Friday, May 30, 2008

Men's Health All Terrain Race - June 15, 2008

This event will be held in Timberland Heights, Rizal. Last time I did this was in June 2006 when they had their first All Terrain Race. Back then it was only 8KM but had a really hard time as incline is steep. It took me more than an hour to finish it and had hard time walking down stairs for the next couple of days. Now, these sadistic race organizers have not only put it back again but extended course by another 4KM!!
And this masochist Fatboy is here to receive it! I and my 200 pounds of blubber say to them, "Bring it on!".

Race will start at 630AM with warm up exercises to commence at 600AM. Fee is Php 300 (with Php 50 off upon presentation of Menshealth May/ June issues) and registration at all Powerbooks stores nationwide. To get race kit, you need to bring receipts to Summit office on June 11 at Robinson Galleria or on the race day.

For more masochist athletes (this Fatboy has his limits), racers can join BOTH the trail running and bike race events wherein they have to be back by about 830AM for the 20KM bike race. A Father's Day Festival will follow after all racers have finished their own respective races (just to show us that they aren't as sadistic as we think them to be).

Now, all I need to decide is whether I will wear my very light and reliable New Balance running shoes or opt for the safer but very heavy Fila Trail Running shoes... Last time, it was running shoes but don't want to get into any unnecessary injuries and with rainy season already here, risks are higher for a very frightened Fatboy...

Borneo International Marathon - October 2008

The first Borneo International Marathon will be held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo (phew, long name) on 12th October 2008.

After having gone to KK for three consecutive years now and visiting the canopy walk, climbing to the peak of Mt. Kinabalu, looking for the weird looking Proboscis Monkey (blunt of so many green jokes), searching for the huge Raffleasia flower, relaxing at Manukan Island beaches, and eating at the famed @tmosphere Restaurant, this Fatboy felt that there was no reason to go back to KK. At least not this year...

But then, news came out that there will be a Marathon event there and I was curious enough to check it out. Seeing as they will do a half-marathon run, I looked at that route first. Course there begins at Likas Sports Stadium, going through the city centre and making the 10.5k midway turn near airport area to head back to Likas again. Race will start at 6:00AM with 5:30AM report time.

Entry fee for 21k event is RM 40 (US$14) for those who made the Early Bird (with cut-off May 31), RM 55 (US$19) for Early Follower (with cut-off July 31) and RM 70 (US$24) for Normal rate (with cut-off Sept 28).

Aside from full marathon and half marathon races, there will also be a 10KM, Kids 400m and Kids 800m run. Fees cheaper if shorter distance.

Registration Packs for full and half-marathon are basically the same (race bib, discount coupons, marathon bag) with the exception that for full marathon, it will be an Adidas running vest given out whereas for the half marathon, it will be a BIM running vest.

As luck would have it, friends Peter, Timmy and Ces are already booked to go to KK that same weekend via Cebu Pacific's P0.00 fare promo so at least I won't be there by myself. Peter has also decided to join half marathon event ,so now I even have a running partner!!!

Online payment (via VISA/Mastercard) has not been installed in their website yet ( but race organizer Shan has been kind enough to take our registration forms first to meet cut-off date for Early Bird rates, and allow payment once facility has been set up.

This seems to be a very well organized event, wherein people behind it are working with hotels for runners' special discounts and shuttle bus services are provided at a minimal fee for pick-up and drop-off on race day. On race course, there seems to be ample water and power drinks stations (every 1.5KM), portable toilets (every 10KM) and first aid stations (every 6KM). They will also be using a chip timer, which measures the actual time from when the runner crosses the starting line to when he crosses finish time. Without chip timer, starting time of runner will begin once race commence even if he is located at very back of the line. Chip timer will be attached to runners' shoes and returned after the race.

Added incentives for runners finishing race within required time (3.5 hours for half marathoners and 7 hours for full marathoner) will be a finisher medal which each runner will get for bragging rights.

As an added experience for my first International run, I have registered for the Pasta Party (US$8) held at Likas Stadium the night before the race. This is an all you can eat buffet for a runner's much needed carbo loading.

Looks like its KK 4 years in a row for this Fatboy. Wonder if I will be back again next year (for full marathon?).. hmmm... :P
P.S. My sister Carolyn will be doing her First International half marathon as well at the same weekend as this one but hers will be held in San Francisco for the Nike Women Half Marathon. Their slogan is "Run Like a Girl" with 90% of runners women. Instead of finisher medal, they will get a Tiffany necklace.
Good thing I didn't join that one as didn't want to Run Like a Girl (not to offend girls but more on because this Fatboy can't handle their speed).
Bad karma as now I have to Run Like A Baboon (based on BIM's logo). . . hehe

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My first Dasma Run - June 01, 2008

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t do this at all. Reason being is that it is too expensive at Php 300 for a Philippine event run. It is not even advertised in the Philippine Runners Schedule so just a village thing. Shirt from last run wasn’t even nice (according to my sister). There is also strong possibility of rain occurring that morning as had been raining in the past few days. But, as part of my birthday gift, Carolyn has decided to pay my entrance fee for it. So, basically a free run and who am I to say no to a gift? So will be running there for the first time this Sunday (just in time for birthday lunch, not mine though) and was able to recruit Kervin and Per to the race as well.

There are some potential advantages here:
1. Since it isn’t advertised, it’s expensive and it might rain that day, then not much people running so streets won’t be crowded and can get good ranking too.
2. Last run here gave away free Krispy Kreme doughnuts so hoping this will happen again.

There is chance that this run will be hilly so need to do some more work outs at the gym. Goal is to try and finish this in less than an hour with target at below 58 minutes and 30 seconds by having as little walking breaks as possible. But seeing as I didn't do much exercises in the past week, not sure if this will be attainable. Still, there is no harm in trying my best on this day.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Triple D Tour (Dipolog, Dapitan, Dakak)

I joined the Federation of Photographers for this 5-day tour from May 21 - May 25, 2008. This is the 3rd time I've joined them with previous tours being at Hundred Islands, Pangasinan and at Batanes.

Flight time for Dipolog was at 10:45AM but plane got delayed for more than an hour and since no food offered in the plane (except for the highly expensive cup of noodles), we were all starving when we reached Dipolog. It was a good thing lunch was already prepared with lots of seafood dishes set on the table and near bottomless rice. First day was just orientation and getting settled in the hotel (or pension house for us as ran out of hotel rooms). But still, pension house rooms are okay. Only hindsight here is lack of hot water for showering.
We had some extra time so we used it to visit the Artists' Centre where every member of the family has some creative side to him. They paint, make statues, play the piano and the voilin, and even make a hella cup of coffee too. Now, that's talent!

Lots of family portraits and family sculptures done by other family members

Second day was spent at Dakak beach resort, about 30 minutes drive from Dipolog City. Resort was nice and had some fine sand on beach with no pebbles or rocks on it. Very clear water too. They also had 300 steps climb to the peak, which offered wonderful views of the beach area and nearby islands. Resort also have two nice swimming pools. Too bad we couldn't use it as only for hotel guests. Other resort facilities include billiard tables and bowling alley. Lunch was at the resort restaurant.

Beach view

Two different pools found at the Dakak Beach Resort.

The view after climbing the 300 steps. Tiring but very much worth it for this picture.
Heading back to Dipolog, we passed by Talisay, Dapitan to visit the Rizal Museum , a site which has re-created living quarters, kitchen and clinic of Dr. Rizal. At the entrance of this area, is the main building which contains various Rizal pictures, memorabilia and even his family tree. It is in this place that our national hero was exiled for 4 years before he headed back to Manila.

House and bedroom of Dr. Jose Rizal

Clinic of Dr. Jose Rizal

More to come....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pringles Run part 2

It was raining early Sunday AM when I woke up so had to decide whether to push through with this or cancel it and go back to bed. Through a series of text messages between Per, Kervin, Gigay, Nat, and Janine, we decided to proceed as planned and see how things pan out (fingers crossed and prayer involved too).
By God's Grace, the rain did stop and we got a very cool Sunday morning. We found a nice parking spot at the Serendra area and met up with Per and Kervin at the starting point. We, implying me and my parents who will both be doing their first fun run.

Race started promptly at 6:00AM (maybe cause they fear another downpour) and we were off. There was only one water station and situated at the mid-point of the 4.8km course. In terms of runners, there weren't a lot of people who joined this event. I think some of the runners backed out because of the rain while others joined the other races happening on the same day (Market Market had the 5 mile run in Fort Bonifacio as well).
We all finished within the hour and took some pictures before it started raining hard again. Everyone then went to their cars or the nearest shelters. Too bad for this as there was an exercise program being done by a trainer onstage... but nobody was doing it with him! Worst were runners in Market Market race who got caught in the rain.
All in all, we had a lot of fun and even brought home some Pringles cans and sports drinks before heading to McDonalds for breakfast. Well worth the Php 100 entry fee!

The very fast military runners!

Group photo with family (3 Generations worth!) and friends.

Multi-colored runners

"You never forget your first time" :)

Cool shot by contortionist friend Janine...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Starbucks Bearista - Hong Kong (and price index)

Thanks to Gigay and my Aunt for getting me this Bearista while they were in Hong Kong last week. Cost is about HKD 168.00. Photo taken at my office desk with Singapore Bearista at background.

With 5 generic (only difference is country flag) Bearistas in my possession (so far, all Asian series to coincidentally match my Asian tour which started on my birthday last June), I now have the means to do a very small scale pricing index to determine which country offers the cheapest products, based on current Foreign Exchange rates and cost of products in its local currencies. Very similar to Big Mac Index where they base and compare prices based on one common product each country has: A McDonalds Big Mac Burger!

Since I reside in the Philippines, price computation will be based on Philippine Pesos at existing market rates:

Hong Kong - Php 924.00 (HKD 168.00)
Singapore - Php 847.35 (SGD 26.90)
Thailand - Php 838.00 (THB 600.00)
Taiwan - Php 630.00
Philippines - Php 625.00

So Philippines still cheapest place to be out of these Asian countries.....

Impulse buying in Singapore

When one mentions Singapore, the first things that come to mind are: Orchard Road shopping, good food (Laksa, Hianese Chicken, street food), Singlish, no chewing gum and really hot weather all year round. I was just there this month for a couple of days and met up with some friends during the short 3 day trip.

Shopping was never something I look forward to while in Singapore as most items are just too expensive here.

Well, that all changed for me when I discovered this one small shop in Ngee Ann City Mall on Orchard Road: BRICKSWORLD. A shop opened by husband and wife, and devoted to selling LEGO products only. Now, I'm not really a big fan of this brick toy, finding its prices very expensive for so small a product and last time I remember playing with it was way back in 5th Grade.

But upon entering this store, I was fascinated by all sorts of new stuffs for sale that I ended up buying a lot of it and bringing it home. What's nice about these products is that they aren't the typical playsets that make houses, castles, trains, etc but these are things you can actually use at home. Things such as:

Egg Timer

Same Timer but different face

Salt and Pepper Shakers

Instructions (back part) for Salt & Pepper Shakers.

LEGO has gone into board games as well. I bought two of them at discount prices!

Big variation from the normal pen and paper game...

Really dig the gold tooth! That's detail for you!

I also bought this exclusive Chess Board set for about US$ 60 or so but haven't opened it yet. It is part of LEGENDS series of LEGO and now even thinking of buying some of the playsets for this series.

The "white" queen and king of Chess set vs.

The black King and Queen of Chess. Really like the scary black Queen. Hopefully I can post more pictures of this set once I opened the box and played with it.

Of course, my purchases won't be complete without having a Star Wars themed one to add to general SW collection. This time, I got a Millenium Falcon bag charm.

Upon checking the receipts for my purchases here, I found out that they have a website and can do on-line orders (Free delivery for Singapore addresses with minimum purchase involved).

It also lists all their branches in Singapore (apparently the one in Ngee Ann City is their biggest one...lucky me). Website:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pringles Run

This Sunday (May 18) will be the Pringles 3 mile Run or about 4.8 KM run at Fort Bonifacio.
This would be shortest race I would join as I usually join the 10KM and up levels, so would be interesting how I do here. Should focus more on speedwork instead of endurance running as just short distance . Glad too that course is just 3 miles, as quite tired already from doing two back to back Sunday races and just looking forward to resting after this event.
Lot of friends and family have already signed up for this race, including my MOM (in her first ever race)! But she will be accompanied by my nieces and nephew so three generations of racers for this event as my sister is joining as well. Family of runners just keeps getting bigger....
Pictures to follow...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Singapore Flyer

What: Singapore Flyer
The world's largest observation wheel, at 165 m (or the height of 42- storey building) and 30m taller than the famous London Eye, this structure just opened last April 15, 2008.
Each capsule can fit in 28 passengers and takes about 30 minutes for the ride to end.
Where: Singapore where else! More specifically, it is just a short walk from City Hall MRT station or you can wait at a designated pick-up point near MRT station for free shuttle bus to this area.
Why: One of a kind experience and chance to ride world's largest anything...
When: 8:30AM - 10:30PM 7 days a week

Price: S$ 29.50 (about Php 900) - regular ride
S$ 52.00 (about Php 1,550) - express boarding ride
S$ 70.00 (about Php 2,100) - Signature Cocktail ride
S$ 1,000.00 (about Php 30,000) - Private capsule
Now, the website offers 9 Great Reasons to Visit this. Here's my 10 Great Reasons NOT to visit this place.
1. At Php 900, price is very expensive for a ride on a ferris wheel. Granted it is the biggest in the world but that is equivalent to paying Php 30 per minute on this thing!

2. The view. According to its website, one reason to visit this is for the view of Singapore. That is true in that you can spot the Esplanade and some other buildings but they are farther off the area. What is near the area are lots of empty space, some water and some construction area. So if you are into seeing empty lots, now isn't a good time to ride this until 2010 when the casino opens up.

3. The Express Boarding Ride. If you pay for this, you don't have to queue lines anymore and can just board ride immediately. My only question is.... What line? It took us less than 5 minutes to buy our "regular" tickets and another 5 minutes to board the capsule.

4. Private Capsule. Ideally this is good if you want to do birthday party here for 30 minutes or maybe even date with special someone, but paying P30k is just too much. What is worse is that since not much people going here, you can try getting private capsule at regular prices. This actually happened to a guy who went in the next capsule after us, but since there was nobody else, he just stayed in one capsule, roaming around and talking to... nobody.

5. Photo Op. Okaayy, I still bought this just to have picture with Melody but still, they take a picture of you standing in front of a green screen and when you exit ride, you get this fake photo of ride with city view. Thing is, it looks realistic enough that you can fool other people but why can't they just take a picture of you when you are inside an actual capsule? If log jump rides at amusement parks can do that, why can't the delevopers of this S$ 240m project do too?

6. Seats. There are only two black benches for you to occupy during course of ride. I had hoped that everyone get their own individual chairs/seats with back support but guess they figured, what the's just 30 minutes anyway so tough it out, why don't you?!

7. No local tourists. That warning sign alone should tell you to stay away from this tourist attraction. If locals don't think it's worth it, they are usually right!

8. No lines. I know that this is usually a good thing but for something which just opened 2 weeks ago, no lines means this place just sucks! Usually even if place isn't good, there would still be long lines for first few months of operation as everyone curious about it but this defies even that theory...

9. Overstaffed, baggage check, x-ray scan, etc. This is worse than going to an airport. They have two security check areas and lots of staffs loitering around. I count 10 staffs at one point just standing together and basically all they do is standing as not much customers to service anyway.

10. 9 Great Reason to Ride it... Based on ride's website, among reasons are: a) great food, b) feast on local dishes, c) shopping, d) visit rainforest, e) flight simulator, f) doctor fishes, g) children play at water fountain. All these 7 reasons have nothing to do with the Singapore Flyer!!! They are just within the vicinity of the area and reasons a), b) and c) can be done ANYWHERE in Singapore with reasons a) and b) just a re-wording!

What's more is the 9th reason.... play at the water fountain???? That's it??? Think they had tough time coming up with good reasons to include this in the bad that they couldn't even think of a 10th Reason to visit place!

Ticket prices.. Adult is $29.5 as flash light covered the "9"

Guy lucky enough to get Private capsule at regular prices. Or maybe unluckily enough as he had nobody to talk to for about 30 minutes.

Melody can't wait to get off this ride and just use her time to drink a warm cup of Coffee O at local coffee shop

Starbucks Bearista - Singapore

Got another Bearista Destination Series while I was in Singapore. Similar with the other Destination series bears in that it has the same outfit and cap (down to the same color).

Only difference here is that country where bear came from is usually written in two languages on the flag (one English and one in local language) but in this version it is just in one language (why no Singapura???). Oh well.

Costs SGD 26.90

Champion Run Along The River - Marikina Run

First time for me to try this route so was interested to do it eventhough I will be ill-prepared for this run as coming in from late flight in Singapore the night before. Had only 4 hour sleep and almost missed this when my cellphone alarm didn't go off (or maybe it did but sound chip was broken). Good thing I had a secondary alarm set next to my bed so got to the area 5 minutes before the race started.

Since path is quite narrow, Race organizer Rio had the 10KM runners start on one side and 5KM runners start on the opposite side of the river to both finish at the same point (which is at the starting point of 10KM runners). There was also an announcement prior to start of the race, saying that the course has now been extended to 11KM instead of 10KM (5K route remains the same).

That morning was very hot but good thing there were ample drinks set along different areas of the race course. Lots of sights to see along the riverbank such as turtle, giraffe and snake statues, the giant shoe on the river and even a statue of Marikina.

All in all, a good run for me when I finished at 1:09:17 with average pace of 6:13 minutes/ km and ranked 405th place on the Men's division. Speed better than previous Sunday's run at UP where I finished 10K at 1:04:45 with average pace of 6:29 minutes/ km.

Course map for 10K run (before 10K run was extended to 11K). 5K start point right across the 10K start/finish point.

Marikina Statue

One of many shoes found in Marikina.

Fellow 10K runners Meynard and Gigay

Me and Kervin's respective races

Some creepy dead Janitor fishes on the riverbank