3rd BRENT Run

27 03 2013

There are so many reasons why I joined this running event. Let me enumerate some.

1. Baguio City is the place where I started running seriously, in the early months of 1970. Being a college student of the University of the Philippines in Baguio and just passed the entry to the prestigious Philippine Military Academy, running had been part of my treatment for what the doctor had suggested to strengthen my weak lungs and heart. I was then 17 years old.


2. BRENT Run is organized and directed by very good friends who have passion in running. A week prior to the event, I was with Jingle Melanie Ku Marquez, the Race Organizer and Jonel Mendoza, the Race Director of the event, in a hiking trek to the TNF 100 route along the PHILEX Ridge in Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet. It was during our hike that the invitation to run the event was offered and I immediately accepted it. Thanks, Melanie & Jonel!

3. First time to enter and see BRENT School Campus. I have stayed for so long in Baguio City as a College Student, Cadet of PMA, Officer assigned in Region 1 from 1978-1983 and then PMA in 1986-1988 but I never had a change to glimpse at the said school. The Pink Sisters Convent is the farthest establishment that I’ve reached on the road that leads to the school campus. The campus has trails around its compound!

Starting Line Of The 7K Run

Starting Line Of The 7K Run

4. Find out how it feels to run shorter races after doing some ultras, trail runs, and peak bagging feats. I opted to run the 7K race and find out how my body would react to the altitude and the terrain. The plan was to run the race without walking, except while approaching the water stations to take a sip of water. I was glad I was able to stick to the plan and jogged on the uphills and tested my knees and quads on the downhills.

At The Back Of The Pack

At The Back Of The Pack (Benj Termulo, Michael Lafuente, BR, Henry Laron)

5. Running with ultra friends and having fun. Saturday, the day before the event, five of us (BR, Benj Termulo, Judge Henry Laron, Michael Lafuente, and Bong Alindada) had a hike from the Bridal Veil Falls in Camp 1, Tuba, Benguet (along Kennon Road) to Mt Kabuyao along the so-called Andolor Trail and peak bagging Mt Santo Tomas with an elevation of 2,245 meters above sea level, the highest peak in Baguio City. It took us 9 1/2 hours to finish the distance of 22 Kilometers. The group expected to make the BRENT Run as a recovery run for our tired legs!

At The Back Of The Pack

At The Back Of The Pack

6. But wait, it was also a “warm-up” run for another hike up to the mountains. After the run, we were scheduled to continue our mountain hike to the other side of Baguio City which is the so-called PHILEX Ridge. We were joined by another ultra runner from Manila, Ronnel Go, who opted to join the 22K race. After waiting for Ronnel Go to cross the finish line, we already enjoyed the breakfast food as part of the “loot” of the race and we were prepared for the next adventure hike. We finished our hike along the PHILEX Ridge in almost 5 hours!

Last One Kilometer To The Finish Line

Last One Kilometer To The Finish Line (1 Kilometer Trail)

7. Getting back to the “basics” of road racing. It was nice going back to experience how it feels to be a “newbie” runner to join in a very simple set-up for a running event. Melanie and Jonel made the event so very simple yet fulfilling for the participants. Very orderly race for the safety of the runners and nice breakfast treat for all the finishers. But what makes it more memorable was for us to meet and gain more friends from Baguio City. What I appreciate most is the seriousness  of the runners that I could hardly heard any complaints or “whine” or curse about running on those steep uphills along the course. Runners in Baguio City really love those challenging hills and inclines!

Good Job!

Good Job! (Ronnel Go)

8. Training Run for a Bigger Event. I finished the 7K Run in 52+ minutes and I take that result as my gauge for my future race within the area/region. Since the bigger event is an ultra race, making it within the range of 4-5 kilometers per hour as average speed for the event would be a nice goal.

If you ask me if I am going back for the next edition of this race, I would say “Yes”!

Congratulations to all the Finishers, to Melanie and Jonel, and to the whole Team of BRENT Run!

5th Day: Final Climb To Baguio City

14 02 2010

1. The plan for the 5th Day was to finish the “adventure run” to Baguio City. It will take me 58 kilometers to run/walk for the this “leg”. I knew that Kennon Road covers a distance of 35 kilometers and the uphill road starts from Barangay Saitan, Rosario, La Union which is the road that intersects with the Main National Highway.

5th Day: TNF Apparel Day @ Km Post #192

2. For me to finish this “leg”, I need to have a longer time to sleep the night before the 5th day, wake up earlier than the previous days, and start the run before sunrise. The 5th leg is planned to be a continous run/walk from Kilometer Post #192 to Kilometer Post #250. So, I woke up at 4:00 AM; did the “drill” as if I am going to join a road race; and packed my things.

3. It was still dark when I started my run at Km Post #192 in Binalonan, Pangasinan at 5:45 AM. The sidewalk is still the same—full of stones/gravel and sand which made my run slower and had to use my flashlight. I was wearing my TNF Trail Running Shorts; TNF Long-sleeved shirt; TNF Hand-held Hydration bottle; Under Armour Cap; ASICS Gel-Kanbara 4; PUMA Socks; Armando Caruso Buff as headband; Oakley sunglass; and two Bandanas tied around my neck. From where I started, I had to run/walk at least 23 kilometers to the Rivervue Restaurant where I plan to have a decent breakfast with steamed rice! The restaurant is 400 meters away from the intersection of Kennon Road and the National Highway.

@ Sison, Pangasinan Bridge With Rey Jimenez

Entering The Province of La Union

4. At Km 21, Rey Jimenez of Dagupan City met me along the road and we started to run together. Rey finally believed about my description on the sidewalks of our National Highway as he had seen stones and gravel & sand. After running for two kilometers, we stopped for our breakfast and rest. I ate “tapsilog” with their native chocolate/cocoa hot drink. I really liked the hot native chocolate drink! We stayed at Rivervue Restaurant for about 45 minutes and I think we were the first customer for the day.

At The Benguet Province Boundary (Courtesy of Rey Jimenez)

5. What is good about running on the road is that you are not affected with those traffic brought about by the repair of some bridges and parts of the road where only one lane is usable by the vehicles. We have to pass vehicles which were waiting for their turn to pass the only lane for both traffic. I am sure the people inside the vehicles were talking about us that we are “crazy” running along the Kennon Road towards Baguio City.

@ Our "Pit & Pee" Stops Along Kennon Road Near The Bridal Veil Falls

6. Cyclists from the South would pass me while I was running on my first 20 kilometer and I know that they are also on their way to Baguio City. We would meet a lot of cyclists also coming from Baguio and later see them going back again to the city. I always wave my hands to these cyclists and they respond also. These “cyclists” are the real ones—they are thin, flat-chested, and with very DARK skin! I just laugh to myself when I compare those regular cyclists I always see doing their “circuit” workouts at the BHS loop. 

Walking Breaks Together With Rey

Rey Leading The Way During Our Walking Breaks

7. Running along the Kennon Road is very tricky and you need to be always on the safe side. Take advantage of the limited space at the sidewalk where you could run/walk. I don’t advise runners to use their Ipods/MP3 when running in Kennon Road or for that matter, when running along the National Highway. A runner should have a keen sense of hearing from the incoming vehicle on both lanes of the road. During this adventure run, I could guess what type of vehicle was approaching from behind based from the sound of their engines, mufflers, and tires!

"Where is the toll booth?" (Courtesy of Rey Jimenez)

Where is the roadside eatery for my lunch?

8. Rey and I ran together on single file. On the first 10 kilometers, I was leading the pace but on the next 10 kilometers, Rey was already the one who was trying to pull me along the road as he would lead me for about 5-10 meters. We had occassional “pit stops” where we replenish our water for our hydration; drink sports drinks; and ate Fita/SkyFlakes with Cloud 9 Chocolate. Each Kilometer Post along the road was a sight of relief as the number of Kilometers to my destination slowly became lesser until it bacame single digit.

Plate of Table Salt with Coke ;"Chicken Joy" & Kennon Pork Sinigang For Lunch

9. After passing the long bridge at the Toll Station, we stopped for our late lunch. Rey and I ate the available food in one of the eateries for “truckers”—home-cooked sinigang na baboy, “chicken joy” & dinuguan with steamed rice. After our lunch, Rey prepared to go back to where he parked his car in Barangay Saitan as he was scheduled for a social function in Dagupan City late in the afternoon. Rey took a ride in one of the jeepneys  and I was left alone for my last 11 kilometers to Baguio City. Thanks, Rey for the company and the pull/push for the 26 kilometers that we’ve run together! (Do I have to tell you again that I sang some songs with a Karaoke machine in that truckers’ eatery? hahaha!)

Thanks, Rey for the company & food!

10. The last 10 kilometers took me two hours to run & walk. The “zigzag road” has steep uphill climb and I have to walk and then run again along the flat area. The technique was to brisk walk on the steep climb and then run on the flat part of the zigzag road. The technique had been repeated all the way to Baguio City. On my last 5 kilometer, I was received and met by Carlos, photograper of The FrontRunner Magazine and later was greeted by the family & relatives of Jonel aka Bugobugo/The FrontRunner Magazine. Thanks, Jonel for arranging a simple but meaningful reception as I reached my destination for this “adventure run”. I was informed that you arranged for a welcome party consisting of a band and group of runners from Baguio City to join me on my run/walk from the Rotary’s Lion Head to Baguio City. Though they were not able to wait for me, thanks again for the effort & gesture.

Running Alone To Baguio Again

Trying To Look Good On My Last 10K

My Back View

Feeling Tired During My Walking Breaks

@ The Rotary's Lion Head

My Vanishing "Breasts" (I mean, "Chest")

11. Reaching the Baguio General Hospital (BGH) was a realization that I’ve finally reached Baguio City. I am glad that the “Slide” area before reaching the BGH have been fixed as this was the “headache” of motorists and truckers going to Baguio City. You always find a vehicle or truck stucked at the middle of the road on this area almost everyday and such occurence always result to a traffic on both lanes of the road. However, I was not spared on this occurence during my run as one of the jeepneys got stucked at the bottom of the steep uphill climb!

12. I finally reached the Rizal Park infront of the City Hall of Baguio at 6:15 PM as I walked entirely along Burnham Park with heavy traffic of vehicles and people coming out and going to the Park and to those who are audience to a political rally at the Burnham Athletic Ground. Practically, I was on the road for 12 1/2 hours for my last day. I ran the 58-kilometer distance for the day with a running/walking time of 9:15 hours. Finally, I reached my destination. I did it. I was able to prove to myself how far I can push my  body’s capability beyond its limits where I could run an ultramarathon distance almost everyday for 5 days. I was able to prove it also that I can inform my readers on a “near real-time” with pictorials through the Internet with what is going on with me in my “adventure run”.

Finally, At The Rizal Park in Baguio City

Reward For The Day: Pata Tim, Pancit Canton & Fried Rice

Better View of the "Soft Version" of Crispy Pata

13. This post will not be the end of my “adventure run’s” journal/diary. There are so many untold stories to tell which I experienced along the way and I will try my best to recall them and bring them to you on this blog. I did a lot of things along the way and I hope that such experiences will guide future runners/pedestrians who will embark on such challenge. The challenge is, “if I can do it (at the age of almost 58 years old), you can do it, too”!

14. My sincerest thanks to those who supported this “adventure run”. Your prayers, best wishes and words of encouragement pushed me to my limits. Lastly, my thanks to the Lord Almighty for giving me the strength and “vision” to inspire others. What is next? Keep on reading this blog for more interesting stories and surprises.

Death; Color-Coded Trails; & South Drive

22 05 2008

One of my men who served under me when I was assigned at the Philippine Military Academy after the 1986 People’s Power Revolution died last 02 May 2008 due to heart attack, at the age of 53 years old, in Baguio City. This was the reason why I had to go to Baguio City on the eve of his burial. William, the name of my soldier, had been with me in PMA and when I was assigned at Fort Bonifacio during the early 90s. He was reassigned back to PMA to join his family until he retired from the service in 2001 at the age of 46. His wife, is a civilian employee of the PMA and her family relatives are presently serving the AFP. William was one of the original members of my “1,000K Club” which I established when I was assigned in PMA and he was a consistent & hard-working intelligence operative and a competitive runner. He was a “marathon” finisher.

I arrived at PMA at 9:00 PM and went directly to the remains of William to pay respect to a good, loyal, and reliable soldier. I stayed with the rest of his family, relatives, batchmates, and friends up to midnight and gave financial support to the family. I gave them the impression that I will just drop by for the early mass the following day before his burial and told his wife that I will be going back to Manila the following day.

After the mass on the following day, I went back to the hotel and changed to my athletic attire for a brief run before going back to Manila. My running kit consists of my Capri Nike Shorts, Adidas muscle shirt, and ASICS Gel-Kinsei 2. I started my run from the South Drive Baguio Manor Hotel up to Camp John Hay Rotunda and back along South Drive and reached up to the Baguio Country Club. Instead of entering the Gate of Camp John Hay, I decided to inspect the color-coded trails along the edges of Camp John Hay.

I took the cemented road on the left side before one enters the Gate of CJH where Horse-Back Riding starts. I was surprised to see that the trail road before is already a two-way paved road with houses of illegal settlers on the left side of the road. Such place in the mid-80s were full of pine trees and a small trail was the only distinct feature one could see. From the paved road, I re-traced the old running color-coded trail and the trail is still there (without those colored paints on the trunks of pine trees) but with illegal settlers on some portions along the side of the trail. I think I was able to run 2 kilometers along this trail which had been neglected but still being used by the illegal settlers in going to their houses. A “chicken wire” fence was established to separate the property of CJH from the rest of the side of the mountain and I was surprised to see that the color-coded trail was already outside the camp. I wanted to reach up to the Voice of America but the vegetation was becoming thicker which is an indication that this trail is not being used frequently. I took another trail until I was inside the property of CJH and went out just infront of the gate that goes to US Ambassador’s Cottage! The security guards were surprised to see me from nowhere! From there, I ran towards the Gate out of the camp towards BCC and reached Mansion House and later ran at least two rounds at Wright Park and back to South Drive and ending my run at the Oval Track inside Teacher’s Camp. I just walked briskly back to my hotel. I finished a distance of 15 kilometers.

It was a slow run but there are so many things that made Baguio City changed for the past twenty years. I could not smell anymore the scent of the pine trees in the city, instead, the smell changed into smoke/carbon monoxide emitted from the jeepneys, trucks, buses & cars. I could not see anymore those thick forests consisting of century-old pine trees but instead, I could see houses of illegal settlers. Even if Typhoon Cosme just left the place for almost 3 days already, streets are still dirty with debris brought about by the typhoon which is a very long response time from the City Govenment’s Engineering Office. The vacant spaces at Wright Park had been a place where families could have their weekend picnics but now, commercial semi-permanent stalls abound the place selling Baguio City souvenirs mixed with those horses for hire! I even saw horse manure littered along the sidewalk where I was running! Even the quiet South Drive Road is not spared from pollution and traffic. Before, South Drive was a quiet and free from vehicular traffic place to run but running on this street now is completely different where runners should be extra careful with the vehicles plying along this road.

I was too tired aready to run along the Oval Track inside Teacher’s Camp. I just observed one of the athletes, a shotput thrower, doing his training and a senior citizen jogging slowly along the track. I am glad this facility had been maintained by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Later in the afternoon, I had to leave Baguio Ciy for Manila. 

Paying respect to a dead comrade and running on the paved and trails of Baguio City are part of “enjoying life” after retirement. 

PMA/Baguio Run

17 02 2008

15 February 2008 (7:15-8:00 AM)

I was able to run some more kilometers/miles inside PMA grounds after finishing the 2008 Gidaya Trail Run. Aside from the race distance, I was able to cover a distance of 5.85 kilometers with a time of 36:07 minutes with an average pace of 6:08 minutes per kilometer. I had an Average HR of 149 bpm and a Maximum HR of 162 bpm. Calories consumed were 430.

In the Gidaya Trail Run, I was able to experience heavy/deep breathing and faster beating of my heart as I ran over the first kilometer of the run. My GF 305 registered  my highest recorded Heart Rate (HR) in running at an Average HR of 166 bpm and Maximum HR of 173 bpm!

I really wanted to have my last long & slow distance  (LSD) run for about 3 hours while in Baguio City but I would be missing the awarding ceremony and had to return to Manila after lunch. Running in Baguio City for a longer time could had been my Altitude Training in preparation for next week’s Pasig River Heritage Marathon. Finally, I decided and planned to have my 3-hour run in Manila on the next day, Saturday.

Total Distance Run in Baguio—8 kilometers or 5 miles. Total Time of Run—50:54 minutes

%d bloggers like this: