Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Freedom Run, 4th Participation

Last Sunday, October 19, I participated in the annual "Freedom Run" sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) in partnership with other organizations, government offices and private enterprises. It was my 4th, straight participation in Freedom Run. The 1st Freedom Run was held in November 2011 at UP Diliman campus. It was only a 3K and 6K run, many joined it. I did the the 6K and it was my first run after about 12 years. My legs were hellish for 5 days that week and the pain was gone on the 6th day.


The 2nd Freedom Run in 2012 was held in Taytay, Rizal, going to a portion of Laguna Lake, and back. I ran the 10K. That time, the pain in my legs lasted only for about 2-3 days.

When I do 10K, I ran for only about 4-5 kms. the rest is brisk-walking.
The 3rd Freedom Run in 2013 was held at the Quezon Circle, going to Commonwealth Ave. and back. Here with friends from FNF, from left: Julianne S. of the regional office in Bangkok, Thailand, Pimrapat also from Bangkok, Sungeun Lim from FNF Korea, and Wimonpug also from FNF Thailand.


Last Sunday, I met a friend from Congress Mountaineers whom I have not seen for nearly two decades, Doming Gonzaga. He also ran the 10K.


I like joining these runs because there are many water stations. Pocari Sweat's water is nice, a bit sweet. Maynilad Water has plenty of stations, I used some of the water to wash my face and head as I walked or ran.

Thanks to FNF for organizing such a famous annual running for freedom event.

* See also FNF Freedom Run, December 03, 2011

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pinatubo Trail Run, Porac River

Last Saturday, October 11, I and five other friends from Congress Mountaineers fellowship attempted to climb Mt. Pinatubo crater via Porac River. It was a one-day climb up and down, so we traveled light, no backpack. The river has a strong current though, largely lahar (about 20% sand and 80% water). So we have to criss-cross the river several times as the lahar kept "lane change" many times. Peachy assisted by Raymond here in one of those river crosses.


We assembled at the Centris Station, QC around 2:15am. From left: Raymond Asanza, Jun Velasco, Gene Penas, Jun Dumlao, Peachy Dumlao, Jules Calagui and me. Jun Dumlao did not join, he only drove his wife Peachy to the meeting place then went home.

Raymond, Gene, Jules and me were among the first group of climbers in  the country who first climbed, descended, and traversed Mt. Pinatubo from Pampanga to Zambales in late December 1994, 20 years ago. For some reason, Jun Velasco and Peachy were not able to join us that year.


After breakfast at the North Expressway, we reached  Porac (via SCTEX) jump off station around 4:20am. We started our trek around 4:45am, all with flashlights or headlights. The 3/4 moon provided dawn light too. Below, when the Sun has risen, we have walked already around four kilometers.


Gene, our official photographer (all photos here from his camera) and Peachy. Still all smiles, before we started criss-crossing Porac river.


First rest stop, a brief one, and group photo. Raymond, Jules, Peachy, Jun and me. Gene on the camera.


The various rivers from Pinatubo down to Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales still have lots of high walls of sand that have somehow solidified but will soon collapse and become lahar as the water cascades down, ultimately to the sea (Manila Bay, West PH Sea Zambales side).


Wondering and being awed by various rock and sand formations is among the perks of this adventure.

And there are just too many huge rocks, especially further up. Some rocks are as big as a bus or a cargo truck. The smaller stones and rocks are easily swept by lahar down to the lower parts of the river.

The water or lahar would criss-cross from one side to the other side of the river. Thus, we also have to criss-cross the river several times.

Because it is lahar, about 20% sand and 80% water, it is dense, heavier and hence, stronger. There are small stones that go with the water that hit our feet and legs as we cross the river several times.

Below, I seem to be having fun as I crossed this part of the river.


Jun and Jules are the most fit among the six of us. They walked fast, they can run fast actually but have to wait for us. The two in one of their "wait for us" stops.


We brought only food and water going up. Jules brought bibingka, enjoying his meal here. What a smile Jules, haha.


We have to clean our socks and shoes several times as the sand would enter our shoes and punish our feet. Walking by slipper is fine but it does not give enough protection from the stones, and a strong river current can detach the slippers from our feet. Shoes or tight sandals are preferable.


To be continued. Photos of the waterfalls next.
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See also:
Mt. Pinatubo Climb, December 1994, January 24, 2014

Mt. Pinatubo Climb, February 2006, January 29, 2014

Mt. Pulag Climb, January 2014, February 04, 2014

Pinatubo Trail Run, October 10, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pinatubo Trail Run

Tomorrow, we will have a Pinatubo trail run with my "Congress Mountaineers" friends. We used to work at the House of Representatives in the 90s, that's why. Now only Gene Penas among the original members still  work there.

This will be my 3rd climb to the famous volcano that was considered the "most violent volcanic eruption of the 20th century" in 1991. My first climb there was in 1994, with my Congress Mountaineers buddies, we called the "Crater Traverse Expedition". It took us 2 days to climb up the crater from Pampanga side, one day just to go down the cliff, down to the beach of the small crater lake, one day to cross the lake, and 2 days to go down Zambales side.

My second climb to Pinatubo was in 2006, But that time, we walked for only about 3-4 hours as we rode 4x4 jeeps, from Capas, Tarlac and back.

Last July this year, our team  leader in the 1991 expedition, Jules Calagui, brought his 2 Jap friends, plus another mountaineer friend Jun Velasco, they run to Mt. Pinatubo crater and went back the same day. Photo below, the two Japs, Jules and Jun. These photos below posted by Jun in our Congress Mountaineers fb group.


Compare with Pinatubo crater lake in 2006.


And Pinatubo in 1994. Uly Veloso doing a comic pose on the edge of a cliff.


We were lucky in our 1991 climb, no injuries on those 6 days of adventure except swollen feet on our way down as we have to criss-cross rivers and creeks full  of lahar deposit. The sand and small  stones entered our shoes as we cross the waters several times.

Here, Jules and company crossing a river. In 1991, Pinatubo near the crater has zero vegetation. It was all sand and  volcanic materials, waiting  to go down in the annual lahar onslaught in Pampanga and Zambales provinces.

These guys, look at their body -- fat tummies. I used to have one, until about a decade and a half ago.

The sand-exposed hills, these could be at the crater, near the lake.


Climbing up and going down huge rocks in a maze, we did lots of that in 1991, with heavy backpacks. Each one of us must be carrying at least 20 kilos of backpack that time, including a rubber boat, tire interiors, lots of long ropes, food for 5-6 days, etc.

Here, their group was negotiating a rock descent. It's easier if one is not carrying heavy backpack.

I am excited about our trail run tomorrow. When you're 50+ like me, adventures like this pump high adrenaline on your mind and  heart, and legs.

Our preparation for this climb should include several kilometers of running. I hardly do that due to various household errands and  work. What I do, sometimes I climb Axa building 25 storeys up by stairs, to the office, then walk down when going home. Besides, I talk a lot. My principle is that if in Makati, if my destination is less than  2 kilometers, I  walk. I don't drive her except to bring the kids to school and pick them  up  later, or weekend family errands.
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See also:
Mt. Pinatubo Climb, December 1994, January 24, 2014

Mt. Pinatubo Climb, February 2006, January 29, 2014

Mt. Pulag Climb, January 2014, February 04, 2014

Elle Marie's 8th Birthday Party

Elle Marie turned eight years old last week, October 1. Time has wings. :-)
Her birthday party was held at her own school, The School for Academics and Arts (TSAA), not far from our house in Makati.


There was a painting workshop conducted by my wife's friend, Amiya Velasco. All the kids have the same materials, and they would paint different things.


Amiya, standing right, and her buddy Deo, standing on the left, of Maharlika Artists and Writers Federation (MAWF).


Elle's painting. And her birthday cake.


My wife Ella also brought some of her students Faith and 2 others, and former student Enzo, to help out.


With teachers LJ and Fran, and school Directress Cherry Fernandez. Cherry was a friend way back in the mid 80s in UP Diliman.


Our family portrait. Bien did not attend her afternoon class so she can join  her Ate Elle's birthday celebration. She was moving around the room but in this photo, she hid her face. Hoy, anak :-)


Elle said she enjoyed her birthday party. Thanks to the classmates and teachers of Elle at TSAA. Below, a stolen shot of Elle by Amiya, taken a few days before her birthday, at a MAWF event at Intramuros.


Elle is simply beautiful. Thanks Amiya.
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See also:
Elle Marie is 7, Bien Mary is 3, October 06, 2013

Elle Marie and Bien Mary, December 2013, January 12, 2014

Elle and Bien at Camp John Hay, Baguio City, June 29, 2014

Bien Mary's 4th Birthday Party

Bien Mary turned four years old last October 4. She is a jolly and articulate child who generally knows what she wants and what she does not want. All photos from my wife's fb postings.


In her birthday dress, taken one day before her actual birthday, October 3, Friday.



Her birthday party was held in her school, Kids PlayLab Preschool (KPLP), YMCA building, front of a church not far from our house in Makati.

Some of these photos were taken by Alyson's mom, Joyce.
Bien likes Jollibee. Sometimes McDo. Her classmates in apron during meals.


With her two close friends, Alyson and Julia, respectively. Bien is small compared to most of her classmates.



After meals, the kids have removed their apron, and prepared to watch Jollibee dance. Kids from another class joined in the celebration.


Alyson greeted Bien, "Happy birthday my BFF", wow.


Julia also gave her gift to Bien.


Her birthday cake.


Elle Marie also followed to catch the latter part of the party.



Bien said she was very happy with her party. Thanks to her classmate and teachers.
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See also:
Elle Marie is 7, Bien Mary is 3, October 06, 2013

Elle Marie and Bien Mary, December 2013, January 12, 2014
Bien Mary's Moving up Day, April 05, 2014

Elle and Bien at Camp John Hay, Baguio City, June 29, 2014

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Wawa Dam with Bien and Elle

Today, my wife and her student at DLSU went to a nursery and forestry project upstream of Wawa Dam, among the famous spots of Rizal province. Our two girls joined.

Elle Marie and the dam at the background.

The water is actually partly muddy and brown but when it falls down the dam, it looks so white. Loud sound of falling water, really nice.

The dam was created during the American colonial  period I think, it remains there but it's not yet used to augment Metro Manila-Rizal's drinking water supply, Maybe someday.
A viewing deck above the dam. Elle Marie and Bien Mary with their Mama Ella, plus their Ate Faith Gonzales, my wife's student. Today is Bien's 4th birthday, though the celebration was held yesterday at her nursery class.

Dam upstream. We walked going up to the project, about 30 miinutes from this point, and rode a boat going back. Only until this point, of course.

The dam is built on a narrow passage between  these two hills or small mountains. Folk legend says these two hills were "fighting" and Pinoy folk hero "Bernardo Carpio", a local  giant, stood between them and pacified them. Nice bedtime story for kids. 

Another view of the two hills, both well forested, from the boat. Two portions of the river has mild rapids.


Below the dam. Huge white rocks, thousands of them.

Bien with Ate Faith. We met many cyclists on their way down while we were walking to the dam.

Our group photo. It was hot this morning, very few clouds. Though it rained in the afternoon.

A tunnel going to the dam. Nice.

Elle with kuya Deo / Maharlika Nation.


Another view of the dam's upstream. Notice that both left and right sides of the river, the hills and mountains are thickly forested. Trees are like grasses, they just grow fast on their own even if no human plant them. They just need  to be protected from  poachers and illegal cutters for charcoal, firewood, small scale lumber, etc.


This floating hut is for rent, I think about P200 for one day. But during the hot months (March to May), rental can go up to P500 each. And there are many of these sprouting. 

I like this shot, taken by Deo of Maharlika Nation. While walking up to the project site, Elle said she was very tired, although I think she was just making drama, so I carried her on my back. One of our rest stops.

Thanks for accompanying and guiding us Deo.

All photos from Deo + my wife's camera + few from my camera phone.
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* See also: 
Rizal Province, April 18, 2006

Elle and Bien at Camp John Hay, Baguio City, June 29, 2014

Elle Marie and Bien Mary are Turning 8 and 4 Years Old, September 30, 2014