Category Archives: Botak Philippines

Paa-bilisan 21k in Baguio, 28 March

Every time there’s an invite to run in Baguio City, and as long as it goes well with my schedule, I do try to join, and most often consider it as practice run. When you’re in Baguio, its running event is totally a different experience, especially, when you’re from Manila. With its thin altitude, difficult landscape, cold weather (yes, even on a hot summer), and a mix of asphalt and cemented roads, running the city’s terrain is not easy.


Leaving for Baguio

Finding a cab can be very difficult on a Friday night when most of the folks were already on vacation mood in preparation for the Lenten season. Fellow runner, Mon, who patiently waited for us, was already at the bus station in Pasay City. ‘Us’ would mean I still have yet to find out who were coming. Joyce, a friend of mine from, running late just like me, was on her way then to the bus station. Our bus left at exactly 10PM. The more-than-five-hour journey went well. We reached the city welcomed by its cold weather which was a delightful break from the hot climate in Manila.

Arrival and Stay

All I could think of was to hit the bed as soon as we arrived at the dorm where we would be staying. Renting a dorm was a lot cheaper than to have stayed in a hotel in Baguio. However, sleeping was put off temporarily. Mon’s friends who were there ahead of us, woke up early just to prepare a hearty breakfast, and welcomed our arrival. Indeed, a very touching gesture, taking into account that most of them are guys. Yes, Joyce and I were the only female runners in the group. We left the dorm after lunch for a short city tour and shopping. Later during the day, Mon, Joyce, and myself attended an anticipated Mass prior to Palm Sunday.

Race Day

The guys woke up too early! That no matter how much you wanted to go back to sleep you didn’t have any choice but to get out of bed and get ready. A good thing since we had ample time to warm up when we reached Burnham Park, the start/finish site.

It was nice to see familiar faces, not only those from Manila but also the locals as well, especially, Joyce Newman aka Running Lola, a Baguio-based runner, still a strong runner in her 60s, where I had the chance to compete with during the Baguio 30 for 30 Road Race four months ago. I also saw and chatted with petite yet very strong golden girl, Che Alberto, race organizer, a Boston Marathon qualifier, mountaineer, rower, etc.

The 21k race started late but it was still a cold run for all of us. The first ten kilometers were mostly uphill runs. Turn around point went past Mines View Park, a hilly course. Whew!

I couldn’t help but smile when I was at the last water station, the water boy asked me, “Kumusta ang takbo Ma’am? (How’s the run, Ma’am?) Huffing and puffing, “Mahirap!”(Difficult!) He asked me another question while handing me a plastic cup with water, “Saan kayo galing po?” (Where are you from?) I answered, “Manila.” He said simply, “Ah, kaya pala.” (Ah, that’s why.)

For the locals, the steep hills in Baguio were nothing. McKinley Hills at The Fort would be nothing if you’ve ran the hilly route of Baguio.

Happy Feeter Mon and Joyce of

Happy Feeter Maf

Joyce aka Running Lola and Kaka aka Don Robert

Running Diva running the last four kilometers on her way to the finish line

I enjoyed it so much and still finished strongly despite racing every Sunday for the past couple of weeks. Podium finishers were young athletes from a well-known local university. The two Joyces won also in their age categories. All 21k finishers were given a finisher’s medal. As for the guys, running mates of Master Mon, they, too, won in their respective age categories!

Group photo

Joyce won 3rd place in her age category, Running Diva, and Caezar Ryan of

Photo below: Joyce, Eddie, Mon, and Peru (Eddie and Peru prepared our food)

The enjoyable race in Baguio was made possible because of people with a big heart, especially, Mon and his friends. Kudos to Botak Paa-bilisan race organizer and staff for a job well done! (Photos Courtesy of Caezar Ryan of and Eddie)

Hilly Personal Milestone, 24 May 2009


The word reminds me of a VSO friend’s funny experience as a volunteer in Zambia, Africa. In her blog, she related how she, as Filipino, was mistakenly identified as Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Irish, Russian, etc. There were some who used Filipino (finally!) but spelled as Philippino. The worst case was when she was called as Philippian. I really find that so funny.

She was fortunate though to meet a couple of friends who knew about our country but they pronounced the name of our country as PhilipPINES, the trees of which Baguio City is famous for.

The word also reminds me of hills. I visited Baguio the first time in the summer of 2002. It was disappointing to note that Baguio wasn’t the same anymore. Gone are the hills rich with pines.

Hills—the very word evokes fear. Yet after conquering Antipolo Hills and McKinley Hills (Fort Bonifacio), knowing the right form as suggested by one of the Masters, I learn to love them. It was for this reason why I went to Baguio—to enjoy the run and conquer its hills.

The Trip

In the bus, while I was looking for my seat number, someone recognized me. She was a schoolmate of mine during my high school years whom I haven’t seen since 1989. After we exchanged pleasantries, they decided to come with me since, just like me, they too didn’t have any hotel reservation yet. However, to our disappointment, the hotel where I stayed the last time I was in Baguio, was already full. Together with her Mom and younger brother, we looked for a hotel in the city and ended up staying in an affordable transient house recommended by the kind taxi driver. The place was comfortable enough but not conveniently located near the city proper. Transferring to a hotel was our main goal the next day. That night, it was also the time for me to meet some of the runners for the “carbo loading” hosted by Craig Logan and family.

Before Race Day

I spent the day touring great sites in the area. An early swim in one of its hot springs made it a fine day! I bought some woodcarvings along Upper Asin Road and got a good deal. Strawberry farm in La Trinidad was OK but I enjoyed scouting some of its stores nearby. Baguio Botanical Garden showcased the best outdoor environment. Took some photos at the Mansion House, official summer residence of the President of the Philippines.

Tam-Awan Village, home to many works of art, authentic Ifugao huts, crafts and souvenir shops, cultural shows, and eco-tourism was the best site I’ve ever visited.

Another worthy of notice is the former Diplomat Hotel believed to be a haunted place. It used to be a rest house and a seminary in 1911 before it was developed into a hotel. A number of religious persons were beheaded during World War II and it was for this reason some people claimed seeing headless apparitions and hearing strange sounds at night. The last site we visited was Mines View Park before we parted ways and went to our respective hotels.

Later that night, I met Master Mon, Sir Ipe and Ver, a veteran runner for dinner. My treat this time.

I couldn’t sleep well the night before the race. Was disturbed with the loud music coming from the hotel’s restaurant turned-into-a-bar for the Saturday gimmick night. Sigh…

Race Day

I woke up earlier than possible and slowly ran from the hotel to Burnham Park, the venue for the race. There were not too many runners. The biggest delegation came from the police group. Mostly police trainees. Since most of them ran the 21k event, there were just a few of us who did the 10k race. Surprisingly, though we didn’t agree among ourselves nor talked about it, we wore the singlet. As if we were another delegation from Metro Manila! There were also three children who participated the 10k event. The race wouldn’t be complete without the photo sessions with fellow runners.

The Route

21k route was really a difficult one. Thank God I didn’t register for it! First five kilometers (for 10k) were mostly up hills and after the turn around point, they were mostly down hills. Not a legitimate 10k, approximately 9.6 km. But who cares? Reached the finish line not a PR but still considered a good time.

Post Race

I left the park with enough time to check out from the hotel, eat breakfast and hear mass. And what a mass it was! I came out from Baguio Cathedral not understanding any single word uttered by the priest except when he spoke in English for the service was said in Ilocano. Hahaha!

Later that morning, while in the bus on my way back to Manila, I received a text message from Queenie informing me that she accepted a medal on my behalf for I won 13th place, top 15 Women Division. Whooa! Number 13 can be lucky, eh?

What a way and a gift to celebrate life!

Yes, I raced on my birthday!

PAA-LIGSAHAN Takbong Pambansa 2009

On April 3, I had the opportunity to meet the people behind Botak Philippines. They hosted a lunch meeting with some of running bloggers to they can impart their Paa-Ligsahan Takbong Pambansa Running Program. Fellow runners take your pick! Here we go …

Be part of the ultimate run, join a trailblazing event!

PAA-LIGSAHAN Takbong Pambansa is a series of unique foot race events designed to promote and sustain running as one of the major sports in the country. The program is a comprehensive mix of short and long distance events beginning with a mile run to 5 and 10k road races, progressing to full-length marathon events and ultra-marathon distances of 50-K, 100-K, and the Trans-Pilipinas Run Challenge. PAA-LIGSAHAN is the ultimate running program for budding runners as well as for the serious group of athletes training for local and international competition.

PAA-LAKASAN Runner’s Total Workout is a monthly training and racing drills for runners preparing for peak performance level. Runners are instructed to run as a group (packed runs) for a preset distance and pace. At the later stage of the run, in the last kilometers, participants are signaled to run at their own race pace to complete a 5k workout.

PAA-BILISAN Botak 10k is a quarterly road race event open to all runners. It will also have a 3k and 5k fun runs as side features. This road race is designed to be highly competitive event with prizes and awards.

PAA-TIBAYAN Takbo 42k is an annual event open to all runners and top teams from Paa-Bilisan Road Race series. It will be one of the premier marathons in the country designed to be highly competitive with prizes and awards.

PAA-TIBAYAN Takbo 100k is an annual event for ultra marathon runners seeking to test their human limits and endurance. The project aims to introduce as an integral part to promote running as one of the major sport events.

PAA-TAGALAN Trans-Pilipinas Run Challenge is the first invitational multi-day distance running event, a run spectacular to span across the Philippines’ major islands-Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It will be the first and ultimate in the sports of running in the Philippines. It will serve as a solid groundwork for new breed of runners training for international competitions.

Botak Races Captured