September 22, 2011: From Botolan to Santa Cruz, Zambales
After 4.5 hours of sleep at the Circles Inn in Botolan, Zambales, I had my shower and ready for the second day of my run. My team and I went to the commercial center of Iba, Zambales and chose Mang Inasal for our brunch.
One for the customers talked to me (seeing my ARC Los Angeles shirt) and she is apparently a United States’ resident who was born in Iba, Zambales and is the owner of one of the Beach Resorts which is situated at least 2-3 kilometers north of the Poblacion. After our brunch, we went back to the place where I stopped at the vicinity of Poblacion Botolan, Zambales. After some preparation for my hydration and food, I finally started my run at 11:00 AM and the weather was cloudy with a 100% chance of rains later in the day.
After covering a distance of 6 kilometers, I was already at the center of Iba, Zambales, the capital town of the province. There was a portion where there is one way street for vehicles going to the north as well as those going to the opposite direction. I took the road where vehicles going to the North would usually take. It was uneventful as I was able to cover another 3-4 kilometers away from the town.
I really didn’t know what hit me as it started to rain/drizzle and started to feel weak. I took a rest in one of the waiting sheds along the road and asked my crew to serve me some solid foods and Ensure Drinks. However, after drinking the Ensure Drinks, I felt sleepy and just laid down on my back.
I woke up after 1 ½ hours and started to eat some solid foods. Even it was noisy due to the sounds of the passing tricycles, I was able to have the much-desired rest. I immediately prepared myself to continue my run. I was aware that from this place I will have to encounter some hilly portions along the route.
The plan for the day was to cover as much as many kilometers for the day until the night and the following morning.
It was already at 5:00 PM when I was approaching the next town, Palauig, most especially near the Headquarters of the 24th
Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. Having arranged beforehand about my run through their Area of Responsibility, I knew that the Battalion Commander will provide me with security personnel in civilian attire along the route. This part of the route was mountainous and for security reasons, there is a need to be cautious about the place.
After passing the highest peak in the said town, I had another “pit stop” before running through the night. I had to choose to stop infront of the Iglesia Ni Kristo churches along the way because it is well-lighted and the personnel/guards on their gates were very accommodating. We plugged on their electric outlets for the needed heating of our water in our electric thermos. The INK Church and its people in Palauig, Zambales were great!
At first, there were two motorcycle-riding intelligence personnel of the Philippine Army who gave me the security along the way through the night who would alternately switched from one position to another—one is pre-positioned at least one kilometer ahead and one is at least on my back at a seeing distance. These guys pretended to be like locals and they tried to be discrete on their locations and actions. It was fine with me as long as I have somebody to secure my movement during the night.
At midnight, these two personnel were changed with two personnel with a single motorcycle and they did what they were tasked. After an hour of running, I asked them to join me in my “pit stop” and shared my food (coffee and sandwich) to them. Conversations with them on my “pit stops” gave me more information about the place and its people.
The mountains and hills of Palauig and Masinloc of Zambales were not noticed as I was running in the dark but I had to “power walk” on those inclines and jog/run on the descending portions of the route. These places are a “must” for cyclists to train and see the beauty of the province. The town of Candelaria was uneventful as the route started to level off until I reached the town of Santa Cruz, Zambales.
At 5:30 AM on the following day, I reached the Poblacion of Santa Cruz, Zambales, the last town of the province and decided to have a rest/break. I was able to run a distance of 66+ kilometers on my second day. For the two days that I’ve been running, I was able to cover a distance of 141 kilometers.
Not being able to look for a decent place to stay within the town, I had to drive all the way to Alaminos, Pangasinan, 60 kilometers away, for the much-needed rest.
To be continued.