Posts Tagged ‘Mt. Maculot

21
Jan
11

2010 in Pictures

2010 was the year running took a backseat from my list of activities, but in between my great hiatus there were some interesting events that transpired.  Here’s a look back at how 2010 was for me:

January

The highlight for the first month of 2010 was my return to running with a 50K test run of the Bataan Death March (BDM) Ultramarathon (first 50K of the actual route).

With our support crew (courtesy Gail Consolacion)

(Continue reading…)

20
Jul
10

In-Action at Action & Fitness (A&F) Magazine

If you happen to have the July 2010 issue of Action & Fitness (A&F) Magazine our Mt. Maculot adventure is featured on the Travel & Adventure section, page 92, courtesy of our climb muse Vicky Ras.  This is my first time to appear with A&F and first time to be featured not running!  Thank you Vicky for sharing our adventure with everyone!

(Had I known you’d share our pictures I would’ve stuck with you more! 🙂 )

P.S.
Aside from the aforementioned article Vicky has another one about Eating Healthy.  Noelle “KIKAYRUNNER” too has an article  in this issue about Shoulder Stretches (nice flexibility Noelle!).

14
Apr
10

Mt. Maculot Revisited (Part 2)

The challenges were going back up the trails and retrace our route from the summit to find the right way.  Luckily my teammates followed my suggestion of packing light so despite the crumbling ground, with teamwork they were able to pull through with relative difficulty.   I however didn’t with my weight training.  Mt. Maculot was having its revenge on me. I was practically unscathed the last time we met; now I was experiencing the runner up for the scariest moment of my life—hanging onto dear life as my arms were solely carrying my entire weight, clinging onto roots that I dug while the ground beneath me that offered little support was slowly eroding due to my weight!  I seriously felt like anytime the roots would give out, I’d slide down, and be unable to climb back up the eroded ground.   And I can’t keep carrying my entire weight for long!

The challenging part of the trail, courtesy Jairuz

Luckily our sweeper Allen did great at his duty and stayed with me (from stable grounds of course) during my struggle and lent a hand until I was able to pull through.   I was also lucky that the others didn’t saw what happened to me as it was really scary.

I climbed up and grab onto the root we originally used going down.  As the ground crumbled I had to expose more of the root and cling to it with both arms.   I had to think fast and dig for some more roots before the ground totally erodes, and eventually I found another on my left where there’s a more stable ground.   The problem was that a really thorny plant was blocking my path to transfer.   I was running out of time as the ground totally gave way so I just reached and grabbed that root and before I was able to successfully transfer to it I felt a lot of thorns gracing my face.   From there I don’t really remember how I managed to reach for the stable ground where Allen was staying.   All I know was that I got away from it all with some small holes in my upper lip area (no thorns were carried apparently) and an inch of cut on my left knee, aside from some minor scratches of course.  Thanks Allen for staying!

Dead end! (Jumping off a ravine isn’t part of the plan) Courtesy Carina

I wasn’t smiling right after that incident and I thought that “this isn’t fun anymore!”   I felt that my heart beat was really elevated and my right quads was throbbing—all muscles of it, ready to have cramps at any second.   Fortunately running thought me some lessons so after some rehydration and proper management of effort we were all going back to the summit to find the right trail down.  And of course the idea of finding the right way brought back my smile. 🙂

We were back on top and Mt. Maculot had already given us more adventure than we seek.   Eventually the right path made itself visible to us and so we were on our way to the campsite where the infamous store used to stand.  Of course going there still gave us some challenges as we encountered crumbling trails on the way down.

This is how the old store looks like now; well it’s no longer a store although you can still buy cold drinks in the area (Pinoy ingenuity, but sadly no more halo-halo) 🙂

From the camp site most of us went to view the Rockies but only two went to it due to laziness brought about by the heat.  After resting for quite a while and some cold drinks we started our descent just before 3PM.

The Rockies which I wanted to go to but I got a bit too lazy 😛

Our group just before our descent

Going down…

Sadly the numerous Buco (Coconut) juice vendors that frequent the trail a year ago were also gone but one still managed to stay completing my day.  Again, ingenuity.

This is where “tourists” normally start their trek

Climb Tip: The advantage of descending near the mountaineering store was the proximity of houses where you can take a bath, for a fee of course.  A tricycle terminal is also located nearby.

After our descent we opted for some nice bath, halo-halo, and barbecue, all of which in the vicinity of the mountaineering store.  From there our buses back to Manila are just a tricycle ride and P20 (per person) away.

Our trail route (via Google Earth): note that from the summit we were mislead by an established trail to a dead end so we went back to summit and found a way back to the camp site (Rockies), totaling at least 6K worth of trails

To those also planning to follow our path here’s the summary of our route: start at the jumpoff point (Grotto trail), climb to summit, head towards the camp site (Rockies), and descended to the mountaineering store area (descent from summit is approximate as my GF405 ran out of batteries).  But don’t forget to register first!

Appeal: I kept mentioning the word “tourists” in this post to refer to the sets of people that litter the mountain leaving all sorts of junk that they carry with them.  Unfortunately Mt. Maculot is in a very bad shape because of them and is in fact worse state now than my last visit a year ago.  Don’t be a tourist, be a responsible mountaineer by bringing all your trash with you on the way down! Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos, kill nothing but time.  Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution!

Please keep our mountains clean

At the end of the day I was pretty satisfied with the way things turned out.  It didn’t go “according to plan” the same way our last visit did but the unanticipated moments of getting lost and finding our way back really made it into an adventure—the thrill of spontaneity.  If everything went “according to plan” we may not have enjoyed our climb as much, and even I who thought knew enough the trails of Mt. Maculot had new lessons learned.

Mt. Maculot adventure complete!

Congratulations to my group particularly the first timers for completing their first trek/traverse! Great job guys and I hope you learned some valuable things with our assault, and hope this is just the start of many more climbs to come!

11
Apr
10

Mt. Maculot Revisited (Part 1)

Stubborn as I am my injury wasn’t enough to keep me in one place—once again I’m out and about on an adventure, this time to revisit an “old friend” Mt. Maculot.  And what perfect date to set it but on another long weekend courtesy of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), the 9th of April.

It was almost a year ago when I last (and first) visited Cuenca, Batangas where the famous (and also infamous) mountain is located, south of Taal Lake.  This time I’m back to lead (or more like guide) new adventure-seekers in search for some crash-course on mountaineering for a bigger adventure that is TNF100.

This was my first time to lead anyone on a mountain.  The members of our previous group that assaulted Mt. Maculot were occupied, so as reluctant as I was I had no choice but to lead the group that was mostly comprised of women, many of which had absolutely no experience trekking.  I had promised that I’d take them on a trek before TNF100 for some training and so even if I was a little banged up I had to keep my word.  To make matters worse I don’t remember the trail we took before as we did our previous assault at night! Fortunately our group was joined with additional testosterone on the last minute so I was able to forget all my concerns.

Our group (clockwise from the left): Carina, Vicky, Tracy, Carly, Ric, Doc Art (which had to leave us early for a “doctor’s call”), Allen, Jai, Ellen, Me, and Glenn, courtesy Carina

I had originally planned for a 1AM departure from Manila but due to a sequence of unfortunate events we were able to leave Manila at 4AM.  Then there was a road accident en route further slowing our progress and it was way past 7AM when we finally got to Cuenca.  There goes my sunrise plan!

Travel Tip: Buses passing through Cuenca from Buendia/Taft don’t have a fixed departure time as we learned the hard way, better ask the bus company what time their buses are “scheduled” to leave and add an hour for waiting time.

Since we were already way behind schedule we decided to take the faster way by riding tricycles toward the registration site (P10/person), Barangay Hall (where we had our restroom break), and the jump-off point.  We were initially taken to the “traditional” jump-off point as I forgot to mention to our drivers that we were starting via Grotto trail and not the usual “tourist” trails, thus adding to our fare.  Tricycle cost: P30/person (five persons per tricycle) which was a little hefty in total but it’s a way of life called tourism!

Eating before taking on the Grotto trail, way past 8AM, courtesy Carina

Before: still clean shoes

A year hence, the dirt roads that we took before are now paved.  Uh oh!  Not much seems familiar!  Hiking in daylight does have the advantage of locals being awake and able to tell you the right way as I obviously am lost that time, so in summary we found the Grotto trail and everything was uneventful, except that I forgot how heart-pumping this trail was (great workout for the glutes).

Group shot at the base of the Grotto’s trail end, courtesy Ellen

Notice my huge 40L bag.  Aside from guiding friends I also was doing some weight training, also for TNF100.  I’ve no idea how heavy it was but it contains 3.5L of liquids, a 700g netbook, a pair of sandals, change clothes, etc.—no light packing today!  A year ago I was carrying a regular backpack and just wore a tee and a pair of denims—things have really changed!

With Vicky on our way to the summit: behind us are stores being dismantled (probably set up during the past holy week because of the Grotto), courtesy Carina

Our journey from the Grotto to the summit was uneventful and was surprisingly fast.  From our previous record of eight hours from Municipal Hall to summit we were able to reach summit from jump-off point in less than two and a half hours!

Vicky climbing a section of the trail I fondly call “the wall” because it seemed like one when I first saw it a year ago in the darkness of night (with glass bottles hanging on my backpack and our headlamps on). Looking at it in daylight it hardly seemed so. (Courtesy Carina)

Our “uneventful” series ran out on our first attempt to find a way to the Rockies.  I vaguely remember the details and the trail I remembered that we took were no longer that established.  With suggestions from my teammates we took the “obvious” route which spelled trouble for us.

The “obvious” trail eventually leads us to a very difficult location with a matching dead end.  Many of my teammates slid down the trail as the earth was loose—it crumbles beneath your feet, literally!  All of us get some challenge with that one, only to find out that we’re on a dead end (unless of course jumping off a ravine was part of the trail!).  I can’t believe that we’re lost! (Again?!)

(Continue to part 2)

16
Mar
10

TNF100 Philippines 2010: Prep Up

This year one of the region’s toughest ultramarathon race is back, The North Face 100.  For its 2010 edition it would be held in the Philippines’ summer capital, Baguio City (1,500 meters above sea level).  TNF100 is not your “typical” trails—the higher elevation should pose a greater challenge.

TNF100 holds a special place in my heart for being my first ever ultra.  BDM may be my longest distance-wise and fastest ultramarathon so far but TNF100 still holds my most difficult and longest race time-wise.  It’s not surprising that it comes with a 30-hour cutoff.  (TNF50 has an extended 18-hour cutoff, 22K with 4.5, and 11K with 3)

Categories

Unlike previous editions wherein the 100K can be taken as solo or relay, TNF100 now boasts a new category: 50K solo.  This should open the doors to new ultra-trail runners who want to “test” the trails but aren’t up to take on the full challenge that is TNF100.  For beginners there are also 11K and 22K categories.

Registration

Registration is ongoing at The North Face branches, ROX, and Res-Toe-Run branches but you better hurry as slots are limited: 11K and 22K with 40 slots each per branch; 50K and 100K with 10 slots each per branch.  Registration fees for 100K and 50K solo are P2,000 and P500 for 11K and 22K.  Don’t forget your provisional receipt (for race kit claiming) and 20% discount coupon upon registration.

Preparation

For those who would be joining (or considering joining) their first TNF100 (or TNF50) I can only advice based on my previous TNF100 experience in Sacobia, Clark as I am not familiar with this year’s route myself.  I’ve only been to Baguio City once and I know for a fact that the elevation may take a toll to “lowlanders,” especially to those who don’t climb.  I was running for only about half a year when I finished my first ultra (with only a 21K race to boast), and I’ve only had two major training sessions that prepared me for it:

  1. Km 0 – 56 (Manila to Tagaytay)

    View from Km 0

    This ultramarathon distance long run was where I had my first marathon distance and my first ultramarathon distance.  It was crash-course training for TNF100 that served as my test of endurance as it was a 56K worth of gradual uphill.

  2. Mt. Maculot Traverse

    Team Maculet

    Not intended to be part of my training, this recreational climb doubled as such when we encountered “surprises” during our climb.  It was supposed to be an “easy” climb which turned into a very challenging traverse.

Unexpectedly another recent climb of ours now served as my altitude training:

  • Suggested Climb: Mt. Pulag [1, 2]

    First light at Mt. Pulag

    The tallest peak in Luzon at 2,922 masl, acclimatizing at this altitude would make Baguio City feel like a lowland.

For those doing their first trail run (participants of 11K and 22K), I suggest that you read about my first trail run in Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas—TNF Thrill of the Trail 2009 [1, 2, 3, 4].

Shopping

It is highly likely that the mandatory gears of last year’s events are still mandatory this year so you may want to start from there.  It is also most likely that the “self-sufficient” rule still applies, so when it comes to it you may want to shop for something like this (note that I wasn’t able to consume it all and ended up hauling a lot of it back to Manila!).

Hungry?

Recollection

If you still feel uneasy about TNF100 or want to find out what you may expect during race day, here’s my 2009 TNF100 story:

Sunrise during 2009 TNF100

Unlike road ultramarathons you can’t really make a detailed plan on trails unless you’re quite familiar with the terrain of the route.  All you can do is take into account what is known and prepare for possible scenarios you might encounter along the way.  As what we’ve learned last year being a seasoned ultramarathoner doesn’t guarantee success and inversely even newbies can finish.  Believe, and you can achieve!  Brace yourself folks for yet another experience of a lifetime!  Stay tuned for further updates.

31
Dec
09

2009 Favorite Running Moments: In Pictures

Running has taken me to places I never imagined I’ll go to and for my first full year of running the year broke all previous records not only in terms of distance covered, and pictures taken!  2009 toll: about 20 gigabytes worth of pictures and videos, around 11,500 files.  Among these, here are some of my favorites:

January

Transition: from Bench Pedometer watch to Garmin Forerunner 405

TNF Thrill of the Trail: my first trail run and magazine appearance, Side Trip Magazine April-June 2009 edition

Happy Run: First 15K

February

EDSA: First LSD

LSD with takbo.ph

First winter run (Ohio, USA)

March

Condura Run: First 21K

April

Trail run at Montalban with takbo.ph

May

Takbo.ph goes climbing to Mt. Maculot

TNF100: First ultramarathon (100K)

June

Debut climb of the RunHikers at Pico de Loro

Back on trails with Men’s Health All Terrain

Back at ultra via Botak100 (as a pacer)

July

First Marathon via Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations

August

Repeat of Manila-Tagaytay ultramarathon long run (56K)

Ninoy Aquino Day Run

September

Mommy Milkshake

October

Reaching out through Angel Brigade

Pacer duty at QCIM

First sundown marathon via SIM

November

Chillax pacing during Timex Run

Running in Ilocos

December

Running in Singapore

2009 was a splendid year indeed for me, and hopefully yours as well.  Let us make 2010 a better year for everyone and be the change we want to be.  Happy New Year everyone!

01
Jul
09

runningpinoy’s 2009 Midyear Report

2009 is my first full year of running and with the first half completed its time to have a look back at some of my highlights for the first six months of the year.

January

The year started with “bi-polar” races: one was well praised and the other went in infamy.  Of course I’m referring to TNF Thrill of the Trail in Nasugbu, Batangas and PSE Bull Run in Bonifacio Global City, respectively.  While people can’t stop being enthusiastic about their wonderful experience with the trails of Batulao and the race overall (including myself), it was the complete opposite on the other side of the track—I’ve never heard of so much complaints about a race and it probably had the record of the longest queue at the finish.

Thrill of the Trail, Nasugbu, Batangas

The following weekend race was probably redemption for a lot of runners with the Happy Run—another RunRio event that was one of the most organized and fun race of the year thus far.

With some happy runners

It was also during this month that I acquired my Garmin 405—just a day before we were off for Batangas for the TNF Thrill of the Trails where it had an excellent stage for a debut.  Also having a debut on this race was my first trail shoes, New Balance 811.

Garmin Forerunner® 405

Garmin Forerunner® 405

February

February was the first month since I started running that I had zero races.  This was the first of two months that I was in Ohio, USA and in spite of being race-less I was not run-less: the below freezing temperature wasn’t enough to stop me from running outdoors—an experience that I suggest everyone try at least once in their lives.  While I was “chilling” on the other side of the world the race scene in the Philippines ensued the love month.  There wasn’t much high-profile races for this month making my craving for races more bearable.

My winter gear: a runner’s beanie, windbreaker with regular white cotton t-shirt, pair of gloves, thermal tights, cushioned socks, and trail running shoes

My winter gear: a runner’s beanie, windbreaker with regular white cotton t-shirt, pair of gloves, thermal tights, cushioned socks, and trail running shoes

Before leaving for the US I managed to have my first LSD (Long Slow Distance) run along one of the dreaded routes in the Metro—EDSA, from North Ave. all the way to the SM Mall of Asia grounds.

After finishing my EDSA LSD

After finishing my EDSA LSD

March

By the time race season was starting in the US due to the arrival of spring I was unfortunate enough to be packing my bags for home thereby missing the opportunity to participate in races stateside, but on the bright side I was back for one of the most anticipated races of the year—Condura Run.  This race was one of the rare opportunities to run on the SkyWay and was also my first half-marathon and first race medal.  Also first for this event was the Carbo-Loading Party of takbo.ph which they say was a first for a half-marathon race.

Running with friends at the SkyWay

Running with friends at the SkyWay

April

This was the month of LSDs for me as there were only a handful of races set.  Among these routes were Commonwealth Ave. to Bonifacio High Street via C5; Commonwealth Ave. to SM Mall of Asia via Quezon Ave., España Ave., and Roxas Blvd.; and my first LSD on trails in Montalban.

View from the summit of Montalban

View from the summit of Montalban

Arguably the highlight race of this month was the Greenfield City Run in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.  With its free shuttle service many runners were given chance to run outside Metro Manila and experience the fresh landscape of the rural areas.

Another finishers medal courtesy of Greenfield City Run

Another finisher’s medal courtesy of Greenfield City Run

May

May boasts the longest and one of the most difficult races in the country, The North Face 100 (or simply TNF100).  Many underestimated the trails of Sacobia, Clark before they even embarked on it so it was a shock for many, even seasoned ultramarathoners, on how difficult this race was this year resulting in only a select few proud finishers.  This was my first attempt at an ultramarathon and I am very proud to be one of the few finishers of this race.  It was also my longest distance-wise at 100K, and time-wise at 30 hours (raw time that includes eating, resting, and some dozing off).

Sunrise during TNF100

Sunrise during TNF100

May also sparked my return to trekking with our initial climb to the summit of Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas.  This became a “team-building” activity for me and my takbo.ph friends and because we had taken an unexpectedly difficult trail it also served as my training for TNF100 that followed two weeks after.

Having breakfast on the summit of Mt. Maculot

Having breakfast on the summit of Mt. Maculot

The month was ended by a rivalry of two high-profile races: The Earth Run at McKinley Hill and Microsoft’s IE8 Run at Bonifacio Global City.  It was a difficult time for runners on which “side” to choose but in the end The Earth Run came out with being more competitive and having more attendance.

Medal from the Earth Run

Medal from the Earth Run

June

The month kicked off with another high-profile and highly anticipated race, the Mizuno Infinity Run.  Coming from a popular footwear brand, this race has a good set of followers which were not disappointed with the race outcome as it became the first race to have a “Time Challenge.”  This year’s participants had their finish time recorded for next year’s race where they can challenge their previous record for a chance of a prize.

Kicking off June with Mizuno Infinity Run

Kicking off June with Mizuno Infinity Run

The second week of June was the Independence Week with the 12th of the month being the Independence Day of the Philippines.  For a change I left my running shoes home and put on my trail running shoes for the first Freedom Climb—40 summits nationwide simultaneously having flag raising ceremonies to commemorate the occasion.  It was the first official climb of our takbo.ph offshoot group, the RunHikers as a group, in Pico de Loro, Cavite.

On our way to Pico de Loro during Freedom Climb

On our way to Pico de Loro during Freedom Climb

If May brags of an ultra-trail race, June is not far with an ultra and trails.  More like a month-wide split of the TNF100, June had an ultramarathon road race: Botak 100, and two trail run (and bike) races: King of the Mountain (KOM) in Timberland and Men’s Health All Terrain in Sta. Elena, Laguna.

Sunrise over Sta. Elena, Laguna during Mens Health All Terrain

Sunrise over Sta. Elena, Laguna during Men’s Health All Terrain

The All Terrain race was a good race overall especially for introducing trail runs for beginners.  The race was well-organized flawed only by the fact that the trails were a little dull.  This was salvation for Men’s Health reputation from their abysmal past races.

Finally to close the first half of the year was Botak 100—the first ultramarathon road race in Mega Manila.  Despite Botak’s attempt to salvage their reputation from the last race that plagued them, it was “A” (H1N1) viral issue that hampers their efforts.  That issue led them to postpone the side events of this race to the dismay of some runners (myself included).  Fortunately enough the ultramarathon road race pulled their reputation forward that Botak could be proud to say that they “pulled it off.”  Surely there were still a lot of shortcomings but as an “active spectator” all these issues were negligible.  Welcome back, Botak!

Pacer at Botak 100

Pacer at Botak 100 (courtesy Marvin)

Truly it was a roller-coaster ride for the first half—events fell on either side of the poles.  From the best to the worst these races and other side events really made the first half of 2009 quite remarkable.  Now that the second half is about to begin, will it be able to outshine the half that was?  Or will the race organizers sit on their laurels and stop innovation?  I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.




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