Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why I would ran a Marathon

So many people ask me along the way why I want to run the marathon. I hear many comments like these, Why do you have to subject yourself with so much pain? What's in it for you? Are you sure you can do it? Why suffer? Most of the time I always gave them the most truthful response, "Because I love running and Life is always a challenge".

Running is something that not everyone would like, something that I don't really recommend to any people. Its spreading like virus today more than a year ago. Honestly I took up serious running when I gave myself a self imposed deadline to run the marathon and not the other way around. In time I was hooked, and came to love it by heart. Why run the marathon? Because if your a runner, running a marathon is the Mount Everest of running. Its every runners ultimate goal.

Its easy to run 10 kilometers perhaps half a marathon over time but to run twice that distance is tough, really tough. It takes months of preparation, not to mention the time devoted for it. It take months when you have to sleep early because you have a dawn run the next day. You give up staying late at nights. You give up watching movies to the extent that your wife would complain.

If a would have finish the Cebu Marathon, it would be up high on my list of my life's greatest achievements. Running for me is humbling. It reminds me that I have my limitations but at the same time give me a sense of strength, toughness that only the human spirit can do. It also reminds me about life in general, that life as it is must be kept moving forward.

In the next three weeks, the ultimate test to my endurance would be tested. I have trained hard for this. I may not know the future but certainly the efforts over months and months of training has given me a assurance that I am not likely to fail. May God be my guide and strength!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hitting the Wall

In running, they have a term when your body simply just don't want to run anymore many times reducing yourself to walking. They call it "The Wall". Well, I just hit it at mile 19 of my run last Sunday. Yes, I was reduced to simply walking the last kilometer of the scheduled run, my back aching and the knees about to give up holding my body. Not that I wanted to expect it but I have the notion to feel it, and to learn from it in the process.

That damn Sunday run was the most tiresome run so far in my short, exciting and injury filled running days. It took it everything I got especially the last 2k. The run was the longest in the training, 32 kilometers of almost non stop running the paved roads of 3 cities including two climbs on Cebu-Mactan twin bridges. I have done 3 hours of running but this one, a four hour run, was something I call uncharted waters. They say you would hit the wall at 32K without sufficient training. I hit it a kilometer ahead with my very insufficient training, I would say with the injury I had in the last months. I even ran with blood oooozing from my nipples which made me look like a runner who got shot in the chest.

I'm glad I've finished it. I'm glad I felt the wall hit me like a brick. It made me realize how difficult running a marathon is and in the process made me realize that I could with my heart run through the last 10k to finish one. The injury came back after the run, maybe because it was after all unwise for me to run so long so close to an injury.

Two weeks of resting beckons me before I start to condition my body for the big day. Yes. I would be running the full marathon this January with or without the pain. It make it doubly exciting, scary but hey I like challenges and this is one challenge I would not let myself pass. Now where the registration paper I'll sign?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dumaguete Adventure Marathon

I would have wanted to run this marathon if not for the ITB injury I have sustained last month. The knees seems better already but I didn't want to force it again giving it this time a mandatory one month rest period. Zero running. No five kilometer run, not even one! Was it frustrating? Yes it was but I did manage to keep myself busy with the business. Besides running would never go away. Races would never be gone and keeping your legs in tip top shape for the future is one smartest way to see injuries through. I've always say to myself that if I don't run this marathon, there's always the next!

But off we went to Dumaguete for it. I intentionally left my running shoes behind just in case I get tempted. Smart move. My brother and another team mate was running. For me, I was just delegated for now as a photographer. huhuhu. But hey, I miss taking picture so I guess it was just an opportune time for me to get back in shape on my other passion!

Harold registering for the full distance.28K

The race distance was 28k. They call it adventure for nothing. It traverses a trail in the mountains. They say the view would be beautiful on top. The race gun sounded off at 5:30 just outside our hotel were we were staying. Convenient. The sun didn't shine which was a good thing. Off they went from the back of the pack. slow easy run, slow easy run I called them the last time.

race started at exactly 5:30am

the waiting game.

the baller. it came with the race pack. really nice.

So what did my brother Harold and teammate Roger say after the race?

Harold: "It was the most toughest course yet I've race so far." "Pirting Kapoya jud"

Roger: " Grabeha ka arangkada, walay pasaylo"..That was the single phrase he ever blurted out, he nearly collapse in the finish line!

Yes it traverses a trail. Yes it went up the mountains. but they didn't say it went up for eternity! Lo and behold starting from Km 11 till the 16, they were running at a grade 3 elevation non stop! What made worse was that the trail was really a trail. big boulders, very rough terrain not even a "habal-habal" would want to venture. From the look in the faces after the run shows it all. Tired as in seriously tired, Harold clocked at slow pace of 3:27 while Roger finish it 10 minutes later. Why so slow? That was part of the training run making sure we don't run fast this time but the usual Sunday long run pace. From the back of the pack, they sure made their way to the middle pack as one by one some of the runners fell back from the tough terrain.

happy tired faces at the finish line.

Harold finish 26th among a hundred runner. Not bad. Except for the singlet which was pathetic for the 500 pesos joining fee, the race was well organized with appropriate water stations.

The pathetic uniform.very rough. For a P500 fee, it should have at least been made better

team yykredit official logo

After the race, we hoped in a tricycle and headed towards a local carenderia to feed our hungry bodies. Except me of course. Later in the afternoon, we submitted ourselves for a massage which was really good. Roger left us for the neighboring municipality after that. And so ended our Dumaguete Adventure!

Me and our uniforms sponsored by Mizuno. hahahaha

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Some strange things are happening these days. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it about the Maguindanao massacre which is beyond comprehension to describe. Last Monday, 57 people (and counting) were brutally murdered, execution style by a feuding rival political clan and their followers. Whats more incomprehensible with this case is that everyone of them where women, many of them were journalists, civilians as so to speak. How such horrendous thing happen, is something I still cannot fathom with today. They were not only shot to death, some of them were heavily mutilated as if someone, not human, had done this.

We all know that from time to time, feuding warlords in Mindanao goes after each other throats literally. Its a situation that pops out every here and then. But not this one. This was unheard of in this country until now. These people were defenseless, unarmed. In my entire life, I've never seen such barbarity unleashed upon a group of civilians. Not even during the martial law years of the Marcoses. We see young Americans shooting randomly from time to time, we see people blown up to pieces in Iraq. But not here. The last time it happened was almost seven decades ago when Hitler let loose his dogs of war upon the Jews of the so called holocaust.

I'm angry. I'm sad. I condole with the victims. This has been called by the international body of journalist as the worst single massacre of journalist. Others say our country is already the most dangerous place for journalist to work in. Such a shame!. Shame goes to the Arroyo administration that has allowed this politicians to become so powerful that they act like Gods. Shame to the government who exchanged the security of the people in Maguindanao for the votes they want for themselves. It just outright that these people irregardless that it was not their doing, have contributed to creating a monster. No words, whether she declares it a National Day of Mourning would ever suffice an explanation.

I am in one with our condolences to the victims of this national tragedy. I'm still lost for words every time the pictures and the stories are told. I do hope, just like everyone else here wants:that justice be served fast.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Team YYKredit-Training Photos

Some of the photos I took during the teams 25.5k training run from Mandaue to Cordova and back. I'm still on the injured list so the reason I was able to take some photos for our documentation.

The rain poured so heavily that the team had to briefly stopped at KM6, Basak LLC. Larry aka "the Robocop" and JunJun pacing each other.

Gerry Chua (red) with a friend whom he invited.

Front pacers: Harold my brother (yellow) who seems to get stronger every run after his injury after the Milo Marathon, Rajahni (green) a newcomer but a surprisingly a gifted runner and Ryan (back).

Passing the Mactan Bridge at Km 22.

In all we've finished the entire course in about 3 hours and 5 minutes. The sun didn't shine at all and the course was entirely flat except for the bridge climb (twice). Kudos to all for a successful training run!

Monday, November 9, 2009

2009 Epson Color Imaging Contest - I Won!

I won in the recent concluded 2009 Epson Color Imaging Contest! I'm so happy with this achievement, something that gives you the added adrenalin that some of my work is worth looking. Epson has been giving a contest every year and really its tough to win. This year's theme is "Unguarded Moments" which kind of tells you that this is a contest that fits those who love spontaneous shooting- the photojournalist way. This is a plus for me. I love photojournalism as much as I love shooting landscapes and travel. I told myself this is a tough shot to get in expecting a thousand entries but there's no harm in trying right? It was also my first time to enter into this competition. To enter among the top 21 photos (which made the competition more difficult)was just beautiful success!

So there I took great pains of getting the right Epson paper. I save myself the printer as our office printer for layouts is no other than an Epson! The hard part was selecting four of over thousands of photos I took over the years and looking for the right one which fits this years theme. After a few hours of scanning, the thousand was reduced to a hundred, then to twenty, ten then to the final four. There were a couple of my favorites to win. Guess what: It didn't! My wife choice made it!
Here's the photo of the winning shot including a brief description:

This photo was taken while capturing the 2009 Sinulog Festivities early January this year. While being pinned inside the cordon erected to protect the carriage carrying the venerated Child Jesus during the annual religious procession, I caught this two sibling looking at the statue as it passes by their small store which was selling hand made statue of the saint.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Long Road to Recovey

Shit happens once in a while. It happened to me more than once, those unfortunate events that leave you dead on the tracks when the goal is so near. It happened again today. I'm not off the injury list as I was hoping to be. A short 10k run last Sunday, November 1, the day of the dead gave back life to the injury that was supposed to be healed by then, or what I suppose to believe. The curse of the dead must have had it on me that day.

It was a pleasurable run at first which turned into a cycle of doubt whether to push for it barely after the 7k. I didn't expect it would return. How foolish I was. I did finish my own race but the pain, not as bad as before returned when I went home after a short buy in the market after the run. It push me to think how I could be the most unlucky runner in the world, so close yet so far. The pain open the several doubts over several fronts. Was I doing the correct stretches? Did I run too soon? Was I running incorrectly? Soon it gave way to sadness to the realization that this injury would take a long time to heal whether I like it or not. I would have to be patience. I would have to do stretches daily. I have to let go of running my first full distance this January.Painful as it was, I accepted it fully. I knew being a runner, injuries are bound to happen once in a while.

It just took me two days to get over with it. While striking a dinner conversation with my wife about the injury, she blurted out "Your not going to sop running are you?" From that forth, I was relieved. Although the marathon I've dreamed of running was so close, it was not the end of it. I could simply run anytime I would like to when I get well. Its a life long passion and knowing that fully in me, I knew there were more that a thousand chances I could race one to twenty before I reached 60. But I needed to heal first. Maybe I did rush myself. I'll take a few weeks off from this and recheck the injury after continuing to do stretches and massages.

For now, I'll continue to support my team. I want them to finish the marathon this January with or without me. For one, that's basically the only marathon in town for a year. Second, it would be good for me to support them knowing that they look up to me when it comes to running. They ran because I ran. I inspire them and to just give up on them because I couldn't run is simply unthinkable, selfish act. So whether I ran or not, you'll bet to see me in the finish line!

I'm a tough nut to crack. This setback would not discourage me. I would get better to run after in a blaze of glory. Sadly though, it would not be in my home turf. Keep on running my dear friends!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Watching Libera in Awe

Me and my wife had a great time last night. We didn't just watch the live concert of Libera at the Waterfront Hotel in the front rows, we did for free! Its one of those rarest occasions that we get to watch a concert nowadays and a first for having seated so close to the stage, a little awkward for us to rubbing elbows with Cebu's virtual Who's Who and the metropolitan socialites. Yes they came in droves flaunting their wardrobes and jewelries for the world to see. As for us, we were just sitting watching them play their games.

The tickets cost P2,500 each, a steep price for many but a bargain I believe for watching a boys choir revered around the world for their angelic voices after seeing the show. My friend Bill offered it to me a couple of weeks back but I declined when I saw the ticket prices. He said he'd give it to me for free since He really wants to see the show and has no one to be with him. He said he could bring my wife too. Who would resist to that offer:)

We ate dinner at Tin Gow which again was unbelievably expensive made more by asking the chef to cook for us. It was like we were in the movie Ratatouille telling the chef to impressed us. Impressed we did at a cost. The bill in the end was close to seven thousand for four of us. We then made our way to the ballroom just about 8pm which was the time start of the show. I knew it would not be on time like the previous live shows I've attended years before. It started at 8:15pm with a short speech from an organizer.

As soon as the lights dim, the kids showed up in stage and started to sing, I was in awe of the quality of voice they had. Their celestial, angelic voices are truly made in heaven. Some were soloist, others did their own repertoire but every single one of them, 23 in all unbelievably were singing tunes so pure as if you were likely to be in heaven when angels sing songs for your arrival. To see 23 boy sopranos aging as early as 6 year old and as old as 14 year old was incredible sight to see.

They sang songs after songs which I haven't heard before and each time like the audience, ended up clapping our hands in approval. It was quite a little drag in the middle when you hear the same kind of composition but you still get to love it. The loudest cheers and applause where made when they sang the famous Enya's Ornoco Flow which I only knew that the word "Cebu" is in the lyrics. The grandest of approval was reserved for the last a 3 minute standing ovation when they made a surprise rendition of our own Tagalog song "Bayan Ko"! To hear them sing in Tagalog was indeed a spectacular way to end the show!

Kudos to the organizers for such a wonderful world class performance. I never thought those kids could pack a punch but it did. The whole ballroom was full house!
Kudos to Bill for his ever failing graciousness to give us free tickets. We would have miss it and would have still be saying today Libera who? It was such a treat for my me and my wife to attend a concert for such a long time. It was indeed a night to remember.:)

Monday, October 26, 2009


In my last running blog I talked my recent misfortune to get injured while on the usual Sunday run in Consolacion-Liloan-Tayud area which was aggravated when I, with my gutsy self and a itch to run that was hard to resist, ran the recent Holiday Spa 16K. With my first marathon drawing so close (two months and a half), I had to submit myself to rehabilitation after finding out that the pain was still there after a week of rest and a daily 30 minute hip abductor exercises which I read from the internet. I would rather think its a smart move to get back into shape as soon as possible as the next two months would be a tough cookie to be in without compromising or aggravating my injury further.

Like many runners myself, I am fairly familiar of the danger of overuse injuries like the Illiotibial band sydrome or ITB for short yet it struck me while I was feeling at my peak. There was a certain realization on my part that although I was running and feeling great for some time then, I was short on the stretching exercises. It was an injury that was inevitable at some point. I guess I should feel lucky that it happened when the marathon day is still months away with certain flexibility on rehabilitating the injured area and getting back into the grind with enough time for another peak running fitness.

So humbly I submitted to Dr. Renard Ramiro clinic one morning. Being a runner himself, I know I got the right doctor for me. He gave me the usual NSAID to drink and ask me if I wanted rehabilitation which I said yes before he could even finish his talk. In rehabilitation, they attached an electro-magnetic device on the side of my knees and lets some current gets into the muscles. After they get on some anti inflammatory gel on it while using what looks like an ultrasound machine to getr the gel into the muscles to relieve the pain. Only after then we do some stretches. Overall it takes an hour to finish everything.

It my third day of rehabilitation today and I'm happy the the pain is gone. I tried to ran-walk for a 5k last Sunday and didn't notice a thing. I am crossing my fingers. I also purchase a knee support which I wore and really felt good on it. I hope to get back into running this week gradually increasing my mileage next month to get into peak by the middle of December. I pray that it would not come back and I could ran the Cebu marathon in a blaze of personal glory!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wohoooo! At last, Runnr would open its 2nd store in Cebu! Target date of opening would be on November 13, 2009. Whether it would be in Ayala or SM I don't care. The fact that they are here makes it my favorite sports shop in town. Way to go for the management for putting up an outlet here! Now its time to shop.:)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I recently joined an online competition for emerging conceptual and documentary photographers around the world. You can view it in their website www.viewbookphotostory.com. I have always been inclined towards the documentary side of the art and somehow this can give me opportunity to show what I can do. My friend Estan Cabigas recently posted his submission and that somehow encourage me to try it.

There still so much I should learn in making documentaries and I'm not in a hurry. I'll take it one at a time. Making documentaries is difficult, time consuming, sometimes dangerous and need to say would require someone to fund you for it. Yet I believe that this is one of the path I need to pursue to transcend my talent for a good cause.

My submission is entitled "Halad" to convey the Sinulog ritual as captured for an entire week in January, 2009. Its the easiest that I could for now as I have lots of them shot in photojournalism approach. I honestly did not think I would qualify as the competition requires a tough screening from the judges. Fortunately and happily I did after two weeks of waiting. The submission stage in now closed with hundreds of works from photographers around the world. Some are really good it makes my work pathetic. (lol) I'm still happy though that only me and Estan qualified from the Philippines! Its a great felling to see your work being displayed once in a while. I'm not hoping I would get through the next round but I'm praying it would. Who would not want to. I hope I could pursue some other interesting stories in the future. Their are lots of them, its just the time element that can sometimes be difficult to juggle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Holiday Spa Run 2

Two weeks ago while on my usual Sunday solo long run, I hurt my knees at the end of the short 14k run. I say short as over the past weeks we (team yykredit) have been eating over 20k's of asphalt for breakfast. The last one was a 25k across the city. It just snapped on the last minute of a pretty normal run. Could have it been the new shoes that I was wearing? I doubt it. Did I run too fast for this? No, it was a slow 7-7:30min pace. Was I running on cambered surfaces. Yeah maybe but I really can't blame it all together on it either.

First I though I had the typical runners knee problem and opted to rest for the entire week as I had a competitive race on the next Sunday which was a 16K run sponsored by holiday Gym and Spa. The Sunday came and it was a party. In all 24 of us ran the race with some racing for a short 6K while the bulk was running the 16K. I told myself to run a controlled and conservative run due to the injury that I had just a week ago. I Think it started pretty much the way I wanted it except they forgot to gun at 6am. The sun was much over the horizon when they finally started by 630am. There we go running initially at a 6 minute pace but slack it out a bit to around 6:30 pace which is the way I wanted for this race. We were behind the main pack and started just walking due to the many runners who joined the race. Many run like ferrari's opting to zoom ahead in the beginning. I told my brother to just pace with me and we'll just catch them over half way through.

I was kind of feeling my legs and the knees for any pain that may recur but nothing happen past the 2k, 3k and 5k. Feeling confident, I push harder by a few seconds on my pace. Except for a slight pain on the back, still nothing happen on the 8k mark. I told my brother and Larry who was pacing with me just to keep the speed steady until the finish line. By this time, we have caught up with the main pack and many were slowing down. One by one we past them. I never counted how many we pass but to my estimate we could have easily pass more that 50 of them. I kept running in the center line and if that was not possible, was running alternately from different side of the route just to keep myself from getting hurt again. By the 14K mark, I felt tired after a long inclined near UP but still managed to maintain the pace. My brother and Larry surprisingly kept it up. My brother zoom ahead by the 15k mark, leaving me and Larry by 20 meters. By this we pass by a pink lady runner who by the time we pass her kept up with out pace and at times speed up and then falter back. This kept going until the 15.5K. With over half a kilometer to go, she up her pace. I followed her feeling intimidated to lose to a girl. We cross the finish line together for a time which I remember was around 1:38.

For a well known gym like Holiday Spa, I didn't expect they don't have the timer that I use to see on other races. They should be well placing them on their 3rd run next year. We proceeded to stretch and received water and some bread after the run. I was feeling good with the time which was within my expectation. The good news was I ran pain free until the end of the race. So much for the runner's knee so I thought. After stretching and drinking some Gatorade, a sudden pain at the side of the knee came back with a vengeance. The pain though tolerable was really painful. My legs actually locked up for a few seconds. Oh no, i said to myself. This could not be my curse forever. After breakfast in Pasil, I went home limping. Putting ice on the wound help a bit but decided to take Arcoxia, an anti inflammatory tablet that kills the pain temporarily. It was a relief that at least the pain subsided.

I research the internet after thinking clearly this must not be runner's knee that I'm experiencing. I guess I was right on the dot. What I'm experiencing now although common among long distance runners like myself is known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome, those tendons that ran from the hip to my knees became inflamed near the area of the knee which rubs against the bone there. This was what John Pages experienced in the middle of the race in Hong Kong Marathon stopping him from completing the race in 2008. Its really painful when you go down the stairs. I was thinking how this could happen to me! Can I ran the marathon this January? Good to say the positive side of me took over whatever frustrations that I would have felt. Good to say, I have more that enough time to recover. With over 3 months till the race and with my schedule of long runs ahead I still have time to get back in shape. The cause? I didn't exercise and strengthen my hip abductors which control the tendons as it moves up and doen during the run. It means its lacks flexibility. I would have opted to go to an orthotic doctor like Tony San Juan or Dr. Ramiro but I opted to do strengthening exercise on my hip abductors from the many that I saw and read in the net.

Fortunately, it works! I started them immediately in the afternoon. By the next day, the pain was gone completely without relying on the anti inflammatory medication. I'm on the third day of rehabilitation and I hope to run again slowly building back my mileage next week. I am completely aware of the pains and injuries that may come with my running. One thing for sure, come like they may, It would not stop me from running. I thank God for this body he gave me even if its not the perfect athlete body. I might not have the gift of a fast runner but certainly I have the gift to persevere. My will is strong and it cannot be broken. Certainly it brings back what I have been saying all along, that pain is inevitable and that suffering is an option and that impossible is nothing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Celebrating the Source-My first published work (Asean).

I thank God for the many blessings that have come my way all through the years. Frankly I have lost count of it but never was I for a single moment lost in giving back to humanity what is due to humanity. Today, another surprise was in store for me. My work was published as part of the international publication of Art Post Asia on Asean's water celebrations. The coffee table book titled "Celebrating the Source" in connoting water as a source of life's religious and cultural celebration just arrived yesterday from Manila. To be part of this endeavor took almost months to wait, sending and resending high resolution photos of my work. The end result- not bad at all. My work that was published was part of a centerfold involving photos from the Sinulog festivities particularly the fluvial parade. I saw too other Cebuano professional photographers with their own contribution which was really good too. To stand side by side with these guys, with my little but trusty Nikon D40x looks cool.

So Again, I thank YOU Lord for everything!

Book Cover

Centerfold where my work is published

Back Cover

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Runner's 40 Commandments

I copied this from the bald runner's (Jovenal “Jovie” Narcise)blog. Here it is:

The 40 Runner’s Commandments
by Joe Kelly

1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
5. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
6. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
7. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
8. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
9. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.
10. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
11. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
12. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
13. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
14. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
15. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
16. Don’t always run alone.
17. Don’t always run with people.
18. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
19. No matter how slow, your run is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
20. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.
21. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.
22. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
23. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.
24. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
25. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
26. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
27. Don’t try to outrun dogs.
28. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.
29. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
30. Without goals, training has no purpose.
31. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
32. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
33. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
34. “Winning” means different things to different people.
35. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
36. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.
37. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
38. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
39. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
40. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Imperial Palace, a two thumbs up resort!

My body is sore all over from our three day stay and water fun with my kid at the new resort Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa. It was such a delight to indulge in some luxury pampering once in a while. Pia got a blast of her own time too in the pools and slides. The palace is located along the resort lined Maribago road, its entrance as grand as a palace can be which reminds me always when you enter the Shangrila. It just opened a week ago with the usual fun fare and a promotion that hard to resist offering room rates at half. Too bad it was on a weekday, a no no if you have kid/s going to school.

We ended up booking two nights on a weekend and a holiday by which other than we were paying a premium, there were fewer around, a fresh room and we got to check out late at 6pm. From valet parking to a wonderful and courteous staff, everything you need for a royalty service is here. The rooms where exceptionally beautiful, more beautiful than that of its counterpart resort like Shangrila or Hilton. For those that would really love to indulge, their the villas whose rates starts from somewhere around 23K! The choices of pastel colors give the inviting, fresh feel that most hotel don't have. Its a wholly owned Korean hotel, so I had my reservations about its service although being part of the Summit hotels gives me a little of the upside. in the end, my initial sentiment proved to be unfounded. Except for a gym which is a bit small, I had no complains whatsoever. A little polishing here and there is needed but its understandable for a newly opened resort.

The food is just on the average for me, nothing spectacular if you ask me. There was a Korean, Seafood and a Chinese restaurant but never dared to eat as I found the prices to expensive. All the time except from some eating outside, we were having dinner or lunch at their western buffet restaurant. The prices is comparable with the other 5 star resorts although we got a good 50%. They would have to correct though lapses in checking the people who ate in the restaurant as we could have eaten for free all the time if not for being honest to tell them they have to bill us because where in house guests!

The slide and pools are the main attraction for this resort. The water park for kids is a first in Cebu with so many slides and activities to choose from. There are several slides and a lazy river cruise that you get to ride on a inflatable float and passes along a course that includes a man made wave to keep you tossing around like your in for a white water rapids. Either way its fun. The adult slides reaching three to four storey high are wicked. Its not for the faint hearted either but like my brother Harold who came with my mom, I wouldn't blow my chances of acting like a chicken little. We tried em all and the last was the best, it somehow dislodge a little bit of my brain to the left that had me having a mild headache after.

My Pia was all fun, "This is awesome Daddy" as she tells me after. A predictable two hours a day, we headed off for her wish to have fun, a thing we as parents could never beg to disagree unless she hasn't eaten her lunch or took her daily nap. Mornings were always spent in the resort's Kids Club, ever grateful for the warm service and attitude they never forget to give us especially to my kiddo.

With this kind of service, expect to pay the premium. Its expensive like Shangrila but its worth it. Like almost everything, the fun had to end. Its was time to say goodbye after three days of water delight. It was such a great break for the three of us. Someday would visit this place again. Just have fun, don't look at the price. If only...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Full Speed Ahead

It would be a long four month for me and the rest of our team as we prepare seriously for the Cebu marathon. Training days are more intense, longer and more frequent. I'm sure we're ready for what would be expected of us, and will be there in the starting line come January 10 barring any injuries. I hope my brother can ran with me too. I hope he can recover from his injury in time to be in tip top shape for the battle ahead. Its a runners dream to finish a marathon and without a doubt he want it badly like I do.

I have been a sort of inspiration for my team which has numbered over the few months seeing me run like someone going to kill me.(lol) I don't know why they run now. I never actually recommend running to anyone because its not for everyone too. Like in any sport, you've got to love doing it or the initial excitement would just fade like a temporary hobby of some sort. They say they got inspired seeing me run to achieve something like run a marathon. Maybe its the freebies that the company sponsored for some time now. Maybe the uniform that comes every after a competition. I do hope I'm wrong. I guess we will know who is really into it or not. Time would tell. I have always love running although it was more like a jog before. I enjoy it now more than I did and have come to embrace the pain that comes with it.

Today, i can count around 16 in the team. The hard core, those I call for staff who is training for the upcoming marathon, it would be around 9 persons. Some have ran several 10K and 21K competition already. I'm just worried for some who gets really excited and motivated that they increase their mileage abruptly, a recipe for injuries. I hope they can slack up a little bit before it hits them. I've seen a couple of guys already having those problems.

This Sunday (Sept. 13) is hell weekend once again. A 23k long slow distance run among the well paved mostly flat roads of the island of Mactan awaits us. I'm not expecting everyone to finish which is acceptable as in this distance, and their experience, their endurance capacity would be tested. We hope to finish within 2 hours and 50 mins. If that not tough, try running from Capitol to Liloan non stop or try running the Abellana oval 58 times.

Although it would be tough, it would be fun. I enjoy it and absolutely love the freedom that comes with. I embraced the pain. I'm trying to control it, be part of myself to enable to push one more step and another. I sometimes curse myself doing it, but my focus is something my wife knows too clearly. That I'll never give up.

Linggo ng Wika

Some of the photos I took during my girl's dance in school (MMIS) as part of their Linggo ng Wika Week which is very ironic because she doesn't know anything about our local Tagalog language.:) Anyways, she had a great time dancing to the tune that their teachers created and she wasn't shy anymore, a great improvement from last year's dance.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Were going to the beach, Aha Aha...

"Where going to the beach aha aha..." a song that my daughter sang a thousand hymns before we ever left our home for Odlot, Bogo, a destination north of Cebu which took us around two and a half hour to reach along the well paved and picturesque roads. It has been ten year since I last took a voyage in this coastal village remembering it to be very rough since the roads then was not yet asphalted. Today, yellow flowers and ornamental plants greets you on both sides of the road which is really beautiful to see, a thumbs up for posturing itself among the greenest places in the province.

After some time traveling, we were greeted by a sign on a rather unpretentious gate and a small path fit for a car with all the tall narra trees along the road which made something like a trip to an unknown, an expectation, a magical place that was about to be revealed.

And there it was, the beach house I have long to go for some time now. But wait, its not the old grass house that we used to stay for a day while having time to harvest the seaweeds that we were planting at that time. This time, after some renovation which I suspect ran in the millions, a beach house with a huge garden, walkways, cabanas and small huts greeted us. It gave to my speculation that all this from the small pathway of covered forest to the unassuming garden was made as a perfect mix typical of a rural house with a touch of luxury, a far cry from the other beach house that was modern and hip in style. This I feel I could stay for a month or so and could give Ernest Hemingway a run for his stay in his own island.

Except for the long travel that has always been my curse, tired and weary despite the comfortable ride of the luxurious van, the smell of the sea eases all the tensions as soon as we disembarked. Thanks to the warm accommodation made by the owners which by any means was rather a luxury by the sea, a beach house of Filipino taste with a splash of Moroccan architecture, it was indeed a heaven sent to rest my aching body.

We were greeted immediately by Peping, an old man that has served most of the time managing the properties of the owner in this part of the island with his wife and some helpers who I believe made a terrific job maintaining the place. He greeted me, lucid as ever, as if ten long years was just yesterday. I was in part happy to see the old man still in fit form, a stark contrast to the other house keeper whom I knew before which has long succumbed to liver cancer.

We arrive late in the morning in time for a laid back lunch of lechon and roasted chicken. The afternoon was spent what else, hitting the beach except for me though who had to go to market to buy something for dinner and lunch the next day. Although the sand is rough compared to the famous Bantayan Island across the strait needing slippers as not to hurt your feet, it was the exclusiveness of the place, a cove which made up for it. My daughter enjoyed every minute of it. There was also a small pathway to a cave nearby that we went and took some souvenir pictures of some sort.

The night was spent in drinking, at least for my father though. He was drunk all over again just when we began debating who to vote for president in the next year's election. But it was all good, and had to leave their debate with my brother in law who happens to like those stuff more than me. Besides I have an alibi that I have to wake up early.

The next day, I and my brother decided to hit the roads early. I mean running. I was expecting to shoot some landscapes after a long time but unfortunately found none that I like. A few stretching here and there while facing the rising sun was one of the most beautiful thing I did during the entire stay. Its was calming, serene which make you appreciate more of the things we always take for granted. I let my brother borrow my Garmin, his first time to use as well as to run after a two month layoff due to injuries. The roads and the scenery was one of the best I've run so far. Despite the sun which rises up as fast as you run, this one never gave me the heat bumps. Thanks to the tall trees that shadowed us all the way. Too bad we only ran a 5K as my brother doesn't want to push so much his knees, a recipe for another disaster.

Breakfast was good, made really good by eating outside with the splashing of the waves and a gentle seawind caressing your senses. We hit the (me and Pia) beach again, a perfect timing as the tides was at its highest and the heat was not as painful. We made sandcastles and played with the waves. She was having a blast! It was one of these moments that you gave in to the pain from the sharp rocks beneath my feet so as someone like my Pia could enjoy. I'll never miss that for the whole world.

Lunch was served early to make for some last minute rest before heading home. At two past noon time, it was time to say goodbye. It was such a pleasurable two day trip. We will be back soon. Thanks to the Peping and his wife who I forgot to know who made our stay as comfortable as it could be. Many thanks too to the owners who have always been accommodating as always.

Shoot and Run

Rumblings of a Cebuano on a pair of running shoes and a Nikon on one hand.

About Me

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Photography is my hobby, a long distance runner and an avid blogger, I consider traveling a dream and my family as my number one inspiration.