It has been a long time since I was running on the road and since I had no race or group runs for the weekend I decided to do one of the routes I’ve long wanted to do: traverse Metro Manila from East to West. Like my first road run along EDSA which followed MRT-3 this long run followed the route of LRT-2 closely except that I skipped the first station (Santolan) which was a bit off my route, and it didn’t follow the tracks to the service line but instead included the original LRT-1 route for some distance.
This run was supposed to start early Sunday morning but early morning rains ruined my plans so I decided to use the rainy weather to my advantage and defer it for another afternoon run. Unfortunately with this change of plan and time constraints I had to cut my route by a few kilometers from the original target of SM Mall of Asia to UP Manila. Nonetheless it was slightly compensated by starting in Commonwealth Market instead of the original Ylanan Gate of UP Diliman.
2:58PM I started my long run adjacent to Commonwealth Ave. This would be an exceptional time to start a run which was only made possible by the very cloudy weather. I had a little difficulty starting this run because of strong winds that blew against me so you may think of it as a unique challenge.
To make this route more interesting I also included one of my newly discovered routes, Zuzuaregi, to get to Katipunan Ave. and from there it was straight towards Katipunan Station of LRT-2.
Following LRT-2 via Aurora Blvd. was interesting but immediately I realized that it wasn’t easy—sidewalks were ample but the problem was the air quality. It was very difficult to breathe along Aurora Blvd. because of the huge traffic that goes on this narrow road. Then there was Cubao—people traffic was a concern so running was virtually impossible.
Cubao is a highly developed urban area in Quezon City and with so many structures covering the road there’s hardly any sky in the area of Aurora Blvd. in front of Gateway Mall and as a consequence there’s no GPS signal in the area. I was only able to restore my GPS signal after the Cubao Station of LRT-2.
After a few meters from Gilmore I enter San Juan where there are hardly any changes. After San Juan I re-enter Quezon City where most of the changes in the route occurred.
Just after SM City Sta. Mesa is the border with the City of Manila. Sta. Mesa, Manila is close to my heart as it was a second home for me for about 10 years. Here Aurora Blvd. ends and continues to Ramon Magsaysay Blvd. This segment of the route from Cubao brings back a lot of memories as I used to pass through here, riding a “patok,” everyday during my College days.
Eventually I reached the very busy Recto Ave. Even on a Sunday there are so many people here reminding you that indeed you are in the City of Manila—the densest city in the Metro. To be honest I was afraid to run in this area because I might look like I was running away from something.
For some distance I was able to follow LRT-1 and amazingly my GF405 was able to track my location (to a certain extent) despite the limited GPS reception in the area. Unless you ran on Rizal Ave. itself you’re basically running indoors in this area. Finally after Carriedo Station (Quiapo) of LRT-1 I can see the sky again.
From Manila City Hall it was the typical Roxas Blvd. route for me and like I mentioned earlier I ended this long run near UP Manila via Padre Faura, 23K in total distance, 1,400 calories burned. Here’s the complete route:
It was more difficult than I expected (humidity, air pollution, very bad sidewalks, people and vehicle traffic) and I wasn’t able to maintain a decent speed throughout this route (“pic-stops” and walking)—but it was worth it! Despite gobbling up more dirty air than all my previous road runs I was able to revisit routes that I no longer pass through and my dream of “traversing” Metro Manila from East to West was now a reality. Frankly I don’t think I’ll be doing a re-run of this route but for those who’d like to give it a try you have my full support! I hope you had a great weekend as well, run safe!