Finishing the Toughest Edition of TransCebu Ultramarathon!

Have you heard about Transcentral Highway in Cebu City? If not, do a bit research of it. Then try to imagine of how we borne to finish line of an ultamarathon race.

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Runners from 105KM Category

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Runners from 55KM Category

One of my ever toughest ultramarathon was TransCebu Ultramarathon in 2016 and 2017. Considered to be one of the longest, toughest, most elevated ultra-race in the province and even Southeast Asian Regions. I joined twice already, and it’s indeed hard to finish stronger in 105KM category. Its total elevation recorded utmost at 3,913 m and the highest elevation is 975 m and highest temperature logged is 32 degree Celsius with the lowest of 22 degree Celsius.

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The Old Route of TCU105 (used in 2014,2015,2016). Elevation is also described in this graphics. Image Credit to the Owner.

The past edition of 105KM category flagged off at Naga City in Southern Cebu and stretched via Toledo City and Balamban National Road to Transcentral Cebu with Mt. Manunggal to finish line in Brgy. Busay, Cebu City. While 55KM category flagged off at the Municipality of Balamban with the same route as 105KM category. But in the year 2017, 105KM implemented its new route. The route was even more strenuous, dirtier roads and more trails. It was an out and back route, totally brand new. From its starting line in Brgy. Busay to Brgy. Sta Cruz in Balamban and back with trails of Mt. Manunggal and new trails extending up to 10KM trail to Sitio Satujan in Brgy Gaas, Balamban. And 55KM category flagged off in Brgy. Sta Cruz in Balamban and followed same route as 105KM.

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2017 TCU route (105KM and 55KM)

In recently concluded event of TCU 2017. There were only thirteen (13) official finishers, with four (4) finishers beyond cut off time and one (1) DNF from 105KM category. While 100% were finishers of 55KM category equivalent to seventeen (17) runners.

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Finisher’s medal

What would I say? I am pleased to finish it for the second time. I am also grateful to runners to have tested themselves in one of the toughest ultra in local scene. My salute to runners who never gave up and continued to endure themselves until the finish line. To Race Director- Sir Blue, thank you so much for innovating a commendable race events. It is truly inspiring among local and foreign athletes, We now believe that ” Slow is the new fast” .Congratulations to us and see you in 2018!

 

7 Elite Stories of Pamutan Trail; their stories and yours too!

Do you like trail running? Definitely you would think twice before you answer it. Some others yes, but mostly not. Trail running simply refers to mountain trails and it shares same discipline with road marathon but what is immense difference is that the superfluous effort you will engage along the whole race due to uphill and downhill route. Plus, the muddy and subtle tracks that surprises you along.

Now, let me take you to the recent trail event in Cebu. The 1st Pamutan Trail Marathon concluded last July 2 in Bagsakan Center, Pamutan, Cebu City. The said event was part of Cebu Trail Challenge Series to which all of these races will be happening later this year in Cebu ridges.

My timeline weeks ago caught my attention by some reactions of my friends, FB friends, IG follows in favour to Pamutan Trail Marathon. It was indeed a mixed shout outs, full of excitements, happiness, completions, consolations and etc.

To start with their fascinating stories and reactions lets kick it off by the “King of Pamutan Trail Marathon;

1.

peri

2.jon

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4.donn - Copy - Copy

5.sherwin

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7.henry

The stories of these athletes are simply inspirational. Win or “lost” we owe a great stories and learnings from them. Cebu FAT ASS Trail Run is up, and definitely their attendance are highly regarded as yours. For more of their stories, check on their Facebook accounts and get motivated.

 

 

 

 

The Mystical Beauty of Mt. Dulang Dulang; the PH second highest

“Open the window of your mind, allow the fresh air, new lights and new truth to enter” – Amit Ray

Mountaineering is not my sport really, but it’s my passion too. Being attached in this strenuous sport requires a lot of efforts. I mean physical conditioning to adapt the temperature and trained to walk at various types of trails of any mountains.

At my young age, I already climbed few of the minor peaks in Mindanao Islands. Until such time, I learned that mountain climbing is my passion and almost my life.

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Ritual Area, Summit of Mt. Dulang Dulang

One of the stunning mountains I’ve ever climbed was the second highest mountain in the Philippines. Mount Dulang Dulang seats in Kitanglad Range in Lantapan, Bukidnon in Mindanao. The mountain towered 2,938 meters above the sea level, just 16 meters lower than Mt. Apo.

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Frostiest Area, Mt. Dulang Dulang

Like any other mountains such as Apo and Pulag, this mountain is also sacred to the locals, especially to the Talaandig Tribes of Lantapan. To date, it is accorded ancestral domain of the natives.

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At the Summit, and Mt. Kitanglad in the background

When in summit, mostly covered by fogs and clouds. Scenery of different landscapes is breathtaking, from grasslands, pines, bonsai plants to huge trees makes you alien at all. The view from the top will also give you a glimpse of Mt. Apo, Mt. Kalatungan and Mt. Kitanglad, which are both major summits of our country.

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Manny’s Garden of Mt. Dulang Dulang

The aura of this mountain will give you an impression of Elven Forest of Rivendell in “Lord of the Rings” film. Trees are almost covered with moss and lichens, the impressive forests will definitely give you the significance of flora and fauna.

With the ritual sacrifice of chicken, a tradition before climbing will complete your hiking experience. White cloths are hanged at the summit to pay respect the native culture. Thus, it added the mysticism of the mountain.

 

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Lowly trail of Mt Dulang Dulang via Mt. Kitanglad

This mountain is a major climb. Never underestimate, secure your local guides to summit safely. Mental and physical are needed to successfully surmount it. At the end of your journey, it’s all about  enough determination.

To God be All the Glory.

For mountain guides, please drop message to floresbernie1@gmail.com.

 

The Philippines’ highest, Mt Apo

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I learned about Mount Apo when I was on my grade school. It was only through books and of course through other resources like TV shows, tabloids, magazines and other forms, truly a learner. But I never knew about his wonders, all I knew that Mount Apo is highest mountain in the Philippines. Well by that age, I dreamed to climb him one day, and it happens!

I had no accounts to share my first stories on my first Mt Apo climb in 2007. But in August 2015 with friends from Davao City. We grouped together to climb Mt Apo. With a long three day hike and two night camping we reached the summit of the countrys highest mountain. It was truly kingly up there, showing supremacy indeed.

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Fogs, sulfur vents, flora and fauna and challenging boulders are some considered attractions. Truly lowlands couldn’t offer.

Those wild berries in flat garden resist none of your taste buds, pick it. Instagramable views deserves you for the subject. Canopied forests of century trees, giant ferns, hard wood trees seen guarded by goblins of  Apo, please care. Crater lake that describes him the sturdiest one, the biggest onc and the fiercest one. Boulders that defines his power to shatter everything around him.  And finally the impossible trail up is all about hardship to witness his magnificence.

With that experience alone, I learned something, something that is beyond stewardship. I’d able to immerse to its beauty.  The luxuriois landscape demands protection from humanity to maintain its ecological value to its whole system.

I would be forever grateful to this experience. I will never forget the lessons I catched. It is something an achievement for a lifetime value. I will keep climbing Mt Apo and other mountains to celebrate their majesty and be a steward of them. I promise to protect them from harmful and destructive acts by his people.

Banas Guimaras 10 Mile Trail Race 2017; A taste of Guimaras Island Trails.

Guimaras Island, Philippines is known for its sweetest Mango. Aside from it, they are also famous in beautiful beaches and lucrative wind mills in the town of San Lorenzo.

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But what made me more interested was, on April 16, 2017 I was invited by my friend and Iloilo-based runner Ms. Rena Manubag, on a trail run event in Guimaras. The event officially titled “Banas Guimaras” which was a 10 mile or 16 Kilometer trail race. And since I am passionate to racing events, I packed up my things and traveled from Davao City to Iloilo City.

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The Start/Finish line. Cabalagnan Central Elementary School was the starting and the finishing line. At 5:30 in the morning of Easter Sunday, runners broke their legs to the island trails, packed with strong determination and personal bests to conquer the course.

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The Race Course/ the Trails. Since it’s a trail run, expect everything as normal. The route featured the mountains of Barangay Cabalagnan, Nueva Valencia. It was a bit hilly but runnable at all times. The route was fascinating, cashew trees are abundant which I think it comes natural to their place, greens sceneries and rice farms were among scenic, it was mostly open forest and morning heat was expected. Before reaching the finish line, you will track the seaside of the town. Views are best for Instagram and Facebook. Finally, the famous Rumagangrang Beach Resort in town, famous for its untouched nature and rock climbing activities of the cove.

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17992043_1492566184119539_6385265886894578162_nThe Runners. There were at least 30 runners attended the event. Not much published but attended by most trail run avid around Iloilo, Antique and by some locals. But for sure next year, it will be more exciting as the feedback was good and expect more runners to come.

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The Organizer/Race Director. No organizers/director allow his runners messed. Hydration/Aid were put in strategic places, proper markings were well imposed and marshals were attentive.

Honorable Mentions. To the Race Director Mr. Russel Lingat and his co-organizer Mr. Daive Valiente, thank you for the worth-running event and I will be looking forward for a half marathon trail event next year. To the male and female champions, Mr. John Ray Onifa and Abigail Faye Odelmo, you guys are born champions, keep it up!

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Onifa on his finish line photo
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Odelmo, in her finish

Evaluation. I give 9/10. See you in 2018!

 

 

Argao Highlands Endurance Run 2017

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Not all runners are passionate to trail race, but I and my friends love it. Trail running requires extra energy, similar disciplines but the training varies. 

Generally, the race course is 80-90 percent of loose track, steep, single track, river crossing, dense canopies, open forest, muddy, rope segmenting and even underground tunnel. Argao Highland Endurance Run is one of the best in Cebu. It is a complete package to describe a trail race, and the endurance make it very sense. The event was scheduled last May 14, 2017 and organized by a joint project of local and private units of Argao, spearheaded by the Physician and Mayor Stanley Caminero.

The Starting Line. The event is not on their first edition. Last year, the race began at Cebu Technological University Argao Campus. But this year it was moved to their municipal ground which I think the best. As a traveler, I was able to check on them their very Cabecera de Argao. It features old structures and heritage of the town and don’t snub the Catholic Church, the baroque architecture is awesome! Their plaza is so clean and green. As early as 5AM, the race started and the cut off time was 4 hours.

The Runners. Well attended by runners all over the island. There were Kenyans, few elite runners, and trail lovers. I met some of my good friends and met new friends. Since, I was a second timer in the event, as expected I was able to reunite with the other runners who were my running mates in the other ultra and marathon events.

The Route. I love the trail so much, fun and adventure. Crawl, wade and scream. It was a mud-covered route because of the rain teemed prior the race day. A 25 Kilometer of endurance that summed up into very challenging route.  Runners crossed rivers, dipped to river waters, took the rope segment, survived the single loose track and steep hills. I would love to reroute it and be my training ground.

The Finish Line. Coal Mountain Resort in the mountainous area of Barangay Linut-od served as the finishing line. It offers spring-fed pools, I took a dip and I love it. The race concluded by passing the hanging bridge and underground tunnel. A head lamp was needed in the tunnel to grasp the total darkness. And at the end of it, your race is officially endured. Luscious Filipino menu awaits you on the table, you can eat as much as you’ve wanted.

The Organizers/Race Director. As expected, no wonder runners keep coming back and that is because of the credibility of the organizer to raise up it into a well-organized trail event. Trail marshals and aid stations were placed in order. The foods in the stations, were good and enough to support all runners. The post-race meal, can’t say nothing- heavy meals served! Congratulations!

Honorable Mentions. The ever supportive and sport man Mayor Stanley Caminero and Sir Joel Baring, the race director. Elias Tabac of Team Tribuddies and Cherry Andrin of Spectrum Runners. Good friends Jade Abellana and Jonathan Dungog, both veterans of ultra-running and triathlon. And also, to Sulirap Sukarap for the awesome photos . You’ve all deserved a laudable recognition.

Evaluation. I give 9/10. See you in 2018!