4/25/2015

The MAYON 360 ULTRAMARATHON 2015 - a reflection.

Running an ultramarathon is an activity that many are addicted to and I must admit I enjoy it a lot. Ultramarathona challenge not only your body but also your mind - specially if you have been running for over 7 hours. 



Last April 11, 2015, my anticipated run finally arrived, The Mayon 360 80km Ultramarathon. I had been looking forward to this run for months. I prepared and really trained well for this event and when I heard the count down at the starting line, I said to myself, good luck and this is it!

The run started at exactly 4 am. Not the usual time for an ultra marathon but I was up for the challenge. During the run, while my body is starting to warm up, my mind started to play it's role and started talking to me as a motivator. Different thoughts and emotions came to me, from being excited, to reminding myself to carry on, and in the end giving me hope that I could make it. 



I would like to share with you 10 Personal thoughts that came to my mind while running the Mayon360 80km Ultramarathon .


1. "Angelo, Do not forget to Pray"

Whether short or long distances, I always make sure I ask for safety and guidance from God. Because with Him, anything is possible. 80km is a big number in ultramarathons and I respect that a lot. So, with all the training, guidance from God is a must!

2. "Angelo, you must greet and cheer for others"

One thing I love running out of towns or in provinces is the excitement you see from the people in the community and the joy you see from other runners. While running in the Mayon 360, I really appreciated the Albayanos for really supporting this event. You hear them shouting "Kaya Pa?", "Kaya mo Yan!" and "Kayang-Kaya!" . These phrases are music to my ears as it gave me more reason to push myself. It was also nice to meet other running friends from Manila who came all the way to Legazpi, like me, just to be part of this prestigious event. 


Photo Courtesy of Run Lipa with Daisy, The Fairy Trail Runner 

With Usherwin Guansing 

There were also hundred of runners who joined in and I think it was also nice to cheer for other runners if you get a chance. You gain more friends that way.


3. "Angelo, look on your right, isn't it something else?" 

You are running around the Mt. Mayon which is the World's Perfect Cone Shaped Volcano. It's shape and grandeur have made it a famous destination in the Philippines. Tourists flock to Albay to see this active volcano and I am not surprised - Mt. Mayon is beautiful! 

I could stare at that volcano for hours and I wouldn't get tired of looking at it. This was also the main reason why I wanted to join this event. 


Photo Courtesy of Run Lipa 

4. "Angelo, don't compete with others, run at your own pace!"

This has always been the advice of many runners simply because it's true! I kept reminding myself to run at my own pace and not to compete with others. Having a strategy is also very important during the race, I am not a competitive runner but I wanted to make sure that I would still have the energy to reach the finish line. 

5. " Angelo, Run if you can, walk if you must "

I wish I could run all the way but I just couldn't. So I tried to apply the Gallaway Run-Walk intervals but my feet were starting to get sore from running on asphalt because of the heat. During the Mayon 360, there were some parts were it's uphill and some were downhill. But 80% of the terrain was mostly flat which can also be quite challenging. 

6. " Angelo, you must stay Hydrated and cool down"

For the first 40km, we were very lucky that it became cloudy and it even rained for a few minutes durign which I took shelter because I didn't want my shoes to get wet to avoid blisters. But at around 11:00 am, that's when the skies cleared up we felt the most intense heat that I have ever experienced before in running. People put out buckets of water and a small tub so that runners could cool themselves off. 



There were also shower stations provided by the roving marshals which was very helpful. There were also some locals who were kind enough and offered us watermelons and ice water. They were also pretty accurate about their Hydration stations which were available every 5 kilometers so I tried to drink as much water as I could and grabbed something to chew on.


7. " Angelo, Never compare yourself to others! "

There were some runners who always looked back and checked how far they were from other runners. I was like that before because maybe I was trying to compete with someone or just simply being competitive, but if you are already running over 50km, things are different. I always reminded myself about that, We all train differently, our body types are also different, so I should never compare yourself to others. There were also different categories at this event like relays. 

Photo Source: Naddy Acompanado


8. "Angelo, you invested a lot of money in this! "

I must admit, it was not cheap to run at Mayon 360. You have to pay for your airfare, accommodation, food, tour, and much more. But, the experience was all worth it. It was a festive season when we arrived in Legazpi City because they were also celebrating the Daragang Magayon Festival of which Mayon 360 forms part of this huge event. I kept telling myself that I would not go home to Cavite without that medal and trophy. It's a great motivation! 

Casita Aurora Bed and Breakfast 

Mt.Mayon Volcano 

Daraga Church 

9. " Angelo, didn't we practice for this? "

We had been under the intense heat of the sun for so long and I must admit that it was the most difficult part of this race. The heat started hitting me and there were times when I started feeling dizzy. But, I had to remind myself again, didn't we practice for this for months? We climbed mountains, I joined a lot of LSD's, and ran in the middle of the day as part of my preparation for the Mayon 360.

I remembered when the Race Director said during the briefing that if you had cramps or feeling something wrong during your run, that means you still lack training. I will remember that forever! I am very thankful that I had no injuries during the run except for some blisters. 

10. "Angelo, trust me, you are going to make it to the finish line before the cut off!"


A great way to push yourself is to BELIEVE that you can do it! I always believed in the power of mind over body. But in running, both must contribute at the same time. 

I've never been so pressured about the cut off time until the Mayon 360. During the Mayon 360 for the 80km Solo category, there were two cut off times for the 80km Solo run. A runner must reach the 40th km in 8 hours and you must reach the finish line in 16 hours. With great determination and optimism, I was always reminded that I was going to make it to the finish line! I did! 


Photo courtesy: Ver Real 

Photo Source: Mayon 360 @MPCI 


Our OUTFIT during the MAYON 360 ULTRAMARATHON

Top: New Balance Long Sleeves Tech Shirt 

Print: Exterra Printing Services , Shorts: New Balance Lightning Dry, 

Shin Sleeves: New Balance , Running Shoes: New Balance N2 

GPS Watch: Nike GPS , Activity Tracker: FITBIT Charge HR , and Bodivance Thermogenic Cream



Running the Mayon 360 was such a great experience. A great challenge every runner should try. I always had goosebumps when I saw Mt. Mayon Volcano on my right side during the run. It was amazing to think that I ran around Mt. Mayon Volcano!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people of Albay for their warmth hospitality. For the great cheer from start all the way to the finish, shouting Kayang-Kaya!

( You can do it!). From putting out buckets of water and showering us to cool every runner. All I could say was a big thank you to you all! The sound of that cowbell was priceless! 


You proven to us why it's MORE FUN not just to visit Legazpi but also to run around the world's perfect cone shaped volcano! We will definitely be back! 



4/20/2015

CASITA AURORA BED & BREAKFAST - The best place to stay in Legazpi City!

A beautiful city that sits at the bottom of the world's famous Mt. Mayon Volcano. A land full of adventure and gastronomic delights. Legazpi City is a famous city in the Philippines that should be on everyone's bucket list! But, one place made our stay even more memorable, and it's the Casita Aurora Bed and Breakfast. 


A Filipino inspired bed and breakfast infused with different beautiful ideas, Casita Aurora is a place where you will experience the true and warm Filipino hospitality. 


This newly opened Bed and Breakfast along Dona Aurora St. in Old Albay District is basically a walking distance to different landmarks in the city such as the Cathedral and the City Hall. Casita Aurora is situated in an ideal spot where everything is just a tricycle or jeepney away.


What also sets this apart from others is the amount of inspiration that was put into Casita Aurora. Every detail was carefully planned and tastefully done. It was as if you are walking back into the good old times. I like how things fit together so well. 


My friend and I decided to stay for 3 nights for Php 2000.00 a night to prepare for the Mayon 360 Ultramarathon. As we arrived, we recieved a warm welcome by a very loving couple, Martin and Elizabeth who are the owners of Casita Aurora. 

They were very nice to each guest and as mentioned previously, the hospitality they showed to us was incomparable. Casita Aurora later felt like it's not just a bed and breakfast but it's also a home away from home. 

The dining area was also very nice and cozy. I looked around and I was really impressed with the different items you could find in the area and yet they looked beautiful! This is how they welcomed their guests. 




Casita Aurora have 4 bedrooms and each room tell a beautiful story. The first night, we stayed on the ground floor with two single beds. Here, I liked how they used the Capiz window frame as a headboard. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. Linen was soft and comfy and the toilet and bath were also very clean. 




This was the second room where we stayed on the 2nd floor. You can also avail of an extra bed in the room if there are 3 or more guest in the room. 



Casita Aurora bed and breakfast has three floors. One room and dining area 
on the first floor. 


There are 3 big rooms on the 2nd floor and on the 3rd level, their roof top offers a magnificent view of the famous Mt. Mayon volcano. An ideal place to just relax and enjoy while staring at beautiful Mayon volcano.


I also like the airy and spacious Casita Aurora. The big windows with Capiz frames and tinted glass reflecting against the light creates a vintage feel paired with beautiful vintage chandeliers and wooden chairs. 



Next to Casita Aurora, you will find a beautiful house where the owner stays and
where breakfast is also prepared. 


People say that you are lucky when you see Mt. Mayon volcano so clear as it is normally covered with clouds. So when we woke up, we had a nice brewed coffee and went straight up to the roof top. It was amazing to see this beautiful volcano from Casita Aurora. We were really lucky to find Casita Aurora! 



Looking out of the window on the 2nd floor of Casita Aurora is another ideal spot for a selfie with those Capiz window frames and elegantly carved roofing. 


On our last day, Martin and Elizabeth took us around their garden and showed us their different plants and herb collection that they sometimes use in their meals.


A group picture is a must with thier beatiful house in the background. Martin and Elizabeth are also marathoners and participated in the Mayon 360 Ultramarathon. 


It was so nice of them to take us to the airport!


I really would like to thank Casita Aurora Bed and Breakfast for making our stay in Legazpi such a memorable one. It may not be as big as the others, but the comfort and homeliness we experienced at this place was something only few could offer or maybe something found only at Casita Aurora Bed and Breakfast. 

I would also like to thank Martin and Elizabeth for making us feel at home during our stay. Thank you for taking us around the city, for inviting us to run with you both around the bay area, and to make us love Legazpi city even more. 

You established a place that will make waves in Legazpi City and I am very privileged to have been able to stay at Casita Aurora.

Truly we CAME AS GUESTS, AND WE ALL LEFT AS FRIENDS! 

























Phone Number of CASITA AURORA Bed & Breakfast:
+63 52 742 2169 (LANDLINE) 
+63 926 189 8092 (MOBILE)

Facebook Page: 

4/07/2015

TAGAYTAY - LAUREL Run/Bike Route - A new adventure course that will challenge every runner and mountain biker out there!

I never thought I would love running as much as I do.  People get tired of running the same route over and over again, especially in Metro Manila. A few days ago, a friend of mine Lyana Bejoc, organized an event that's probably never been explored by runners or mountain bikers. Since I was preparing for an ultra marathon event in Albay, I felt that this run would help me to further prepare for the ultra marathon. 

We all met up at Savemore Grocery Store in Tagaytay at 6:00 am. This is where I parked and where the adventure started. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
I was joined by these awesome people in the running community: Mhiko, Aldrin, Alyna, and Blue who took this picture. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
From Savemore, if you can look at the blue building just before 7-11, turn right; that is the path that will take you to Barangay Sambong. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
To better show you where we entered , I copied the map from Google Earth Pro

We started our run at 6:30am. just in time for the sunrise overlooking the beautiful Taal Volcano and Lake. The scenery was just spectacular! 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
Thank goodness for my GPS watch, I was able to record our route as we explored the terrain. 

The road was pretty narrow going down and only motorbikes can drive through this route. 
Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
From Tagaytay, it was all downhill and areas were quite steep.  So whether you run or you bike, be extra careful going down. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
The descent was quite picturesque. All you can hear are the sounds of birds welcoming you to this beautiful environment. We even spotted some beautiful birds that we've never seen before. It was a relaxing atmosphere.  

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
Some parts of the terrain were concrete, but there were also parts that were sandy. This makes it more fun and adds a challenge to our run as the dust was so fine. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
We finally reached Barangay Sambong. We thought we were going to get lost, but the trail was quite easy. There were no confusing signs along the way and we also asked some locals in the area to make sure that we were on the right path. The locals were pretty helpful and amazed to see runners in their area. 

You may also want to check out: Mountain Bikers Tips For Beginners
Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
Based on my GPS watch, this was our route from Tagaytay all the way to Ambon-Ambon falls, which was on the 12th Kilometer mark. I had to switch the gps off to save some battery.  The 7th Kilometer was when we reached the national road of Laurel, Batangas. 


Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
We continued our run  all the way to Laurel, Batangas. Here you also have the magnificent view of the Taal Volcano and lake . Behind you, up on the ridge is Tagaytay where we started our run. 

Laurel, Batangas is also known for it's different tourist spots and one of them is the Ambon-Ambon falls which was included on our itinerary.

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
Laurel, Batangas is a beautiful and simple town that is pretty accessible from every corner from Tanauan and from Tagaytay. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
We finally made a quick stop and cooled down at Ambon-Ambon Falls in Laurel, Batangas. 


Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
We stayed at the falls for around 30 minutes. After that, we packed our stuff and headed back to Tagaytay via Paliparan Road and up to Barangay Niyugan, which is also part of Laurel Batangas. 


It was already 10:00 am and this was the time when we felt the intense heat. I must admit, I started feeling a little bit exhausted, specially when you mix the uphills and heat together. Luckily there were houses along the way that we asked for water and for directions.

Aside from the scorching heat, the 5 km terror uphills really made this run even more challenging. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
We found some shady places but we could only pause for a while. 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
We asked the locals, if they had seen any runners or bikers along the way and they said, NONE! We were shocked that no one had ever tried to explore this route - now is your chance! 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
Luckily, there were some vendors who sold us some cold stuff like Halo-Halo. We needed it badly since we'd been in the sun for a long time! 

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc

You really need to prepare yourself for many challenging uphill routes in the area. One runner even said that this one is even worse than the TIMBERLAND in Rizal.
Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
And at exactly 12:00 pm, we reached the Tagaytay- Nasugbu Highway. Finally!

Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc


Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc

 Across Barangay Niyugan, you will find the arch heading to Alfonso, Cavite. 
Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc
  
It was an exhausting 21km adventure course but I have to admit that I really enjoyed the whole experience. Though my shoulders were burnt by the sun and our shoes were covered in dust, it was all fine because we discovered an amazing new route that will challenge other runners and mountain bikers! 

A perfect training ground for those who are also preparing for their respective events.  As for me, I will come back again and I will bring some more friends along! 


Photo courtesy: Mhiko Bernal
Photo Courtesy: Mhiko Bernal
Take the challenge, try it! 


Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc

OUTFIT DURING OUR RUN
Singlet: New Balance Lightning Dry , Shorts: New Balance
Shoes: New Balance N2 , Hydration Bag: Deuter
Watch: Nike GPS , Activity Tracker: FITBIT Charge HR



Photo Courtesy: Alyna Bejoc