Friday, June 24, 2011

Cirque du Soleil: Varekai

Cirque du Soleil had its first show in the Philippines. Simply called Verakai, it will only have limited runs here and afterwards, in Brazil. Quite strange that it didn’t go to any other Asian countries considering that it is already here.

The venue was at Quirino Grand Stand, which was near Manila Hotel (event’s sponsors) and across Rizal Park.

We booked our tickets at the last minute pending visit to doctor’s office just to check on the status of the pregnancy. Once I had my go signal, I immediately booked for the earliest shows possible which was the 7:30PM show on June 23, 2011.

Ticket prices for this show are as follows:

Php 6,500

Php 4,900

Php 3,800

Php 2,700

(Note: prices for weekend shows are more expensive)

There is also a special package worth Php 10,500 per person. Called Tapis Rouge VIP Experience, it includes preferred seatings, reserved parkings, food and refreshments before the show and during intermission and special tent area to have these refreshments as well.

On booking tickets, it was quite easy as everything was done online. So all you need is your credit card for the payment and tickets will be sent to your email address wherein you just open the attached PDF file and print them out.

So we have the tickets and we have the show to watch. Unfortunately, we were also caught in a strong storm. So there were heavy rains, heavy traffic and lots of flooded areas. It was a good thing we left the house early to prepare for this and even had a nice dinner at Max’s Restaurant in Malate where I maximized their Php 200 all you can eat chicken promo. Even with the restaurant being just 10 minutes away from where the show it, it took us about 30 minutes to get there. So be early!

Parking was difficult as almost all the available open parking areas were ankle-deep in flood waters. Good thing the nice marshals let us leave our car right where the entrance of the tents were. But it was still a challenge to get out of the car and cross the very wet floor to the tents all the while with the strong winds and rains. I was extra careful too as had a pregnant wife with me!

The tents were bigger than I thought as there were two snack bars inside (selling popcorns, soft drinks among other things) and some souvenir booths selling shirts, funny hats (worth Php 1,300 each), Cirque Soleil pens, and souvenir programs (worth Php 200). There was also a photo booth selling an 8x10 photo in a souvenir folder (worth Php 500). I ended up buying… nothing! Haha!

And let me tell you why: the shirts and hats were expensive, which was expected as imported products but none of them had the Verakai words or art on it. They just had the normal Cirque du Soleil words and logo. The most interesting thing you would have gotten could be the souvenir program but it just wasn’t for me as it just had a lot of pictures and sponsors’ ads at the back of the program. Not much words in it..

The 8x10 photo was interesting too but then again, Sunlife Philippines offered free 4x6 photos if you just add them on Facebook (to which we did). So why pay for something when you can get it free? Plus we could take photos inside the tent (but not where the show was performing) so that added to our souvenir photos as well.

There are other ways to get free stuffs here: BDO will give you free cellphone holder if you write down your email address and mobile number and even gave out one Ipod shuffle to one of the registered person here. Manila Hotel will give you a special Cirque du Soleil discount card (valid up to August 2011), giving you 20% off on their rooms and food plus a very nice note pad featuring this show.

So again, why buy for anything when you can get them for free? (But of course, this is just my personal opinion...)

In the Cirque du Soleil website, they had nice Verakai products for sale on their online store: there were CDs, mask ornaments and fridge magnets and even a DVD of the show. So why weren’t any of these things being sold here? Now, these are things I might be tempted to get…

For our seats, I booked the 2nd cheapest one as the cheapest were already sold out. But because of the weather and heavy traffic, there were a lot of vacant seats still available by the time we got there. And we were given an option to sit nearer to the stage. Without a second thought, we left our original seats and went right to the front of the stage. Wow, now that was an awesome deal! Haha! Definitely a great savings for us!

The show would run for 2 hours plus 15 minutes intermission in between the hours. It was quite nice to be transported into another world via Cirque du Soleil and quite impressive too. There was comedy here notably that of a singing man who literally chased the spotlight and same man performing cheap magic tricks with a healthy woman. There was suspense in terms of the various acrobatic acts and they had a grand finale via the use of Russian Swings, which was really spectacular (and a little bit scary as you would fear that the performers would fall on YOU). There was amazement in the contortionists and the various balancing and juggling acts here. The costumes and set pieces were grand as well (they shipped the entire tent and all of its contents to the Philippines). All of these things leave a lasting impression on you and I recommend that you should still watch it for the experience alone. After all, who knows when the next Cirque will come to town?

Outside the show but still inside the tent.

Huge circus tent!

Here is a brief synopsis of the show:

Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world—a world where something else is possible. A world called Varekai.

From the sky falls a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world populated by fantastical creatures, this young man sets off on an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of all possibilities, begins an inspired incantation to life rediscovered.

The word Varekai means "wherever" in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. This production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to the infinite passion of those whose quest takes them along the path that leads to Varekai

Correction: Verakai just came from South Korea and Taiwan and Philippines is its last leg for its Asian performances.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

News: Rexona Adventure Run 2011

Rexona Run – The 4th Runrio Series Manila 2011 will be held on July 24, 2011 at Mall of Asia. Boasting of 4 race categories 3k, 5K, 10K, and 21K.

Are you ready to take on a different level of adventure? Then be among the 12,000 running enthusiasts who are expected to make their way to the SM Mall of Asia grounds for the second Rexona Run slated on July 24, 2011. The fourth leg in the RunRio series, Rexona Run is presented by Rexona Men Adventure with 24-hour time release technology, and offers bigger and more exciting prizes plus other thrilling activities that will bring running to a whole new level.

Aside from cash prizes, medals and bragging rights for the winners in the 21K, 10K, 5K and 3K, all finishers will be eligible to win in the raffle. Up for grabs are three all-expense-paid adventures to one of the world’s most breathtaking icons -- the Great Wall of China.


Online registration period is from June 8, 2011 to July 3, 2011 only. Delivery of race kits will start on June 17, 2011.

Regular In-store registration period is from June 4, to July 3, 2011 only at the following venues:

  • RUNNR – G/F Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City (12nn – 8pm,Tel # 4031787)
  • Toby’s SM Mall of Asia – G/F Entertainment Mall, Roxas Blvd., Manila(12nn–8pm, Tel # 556-0445)
  • Planet Sports Glorietta – 2F Glorietta 3, Makati City (12nn – 8pm, Tel # 8177896)
  • The Athletes Foot Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City
  • Planet Sports Trinoma – 2nd level, Trinoma cor. North EDSA, Quezon City(12nn – 8pm, Tel# 9167451)
  • The Athlete’s Foot Robinsons Galleria – 3F Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Pasig City(12nn – 8pm, Tel# 6363162)
  • STOKED Gateway
  • STOKED Greenhills
  • STOKED Rockwell

Late registration period is from July 4, to July 10, 2011 at the following venues:

· RUNNR, Bonifacio Global City

· Toby’s SM Mall of Asia

· The Athletes Foot, Robinsons Galleria.

This race will also launch the new RunRio chip timer that you will use in a lot of RunRio's races.

The nice running singlet is from New Balance Phils.


  • Registration may end earlier than announced deadline therefore; race kits may run out before July 10, 2011.
  • A valid ID must be presented upon registration. For group registration, a photocopy of any valid ID must be presented by the representative.
  • Singlet size availability will be on a first come first served basis.
  • A disposable timing device will be used by all participants during the race.
  • Medals and Finisher’s shirt will be given to all 21km finishers only.
  • Finisher’s kits will be given upon finishing the race.
  • For questions and inquiries please contact (call only) any of the following Runrio hotline numbers from Monday to Friday (9:00am – 6:00pm).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The FORCE is strong in that one...

Star Wars ZX 8000 Shoes

Product Information

From the dark side of the Force, Emperor Palpatine commands these adidas Star Wars ZX 8000 shoes, overpowering the iconic late-'80s runner with his evil, electrifying hold.


  • Air mesh upper for breathability and stellar style
  • Comfortable non-slip lining
  • Anatomically molded EVA insole for cushioned comfort
  • Running-inspired outsole for maximum traction
  • Imported

Instead of a regular shoe box, they packaged these shoes inside a big blister case, similar to how they package our action figures toys. The nice thing here is that you can just slide the cardboard out without ruining the packaging..

When Adidas Originals had a collaboration with Star Wars for its merchandise, you know it's going to be an awesome thing. Much more when they use running shoes for this. Gotta love the lightning bolts on the shoe. Makes you run faster when you think about it. But (for now), I think I will use it for walking. It's just too nice (and hard to find) to be worn out by running in it.

Thanks to the wife for this great gift!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mizuno Infinity Run 21k - 2011 Edition

Would this be my last Half Marathon before a change in status quo? In any case, it is my last half marathon for the month of June and last half marathon for the 1st Half of 2011. It was also my last race before I turn a year older.

I had hoped that I would get a good time, much like that of Greenfield Run a few weeks back. I thought I was getting better and faster as I run longer now (especially on weekends). Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

Two days before the race day, I ran a few loops around Ultra Oval and had a terrible time. I was walking a lot. I was exhausted and my knees were acting up (is this ITB?). I had hoped it was a fluke and that I would do better on race day but the following day, I was feeling a little under the weather. Still, I was hoping to do well but with what was happening to me, my goal went down to “just to finish” from a previous “2011 PR time” target.

Come race day, I was late again when they started the race a few minutes earlier from gun time. Hmmm, what’s the point of putting the gun time if you don’t really follow it? So no stretching for me and it was off to complete the half marathon distance….and boy, was that hard! At 2km, I was stopping to walk! Wow! What’s happening to me? But I still push through, counting down the kilometers as I tune out to the run and just listen to the music from my MP3 player. There were definitely a lot of walking, a lot of water breaks, a lot of panting, a lot of pain (shoulders, knees, feet), a lot of “vomiting” feelings, a lot of grunting and self complaints, which prompted me to stop running and walk some more. Argh, this was awful and I had a long way to go! I was even tempted to quit my distance and run with the 10km runners back to BGC. It was that hard for me and it came so early in the race! But I pushed on. I didn’t want to quit. With no cut off time, I can just take it as slow as I want. I just can’t wait to finish so I can go home and lie in bed and sleep.

With God’s Grace (I thanked Him as I cross each Km marker), I crossed the finish line. I was tired and exhausted but happy to have succeeded here (and burned 2,032 calories in the process). I immediately went to claim my XL finisher shirt. Too bad it doesn’t fit me but it’s good enough for the wife. There were only a few finisher medals (sigh) as there were problems with its distribution but I was too tired to care. It was also nice to see friends Janine and Jeanne at the finish line and we chatted up a bit so I could recover from the run. Then, it was time to go home as getting hotter already.

For now, it’s rest, rest, rest. But pretty soon, I need to run again for the next 21km happening in July. I hope I am better conditioned by then..

Heading slowly to the finish line in my Brooks singlet, which has become my favorite running attire in these races due to its nice material and color (so can easily spot myself in run photos)..

Race results are also out but these are based on gun time and since I was “late” again, my official time was slower by a few minutes vs. that of my Garmin (2:53:48 with a super slow motion pace of 8:17)! Distance according to Garmin was at 20.98km.

In terms of the race itself, it was a return to Bayani Road and Lawton Avenue after finishing Kalayaan Bridge and Buendia Avenue. It was a nice route for me as it was pretty much straightforward with very little turns. There were a lot of cold water and cold Gatorades (in different flavors) which was awesome and provided a nice relief for tired runners like myself. I also appreciate the fact that the organizers expected that day to be hot by providing trucks that sprayed water and wet (and super cold) sponges.

There was also an ongoing race along Bayani Road for which they had Pocari Sweat as their drink stations (at first I thought it was a bank’s running club who joined Mizuno’s race). I didn’t mind sharing the race route (the more the merrier) as it also adds the number of drink stations that we pass by. Overall, it was a good and hard run. I just hope they deliver (figuratively and literally) on their promise for finisher medals soon (I am now well rested enough TO CARE for it again)...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mizuno Infinity Run 2011 - SETTLED!

The Mizuno Infinity Run is happening in a couple of days. With the rain continue to pour nearly everyday, it’s hard to get a run in to get ready for this race.

At first glance, this looks to be a “value for money” race in that the singlet’s design and materials are very good. It’s even imported from another country (Japan?). To hype it up, Mizuno even had a race expo at their store in Paseo de Magallanes for claiming of singlets.

Per and I were there at the expo on the first day but by 12:30pm (store opened at 11:00am), Men’s singlet XL and XXL sizes were out of stock already. Wow! That was quick! Either they didn’t have enough stocks for these sizes or there was just a bigger demand for these sizes.

For me, they should have at least reserved the sizes for EACH RUNNER. So if you registered early, then automatically, you would get the size you requested. Not on a first come, first serve like what they did here. And even with this policy, the singlet sizes already ran out after just 2 hours from opening! Sigh!

Mizuno did reply saying there was a second shipment of singlets this week, which arrived yesterday morning but upon calling both SM Megamall and BGC branch, XL and XXL sizes were out of stock (again)!

So I guess I will just give my Large sized singlet to Per for her to use rather than wear it on Saturday and just hope (but lowered my expectations) that they have enough sizes for their finisher shirts and enough stocks for their 21km finisher medals.

Mizuno's nice finisher shirt with the logo “NEVER SETTLE” but ironically, we seem to be settling for the wrong sized singlets! I really hope we won’t settle again come Saturday morning!

See you there!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reebok Zigtech Run 15k - Race Review

So I was basically running by myself for my race category. I caught up with 5km and 10km runners but the 15km runners were nowhere to be seen. Damn, that was a sad sight: to be excited to be running with fellow runners but caught off guard when race started earlier and ended up just running alone. Sigh! I definitely did not want to be the last runner here so kept pushing myself to reach the 15km runners. I was alone even on Kalayaan bridge but I just enjoyed the moment there. Either way, I was getting my exercise for the day and burning calories. And I felt good race performance-wise. The Reebok Zigtech Run was unique for its’ 15km category in that aside from conquering the 15k distance, you have to conquer running inside a building as well. In this case, the building was that of a law office (CVC Law Center) located in Fort Bonifacio area and the challenge was running in and out of 5 parking floors of this building.

It was a no frills race in that the loot bags contain a copy of Fitness magazine and some bottled water. There were no finisher medals nor finisher shirts but that was okay as the reason to join this race was more of the experience of the Vertical and Horizontal road race (and to see if you can finish these challenges).

There were ample water stations throughout the course and they had cold, cold drinks, which was something I look forward to every 1-2kms! Unfortunately there were two water stations that ran out of drinks but luckily its subsequent stations did not encounter the same problems (and I was able to re-hydrate there).

It was definitely a fun experience but one thing that confused me (up to this day) was the gun start time of 15km. Based on what I read the night before (on Reebok’s Zigtech poster, various running blog sites, etc.) the start time was at 5:45am for 15km runners and start time for 5k and 10k runners past 6:00am. So why is it that when I got to the starting line at 5:40am, there were no runners left??? The 5km runners were released just a few minutes earlier with the 15km runners released at 5:30am!

Hmmm, why did everyone knew about this change of schedule? Did I read the announcements wrong (NOPE as verified again when I did an internet search after finishing this race)? Was there a text message to announce this change (I didn’t get any)? Were the people just there early so “luckily” when the gun fired, they took it as a good sign as the sun wasn’t up yet? Whatever happened, I hope somebody could provide me with an answer to this.

Zigtech poster showing 5:45am start time for 15k Runners. Up to now, I STILL haven't found any link showing that start time was moved to 5:30am

So I was basically running by myself for my race category. I caught up with 5km and 10km runners but the 15km runners were nowhere to be seen. Damn, that was a sad sight: to be excited to be running with fellow runners but caught off guard when race started earlier and ended up just running alone. Sigh! I definitely did not want to be the last runner here so kept pushing myself to reach the 15km runners. I was alone even on Kalayaan bridge but I just enjoyed the moment there. Either way, I was getting my exercise for the day and burning calories. And I felt good race performance-wise.

By 7km (wow, it actually took that long), I finally caught with some 15km runners and slowly overtook them as we headed back to Fort Bonifacio.

The interesting part for me was trying to guess which building we had to “conquer”. Well, conquer partially at least. It came at about 12.5km mark as I entered the car park entrance of CVC Law Center and ran down all 5 parking floors for the turning point. I tried running up again but by 2nd-3rd floor, my heart was beating (too) fast and I had to slow down and just enjoy the experience. I jogged the last 2.5km to the finish line.

I definitely enjoyed this race and if only I knew about the revised start time, then it could have been a fantastic race for me. Double Sigh!

P.S. race results were up that same day but unfortunately reflected only the gun time of the race, which is kinda useless to me (being “late” and all). Good thing I used my GARMIN watch in this race.