Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coron Escapade: Day 1

Due to Asian Spirit's flight promo a few months back, my friend and I were able to buy round trip tickets from Manila to Coron at a cheap rate of Php 2,000 for travel dates July 25-28, 2008. Invited a couple more friends before making final preparations.

We stayed at KokosNuss Garden Resort ( on our first night and then moved to Club Paradise on Dimakya Island ( for the next two nights. As prices go, KokosNuss is very cheap at about Php 1,500 per room (twin share), while Club Paradise's room rate of Php 9,000 makes you wonder if it's worth paying for it (yes, it it worth it! More on this later...).

On our first day, we proceeded to do the resort's Coron Island Hopping tour, which took us to 5 different areas starting with a boat ride to Siete Pecados (translated roughly to Seven Islands) where we spent an hour snorkelling here. Very clear water and lots of colorful fishes and corals.



Next on our itenerary was a visit to Kayangan Lake. We had to climb up a mountainside trail from the beach then go down the other side, where there is a freshwater lake hidden in it.



So far Coron hasn't let me down!!!

Water here is very clean and I would assume it is similar to the Mt. Pinatubo's crater lake wherein rain water filled it up. Very deep waters and quite big as I tried to swim to the far end but gave up at mid point.

Then, there is the Twin Lagoon. So-called because it is separated by limestone cliffs and only way to go to the second lagoon is through a very small gap that gets filled up by water. I just took a deep breath and swam underneath it for fear that I might get stuck in the small space. Very nice area. Too bad I didn't have my underwater camera with me to take some pictures on the other side. The water looked oily/murky here but I learned from our boatman that reason for this is because the fresh water got mixed with the salt water.
So I already swam in salt water, in fresh water, and now a combination of two! Pretty freaking cool and still have two places to go to.

We went to an island beach next to have our late lunch. Final stop was at Shipwreck point where you don't have to be a diver to see it. Yes, snorkelling allows you see the Japanese wreck! Very creepy site as corals have taken over this metal relic and grown on it. Expecting to see some ghosts here but good thing that was just my wild imagination...

Some tips:
1. Don't forget to bring an underwater camera. So far, this has been my biggest regret from this trip!

2. Don't forget to put on sunblock lotion. Though the sky was gloomy and it even rained at certain portions, we all still got burned... badly.

3. Bring water. So many water here but none for drinking. Need it more for climbing the trail. We each bought 1.5 litre each for this day trip.
4. Bring cash as most of these places have entry fees ranging from Php 100 - 200.

First time experiences
1. Saw a ship wreck!
2. Swam underneath a small gap to get to the next lagoon.
3. Ate a raw sea urchin! Boatman did the picking, removing of spikes, cleaning off the sand off it and giving me the raw meat. All I had to do was to put it in my mouth and swallow it.

All in all a very good day. Still have two days to go...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

August Runs

After thinking that there won't be any more runs for me, I find myself registering for three different races this August. All 10KM runs and one race every two weeks.

The first is MILO Marathon on August 3, 2008. I am not fit enough to do the full marathon as still need to train on my long runs. Milo's Half marathon will only be done in the province so I am left with only the 10KM, but still good as participating in the country's oldest and biggest race. With me is my partner in crime Perper Oven, doing her 5KM. Not much details on this race but think it will be held somewhere in Luneta Park (another first for us...hmmm, where to eat after? so many choices). Only contents found in the race kit are a bib and a MILO singlet, which regulations say it needs to be worn at all times during the race. Wonder how strict this rule is given those who won in provincial divisions weren't wearing the MILO singlet!!! I got a XL size shirt, but it baffles me that it is a little tight (my goodness, am I really living up to my blog name????). Will just bring another shirt on race day and hope the race officials are lenient.

Second race is Men's Health Miracle Run . So far, it is my most expensive run here at a whopping Php 350! But then, MH will give Php 200 to charity for every runner who finishes the race and a big Php 200,000 if all runners finish! I tried registering at Powerbooks over the weekend but they have no idea what it is about (Calling MH!! What happened to this?). Good thing R.O.X. at Serendra already has the forms so my sister registered for me. 5 of our family will do this run. Hassle too that they don't have race kits ready and have to pick it up at Summit Media office or on race day.

Final run will be NIKE+ HUMAN RACE. Whereas Milo is Philippine's biggest run, this will be the world's biggest run! And both happening in the same month! How cool is that? With my trusty Nike+ sportsband (or not too trusty as results fluctuate), and fellow runners JANINE+, PERPER OVEN, BURP, we are ready to do this either on our own or (fingers crossed) with possible race to be organized by Coach Rio. I am so excited for this run that I even had my sister buy for us from the States the very cool (and very very VERY expensive) Nike+ shirt with our own individual numbers printed on it! My bib number is about 350k++ out of possible one million racers. I do hope Nike Philippines comes out with more designs here so everyone can wear it come race day. So far, they have only released a blue shirt with global map as its design and HUMAN RACE printed at back of shirt. Hmmm...come to think, this is my MOST expensive race to date given price of shirt (ironic as race is FREE). Registration is done via the internet so quite simple.

So three runs, 30KM total - - - I shall call this my MILO HUMAN MIRACLE RACE!

Anyone else crazy enough to doing this???

Monday, July 21, 2008

"What's So Fun About Running?"

This was the question posed by one of my sisters some time ago, when we had lunch together. At that time, I had just started running for a couple of months but got instantly hooked by it. My reply to her, was that it was fun and that she should try it. She still couldn't understand why I was so excited by it, that I would go to bed early on a Saturday night only to wake up again at 4:30AM. 4:30AM on a Sunday (and to do this not just once but every time there is a race)! Much earlier than waking up on a work day, and for what? To Run? At that time, I knew she was probably thinking how weird I was or that I just didn't have anything better to do on a weekend.

So how do I go about telling her how fun it is to run a 15k, a 10K, or a 5K race with hundreds, nay, thousands of other people and get an exhilarating feeling once you cross the finish line? How do I go about convincing someone who doesn't really wake up this early and would prefer to stay in bed and sleep it off? There really is no other way, but to tell her to just try it once. Just once and if you don't like it, then that's fine. You don't have to do it anymore.

Still unconvinced, she asked if I was aiming for first or at the worst, third place in this race. With this goal, at least the benefits of winning the cash prize is more than the sacrifice of waking up early. Ummmm, nope, I'm actually lucky if I finish at the top half of runners who completed the race, which depending on size of race, can range between 80th to 350th place. She gave me another odd look. Yes, no way of explaining to her the excitement of being at the starting line, all ready to go and just waiting for the Go Signal from the race organizer to start running. No way to explain that even though there were some (make that a lot of) runs, where I feel like I was on the verge of collapsing and my heart would just jump off my chest and fall right in front of me, I still enjoy it and come back again and again. No way of explaining why I torture myself to run in the dark or in the rain just to finish a race. Whatever I say, it still wouldn't convince her because she does not do it. The only way to do so was to keep on pushing her to just try it once and maybe, just maybe, that would help her get the answers she needed (or maybe it won't, but at least she won't be curious anymore).

Well, she did try it, joining the PSE Bull Run with her husband and some cousins. Safety in numbers I guess.

That was a couple of months ago. Since then, she had bought two running shoes at New Balance, a pair of sunglasses, running shorts, running cap, running socks, an IPOD shuffle, a water belt (actually given to her), Nike+ Sportsband, shoe wallet, and even booked her first half marathon for Nike Women's Run this October (I am also guilty as charged for my own things).

Her husband, having started at the same race as she did, had also bought his own two pairs of running shoes, IPOD shuffle, Nike+ sportsband, shoe wallet, socks, and other things. Since then, they have included their two kids in the short races, invited their own friends and family (among them my eldest sister and her entire family too) for subsequent races and even organized a mini-race (as blogged by Janine+:

Some of my friends have also gone into running. My girlfriend enjoyed it too, with her own transition from a race spectator, to a 5K runner and now a 10K runner, and even my parents tried the Pringles 4.8KM run a couple of months ago.

This entire thing reminded me of the movie "Pay It Forward" only instead of applying it to good deeds (which is also great by the way), you apply it to running. You tell your friends you run. You tell them you have to go home early/ you can't drink/ you can't eat this food because there is a race the next day. And if they ask you, "What's so Fun about Running?", you challenge them and say

"Why don't you try it? Just this once."


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt??

This is such a cool and funny video that you should definitely watch it !!!
About this guy Matt who travels all over the world and what does he do when he gets there?
Well, you need to click the link below to find out:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Milo Marathon - August 3, 2008

The biggest Run event in the country is now headed to Manila. Registration is now open at Annapolis and fee is Php 100 for both 5k and 10k races, and Php 200 for 42k. Plus, need a 300gram Milo pack as well upon registration (you can buy it there for Php 30 if needed).

Will definitely join this along with fellow runners Janine+ and Perper Oven. Venue for this event will be at Luneta Park and all runners are required to wear the Milo Singlet. So it will be another Green event for me, after the successful One La Salle Run.

Since this will be super duper crowded and with unfamiliar territory, I doubt I can beat my P.R., so will just do this as part of history. Maybe next time, I will be more ready to try on the Full Marathon but until then, it's the 10k event for me :P

To download registration form, just click on link below:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Men's Health Miracle Run - August 17, 2008

After the successful Urbanathon (where I got hooked to running) and All Terrain Race, Men's Health magazine has launched another race this August. Entitled Miracle Run, this allows only 1,000 participants to join its 10KM race (for a cumulative total of 10,000 km). Each finisher will let Men's Health donate Php 200 to the GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. and if EVERYONE finishes the race, they will donate a minimum of Php 200,000 more to that charity!

If 10km seems too long or difficult for you (plus added pressure of finishing race for the extra donation), don't worry about it. Men's Health has come up with a solution allowing team option of two (where each person has to run 5k).

Registration will start on July 15, 2008 at Summit Media office, Powerbooks outlets, R.O.X., and All Terra Bike Shop with fee at Php 350.00.

You may download registration forms at

La Salle Run - July 13, 2008 (Post Race)

One run (yes, and a very big one), One family (hmmm, not so sure about that one), One La Salle (yes, from DLSU, to CSB, to DLSZ to La Salle Dasmarinas and so on and so forth). This was one Major run of La Salle made up mostly of students who did the 3k and 5k (speculating here that it might be a requirement for their P.E. classes!).

Got there before 6AM and then it started to rain! Hard! Everyone gathered inside tents to await the rain to stop or at least slow down. (Per and I were at the Nike Tent and got talking to
Coach Rio about the Nike+ Sportsband).

Then, the MC said "16K runners have already started the race." What the hell??? I didn't even hear any announcement to gather at the starting line! Shit, no more stretching for me. I, along with about 15 other runners, ran to the starting point and off we went. But with no marshalls, we got confused as to which way to go. Good thing some passerbys pointed us to the right direction and pretty soon, we caught up with the rest of the 16km runners (of course by then they were already coming back from the loop while we were just headed there). Rain got worst but we just kept on running (no other way out of the rain than to finish the race).

Pretty soon, the 16k runners merged with the 3k and 5k runners. Saw Janine with Imp walking together and Alvin later on doing his 5k run. Rain got a little bit stronger. But that didn't dampen my spirits (no pun intended). Had quite an opposite effect in fact. I think the last time I was out in the rain was when I was still in Grade School so quite an exhilarating feeling to be out again and get all wet and not have strangers give you an odd look. I never felt this energized before which was a good thing as kept a good pace all throughout the race. After completing the first loop around the area of 8KM, I still wasn't tired. Very surprised by this feeling as suffered two weeks before at the 15k Mizuno Race.

In the end, I finished at 1 hour 38 minutes based on my time. Official time will definitely be longer since I started late. A very good time for me given the Mizuno race was at 1 hour 40 minutes and that was 1 km shorter than this one.

Think course layout gave me a good finish time as mostly flat or even downhill so not too tiring vs. running on an inclined plane. Still, I am very glad that my endurance level is improving and it gave me confidence for my race this coming October in KK. This is the longest race so far for me..

Now some good points on the race:
1. Ample water stations everywhere
2. Goodies bag. Magazine, medicine and power candies. Make up for entry fee
3. La Salle Singlet. Wore this during the race and didn't experience any chafing so quite good. Made by Nike by the way.
4. Good course for me as flat most of the way.
5. Free Krispy Kreme doughnuts for those patient enough to line up.

And of course bad points:
1. Not enough marshalls given the number of racers who joined this race (5,000 I think)
2. Linked to above point, 5k runners got lost and a lot of them ran only 3.3k after making a wrong turn instead of running straight ahead. Per said it was the security guard telling the 5k runners that they should turn left when that turn should only be for 3k runners.
3. The very long line at the finish line for the 3k and 5k runners.
4. Didn't hear announcement that 16k race has already started.

Picture Trivia: How many people in this picture (including me) is wearing green?
(I count 18)
Why am I only person in this group wearing green? And to think there are at least two verified La Sallians here! Hmp! hehe

Meet our newest runner: IMP! And in Green too! Go La Salle!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Macau Museum

Continuing my full day at Senado Square Area, I visited Macau Museum next. This place is located right next to Ruins of St. Paul so quite convenient to access it.

Entry fee is just MOP 15 (PHP 90) so affordable too. Operating hours are from Tuesday - Sunday (10AM - 6PM).

This is a three-storey building built on Mount Fortress and shows exhibits on history, culture and art of Macau.

Some interesting pieces in the museum include:

The bells from St. Paul's church

"The Last Supper" carved from a Mother of Pearl and part of the Religious Artifacts section of museum.

Cruxifix made from Ivory and metal.

Very creepy puppet show. Part of Chinese culture, where they had their own TV shows.


Sample of Portuguese colonial houses

The most interesting culture/ hobby of the people here was the Cricket Fight. These insects were bred (from champion cricket family line???), fed good food (at least good food in the six-legged world) and even given beds to increase their odds of winning fights against another crickets .

Below are preserved bodies of all-time Champion Cricket Fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Cricket Championship. And a Cricket Casket for those worthy enough to deserve them. Being an insect has never looked this good before!

Once I exited the Museum on the third floor, I found out that I was on top of Mount Fortress and got a good view of the surrounding area.
This fortress was built in the 1600's and used as primary defense centre against the coastline. In contrast to this, Macau Museum was just built in 1998.

Even with the Casinoes, the wealthy Chinese businessmen and the international five star hotels, Macau still needs development in some of its locations.

From the Fortress, you can see Ruins of St. Paul ...

and also some cannons, which all seem to be pointing towards Grand Lisboa Hotel in the city center...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Macau's Fisherman's Wharf

Macau's Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist spot, where each area has its own special theme. From ancient Roman times to the Chinese Tang Dynasty, this place is like a walk into the past.

They also have an amusement park here but when I got here, it was closed except for a small area located in the basement filled up with arcade games. Restaurants and shops are also scattered inside the Wharf.

Map of entire complex. Went to only a few spots as it was really really hot that day.

Found inside a jewellery store (where most items are 40% off - most does not include this excellent car)

Interesting that they even put what looks like the Potala Palace from Tibet here..

Portuguese colonial houses

Sands Hotel right at the back of it.

Roman Coliseum


You can see the ferry nearby. This is access point to Hong Kong.


From Venetian Hotel, you can just take the free shuttle bus to Sands Hotel. And just walk for 5 minutes. Nearby also is the Formula 1 Museum and Wine Museum. Entrance to Macau's Fisherman's Wharf is free.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Visit to Senado Square Area, Macau

Before Macau was known for being the Gambling Capital of Asia, it was known for its Tourist Spots and for its good food (Chinese and Portuguese cuisine).

The best place to still go to in Macau (if you aren't into casinoes), is in the Senado Square. Part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, place is the perfect venue for those photo opps. with its old churches, post offices and museums, this is good for half a day to a whole day exploration in Macau.

Aside from Venetian Shopping Arcade, this also seems to be the only interesting shopping area in Macau with its Giordano, Bossini, ESPRIT, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Crocs stores and its Starbucks and McDonalds, it feels like being in Hong Kong for just a little while.

Some sights to see around here are:

General Post Office. Place where they sell a lot of interesting Stamp Issues at affordable prices. Among those that I got were a stamped envelope of Mt. Everest, some Beijing Olympic stamps, stamp of Macau Tower and Chinese Zodiac stamps. Good place for souvenirs and to give to your Stamp Collecting friends.

St. Dominic's Church, Catholic Church built in 1587 by Spanish Dominican priests and now part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of most photographed churches in Macau but it doesn't beat...

Ruins of St. Paul. This isn't really part of Senado Square but since it is a mere 5 minutes walk from it, I decided to include it here as well. Probably the most photographed church in Asia as quite unique in that only its facade is up for viewing, as fire ravaged rest of the building.

Church grounds

Its seldomly seen (and photographed) back part.

There is a steel stairway located here so you may climb it and get a view of the area from any of church's three windows.

Crypt found at back part of St. Paul's. You have to go down a flight of stairs to reach it. On its sides are shelves filled with human bones. I initially thought of taking a picture of it but changed my mind as didn't want something supernatural coming out in the picture (very frightened Fatboy).

Right next to the Crypt is Museum of Sacred Art, which contains some church relics and artifacts. Best thing about this is that entrance is FREE!

Some things found in Museum:
Statue of Saint (Paul I assume?) at the Church I can understand. What I don't understand is why it is holding a skull in its hand? Very weird and creepy...

Crucifix of Jesus Christ (made of Ivory)

Another Saint Statue holding Church in its hand. (First thought that it might be the Church of St. Paul but structure different when comparing it).
Some paintings found at the Museum:

Painting showing cruxifixion event of Japanese Christians
More details: In 1597, twenty-six Christians were nailed to crosses at Nagasaki, Japan. Among those executed were Paul Miki and Pedro Bautista, a Spanish Franciscan who had worked about ten years in the Philippines. The executions marked the beginning of a long history of persecution of Christianity in Japan, which continued until the United States of America and other Allies defeated Japan at war in 1945, ending World War II. (Source: Wikipedia)

Some other Interesting sights around this area are Museum of Macau and Mount Fortress (details to follow)...