East practice run is tantamount to seeing Hinulugang Taktak, a water fall in Antipolo City designated as a National Park by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The first time the invite was posted over our running e-group, my interest was sparked. Couldn’t make it though for two reasons. Firstly, I was not familiar with Cainta area. Secondly, I was afraid to go out too early in the morning.
It rained a bit when I came out of the house. At the other side of the road were some teenagers geared up for the 32nd Milo Marathon waiting for their ride. Decided not to join the race in favor of this practice run.
Coincidence or an Answered Prayer?
For strange reason, I waited not at the agreed venue. Sent Ipe SMS to pick me up along EDSA near Guadalupe MRT station instead. After waiting for ten minutes or so, I saw this familiar silhouette of a guy running along EDSA. It was Sensei John Ting! He never took notice of me the first time I called him. A surprised John ran towards me and after we exchanged pleasantries, I learned that he had started his run from Pasay and on his way to Antipolo. From Pasay to Antipolo?! He had no inkling at all where I was going until I told him that I was waiting for Ipe for the practice run in Antipolo with Bobby.
In the car, John excitedly related that while he was running, he prayed so hard, imploring the angels and saints to at least see a familiar face. Coincidence? Or, Divine intervention?
Practice Run, Hill training, Sightseeing : a 3 in 1 Experience
Mikey, Wilbert, and Bobby raved about this East route. In fact, Mikey named their practice run as LSD2X or Long Steep Distance, Long Slow Death. With Bobby as our guide, we started to run at a slow pace from their village passing thru a highway leading to Victoria Valley. To better prepare ourselves, we did stretching exercise. The route was a gradual uphill.
Up ahead in the distance we saw children in violet shirts. Someone from our group jokingly said, “There must be a race here.” The children gamely paced with us. They were on their way to attend a Sunday bible school.
A Spectacular View
First stop, first photo op
Steepest uphill run
Once up there, you will be blessed with a good view
Route leading towards Antipolo
Third stop, a bit tired and smoking after exerting effort from that hilly run. Since it was a Sunday, I asked Bob how far was the church. The librarian in me wanted to know more about the place. Bob told the group that the church was a good 2.5km run. Everyone in our group was game enough to run the remaining distance.
Another photo op with the church as background
The facade of the church reminded me of Baclaran Church in Pasay City. Here’s a tip when visiting a place for the first time. Don’t forget to visit the church. It will tell you of the history of the place. You can do this by reading a historical marker. If there’s none, visit the public market. Or, talk to the townspeople. Your visit will surely be enriched.
To know more of the history of the centuries-old Birheng Nuestra Señora y Buenviaje or Virgin of Peace and Good Voyage, click here.
No trip to Antipolo was complete without a meal of suman sa ibus. Suman sa ibus is made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and often steamed in banana leaves. It is served wrapped in buri palm.
After our short break, the group decided to head back and followed the same route. It was during this time that I increased my pace and Sensei John followed suit. Bob whizzed by. But I still had some energy so I paced with John. It was during this time that he shared some tips in running.
This run wouldn’t have been made possible if not for our host, Bobby.
Sir Ipe for the free ride.
John for running tips.
Lito for the invite.
Photos courtesy of Gigi and Wilbert.
We finished a 16 or 18km run that day.
Then, off I went to Batangas City to drop my brother and his family a visit. After all, Monday was a holiday.
It was a good Sunday indeed!