Category Archives: The North Face

Press Release: Outdoor is my Training Ground

The North Face (TNF) debuts an all-new outdoor training program and apparel line on May 1 in Baguio City.

Outdoor Training is a new workout program practiced in the open, where participants undergo professional training to hone energy, balance, core power, agility, and explosive strength. It’s more than just moving fitness from indoors to the outdoors; it’s an all-new training lifestyle that pushes one’s mental and physical limits into the natural environment.

Unlike static gyms, Outdoor Training is set in environments that are constantly changing, which stimulates the deepest potential in any athlete. In Outdoor Training, the goal is not to grow flashy and over-built muscles, but to acquire newfound flexibility, balance, and strength to help you face any outdoor challenge.

TNF firmly believes that one’s real character can only be unleashed after they’ve undergone the challenges of nature. As such, the inauguration ceremonies for Outdoor Training in the Philippines were held in Baguio City, a city marked by challenging terrains and crisp weather climate.

TNF invited Tim Sedo, Regional Marketing Manager in HK and Asia markets, and one of the core members of the TNF marketing team for Asia Pacific in this momentous occasion as this launch also coincides with the 50th year anniversary of TNF.  Tim is the perfect person to represent this event. Born in Canada, Tim has over 15 years of personal and professional exposure in Asia, specifically, China. He co-founded Original Heads Agency, Shanghai’s first boutique marketing, design, and media agency dedicated to the promotion of action sports, youth/street culture, and lifestyle brands. He is also an avid skateboarder, snowboarder and outdoor enthusiast, and more than that, lives out TNF’s philosophy to Never Stop Exploring.

TNF Outdoor Training Apparel Undergoes Total Upgrade

The right attire is a must for all Outdoor Training. We recommend you to select outdoor attire with the appropriate breathability and durability according to the training program’sdifficulty and the weather and environment in which the training will take place. TNF takes into account the complexity of outdoor environments and the unpredictability of weather. To complement this new training program, the brand debuted an upgraded version of its outdoor apparel that sees improvements in wind-and-water-proof performance, wearability, and quick-dry ability.

Capri

Ultra Shoe W

Backpack

Comprehensive Protection: Waterproof and Breathable

High-tech wind-and-water-proof jackets are made with WINDWALL windproof fabric that not only promises outstanding durability but also guarantees an excellent resistance against strong winds to reduce the wearer’s exposure to the elements. Through a DWR treatment, water is kept away from the body, ensuring a multi-layer protection so you can brave the winds and enjoy the outdoors in its truest form.

Quick-Dry & Breathable

Made with FLASHDRY XD technology, breathable and sweat-free t-shirts improve sweat absorption and temperature regulation. The material is composed of microfibers that efficiently absorb any sweat or other discharges from the surface of the skin for a quick-dry and breathable effect; its multi-function knit also makes the material more lightweight and durable so you can stay dry for longer hours to unleash better potentials in any Outdoor Training environment.

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Aside from satisfying basic training functions, the attire is also fashionable. The all-new Outdoor training apparel espouses a minimalistic silhouette with eye-catchingcolours. Details are concealed throughout, but eye-opening essentials like buttons and zippers make the garment more agile and comfortable for any wearer. Zipper designs on the jacketsallow for easy compact packing; and built-in audio outlets makes your jacket a home for all your entertainment needs while freeing your hands to maximise your training.

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Free Outdoor Training Experience Throughout the Asia Pacific Region

Currently, TNF is offering free Outdoor Training experiences in many countries across the Asia Pacific Region. Aside from offering online and in-store tips from top-notch trainers, we are also actively seeking training insome of Asia’s biggest metropolises sothat city-goers can also get a taste of this all-new fitness experience, this all-new lifestyle.

Want to be a trendsetter and break the walls in fitness training? Hurry and join the first wave of Outdoor Training enthusiasts now!

About The North Face
The North Face is the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear. Founded in 1968 in San Leandro California, USA, the brand is named after the iciest, toughest and most formidable façade of a mountain in the western hemisphere to climb.

The people behind The North Face pride themselves for being the greatest advocates of exploration in the world, teaming up with the finest mountaineers, alpinists, climbers, skiers, snowboarders and endurance adventurers who have defined the limits of what is humanly possible. More than 40 years after its inception The North Face continues to inspire, enable and share the passion to Never Stop Exploring™

About Primer Group of Companies
Established in the Philippines in 1985, the Primer Group of Companies is engaged in the retail and distribution of the world’s top and premium consumer brands in outdoor, travel, footwear, fashion, wellness and urban lifestyle. It has also established a solid ground in the industrial products and services landscape, with companies in digital and silkscreen printing, air-conditioning and creative graphic design and services.

The company is aggressively pursuing new grounds to become the leader in the global distribution and innovation of premium goods and services. Its retail authority alone has grown to over 150 premium brands, with over 300 stores in eight Asian countries, making it a force to reckon with. To date, the Primer Group employs over 3,000 and has established businesses in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Press Release :The Race to Outdoor Revolution – TNF 100 2016

Boundaries. They’re made to be broken. This is the mantra of those who never stop exploring and pushing themselves to their limits. This is the mantra of the participants of the The North Face (TNF) 100 2016.

TNF held its annual TNF 100 last April 30 to 1 May 2016 at the Camp John Hay Country Club in Baguio-Benguet. The route, which showcased the scenic mountain ranges and trails of the Cordilleras, is a favorite among runners and outdoor enthusiasts. This year, even more adventure seekers thronged to Baguio for this race as TNF 100 opened up its trail courses to 100 km, 50 km, 22 km, and now to 11 km.

This is no small feat for those who know the perils and the thrills of trail running. Training in the outdoors is more than just moving your exercise regimen’s geography. It is pushing your mental and physical limits to adapt to the constantly evolving and oftentimes, uncontrollable nature of the outside environment. It is about always being ready to explore, and that is what TNF is all about.

True to its core values, TNF has launched its official training regimen Outdoor Training this year. This revolutionary workout program will be practiced in the open, subsequently harnessing the athlete’s mental and physical agility, strength, balance, and core power like never before. Because the outside elements can be unpredictable and extreme, it is imperative that the practitioner uses apparel that gives superior breathability and durability that complements their training.

This is why TNF developed its Tekware product line, Mountain Athletics. This performance wear line of TNF applies technology specifically suited for the outdoors, making its wearer Get Better and Go Further in their outdoor training. It is the gear that the athletes use to make them perform their best in the TNF 100 2016, which is now bigger than ever.

TNF 100 2016 is one of the most important events this year as it lines up with The North Face’s 50th year anniversary. Tim Sedo, Regional Marketing Manager for Hong Kong and Asia markets, and a dedicated skateboarder, snowboarder, and outdoor enthusiast himself, has flown in for this very special occasion.

Exploration is a journey, a race if you may, and The North Face is at the forefront of this race, blazing a trail so that others may follow.

Like @thenorthfaceph at their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram to know more about how you can be a part of this outdoor revolution.

The North Face 100 2016 was made possible in partnership with Department of Tourism-CAR, City of Baguio, LGUs of Itogon and Tuba, JHMC, Baguio Ayala Land Techno-Hub. Thanks to Microtel & Camp John Hay as official hotel partners. Thanks also to the following sponsors such as SUMMIT Water & Cobra Energy Drink as the official drink sponsors; R.O.X., Garmin, PLDT Smart SME Nation, Zalora, C3fit. Special thanks to Mitsubishi Motors for providing official vehicles to TNF 100. The North Face 100 2016 would also like to acknowledge the following media partners: History Channel, CrossOver 105.1, Retro 105.9, Manila Bulletin, The Philippine Star, Business Mirror, Endurance, Speed Magazine, & www.spin.ph.

Please check this site: http://www.thrillofthetrail.ph/ for more of event and race details.

The Primer Group of Companies, Asia’s next retail giant, is the exclusive distributor of The North Face in the Philippines.

UNIGLOBE TRAVELWARE CO., INC.
A Member of the Primer Group of Companies
Primer Star Center, 2282 Leon Guinto Street, Malate, Manila 1004 Philippines
Tel: +63(2) 567-0611; 303-1234 Fax: +63(2) 567-0634
www.primergrp.com

The North Face 100 Philippines 2016 : The Reason Why I Tried to “Break All Boundaries” in Trail Running

I wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for fellow runner-blogger Dennis a.k.a. Running Pinoys encouragement to register for 50K instead of the shorter distances, 22K or 11K.  A veteran of The North Face (TNF) trail running event for the 100K distance twice, you need to be a fast runner since Dennis could run awfully fast.  But I did remind him that he could run ahead if he wanted to.  I didn’t want his goal crushed because of my slower pace.  My game plan was to try to keep up with his pace and have someone with me through the trails, at least during the initial stage of the race.

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Photo / Dennis Ravanzo aka Running Pinoy

As for me, having finished a number of ultramarathons before including the Bataan Death March 102K in 2011, it was time to step up my training from road marathon or road ultramarathon and hit ultra trails for the first time. Ultramarathon is an event where the challenge is to run or run/walk the distance as fast as you can.  Since this is trail running, it can be more difficult than road running because the terrain varies.  I wasn’t confident really, but my aim was just to finish before it gets dark or by 5 PM at the minimum and by 7 PM at the maximum as cut-off time for all 50K runners was at 10 PM or 18 hours.  And, TNF 100K trail running event came at an opportune time where I could push me to improve myself.

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Photo / Dennis Ravanzo aka Running Pinoy

After the mandatory gear check at the Start/Finish/Base Camp, running fifty kilometers early in the morning up and down starting from Camp John Hay in Baguio City, to Itogon, and all the way to Ampucao, Benguet with a total elevation gain of 2,591m was no easy feat.  It was like an endless combination of uphill climbing and running.  You need to keep up the pace and use your provisions, foods, and liquids wisely since Aid Stations (AS) were fanned out (about nine kilometers from AS1 to As2) and (14 kilometers AS2 to AS3) from each other.  The trails are steep sometimes with deep ravines, have dry stream and hanging bridge crossing, uphill climbing through cemented foot path, breathing became harder, legs fatigued more quickly, and I felt every painstaking step hiking downhill.  I had to use my hands to keep the balance and the frequent downhill caused a right knee pain.  I did stop once in a while to rub the aching area.  Since I didn’t use any walking stick, I had to take smaller steps for safety and at times walking sideways to control the impact.

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Photo / Dennis Ravanzo aka Running Pinoy

The trail exited onto a paved road with endless uphill climb towards the turnaround point, a very critical uphill run since 50K runners are required to reach the turnaround area by 11 AM.  It was tough going in the heat of the day and my progress was slowing as I stopped to catch my breath.  My left foot was burning with the friction of uphill climbing, and at one point, I so wanted to take off my shoes but decided not to.  It was a relief to finally reach the turnaround point in Ampucao at KM29.  Looking forward to at least do a quick bite and rest at AS3 and replenish my empty bottles with water.  However, no electrolyte drink (except for a choco drink) was provided, which was a bit disappointing.  Good thing I brought some cash with me and bought a bottle of energy drink from a vendor nearby before heading back to the trails.

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Photo / Dennis Ravanzo aka Running Pinoy

One of my very best experiences running TNF 100K was witnessing most of the marshals including aid station workers, medical staff, and all others really did their job.  It also taught me to pay attention and stay alert, always looking for the TNF signage along the trail route.  At one point, I got distracted and walked a few meters without realizing I was already off path.  No choice but to turn around and go back the way I came until I found the signage again.  Then I felt bad due to not being able to run longer with my right side knee bothering me.  It slowed me down.

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Photo / Dennis Ravanzo aka Running Pinoy

I tried to walk fast even under the heat of the sun.  It was at this moment when a foreigner 100K participant ran past me. Amazing!

I still managed to walk fast even when the clear skies suddenly became filled with puffy clouds which produced thunderstorms. This was not surprising at all since weather forecast was announced during the race briefing.  Running in the rain didn’t bother me in the slightest and not a problem so long as I can keep myself warm in a rain jacket or wind breaker. Before the rains fell, two colorful butterflies  fluttered near me. Perhaps my guardian fairies? 🙂

The trail route was already a difficult hike even without rain and adding rain made the rocks slippery and the path muddy, which made the way extremely difficult to traverse.  I knew it was a temporary setback on my ranking but I knew very well that runners run for the finish line even if a number of competitors had reached it first.  

Not wanting to take the last three kilometers through the rain and darkness without any companion through the trails in the next thirty minutes or an hour or so, I was grateful with the two guy runners Mervin Paras and JP Lipardo whom I had little chitchat with at AS1.  We tackled the last three kilometers together.  Four hundred meters now before the finish line, I let both of them to reach the finish line first.  The proposed pre-sunset finish turned out to be an evening finish, approximately two hours and a few minutes earlier from the cut-off time.   I crossed the finish line with a grateful heart and received my first TNF finisher’s medal.  Woohoo!

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Arriving at the finish line with just over two hours and a few minutes left before cut-off time (unofficial). (photo / Rosher Cruz)

Returning to basecamp next day with fellow peeps from the media team, we were able to witness the awarding ceremony.   The lucky stars must have connived with me when I was given a few minutes to interview TNF 100 Philippines 2016 trail run male champion Norwegian, Jan Nilsen (JN).

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During the awarding for 100K top finishers (photo / runningdiva.ph)

This was the same guy who asked a question at the race briefing and the same runner who ran past me so in the zone while racing. While my media friend Rhoel was interviewing the winner, I was there to just observe at first.  When the interview was about to be concluded, I couldn’t help but throw these questions real quick.   Here we go… (Interview recording and transcription credits / Rhoel V. Fernandez)

Running Diva (RD): What do you want to improve about the TNF 100?

JN: “The organization! They should involve some runners when planning the race.  Because this out and back in the beginning was complete chaos.  In the briefing there was no information about this: we were running on very narrow single tracks and were following the tracks in the beginning. Then we were coming to a turnaround point and then they start coming back, now there’s people turning back because they did not know what would happen. When we started coming back, because we were in the front, we were meeting 200 other runners so they started to turn around before coming through because there was no information and it was very narrow.”

RD: What made you decide to come back for TNF 100?

JN: “I like the mountains in Philippines.  I like coming back to the mountains of the Philippines.” 

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Photo / Dennis Ravanzo aka Running Pinoy

If there’s one recommendation I wanted to say is for the organizers to improve race briefing and provisions in every aid station.

Overall, I had a blast and this race is definitely one for the books! Super thanks The North Face and Primer Group of Companies for having me in your trail running event. Thank you Aileen Frugal for taking care of us.

With great appreciation to Dennis Running Pinoy Ravanzo for pacing with me from start up to the summit, and for the photos including the featured image used and those taken along the trails.

Many thanks to fellow runner bloggers and members of the media team for an enjoyable experience.  

Special shoutout to Rhoel V. Fernandez of Spin.ph for transcribing my two questions.

Thank you Baguio mountains.  I had nothing to bring but good memories. You were formidable and your ups and downs were a force to reckon with.  You made me do the painful penguin walk afterwards.  

Now if given the opportunity to come back, my answer would be, “Why not? Let’s break all boundaries!

Trail Running Ultra Marathon: a Personal Narrative by Someone Who Finished TNF100

Discover tales of awe-inspiring tale of real people in their quest for self mastery…” Yes, that’s what my blog says. Having said that, here’s a personal account of someone who conquered the risky 100-kilometer trail running race held in Baguio City organized by The North Face. No pictures were included in this post since his trail running experience was already vividly described.

Here we go … read on.

EXPERIENCING HELL IN HEAVEN: THE NORTH FACE (TNF) 2010 EXPERIENCE

Alright, this is yet another oxymoron. How can bitter be sweet? How can heaven co-exist with hell? Anyhow, allow me to put some context. I’ve always romanticized Baguio as the abode of the gods, where the tired clouds, like huge cotton candies, crawl down to rest and quietly fly again at dawn. A tranquil place of motley flowers and a refreshing sea of greens. A spot so artistic and fertile of lofty ideals. A pathway perfect to trudge after a cleansing downpour. And play with pine cones, even golf balls, and pine needles amidst magnificent sights. This is the Baguio I’ve known. The Baguio I’ll always treasure. The nostalgia of my dreams.

Since my childhood, I’ve always looked forward to heavenly vacations in Baguio. I am glad that these dreams turned into memorable realities. Biking and endless swinging at Burnham. Cotton candies, ice creams and skating in John Hay. Counting lights that dotted the hills before bedtime and innocently asking why a “smoke” comes out of my mouth as I wake up. Plus the knitted sweaters and blankets and bonnets that would want me to sleep forever. This is Baguio, my personal Olympus. Fast forward. So when I learned that the next The North Face (TNF100) is in Baguio, my heart pumped so much excitement. However, since I just finished the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon (BDM 102), I tempered myself. I knew, I still needed to recover and wouldn’t have time to train afterwards. But one day, I passed by TNF at Glorietta IV. I was surprised to see fellow BDMers on the list. Later, I was informed that many more signed up. Eventually, including Team Blas. Kelly is to fly from Singapore and TR has gotten a leave.

Are you signing up,” I was asked. “Oh no, not now, I’ll think about it,” I quipped. Then rushed out of the store before any hasty decision took place. But the pull of Baguio is just too strong and irresistible. Few days after, I went back to register. “Are you signing for 11 or 22?,”was the next question. “Hmmm… can I try, 100?” was my quick response. I got a blank stare in front of me. I was told that only few finished the TNF100 last year and that the trail this time is ultra difficult. And what more, the fee is P2K compared to P500 in both 11 and 22KMs. I sensed that TNF wanted me to realized what I am signing for. I pondered for a while. Then I nailed a big decision, “I’ll sign up for 100KM.” Thanks to BDM102 and my “mountainous 2009” for my renewed confidence. “I may fail eventually, but at least, I’ll give it my best try,” I kept convincing myself.

Upon signing up, I left everything to fate. I never joined any races after the BDM or ever did any serious long run. In fact, I had an easy climb to Mt. Pinatubo for recovery. Later, I found myself jogging around Sampaloc Lake in San Pablo then off I went to an eight day backpacking adventure during the holy week and just before the TNF race, a weekend beach-bumming in Calaguas Island and Bagasbas beach. And what did I get? Blisters for running barefoot in the white powdery sand and bruises as I stumbled on a nylon used to anchor a boat . “Oh no, this is not supposed to be? Not just before an ultra race.” But it happened already. Nothing else can be done. I can only accept my fate and retired to my tent when it rained hard. I was already musing, “Is this a prelude to my TNF escapade? Shall I instead back out?

Ok, I dreaded the thought of visiting a Sports Doc not because I fear to be admonished but because I might not be allowed to run. Instead, I self-medicated. I asked forgiveness from my body and pleaded that it heals well and fast enough for the TNF. The body is not a thoughtless machine. It is an amazing entity in itself. It is self-sustaining. It responds properly. It cooperates like a faithful companion. I vowed to give it a day off before the race. So I was in Baguio a day before the event.

Apart from attending to some personal concerns, I likewise planned to visit a sick friend who was diagnosed with a Stage IV cancer. We spoke over the phone instead. She was in pain but still wished me well for the run. This time, I acceded to her invitation to stay at her unit at Burnham Suite (BS) just a few meters from the TNF Base Camp. There could be no perfect place but nearest the Base Camp. She has always encouraged me to visit Baguio but I never had the chance till the TNF. There must be a right time for everything. Nothing is purely coincidental. She was happy that I finally did. I am likewise thankful for her kindness. I couldn’t easily grasp for answer when she asked me, “How do you deal with pain?” I can only introspect, “Pain in the body may not necessarily bring sorrow to the soul.” Somehow, I was expecting to let her know my stories on pain management after the race. But this will never happen again since she has happily faced and escaped pain victoriously. I just learned today that she already passed away.

My TNF race was somehow loaded with thoughts of life, friendship and death. The last time I was in the city was during the wake of my friend, Jerome, who fell down in a cliff with his motorbike at Marcos Highway in 2008. At his wake, I was with friends: American Devorah and entrepreneur Leonie. As destiny would call it, Devorah likewise died last year due to an illness and just now, Leonie. I trekked Mount Santo Tomas with Devorah and spent much time in John Hay with Leonie and Jerome. And now, I am running The TNF100 from Burnham to John Hay to Loakan Airport down to Camp6 up to Mount Santo Tomas and Mount Kabuyao and back.

And what more. A few weeks back, Paeng, a friend in the office, also died. And before he did, he told me, “to take care and enjoy.” He held my hand and I knew it was goodbye. He likewise died of cancer being a second-hand smoker. Before, I left for the race, I received a “How are you?” message from Doc Cely, my friend’s wife. I can only excitedly tell her about my run. I likewise assumed that my departed friend is happy with my TNF100 like he did with my BDM102.

These circumstances really brought back memories of timeless friendships during the race. The trail likewise made me reflect on life. Life is short. It must be spent in a worthwhile way. It must be enjoyed.

The TNF Briefing

I brought so many food and Gatorade supply for the race. When I deposited them at the TNF station, I was asked, “Are you going on a picnic or a race?” I can only laugh in response. It was here that I met more trail runners from AMCI, UPM, Team Blas and the rest of the BDMers. It was an instant reunion of sort. I was likewise visited by my Camiguin-based friend Rosalie who happened to be in Baguio that time.

We sipped some hot lemongrass tea at Cafe by the Ruins after the briefing at the City Hall. I shared her victory when she received the acceptance text message from Fullbright to attend a two-year scholarship at the New York University. She likewise humbly allowed me to browse a book featuring artists who can change the world. There are three Filipinos, I think, in that book and Rosalie is one of them. Her happiness is infectious. “You enjoy your run and am sure you can make it well,” she continued, “See you at Times Square on New Year’s eve.” Rosalie is one of the most positive person I’ve ever known. When she was in Hong Kong, she qualified for the expedition team in South America for several months. Whatever she conceived, she turned them into realities. Our path would cross again in Palawan, Davao and then Camiguin. Her inspiring words gave me much empowerment for the trail that I had to tread.

By 8:30PM, I was back at my room. Took dinner. Fixed my things and then slept. By 12 midnight, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I spent some time at the veranda just reflecting on what will transpire within 30 hours the moment I get out of BS. I conditioned my mind running through the 100KM maps, consisting of a first and second loop. Just doing so was already tiring. But I kept a pledge: No turning back.

Soon after, I showered and got ready for the race. I went to the starting line for check-in at 2:30AM. Let’s get it on. We were probably around 300 to begin with since both 50 and 100KM runners depart at 3AM. After the gunstart by Mayor Rey Bautista and the Tourism Director, the runners frantically secured their places. We were like a swarm of fireflies headed to the hills. Initially, I was wearing my Petzl headlamp but upon arrival in John Hay, the pitch dark and thick fog overpowered its glow. I stopped and used my more powerful Led Lenser lest I would also stumble on pine roots and roll over a ravine. I had to “step-No-step-Yes” to avoid the scattered horses’ wastes. And eventually used a trek pole to ease my acrophobic tendencies.

The trail run alone within John Hay is knee-pounding. I sighed with relief when we arrived at Loakan Airport. The air was refreshingly cool and the sun is yet sleeping. Going down to Camp6 is a bit tricky and treacherous. Kennon Road down below is ones destination with a slight mistake. The tireless marshals carried Petromax on their shoulders to ensure that the dangerous cliffs are well lighted. Morning has broken when I arrived at the zigzag road. I was basically with mountaineers at this point. Crossing the hanging bridge at Camp6 is a signal for our ascent to Mount Kabuyao. The Bued river is almost dry and the mountain was burnt. The trail dust is therefore mixed with ashes. Since I am wearing shorts without any gaiters, my legs soon looked like I was headed for an Ati-Atihan contest. I thank God for the perfect weather, otherwise, if it rained, my hands and face would have perfectly fitted a Maskara festival too. Anyhow, I remember running through another hanging bridge. I dared not look down. I fixed my vision ahead. Otherwise, I would unnecessarily tremble. When will scientist develop a pill for acrophobia?

I took my breakfast along the trail. Then passed through some vegetables gardens of bell pepper and tomato and then potato and then carrots. Oh yes, there were also Baguio pechays. Then some flowers, too. All these beautified the already scenic trails that we were navigating. At times, I would stop and just gaze around the horizon. Everytime I felt tired, the TNF banners splattered across the trails reminded: “Endure the trail.” Not the endurance that makes one suffer. In fact, the trails only increases the endurance threshold of one’s body.

Since there was a cut-off time atop the mountain, I pushed a bit. The summits are always the penultimate dreams of mountaineers. There is a different high when one is on top of the world. Only breathtaking views and far away from the maddening metro noise. Upon reaching the radar at Sto. Tomas, I had lunch. Again, I paced with fellow mountaineers till I was certain that I met the first cut-off time. I think, we were three hours ahead. Soon after, I had to relax and enjoy the views. At this point, my companions have gone ahead. The descent back to camp6 was another 3 hours. Three hours in solitude is a rare reward. I can be extroverted but I am also comfortable being alone. Such solitary moments are meaningful instead of empty. I can listen to myself. I can watch my thoughts. And I can plan clearly. Enjoying oneself is truly empowering in ultras. If one is afraid of being alone, that’s the end.

I had the chance to look back and thank from my heart all those who had been understanding and supportive to my activities. I likewise quietly sought forgiveness from those whom I’ve hurt knowingly or unknowingly. Ultra running can only make one more humane in many ways. Ultra running provides a lot of time to contemplate on so many things that can readily be taken for granted.

The descent from the German house to Camp6 is a bit technical. I had to aid myself with ropes so as not to fall. Thanks to the marshalls for preparing them. At certain points, the trails were already overused, hence, chances of sliding were high. Thanks to my reliable pole for keeping me balanced. Prior to reaching zigzag road again, I was distracted by a loud roaring sound. It sounded like a tempest of sorts. Later on, I was awed by a landslide. Rocks and boulders madly crushing each other down at the fastest pace. It was an apocalyptic sight. Soon after, silence. Deafening silence. Everything finally settled down.

Such poignant scene became a powerful metaphor for me. No matter how crucifying the situations are, to the point that it feels like the end of time, everything balances in the end. Everything becomes stable once more. The point is, just don’t easily give up. Soon enough, this had to be my battlecry in finishing the race.

I safely arrived at the hanging bridge once more. “Buti naman at naka-smile ka pa na bumaba,” was the complement of the tindera at Kennon Road. “Dahan-dahan lang po ako Ate,” my thankful response, “Napakaganda po dito.” Next challenge is the ascending climb back to Loakan. I was trekking with a runner who fell and so limping on every stride. Soon, I was with Ron, a fellow BDMer. He has DNFed in the past two TNFs. Hence, determined to make it this time. On our uphill climb, we found Kelly from Singapore. She requested us to alert the marshalls and the medics. She was hyperventilating, “I feel so dizzy and I am seeing stars in front me,” said Kelly. I brought out my first aid kit. She chose to take one chewable Bonamine. Kelly is a seasoned ultra-runner across the globe, “but this one is different,” she explained. I wouldn’t want to leave her but she told me to go ahead and go on with the race. Sunset has set in and it was starting to drizzle. I was worried a bit. I haven’t seen TR at all in the race. I thought, he must be informed of Kelly’s condition. But as I went on, I met the marshall and the para-medics to aid her. I felt secured that she is safe. Ron and I had to push ahead. My rest stops would soon become frequent. I drank some Yakult at a sari-sari store. My stomach refused to take in water and Gatorade anymore. It must be too drowned by them after 16 hours.

Terestial Naughty Fairies

I soon found myself going through Scout Barrio and John Hay’s trail for more than three hours all by myself. l switched on my headlamp again. It dawned on me that it was the second night of not sleeping and still in constant motion. I just steadily focused on every step. Slowly but surely. Till I had surreal experiences. I was sensing that I was trekking with others when I certainly am alone. Sometimes, I felt someone was behind me. At times in front or far ahead. I reasoned out, I must be too tired. I must be hallucinating already. I crashed all my fears though. I must be tough at all cost.

But wait, didn’t I also do my craziest teenage mischief in Baguio during one summer vacation? At midnight, after a birthday party, my friends and I decided to “ghost hunt” along rumored haunted houses and places? And all we got was sleep deprivation. We would scare ourselves to death at nearing footsteps and the slightest of sounds. Till the security guards supposedly protecting those houses would shout, “Anong ginagawa nyo dyan?” We would run inside our getaway car and rush away. We then taunt the person who got scared the most and laugh to our hearts content. Since then, I never believed in ghosts.

Back to the TNF, I decided to sleep instead of struggling. I prayed that the snakes won’t lie next to me. “Snakes, I won’t stay long. I just need a rest,” I pleaded. I slept with my headlamp on hoping that fellow runners or marshalls would notice me. But no one did. I soon woke up and it was around 10PM. I started trekking anew. I soon met runners who are already back for their second loop. “You still have enough time,” was their encouragement, “But please find a companion when you take your second loop.” They were trekking in fours or fives. I quickly got out of John Hay and then met also the AMCI team for their second loop. I arrived safely at Base Camp. I was told I can take dinner and afterwards resume my run. Since I felt very dirty, I decided to go to Burnham Suites instead. Took a hot shower. Changed clothes. Ate dinner and again, I decided to sleep. I left it all to fate, if I still hear the alarm. Otherwise, I am safely back to bed and that should be perfect.

Trudger Night Freak

But yes, by 12 midnight, I woke up. Laced another pair of shoes and with a new outfit this time, the organizers didn’t even recognize me when I told them #721 is ready to go. “Are you sure, you still wish to go?” was their very polite remark. I smiled back with a, “Yes.” I again started trudging till I reached the hospital at Military Cut-off. The marshal was a bit concerned that I am alone but I assured him that I would be fine. He accompanied me up to the old gate of John Hay. From there I caught up with Paolo, a BDMer who was trekking with Jubs and his friend. Less than 100 meters after, Jub’s friend couldn’t make it anymore. Paolo asked me to move ahead and they will just catch up. To combat my surreal experiences, I played on a song from my mobile phone that was recorded by Jerome (+). I was surprised that the lyrics contained, “Do you hear the child who wants to run with wind…. and you’re running safely to the ends of the world.” At that point, I was but a free child running with Baguio’s cool breeze to nowhere.

Soon after, only Paolo and Jubs arrived. Three of us were then trekking when we met Red, another BDMer, who was lost twice in the trails. Red and Jubs walked ahead while Paolo and I were taking our time. They would wait for us after the long descent at the US Embassy. We soon met the group of Tobias and Mercy of AMCI, the group of Sir Jonel and another AMCI Team (Yob, Manny DS and Manny T.) If Red was lost and I had surreal experiences, Sir Manny T. later informed me that Yob had been telling them that they are five trekking together. They had to shake and remind him that they are just 4. They would find out that Yob is trembling. Such is the TNF. It would alter your state of mind to the brink.

Jubs, Red, Paolo and I soon arrived at Loakan Road. We rested for a while. Till Paolo exploded a bomb, “Guys I think, you need to go ahead. My legs are already very painful”. I started making some calculations. “Guys we have a lot of time, it is still 7 hours to go. We can still do it.” Jubs added, “Paolo you can join us till the airport and decide from there”. Paolo acceded to the idea. But the pain has grown into intolerable level already. Upon crossing the airport, Paolo declared that he is quitting and it is only around 3:15AM. Our cut-off is at 10AM back to Base Camp.

It was pitch dark and I was uneasy to leave Paolo behind. I called the attention of the marshalls to look after him. “You are determined to proceed. So finish it. Don’t worry about me,” said Paolo. Red and Jubs are now out of sight. I had to catch up. I was experiencing my second wind at this point. I felt so strong once more. Eventually, Jubs, Red and I caught up with two Skyrunners. They were three initially but one already DNFed. So there we go, another long and winding trail of Loakan. We had to wake up the marshals everytime we passed by their tents. They must be dead tired logging in our bib numbers. It was almost 5:30AM when we were back at Scout Barrio. We had to trek faster to avoid the trail congestion. The 11 and 22KM runners were already trail running.

Temperance Nobility Fortitude

At this point, I was very relaxed already. I knew, I would make it to the cut-off time and so I had to enjoy early the morning walk in John Hay. It was night time when I had my first three rounds. My companions have already gone ahead. It was inspiring to meet the fresh runners of the day. Many of them were already saying congratulations when they learned I am on my way to the 100KM finish line. One even stopped and asked, “I am already hard up with 22 how much more with 100?” But one said, “Wow, I will also try that.” It again dawned on me that I was already running/trekking for two days due to their persistent questions. Their energy was so uplifting. I managed to run with them for the last three kilometers to the finish line.

I didn’t know that there is a separate lane for 11, 22 and 100KM. I was signaled to take the “100” lane. I was happily running alone in the lane and the people likewise shared the happiness. The Race Director, Neville Manaois, soon congratulated me. I really couldn’t recall much what happened afterwards. I just found myself being tossed in the air by fellow mountaineers for a job luckily and happily done. Soon after, some 11/22KM runners wanted to have their pictures taken with me. I am not used to this, so I quietly faded away and went back to my room to eat fruits, bathed and rested. I didn’t even bother to go down for the awarding ceremonies. I just watched from the veranda.

At 3PM, Baguio was drenched with rain. I woke up. Gazed the horizon. Look above and thanked God.

I may have experienced a hell of difficulties at the City of Pines but the experience only made me stronger. Baguio will forever be my paradiso.

After the TNF100, here are my 30 TNF tips and memories in surviving the most ultra challenging trail run.

1. Think No Fear
2. Think No Force
3. Thank Nice Folks
4. Thank New Friends
5. Think Noble Freedom
6. Trudger Night Freak
7. Take No Fly
8. Take Nothing Forgranted
9. Tag New Fortunes
10. Think No Failure
11. Try New Fascination
12. Taste Nocturnal Feast
13. Try New Fashion
14. Think Nothing but Firmness
15. Trials Never Forever
16. Treat Nomads Fortune
17. Toilet Nowhere Found
18. Timeless Newness Freshness
19. Test New Friction
20. Trick Nimble Fatalism
21. Treat Nervous Fatigue
22. Terrestial Naughty Fairies
23. Test New Favorite
24. Teemless Nothingness Freezed
25. Tiptop Nighest Fitness
26. Tranquil Novel Fain
27. Trip Next Fun
28. Temperance Nobility Fortitude
29. Terminator Numerator Frekonomics
30. Term Never Fixed

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Many thanks to FR Hortelano, BDM102 Finisher, TNF100 Conqueror, and PAU 50K Finisher, for sharing his TNF100 story and for allowing me to post it in my blog.