Real LIFE Foundation: Serving The Poor

13 04 2011

Over a breakfast meeting at the Camp Aguinaldo Golf Course Restaurant in the early part of January 2010, Joshua Suarez, a runner-applicant who was invited to run the 2nd edition of the BDM 102k Ultra Marathon Race, explained to me that he is going to run and finish the BDM 102K Ultra Marathon Race to raise funds in behalf of the scholars of the Real LIFE Foundation. It was in this meeting that he explained to me about the programs and projects of the said foundation.

I immediately approved on the request of Joshua and he was able to finish the race. He was cheered and supported by the scholars/students on those hot, humid, dusty, and exposed kilometers of road on the last half of the course. I guess, he was able to raise a lot of funds to support the scholarship of those students who belong to the marginalized families in Pasig City and other parts of Metro Manila.

Little did I know that Joshua recruited another four (4) runners immediately after he finished the BDM 102 and asked them to train for the 3rd edition of the BDM 102 with the same purpose of raising some funds to support the scholarship of selected students under the administration of the Real LIFE Foundatioon.

Paul Pajo, Ferdie Cabiling, Junn Besana, and Alden Meneses diligently atttended the Ultra Marathon Clinics/Lectures and participated in some of the PAU Races held last year as part of their preparation for the 2011 BDM 102K Ultra Marathon Race. Joshua Suarez became their point man and leader of what they dubbed as the “Bataan LIFE March 2011”, a charity project to raise funds for the scholars of the Real LIFE Foundation by running and finishing the BDM 102.

BDM 102 "Heroes" For Real LIFE Foundation (Ferdie, Alden, Junn, Joshua, & Paul)

These five runners were able to finish the race and were able to raise funds amounting to P 500,000+ from pledges and contributions from donors, here and abroad. I am sure this money will go to the projects and programs of the Foundation with the main aim to provide hope and better future for less-fortunate and poor children for them to attain education and develop good values in the process.

These 5 runners became instant “heroes” to the scholars of the Real LIFE Foundation. And in a fitting ceremony, each of them received medal and plaque of appreciation from the Board of Trustees of the Foundation as represented by the Executive Director, Lynn Nawata.

I was also awarded with a plaque of appreciation and a gift for being the Founder and Race Director of the BDM 102K Ultra Marathon Race. My heartfelt thanks to the Board of Trustees for having me invited to such memorable event and for the award accorded to me.

Joshua Suarez Being Awarded With Jekoy Valle and Lynn Nawata

Junn Besana Being Awarded With Jekoy Valle & Lynn Nawata

I will always remember this program/ceremony. The testimonials of the graduates of the foundation’s scholarship program made me cry! It later sink in to my mind that I created an event, the BDM 102K, as a platform and instrument for people to be able to help the poor.

It is a motivation that will keep me doing my best to sustain the yearly conduct of the BDM 102!

Thanks To The Real LIFE Foundation!!!

If you want to be a part or donor to this foundation, please visit

Going To Ultrarunning?

11 04 2011

I highly recommend marathon finishers to read the following article from the Running Times Magazine if they are interested to try ultra marathon running in the future.

Good luck and train well!

Race Director’s Report: 1st Mayon 360 50-Mile Run

8 04 2011

4:00 AM April 2, 2011/Penaranda Park, Legazpi City


Event's Logo By Yves Yu


A Dream Race 

Yves Yu, an avid visitor of my blog and a member of the Jaycees International of Legazpi City, and I personally met during the 1st Mt Mayon Trail Run in October 2008 when I joined the said trail run. In one of our conversations, he asked and invited me to try and run the circumferential road of the Mount Mayon Volcano and be the first runner to complete and run the distance from Penaranda Park and back where I’ve started. I told him that I will be back to Legazpi City and have a try on the said run.

Fast forward. After three years such attempt to run around Mt Mayon did not materialize but the dream was still alive. When I participated in the 3rd Mt Mayon Trail Run last October 2010, Yves again reminded me about the run and I said that finally, I will be coming back soon to have a try to run the dream run.

On the early part of January this year, Yves and Provincial Board Member JP Lee had a chance to meet in Manila and we discussed about the conduct of the said event as part of Albay’s Magayon Festival. The schedule was set and the overall administration and operational needs of the event were laid out already. It was a plan which needs to be approved by the Governor of Albay, Hon Joey Salceda.

Recon Run in Legazpi City (January 25, 2011)

Although I was still recovering from my injury, I visited Legazpi City on the later part of January this year. Instead of running through the road surrounding the volcano, I opted to have a short recon run and measured the whole distance of the route while inside a vehicle. After seeing the route and scenic surrounding of the places we passed by during the recon run, I told Yves and his friends with the JCI Legazpi that the course is beautiful and challenging to ultra runners. It is doable and there is a need to implement the plan for the said race without any delay and it could be done on the first Saturday of April.

Mt Mayon & Memorial Park For The Victims of a Flood/Disaster Incident

And just like that, assignments of jobs to be done were designated to each member of the JCI Legazpi City and I was tasked to be the Race Director and have the race sanctioned by the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU). Despite the needed qualifications of runners imposed by the standards of PAU, the Race Organizers approved the implementation of such standards.

The Majestic Mt Volcano From The Oval Track of BSU

Courtesy Call To Governor Joey Salceda

While I was in Legazpi City for the recon run, the Event Organizer decided to drop by the Office of the Governor for a short courtesy call. It was my first time to meet the Governor. The planned short visit and courtesy call lasted for 2-3 hours. The casual conversations about the running event and other topics led to the approval of the budget for the said event. In short, the Mayon 360 50-Mile Ultra Marathon Race was approved as part of the Magayon Festival with the approved budget for the Cash Prizes for the winners and for the expenses needed for the logistics and mobilization of security/administrative personnel and volunteers.

Governor Joey Salceda of Albay & BR

Governor Joey Salceda simply wanted something different to happen in his province for the Magayon Festival. He knows that nobody had done such feat, to run around the most beautiful volcano in the world in 15 hours, and he knows that this is an opportunity to create awareness about ultrarunning for his province.


The Race Organizer/JCI Legazpi and I were one in coming up with such running event with the thought of not making a profit out of it. I could be corny and try to be naive but it was far from our thoughts and objectives of raising some funds from such event. The mere fact that the Provincial Government had supported the event, it was already enough to have this dream realized. The vision was to develop this sports event as part of the yearly Magayon Festival and promote “Sports Tourism” in the region.

I told Yves that if we have 70 runners, it will be a good start to create awareness about the event as it will be the first PAU-sanctioned ultra marathon race being organized by a Provincial Government outside Metro Manila. Yves understood my point as he experienced what came out with his Mt Mayon Trail Run (MTR) for the past 3 years. His races which he founded and initiated had grown in its participants through the years and runners keep on coming through the years.

I have a prediction that the Mayon 360 will be a regular ultra marathon schedule of the year where runners would train and prepare for. It will be an ultra race where the participants will be growing in numbers through the years.

Coordinating Meetings & CarboLoading/Briefing Party 

Two nights before Race Day, I joined the last coordinating meeting among the different committees involved in the said race. I was impressed on how the member-units were able to brief the whole group on their preparations and jobs to be done during the race. Different scenarios had been played and “brainstormed” by the group or committee involved in any particular situation to happen during the event. These guys were so meticulous on their preparations and I could see in their eyes the interest and drive to make this event a successful one. 

Coordination Meeting With All The Committees Involved

The CLP and Briefing was done at the Provincial Capitol Center with almost all the runners who most of them are from Metro Manila and the so-called “PAU-loyalists” and “BDM Veterans”. I was happy that these runners, although not yet fully recovered from their BDM Races, have joined this event and be a part of history in running in the Bicol Region.

Prov'l Board Member & President of League of Barangays JP Lee, BR, & Oriel Maddela/Chairman, JCI Legazpi

As the Race Director, I delivered a very detailed Briefing about the race and what the runners would expect along the route, to include the elevation and the logistics, but I did not tell them about the beauty of the scenery of their surroundings while they will be running the race. Finally, I told them that they are already part of history in this event as the first group of runners who ran around the Mt Mayon Volcano. They should not be pressured with the distance as the people of Albay will be in every Aid Station to cheer and support them in their run from Start to Finish.

Board Member JP Lee Delivering His Opening Remarks to the Guests & Runners

Runners & Guests From Metro Manila

Route of the 1st Mayon 360

Race Proper

My first frustration in directing a road race is when the scheduled time of start is not done on the dot. I have that “signature” of starting my races before or on the scheduled time of start. It is a little shy of 5 minutes after 4:00 AM that the race started after a short prayer, singing the national anthem, and a short talk from the Race Organizers. At least, the race started not more than 10 or 20 minutes from the scheduled time. I knew the runners would not notice such a little delay. 

Start of the 1st Mt Mayon 360 50-Mile Run

The communications, support, and logistics systems of the race were great and everybody was working as a team and they were very efficient. A local radio station was broadcasting a “live update” of the race from the top runners from Start to Finish. The AMA School Computer Team was also feeding a “live update” on the event’s website at with photos of finishers as they cross the Finish Line! Results of the Race were on real-time as they are posted on the website immediately. Simply great!

Mt Mayon 360 Website Picture

What is nice about an ultra marathon race is the “drama” within each runner; the “drama” among runners and competitors; and the “drama” of the runner with the challenges of the environment; the route; and the warm hospitality & appreciation you receive from the local people witnessing the event. Moreso, the interaction of the runners with those people who volunteered to make this road race an enjoyable and successful one! 

Elmer Sabal & Willy Rotich Leading The Race @ Km 25

Alley Quisay, Willy Rotich, Mario Maglinao, & Elmer Sabal @ Km 40

The “drama” on the first half of the race was the competition between our own elite runners, Elmer Sabal, Alley Quisay and Mario Maglinao with the visiting Kenyan runner, William Rotich. The four made up the frontrunners for almost 40 kilometers with each of them exchanging places from time to time, depending on the terrain of the route. At Km 41, Elmer Sabal dropped out from the race due to severe muscle cramping in his legs and declared as DNF before he rode in one of the support vehicles. From here on, it was a matter of knowing who will win as the Champion as the three of them were confident to bring home cash prizes after the said run. At Km 50, Mario and Alley were already having problems with leg cramps and they slowed down. William took advantage of the situation and started to speed up his pace towards the Finish Line. He did not look back and went alone to win the race. Mario was running 2nd place while at far back of him of about 500 meters, Alley was trailing his back.

Willy Rotich Leading The Race at Km 70

Alley Quisay Running 2nd at Km 70

The “drama” started to unfold between Mario and Alley when suddenly Mario was struck with a severe leg cramping that he had to lie down on the pavement to be given a “massage” by the Medical Team. Alley was able to pass him with 15 kilometers more to go before the Finish Line. Alley maintained his pace and he was able to create a big gap from Mario. When Mario was able to recover and started to run again, Alley was already 2-3 kilometers ahead of him. Alley won 2nd place and later, Mario arrived in 3rd place.

The Hardcores of Ultrarunning!!!

There was a “big drama” with the Women’s Division. Merlita Arias was leading for about 2 kilometers from the Kenyan runner at halfway but at Km 60, Merlita slowed down due to cramps and Poywo was able to overtake her at Km 70 and she was leading for awhile. But Merlita was able to recover and through her strong will to win the race, she placed all her efforts to regain back the first position. On the last 10 kilometers, they alternately changed positions but Merlita prevailed and she was able to lead the race until she reached the Finish Line. Poywo came in second.

Merlita Arias Dunkin @ Km 25

Peris Poywo of Kenya Having Massage & TV Interview @ Km 40

Due to unavoidable circumstances, a first-time lady ultrarunner whom I invited to join the event through the Event’s Page on Facebook got the 3rd place. Arianne Ortega was surprised when she crossed the Finish Line and declared as the 3rd top finisher among the women’s division. She joined her first ultra marathon race with the only objective to finish the race within the prescribed cut-off time of 15 hours but she got a bonus for winning a cash prize of $750.00. She was very happy and she thanked me for the invitation. Nice and happy lady!

Out of the 69 runners who started the race, 59 runners were able to cross the finish line and all of them were declared “official” finishers as they finished within the cut-off time of 15 hours. 

Mac Milan Having Massage & TV Interview at Km 40

A Typical Aid Station Along The Route

Hard-Boiled Eggs With Salt

Boiled Bananas & Massage Station at the Next Table

Sodas & Bite Foods

Awarding Ceremony

The awarding ceremony started as soon as the last runner crossed the finish line. Gov. Joey Salceda awarded the cash prizes, medals, and certificates to the top finishers (men’s and women’s). Governor Salceda was satisfied with the result and the awareness the event had created among the people of Albay. He stated in his closing message that this event will be made bigger and with more participation from international runners in the next year’s edition. Thus, this event will be a permanent activity for the Magayon Festival that will promote Sports Tourism in the Region.

Awarding Ceremony With Governor Joey Salceda

Things To Be Improved

Knowing that 85% of the runners would be coming from Metro Manila and the “usual suspects” in PAU and BDM Races, I did not strictly impose on the rules and regulations of PAU Races because I knew that such rules/regulations are already “automatic” to them. I did not realize that the local “first-time” ultra runners were not aware of such rules and regulations. We will improve on the strict implementation of the PAU/BDM Races’ rules & regulations on the future editions of this road race event. (Note: About 30+ local runners ran as “bandits” and pacers for the registered local runners)

Through my suggestion, a local Marathon (42K) race must be conducted in Albay months prior to the Magayon Festival to give a chance for the local and regional runners to qualify for the next edition of the race.

Future and Expectations 

As stated by Governor Joey Salceda in his closing remarks during the Awarding Ceremony, the ultra running event will remain as a permanent activity of the yearly Magayon Festival. It will be a bigger event where international runners will be invited and hopefully, included in the calendar of events in ultra marathon websites and Ultrarunning Magazine Online.

The involvement of the Provincial Government, League of Barangays of Albay, JCI Legazpi, and the people of the 3 cities, 7 municipalities and 77 barangays of the province will showcase the unity, warmth, hospitality, and the kindness of the populace.

This ultra marathon race must be a part of the yearly checklist of an ultrarunner!

See you next year!

“West To East”: “Flashback”

5 04 2011

This post is not about running but it is one way of explaining while I wanted to experience going back to places where I’ve been during my younger years by running. The following stories happened during the period from 1978-1980, three decades and some years ago!


After serving three years in Mindanao since graduating from the Academy, I applied for a position which would bring me to be assigned in Metro Manila. A senior officer who held an important and sensitive position in Malacanang Palace was in need of young  and sports-minded officers who would be trained and pre-positioned as Regional Directors/Sports Coordinator with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (MYSD). It was then in the middle part of 1978. The plan was to expand MYSD to the different regions and develop sports in the grassroots level where each of us should be able to act as “catalyzers” in sports to the local government executives from the Provincial Governors down to the Municipal Mayors.


I was then a newly graduate of a Special Intelligence Course and most of us from the class were the core members who were recruited to be trained and projected to the expanded MYSD at that time. The country was then in Martial Law and the President would like to develop a holistic approach in sports development by discovering potentials in the grassroots level through Sports Meets and Competitions in the Provincial Level and later bringing the best to the Regional Level Competitions. I was one of the selected 14 officers to undergo a management/supervisory training on this endeavour, one Officer to each of the 12 Regions and 2 Officers for the National Capital Region (NCR). I was chosen to be assigned for Region 1 covering the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet and Mountain Province. The Regional Office was supposed to be located in San Fernando, La Union. (Note: This program was never brought out to the media and known by the public)


This challenging and gargantuan plan did not materialize. Instead, I was assigned as Intelligence Officer with a special task and had the power to send my reports direct to the President on all political, social, economical, and security matters that are happening in Region 1. I was also tasked to create and organize the different Civil Security Units (CSUs) in all the Regional, Provincial, and Municipal levels of governance to include Government-Controlled Corporations for the whole region. This task made me to travel a lot within the region, meet with local government leaders, conduct seminars and trainings, and “service” these organized CSUs on a regular basis.


For one year and 6 months, I’ve been assigned in Pangasinan and had an office within the City Hall of Dagupan. This was the time that I went around the whole province of Pangasinan. The Bolinao-Alaminos-Sual-Bugallon-Mangatarem Route was a memorable road because it was where I was able to hone and became expert in driving any kind of light vehicle. My service vehicle then was a Ford Fiera which resembled as one of the service vehicles of the Department of Public Works & Highways. It was a good “cover” for me where people would identify me as an employee or supervisor of the DPWH inspecting those workers and roadside cleaners contracted by the said office. There were times that employees of the DPWH would hitch a ride during my trips within the different towns of Pangasinan.


 Intelligence reports worth to be known by Malacanang Palace were the smuggling activities in Bolinao and Sual where ships would dock for awhile and drop some goods to the waiting local fishermen in smaller motorboats and bancas. Goods would range from motorcycles, electronics, textiles and canned goods. On the other hand, Sual, Bolinao, and Anda had been the usual pick-up points for smuggled bangus and shrimp fries to be transported to Taiwan’s fish pens. These areas which are considered as coves are favorite stop-over of ships plying from Indonesia to Taiwan & Japan during times of inclement weather. These places then were not guarded by our Coast Guard or the Philippine Navy. I spent some days and nights on these places observing on the things that were happening which were worth reporting.


There were not much houses and structures along the roads in the Western Pangasinan. The Carlos Romulo Highway was always flooded and not passable to vehicles and buses during the rainy season. The security problem then within the interior barangays along this highway was cattle rustling. Although the place was considered as the birthplace of the CPP/NPA Movement, the insurgents were not active in Western  Pangasinan during the 80s. At that time, there were no tricycles on the road.


I could still remember three (2) intelligence projects/cases which were brought to the attention of the President. These were the results of my intelligence operations in the province of Pangasinan. These were the activities of two separate groups of politicians and businessmen who were involved in the smuggling of bangus and shrimp fries out of the country and the smuggling out of the country of cured Virginia tobacco. I got the feedback from my “boss” then that these politicians and businessmen were called by the President to the Malacanang Palace and they were told to stop their illegal activities in Pangasinan (short of saying, they were “bawled-out” by the President)! The smuggling activities ceased to exist since their visit & “bawl out” session in the Palace!


The other intelligence project was a result of a report I made about the PC Provincial Commander in Pangasinan as the “main operator” and “mastermind” of the Jueteng operations in the province. It was the first time within Region 1 that Jueteng was introduced in the late 70s. The Provincial Commander was so brave to introduce the illegal numbers’ game to the province as he thought he could be backed up by the mother of the President. The PC Officer had served as the Security and Escort Officer of the Mother of the President for so many years! However, after I sent my report of confirmation on the presence of jueteng in the province, the Provincial Commander was relieved from his position immediately. After a few months, the PC Officer retired from the service!


Those were the days when the country was under Martial Law and the decision of the President was firm and decisive.

To be continued…

Result: 1st Mt Mayon 360° 50-Mile Ultra Marathon Race

3 04 2011

The following is the result of the 1st Mt. Mayon 360° 50-Mile Ultra Marathon Race in Albay which was held yesterday, April 2, 2011. A total of 69 ultrarunners started the race but only 59 finished the race within the cut-off time of 15 hours.

Starting this year, all PAU and PAU-sanctioned road and trail races’ results published will have its corresponding PAU Points as the basis for the selection of the recipient for the 2011 PAU Runner of the Year Award.

Rank Name Time PAU Points
1 Willy Rotich 6:07:24 80
2 Alley Quisay 6:41:08 73.17
3 Mario Maglinao 7:09:20 68.36
4 Franklin Penalosa 7:29:04 65.17
5 Gene Olvis 7:53:10 62.03
6 Barnedo Numeriano 7:58:34 61.4
7 Smith Luna 8:12:32 59.61
8 Merlita Arias (F) 8:13:10 59.49
9 Bhong Tobe 8:18:25 58.89
10 Peris Poywo (F) 8:21:09 58.53
11 Eric Bullena 9:09:44 53.42
12 Mac Milan 9:32:28 51.27
13 Jose Llaneta 9:34:06 51.09
14 Randy Rubio 9:53:27 49.47
15 Jesel Bassanta 9:54:15 49.37
16 Reynan Morante 10:08:50 48.25
17 Jose Duenas 10:13:17 47.84
18 Graciano Santos 10:17:14 47.55
19 Salvador Castilla 10:19:20 47.38
20 Victor Exequiel Verry 10:53:04 44.92
21 Yul Almayda 10:54:00 44.84
22 Paolo Osmena 11:01:23 44.33
23 Jose De Asis 11:06:52 44.03
24 Rodel Cuaton 11:10:41 43.77
25 Bong Bernadez 11:22:04 43
26 Eutiquio Bagacina Jr 11:41:06 41.85
27 Dindo Diaz 11:51:19 41.24
28 Edgar Orellana 11:58:51 40.8
29 Mel Severino 12:11:48 40.09
30 Ruben Fajardo Jr 12:15:49 39.9
31 Arianne Ortega (F) 12:37:05 38.74
32 Danilo Lim 12:45:55 38.33
33 Julius Cervantes 12:48:22 38.18
34 Raymond Suarez 12:48:41 38.15
35 Marvin Pangan 12:54:12 37.89
36 Blas Ople Tiangco 12:58:49 37.68
37 Mark Viesca 13:03:31 37.43
38 Andreco Primero 13:11:13 37.08
39 Earl Warren Navor 13:14:19 36.94
40 Cesar Abarientos 13:14:20 36.9
41 Carl Balagot 13:14:22 36.86
42 Ralph Salvador 13:14:24 36.84
43 Jonel Mendoza 13:14:30 36.8
44 George Dolores 13:14:33 36.77
45 Vincent De Lima 13:20:10 36.66
46 Jimmy Ong 13:24:46 36.43
47 Jeffrey Avellanosa 13:39:20 35.78
48 Erell Villalba 13:43:39 35.61
49 Ryan Viesca 13:56:02 35.08
50 Bong Alindada 13:58:24 34.98
51 Ayette Padua (F) 14:05:14 34.71
52 Christopher Montaos 14:05:48 34.67
53 David Aquino 14:16:16 34.25
54 Marcus Lontoc 14:16:25 34.22
55 Marlin Marilag 14:25:00 33.9
56 Jose Arturo Virata 14:44:33 33.16
57 Abigail Castillo (F) 14:48:13 33.02
58 Yan Dizon (F) 14:50:10 32.95
59 Alex Galapin 14:51:25 32.85

For more details and pictures of runners at the Finish Line, please visit

Men's Podium Awardees (Quisay, Rotich, Maglinao) With Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay

Ladies Podium Awardees (Poywo, Arias, Ortega) With Governor Joey Salceda of Albay & JCI Legazpi (JP Lee, Vyes Yu, Oriel Maddela)

2nd IAU 100K Asian Championship

1 04 2011

 The following are the results of the newly-concluded 2nd IAU 100K Asian Championship Ultra Marathon Race held in Jeju Island, South Korea last March 26-27, 2011:

Overall & Men’s Category:
1 Hara Yoshikazu Japan 6:52:07
2 Chou Pin-chi Taiwan 8:01:52
3 Kim Daesoo S Korea 9:06:40
4 Jeong Chanjin S Korea 9:14:40
5 Wu Ching-chang Taiwan 11:38:05


Overall Champion Hara Yoshikazu of Japan

Ladies Category:

1 Fujisawa Mai Japan 8:28:10
2 Jong Heekyoung S Korea 9:22:15
3 Park Narae S Korea 9:40:35
4 Jung Yeonsook S Korea 11:18:01

Women's Champion Fujisawa Mai of Japan Approaching The Finish Line

2010 & 2011 Women's Champion For the IAU 100K Asian Championship

Source: Information sent by BJ Park of Korea Ultra Marathon Federation (KUMF); Photos taken from

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