The Running Priests & Adventure Runs

I’ve been trying to browse the Internet if there are “documents” or “daily accounts” available to back up the running experiences of Fr Robert Reyes and his running mates in their “adventure runs” throughout the country in the past.

In one of my meetings with the Race Organizers/Directors at the PATAFA Office, Mr Ben Alacar, father of ultrarunner Ian Alacar. mentioned that he was among the runners that accompanied Fr Reyes’ ultra runs in the country. I was surprised when he told me that it took them 8 days to run from Laoag City to Manila in 1998. WhenI asked him about their daily accounts/documentations, he told me that the GOMBURZA group which Fr Reyes led, was the repository of these running accounts.

Anyway, I still persisted to browse the Internet and I was able to find this link of a document written by Fr Robert Reyes which is worth reading about the running priest’s story. In the said article, I found out that he did the following:  

“I have run and biked in Europe, the United States, Australia, China and now Hong Kong. I ran across the Philippines in three phases from 1996 to 1998 (1996, from Cotabato City to Cagayan de Oro; 1997, Across Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Panay; 1998: from Laoag to Manila and Sorsogon to Manila).”

Among the runner-bloggers, we have also Fr Amado Picardal who is presently based in Davao City. His blog is a repository of his daily running adventures in the South/Mindanao which is worth reading because he features his training/preparation, nutrition, and all the details about his runs with the appropriate pictures. His personal story and beginnings in running is featured in the latest edition/copy (3rd) of the FrontRunner Magazine.

I have yet to find out who was that Candidate For President in the past elections (in the 80s or 90s) who did his campaign throughout the country by running from one town to another with only one support vehicle! I hope he did not cheat in his running adventures during those times! Although this running-candidate for President did not win, I really do not know if he was able to get votes after the ballots had been canvassed then by the COMELEC. (Note: If somebody among my readers know the name of this candidate, it is worth meeting this guy for an interview!)

Going back to Fr Reyes & Fr Picardal, these running priests are also “cycling priests” and their “feats” had been admirable. I salute them for their cycling and running achievements! But personally, I don’t buy or use running as a means “to create awareness on political and economic issues” confronting our country and people.

In my analysis, these priests could easily plan for these “adventure runs” because they have an “in-place” organization that supports them along the route they take. Every town has a church and a priest or priests in them. Sometimes, every city has a cathedral, group of priests and a seminary. These in-place facilities are easily accessible to these priests as their “pit stops” and “transient homes” for them during their adventure runs. They are really blessed!

If I have a plan and means to do what these famous “running & cycling” priests have done in the past, it would be best for me to stop in every capital city of every province to lecture to elementary and high school children about running and I might also include colleges and universities, too! But my planning would take longer as I need proper coordination as to where I will have my “rest over night” during my adventure run. I have yet to look for some sponsors for my future adventure runs! Wish me luck!


Philippine Sports Stakeholders Conference

Due to my daily running workouts at the ULTRA Oval Track, I was informed that an important conference about Philippine Sports was scheduled to be conducted within the middle of this week. After my confirmation that the said conference was open to the public, I decided to attend this one as an observer even if I will be missing my daily running workout.

The conference was some sort of a public seminar/lecture to all the stakeholders of Philippine Sports—School’s Physical Education Teachers, School’s Sports Coaches, Heads and members of the different National Sports Federations, Athletes, National Coaches, Sports Administrators in the Local Government Units from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, Members of the Media, Sports Volunteers, Sports Instructors, PNP, AFP, and the Public. The seminar/conference was held at the ULTRA Sports Arena for the whole day last 10 December 2008.


The conference started with an opening program where the Guest of Honor and Speaker was Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II, the Chairman on the Senate’s Sub-Committee on Sports Competitiveness. In his speech, he stressed that the main problems in Philippine Sports are: the lack of sports infrastructure and the lack of financial support. To drive his point, he made comparison of the cost of one daily breakfast-food for an Olympic Champion Michael Phelps to the prevailing financial support to a Filipino athlete. It seems that Phelps’ breakfast for two days is equivalent to one month allowance for a Filipino athlete. He stressed also that there should be a long-term program for sports and its development on the “grassroot” level which needs the overall collaboration of every citizen and institutions of the government and the private sector. 

During the Plenary Session, the following speakers presented their respective lecture:

Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez of the Philippine Sports Commission—“Lessons Learned From PSC: Successes and Failures

Mr Manuel Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT—“Sports Development and Private Individual Patnership: A Model For Success”

Hon. Ronaldo Puno, Secretary of the Department of Interior & Local Government—“Building A Sporting Nation Through Sports For All”

Hon. Jesli Lapuz, Secretary of the Department of Education—“Investing In The Future of Sports Through Grassroots Development”

Chairman Emmanuel Angeles of the Commission On Higher Education—“Professional Preparation In Pursuit of Excellence In Sport”

Hon. Jose Cojuangco, Jr, President of the Philippine Olympic Committee—“Working Towards The Olympic Dream: call For Partnership”


PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez and his 3 Commissioners with Capt Espejo & BR

The Plenary Session ended with the signing of: Sports Commitment Of Unity and Support for the Philippine Sports Insitute.

The participants were invited to the Philippine Sports Institute for the Blessing and Inauguration of the Philippine Sports Intsitute’s Facilities with Mr Manny Pangilinan as the Guest of Honor.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed listening to these speakers’ lectures and insights on Philippine Sports in order to find out what is really the prevailing situation and future plans in our quest for excellence in sports. This activity/event was an opportunity for me to meet old friends in the sports world and also to be able to “network” with other sports practitioners and supporters.

I would say, there is “hope” for us to excel in sports and bring us towards that elusive first Gold Medal in the Olympic Games if only we “cooperate and support” each other.

My Prediction Coming True!

My prediction that the Senators/Congressmen will come out with a formal inquiry on the dismal performance of our athletes and Sports Officials during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is coming true!

My prediction on the result of this Senate Inquiry? I predict that nothing tangible will happen as a result of the inquiry! The inquiry will be a forum for “grandstanding” politicians—it will be a clash of ideas and full of recommendations and promises but I doubt if these things will be implemented.

The Bald Runner’s solutions to our sports debacle and problems are the following:

1) Political Will

a) Replace all the Commissioners of the PSC, change the leadership of the POC, and replace all the Presidents of the National Sports Associations. Designate non-political figures. A lot of “political will” is needed to do this!

b) Implementation of our Sports Program/Strategy and its Continuity whoever is the Chairman of the PSC, Chairman of the POC, and Presidents of the National Sports Associations.

c) Establishment of a Sports Academy or Sports Institute—I heard this concept during the administration of former President Fidel Ramos but up to this time I don’t know if we have one.

d) Accountability and Tranparency of Finances and Expenses.

2) Money, Money, & Money 

a) Appropriate more financial support to athletes, not to sports officials!

b) Private/Corporate Involvement is highly encouraged. Special Sports Projects like the NIKE’s Project Oregon, Team Running USA, and Brooks-Hansons Distance Project of the USA should be adopted. Such projects could be supported by Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, Reghis Romero, Ayalas, Gokongweis, and those personalities who promised cash rewards to our first Olympic gold medalist.

Anyway, read the following news report from Continue reading “My Prediction Coming True!”

Opinion: On Philippine Sports

The column below by Mr Recah Trinidad shows his dismay in the dismal performance of our athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games through the comments he got from sports fans and from his friends. It seems also that our athletes were just used to represent our country in the Olympic Games and thereby letting our sports officials, politicians, and their friends/supporters to have a “free ride” to watch the Olympic Games in behalf of the government’s and taxpayers’s money.

I made a prediction that the Philippine Team will not win any medal this time for the simple reason that our athletes’ qualifications before the Games are not considered within the Category “A” of Olympic Standards which means that there are more elite athletes on top of them and our athletes are not even Gold Medalists in the past Asian Games. And the other reasons are just personal impressions and opinion from what I have read, heard, seen and personally experienced. Continue reading “Opinion: On Philippine Sports”

Team Running USA & Philippine Sports

This is one of the privately-managed distance running projects in the USA today. This sports project on the training of the elite runners of USA complements the vision and objectives of the Brooks-Hansons Distance Project and the Project Oregon of NIKE which I featured in this blog for the past weeks.

Team Running USA has Deana Kastor and Ryan Hall as their top athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, Deana Kastor was DNFd in the last Sunday’s 2008 Women’s Olympic Marathon. Hopes for a good accomplishment of this sports project in the Olympic Men’s Marathon lies now on the legs and shoulders of Ryan Hall.

These three sports projects—Team Running USA (Mammoth Lakes, California), Brooks-Hansons Distance Project (Rochester Hills, Michigan), and the NIKE’s Project Oregon (Eugene, Oregon) where one had been created as early in 1999 and the latest one was created six years ago. The vision of these projects is to bring back the USA elite athletes into long distance running supremacy in the sports world. These projects were also geared on discovering why the Africans are the best in running long distance events and eventually aiming to beat them. Continue reading “Team Running USA & Philippine Sports”

2008 Olympic Games & Philippine Sports

Did you know that there are thirty-three (33) sports events in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing? Here are the 33 events:

1) Track & Field                                            18) Wrestling                                    

2) Badminton                                                   19) Diving

3) Baseball                                                       20) Water Polo

4) Basketball                                                    21) Modern Pentathlon

5) Boxing                                                          22) Softball

6) Canoe/Kayak                                                23) Taekwando

7) Rowing                                                         24) Tennis

8) Cycling (BMX, Mountain, Road, Track)          25) Shooting Continue reading “2008 Olympic Games & Philippine Sports”

“Thank You, Mr Dayrit” (The Olympic Movement In The Philippines: The Book)

I posted an article requesting some help from my readers/visitors which was entitled, “Help Me On This” on insights about the national sports program of the country and the functions of each of the sports entities like the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, DECS, and other sports federations/organizations last 24 May 2008. Councilor Doray Delarmente of Quezon City was the only one who made a comment on this post and she was talking about what office or institution/entity who was responsible in the conduct of the Palarong Pambansa and she admitted that she does not know the relationships of the other sports groups and institutions. I can also surmise that the other readers who did not make any comment/s about the post do not know also the present sports set-up/organization and sports program of the country.

Three weeks ago, I found a book at National Bookstore entitled “The Olympic Movement In The Philippines” by Mr Celso Limjuco Dayrit, appointed as the Commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commision during the incumbency of former President Fidel V. Ramos. This book had been very helpful in answering my questions on the functions of each of the sports entities in the country and the prevailing situation of our national sports program. Continue reading ““Thank You, Mr Dayrit” (The Olympic Movement In The Philippines: The Book)”