried to engage him in a conversation. He brought down to the ground the things that he was carrying and we had some conversation with him. I asked his name and he said that his name is Jeffrey. I immediately said that I am naming him as “Jeffrey Mutai”. He looks like he is from Kenya! He works as a porter for climbers and he is being paid P 300.00 per day with free food from his client-climber!

As we resumed our trek to the peak of the mountain, Jeffrey was left behind as he took some rest. However, after a few minutes, he was already on our tail. Jeffrey’s sight behind us became our gauge if we are dropping our pace during our trek!

Rocks Galore To The Peak

As we got nearer to the Bunkhouse and getting higher in elevation, we met some of the climbers who are already going back to the resettlement Area/Barangay’s Tourism Office after staying overnight at the peak. We usually greet them as we meet along the trail with the usual “Good Morning” greetings. However, one of the climbers going down was aked by one of us if there are many more of the climbers still at the peak and we got a different answer! He replied that we still have a few more kilometers to walk/trek before we reach the “bunkhouse” which is the last kilometer plus hundred meters before the peak of the mountain. Weird answer, ha?

Pine Trees Ala-Baguio City

Another Group Picture Near The Abandon Guardhouse

Getting nearer to the peak became positive as we started to see big pine trees, ala-Baguio City and the presence of lots of piles of chromites ores on the sides of the trail. This could be the reason why the trail is so wide and established that there is a local mining as cottage industry in the place! We could see the clouds enveloping the mountain and we felt cooler and more refreshed. We had smiles on our faces that finally, after running/jogging and brisk walking for 14 kilometers, we will be able to reach the Bunkhouse and be able to replenish our water ration from the spring thereat.

Chromite Ore…Pine Trees…Clouds

Abandoned Guardhouse

The sight of the Bunkhouse brought happiness in all of us. But it was a temporary one as we have to make the final assualt to the peak of the mountain. All of us knew already what to expect. It will be a very steep single track trail and some slippery ones, too! One Kilometer plus a change of 400 meters was the distance of the assualt climb which we targetted to be done in One Hour!

The Bunkhouse. On the Right Side of the Pine Tree is the Assualt Trail To The Peak

I was the one who led the group during the Assualt with Bong on my back! We could have made it to the peak in less than one hour but those DENR nets which acted as a BIG FENCE on the peak of the mountain (used to catch flying birds) prevented us from doing so. But we were blessed to have reached the peak with no clouds and the sight all around us was magnificent!

Group Picture Before The Assualt!

The group selected a place where we can lie down/sit or eat our light ration at the peak. I selected a place that was inclined and took a nap after eating some food. I did not mind the heat of the sun as I was totally tired from the trek. I think I was able to get a nap for about thirty minutes. I guess, it took us 4 hours plus to reach the top of the mountain from where we started, a distance of almost 16 kilometers!

Finally, At The Peak!

Foreground Is The Hole At The Peak

Our peak bagging was not complete without some pictures as evidence that we peaked the mountain. Bong selected the place with the big hole at the peak (where story abounds the digging of an object the hole and it was transported out of the mountain through a helicopter!) and later with the whole Team Maligno clinging on the branches of the ONLY Oak Tree at the Peak! Our picture on that tree was EPIC in proportion! It showed so much fun on the faces of each of the member!

I am The Photographer!

Best Picture Of The Team!

It was time to go down from the peak! Of course, it was faster but it started to drizzle and later, it would rain. Once we reached the Bunkhouse, we replenished our water supply and started our way back to the Resettlement Area.

Descending the mountain is very hard when it is raining! Why? The whole trail and the rocks are slippery. Being positioned from behind of the group, I was able to see members of the group falling down with their butt hitting the ground. I jokingly asked each member what was their score for the number of times that they slipped to the ground. Some had score up to 4X until they reached the starting area! Well, my score was zero!

Last Picture Shot Before Our Descent (Note: Birds’ Trap Nets On The Right).

We passed more of the campers who started to leave the peak earlier than us. And they are amazed to see that we hopped and jogged on those slippery ground and rocks! It was fun doing this on the first half of our descent from the Bunkhouse but it became harder when fatigue seeps in to our body with the rocks come in contact with our shoes. Pain on my feet and leg muscles were already becoming unbearable. Everything was mental postive attitude on my last 5 kilometers of the trek down to the Resettlement Area.

My The North Face Trail Shoes I used was a mess! The whole sole of both shoes just came off as we were ascending to the peak. On our way back, I removed those dangling soles and took extra careful on my footing and tried to be light. My trail shoes failed and this was my fourth shoes with the same brand that its soles gave up and got separated from the whole shoes! It’s time to cease from buying this kind of trail shoe brand!

My The North Face Shoes Before Reaching The Bunkhouse

Before it became dark, I finally reached the Resettlement Area with the “front group” cheering on me. I could not smile to them because I was already in pain and was simply exhausted! They knew the solution as I approached them—they offered me an ice-cold 1.5-liter bottle of Royal Tru-Orange! I was already smiling after I saw what they have prepared for me!

Already Smiling After A Shower At The Barangay Tourism Center

All the members of the Team Maligno reached the Resettlement Area safe and happy after reaching the Tourism Office! We proved to the Barangay folks that we can go up to the peak and be back to the Barangay for the period from sunrise to sunset!

I could no longer count how many mountain peaks I’ve bagged since I’ve started doing this kind of adventure!

Directional Sign Along The Olongapo-Alaminos Highway & Crossing To The Resettlement Center

Two weeks after, I was already in the Office of the Provincial Governor of Zambales telling the good Governor and his staff of my proposal to conduct a running event to the peak of Mt Tapulao as part of my FKT (Fastest Known Time) Mountain Runs to be scheduled for next year!

See you at the Starting Line!

(Note: Mt Tapulao’s Peak is 2,040 Meters Above Sea Level)





Picture Of The Week #4

4 06 2012





Stair Climbing Workout

16 05 2012

This is the real stair climbing workout. It is not stair climbing using the StairMaster or any machine at the gym that mimics stair climbing.

Since I’ve been going to the mountains for the past months, I was trying to find out a simple workout that mimics how I would scale on those mountains. Aside from the fact that I’ve been trying to strengthen my quads and calf muscles through squats and lunges and/or stationary cycling, I wanted a short workout that could be easily accessible to where I am staying.

Lo and behold! I thought of doing the stairs where I am staying. I am presently residing in a 8-storey condo with 32 steps of stair per floor/storey and starting from the ground floor up to the 8th floor, I would be able to step on 256 steps. If I do 10 sets or reps, I would be able to make 2,560 steps upward and another 2,560 steps downward! On my average easy pace, I could complete the 10 sets of stair climbing in 1:20 to 1:30 hours!

To make the workout more challenging, I would put on my backpack filled with water bottles and other items inside it that would make it weight to 10-15 pounds or more. I still do a minimum of 10 sets up to a maximum of 20 sets with the backpack. I do this workout twice a week!

This workout makes my quads and calves cry in pain most especially when I incorporate some speed in my steps towards the top floor using my weighted backpack and going down to the ground floor. But I know, this workout will make me a stronger runner and hiker in my “peak bagging” activities.

If you are staying in a condo, you can do this workout once you wake up in the morning or before/after having your dinner! If you are working in a high-rise building, you can do this workout during your coffee break time or during your Facebook time or lunch time.

For more details on this kind of workout, you can check on http://bodybuilding.com/fun/givstrength1.htm

Good luck and see you at the starting line!








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