Posted in 25km, adventure, hiking, mountain trekking, obstacle run, running event, Trail run, trail running, trail shoe, trekking, Uphill Run

Pacific Coast Party Poopers! (Sandugo Pacific Coast Ultra 100)

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Well, it’s not as dirty as our minds.

On the first weekend of December, two Philippine outdoor gear brands are debuting their inaugural running events, Amihan’s 50k Ultramarathon and Sandugo’s Pacific Coast Ultra 100. The former is a road race and the latter is a trail run.  Although they’re different, it’s tough to choose which one to join especially knowing that both events will be good as they want to make an impression to the running community. I really want a trail run, but since the Sandugo event is over a hundred kilometers away (in General Nakar, Quezon) I was leaning towards the Amihan event because it’s much closer to home (Paseo De Santa Rosa is just 12 kilometers from our house). Fortunately, I was able to convince running buddies, Nelson and Demet to join me in the Sandugo event and the rest is history.

This is Nelson and Demet’s first 25-kilometer trail run, so I joined this race without PR in mind, just as their guide and my year-end leisure run. Demet is no stranger to races, he already joined numerous events including half-marathons and he is an active mountain hiker. As for Nelson, this is his first running event, and he did not train for this, he smokes a lot, and he’s not a mountain hiker. But, this guy is tough and strong, he’s like that unstoppable slasher flick villain who get’s hit a lot or seemingly defeated but still comes back to terrorize people. So, I believe these two first timers can do it, I know we can finish the race.

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Race briefing with the race director.
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The Pacific Coast Party Poopers are here!

The race started smoothly, we entered an uphill road leading to a small village. The first few kilometers were mostly road and we were able to run at a decent pace. Some parts of the route have some flood that was probably caused by rain the day before.

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Unlike the proton packs, crossing streams in a trail run is A-Ok.

A lot of the villagers are on the street watching us. It kinda makes you feel like a celebrity athlete or maybe they just think were crazy for signing up for this. I think it was somewhere between 4 and 6 kilometers when we finally hit the rough road. The dirt road is where the beach resorts are located and we can see the beaches as we pass by.

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Let’s rock!… the trails!
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While waiting for Demet to catch up.
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Another flooded area. This is the first time our shoes tasted mud.
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Approaching the 1st Aid station at Kilometer 7.
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And leaving the first Aid station.

The first 7 kilometers of the route was easy. The natives are very friendly, some cheer and can interact with jokes, and seeing the kids smiling and giving you high fives is a big morale boost. That’s the feel-good vibe that you don’t experience much in city races and mountain runs. Then we enter the first mountain pass were things go tougher.

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Things go uphill from here.
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A common misconception is that if you do a lot mountain hiking even if you’re not a runner, you’ll do fine in trail running. Most people find out how wrong they are the hard way.
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That muddy pathway.
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A different kind of streaming. It’s offline.
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It’s the mandatory groufie every time we rest.
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I shouldn’t be stopping frequently to take photos, especially on muddy, slippery, and uphill trails like this. But, I want to capture these guys’ moments on their first trail run.
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We reached this view deck with a nice view of the pacific ocean.
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Nelson doing his faux vlog for his fans and bashers. He’s pointing where our habal habal driver is waiting to pick us up and takes us to the finish line. kidding.
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We sure did take our time to goof around.

We spent too much time stopping, taking photos and having fun that several runners caught up with us. We had a chat with one of the guys and he said that there were 10 of them who took a wrong turn and got lost (and they still caught up with us). It started to rain and while we’re going down hill, Demet got tripped by a vine or something, got cramps, and we had to take a long break. We let the others pass by as we rest to make sure Demet recovers properly.

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This is a strange creature. Blending carefully to the environment by positioning himself to look like he’s taking a dump while holding a sports drink bottle to create the ultimate camouflage as it awaits its prey. According to legend, it’s a sub-species of the kapre, some say it’s a tikbalang in human form.
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At this point, participants are overtaking us easily.

It was a difficult path, but we had a lot of fun on the mountain trail. The rain stopped and things got a bit easier when we got to lower ground.

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Still Standing.
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Yes, it’s another stream. It’s as common here as road traffic is in the city. We get to wash our muddy shoes which is pointless since it’s gonna get muddy and dirty again soon.
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Quiet and calm environment. This is the time to go emo.
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A runner, Ella, joined us in our shenanigans.
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Rivers make me feel so emo.
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Nelson thanking his imaginary sponsors. Ella must be thinking what she has gotten into.
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City Life, Thug Life, here it’s Farm Life.
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Streams and Uphills are getting too overrated here, huh?

We did some short jogging, but we walked most of the time, sharing stories and the occasional random nonsense. The lady marshal from the 1st Aid station said the next one is on the 10th kilometer, but it seemed more. We finally saw Magsikap bridge and we got excited to take photos.

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This is just half a smile. A bit nervous because if my phone slips from my hand, the river below is the happy new owner of it.
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And this is what the river looks like.
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And the view to my left.
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And I asked Nelson to take my running action shot.
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One of Nelson’s spontaneous beast mode while eating at Aid station 2.

I have to say that the staff of aid station 2 are very accommodating. They would approach us even before we reach the station to get our bottles and they will refill it while we eat. I have not seen marshals and event staff this helpful since 2014’s Men’s Health Urbanathlon and this is a very big plus. Great job, guys.

After re-energizing ourselves, we started jogging with Nelson and Demet taking the lead for a few minutes then they slowed down and starting walking again. I paced with Ella and left them behind as we reach the part of the route with a view of the Pacific Ocean.

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It rained earlier, but this are is blessed with clear skies.
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There’s some children playing in the distance and a horse roaming freely and eating. Life is so simple and relaxing here.
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A hill over there.
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And they finally arrived. Way to take your time.

When Demet and Nelson finally arrived, we walked to reserve our stamina and because the sound of the waves and the cool wind creates a soothing, calming effect. Made us imagine how good it must feel resting and sleeping on a hammock. And it’s good that we took our time walking because the next part of the route contains a lot of uphills and downhills.

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One last view of the farmville before we head back to Magsikap Bridge.
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Seeing people walk slowly uphill looked like a scene from The Walking Dead.
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Then there’s the downhill rush.
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I don’t think this is the right time to ask Demet, “How’s it going?”
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The lord of Riverrun! Photo from Sandugo facebook page.
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There’s a hidden photographer in the wild. He’s the guy who took photos of us running on the stream.
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These adorable kids were watching us running. They’re so cute that Demet was charmed to give them a chocolate bar.

After the uphill and downhill jam, we reached the 2nd aid station again to refuel before we take the last 8 kilometers of the route (passing by Magsikap bridge and taking a right turn). It’s a very wide uphill dirt road and while it’s not as steep as Sungay Road it is still very challenging because of the continuous climb with no downhill segments and very little flat grounds.

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There’s a nice view of the ocean on the horizon and it’s also a reminder that we came all the way from there. And now…
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See that mountain range on the horizon? that’s where we’re going next.
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It’s hard to run up, attempts to do so feels like you are running in slow mo, like bullet time in The Matrix. And it feels like your knees are being hammered. Ella moved at her own pace this time as we really are just slowing her down with our frequents stops to rest.
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As Demet take a rest, I asked Nelson to take another running action shot of me running downhill.
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Just another rest stop groufie. I was the only one still in the mood to take photos though. It started to rain again at this point.
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Nelson looking for and attempts to communicate with forest creatures in the same way Aquaman talks to fish. Kidding. There’s a nice flowing water stream on the side of the dirt road.
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Just over a hundred meters from the previous rest stop, we had to stop and rest again and a bit longer as Demet starts to feel pain on his side, around the rib cage area.
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I was surprised by the sound of a hawk hovering around us. It sounds bad-ass and screams with authoritah!!! I was astonished because it’s the first time I saw a hawk outside a zoo and I thought it was an eagle at first. I wonder what we look like in bird’s eye.
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Came across another view deck. Reminding us the hardship we’ve been through and to keep going.
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This is our last long rest stop. The sun is up and the heat is on, but we decided to keep walking no matter how slow.

The last 4 kilometers is just pure nonstop hike and it started to get hot hot hot. We experienced mud, rain, and now the heat. It’s the complete package. It was a silent walk due to exhaustion and Nelson and Demet lost the hyperactive goofiness they had earlier. We caught up with a couple runner and had a achat with the guy who said he joined the 1st Sandugo Brusko Mountain Bike Race 3 months ago and he said that the event had something better, they have buko juice in the Aid Stations and you can fill up the bladder of a hydration pack. That is definitely a big plus.

Nelson all of a sudden found the energy to run downhill in the last 2 kilometers of the route. I excused myself to Demet and the couple to run and catch him. Found him resting on a shade and we waited for Demet. I told them that we should go for a sprint to the finish in the last 500 meters and I will make way for them so they can cross the finish line first. Demet said the we should all just cross it together. So, we reached the last 500 meters and we saw some runners ahead, some are limping and another guy was very exhausted. Neither Nelson nor Demet initiated a sprint so I just stayed with them as originally planned. When Nelson started to jog on the last 100 meters, I ran by his side expecting Demet to do the same. But, he walked and I let Nelson get the medal first before I did because it’s his first trail run and he earned it. We all finished at 5 hours and 39 minutes (official race results here). Not bad for my first timer running buddies.

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First running event. No training. Never hiked on a mountain. A heavy smoker. And he had a shots of Red Label Whiskey the night before the race. Gotta give props to this tough beast.
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Mission Accomplished for me in guiding the two first time trail runners.
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Now a certified trail runner. Demet has ascended the fun run and hiking level. Congratulations.
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We kicked ass and got our asses kicked, but we survived and finish the race and kicked back that ass.

Sandugo Pacific Coast Ultra 100 Trail Run is a great event. I enjoyed it so much because it had all the things I like in a running event, a scenic route, a good challenge, and a reasonable registration fee. I’m a big skeptic of running event registration fees these days, the price increase (compared to the previous years) is too much even in short distance fun runs and you’re not getting your hard-earned money’s worth. That is not the case with this Sandugo event. For 1,500 php, you get an event shirt, a Basekamp trucker cap, a Mountain Series headwear, a bottle holder strap, and Sandugo socks all contained in a nice sling bag. But wait, there more than more. You also get a free shuttle ride from the Manila and South area to General Nakar, Quezon. There also a place to stay in, it’s a school manned by the school staff and they’re very friendly and helpful, and there’s a pick up truck to take the runners from the school to the event area. And their staff and marshals are the most helpful I’ve seen in awhile. So many things done right in this event.

But, it’s not perfect. There are some minor things that would be nice if improved on the next event. First is the medal, it looks good, but the only thing that indicates the distance is the lanyard. It would be better to see it on the medal itself or maybe a size difference for the distance categories to make them easily distinguishable. The lack of a finisher shirt is the biggest flaw of the race. Most people would prefer a finisher shirt over an event shirt because it’s the bragging rights that runners love to wear. This is especially important to the first timers like my running buddies. Too bad for Nelson not having a finisher shirt to wear to the office to show off to our other office mate runners. A very minor complaint would be the post race meal, some of us late finishers didn’t get much and distribution is a bit slow.

All the flaws aside, this run has most memorable experience for me this year and one of the most fun. I have 2 more running events coming up, but in my mind it’s already the best running event I joined in 2017. It’s just that good. Kudos to the event organizer and staff, you did a very good job and I hope that it stays the same (even better with improvements like the addition of a finisher shirt) in next year’s event.

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The only thing missing in this generous race kit is running shorts.
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Posted in 50 kilometers, 50k, adventure, travel, ultramarathon

A different kind of horniness! Sungay 50k Ultramarathon

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It’s a mountain road, From Talisay, Batangas down below to the high grounds of Tagaytay, it’s 7+ kilometers of steep and curvy uphill. Running on Sungay (horn) Road is a beautiful suffering.

Sungay 50k Ultramarathon Calamba to Tagaytay is my 2nd ultramarathon. Why only my 2nd? because with other priorities in life, joining ultra runs can be quite costly. It requires resources for travel and other necessities, and the registration fee is pricey. I picked this event because the starting line is just nearby our home in Calamba, the race route is interesting, and  I have heard of Sungay road and its reputation as a difficult route for cyclists and even motor vehicles. So I signed up, trained for it, and what happened during the event is far from what I expected.

I’m very prepared and excited, not that far from feeling horny without the sexual dirtiness in mind (not that I mind getting dirty). When I arrived at the supposedly starting line at Rizal Park Calamba, I saw no one from the organizers, no starting line, it’s like there’s no running event at all. I walked around for a few minutes and was about to go to the City Hall when a participant, John Paul, approached me. He told me that the runners were here some time ago and he went back to his car to wait. We went to the City Hall and found the starting line just beside the main gate. From here on out, I’m gonna score this event with a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the default score and will subtract a point for each of the organizer’s mistake, flaw, or shortcoming. So, for the confusing starting line, it’s minus 1 already (9 points).

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Race briefing by race director Joseph Prince Baltazar.

A veteran ultra runner approached us and had a chat about the event and the race organizer. He told us the trophy and finisher shirt are not available because of a manufacturer’s error. It was later confirmed by the race director and he showed us wrong trophy design that the manufacturer made. I was very disappointed, I felt like I lost the motivation to run my own pace. So, I decided to just make this an LSD run because that’s what it feels like and I decided to pace with first time ultramarathon runners, John Paul (the runner who approached me at Rizal Park earlier) and John (two Johns are better than one, then?). Oh, and no trophy and finisher shirt available outright means another minus 2 points (7 points now).

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This is the starting point. Outside the city hall, beside the main gate.

The race started at 12 midnight, the first part of the route was to turn left after the intersection and going to Pansol. I was pacing with John Paul and with John just behind us. After more than a kilometer, we entered the Bucal bypass Road. The road is very dark, there are no street lights and can be dangerous to navigate without a headlight. It is also an uphill road, a primer to the challenging uphills later. I was having a conversation with John Paul while moving at a relaxed pace. Then the strangest thing happened….

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At 4.7 kilometers of the route, this happened….

We were told by highway security to stop because runners are not allowed to run on that part of the road. The guards were not informed that there was a running event going on and we were on hold for a long time. I have never been stopped or put on hold in a race before and for this experience, another minus 1 (down to 6 points now). One of the runners called the race director and gave the phone to the security for them to talk. Since, we’re not allowed to continue running on that part of the road, the race director came to pick us up. John Paul invited us to ride in their car that was driven by his wife (who was there for support). The race director dropped the runners to the main road near Carmelray Industrial Park 2 and the race continued from that point (with adjustments for the lost distance to be added somewhere in Talisay).

The travel to Tanauan is just a usual jog, we were switching from jogging to walking from time to time at a pace of 7-9 minutes per kilometer. I didn’t like the road because of the vehicles and pollution.

We almost missed a turn had John not seen 2 runners near a 7-Eleven store who pointed us to the right direction. We had some time to chat with the other runners as we run the up and down road of the Talisay area. Some parts of the road are pitch dark and there’s too many dogs on the streets at night who totally disregard the law against loitering. What I hate the most is that they bark at you even if you try to avoid them and that forces us to slow down.

The road to Sungay feels so long or maybe we’re just tired and we don’t see any aid stations after the ones at Km 10 and Km 20. We passed by some runners and others passed us by. We took a quick break beside John Paul’s car and ate some bananas because we started feeling hungry. Then we finally saw the 3rd aid station at the foot of Sungay Road (aka Ligaya Drive) and they have some boiled eggs, Gatorade, and Coca Cola. After eating and drinking, we feel re-energized and ready to go up Sungay Road, but we were told that we need to go straight to the road going to Balas first and take a 2.5 kilometer U-turn back to the 3rd aid station. Alternating between jogging and walking again, we saw 6 more participants approaching the U-turn as we make our way back to the 3rd aid station. Then, finally, we enter Sungay road going up to Tagaytay.

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Happy and excited to finally run hike Sungay road which is also known as Ligaya (Happiness in English) Drive. Contrary to the name, there is no Happiness in running here after 35 kilometers, only torture.

To be honest, we can barely jog in Sungay Road, we’re very tired and with pain in different points of our bodies. Even walking up is an exhausting experience. Seeing some vehicles struggle to go up the very steep climb and a group of cyclists avoiding the road, we already know it’s gonna be a walkathon from this point on.

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A view of Taal in the distance as we start to ascend. John in his struggling moments of trying to jog uphill.
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Yes, we had to make frequent stops to rest. My plantar fascia is aching. John and John are also experiencing different kinds of pain.

I was expecting a buko station as advertised on the facebook page. But, there’s nothing. For that I have to subtract another 1 point for false advertising (5 points now).

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A view taal at the first buko station we found. You can see the foggy places below.
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Welcome to the uphill town of Brgy San Guillermo… Del Toro? I mean toro is a tagalog word for Bull and Sungay is horn in English. Toro and Sungay means Bull and Horn. hmmm… And for the uninitiated, Guillermo Del Toro is a director, best known for his movies, Blade 2, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim.
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Another rest stop. Because the uphells is giving us one hell of an experience.
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The curves on this road is like straight from the mountain pass you see in Initial D.

The uphills seem endless and getting steeper, it’s giving us the worst ass-whupping we experienced in a running event. We feel badly beaten and had to make multiple stops to rest for a few minutes before pushing through. It’s very much like mountain hiking… well, it is a mountain road.

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Laeuna De Taal, Residential Resort Community by Filinvest. This feels like the mid-point of Sungay Road. There’s a nice view deck here and it’s a frequent stop for tourists.
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As seen from the view deck of Laeuna de Taal.
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Leaving Laeuna de Taal. The race director was in his pick up truck when he saw us passed this point and stopped to offer us water.

At this point, I’m very glad that I paced with the Johns. The long hike uphills alone can be boring, it might even drive you slightly insane (maybe). Random conversations with buddies can make you forget about pain and exhaustion.

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I imagine the “Hollywood” sign in the distance.. or at least the People’s Park in the Sky sign.
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Leaving Talisay and approaching Tagaytay slowly, very slowly.

We finally passed Talisay and started entering the Tagaytay border. We asked some of the friendly locals if we are near People’s Park in the Sky. They said yes… if we take a jeepney. A biker riding a Harley Davidson stopped for a minute and ask us if we’re running a TBR (The Bald Runner) event. We said no, it’s Prince Multisports, and he told us that we’re near if we’re talking Ultramarathoner talk (perception of the distance). We feel like we’re near the main road and asked a guy to be sure and his response was kinda near, so we just kept on hiking. And then we finally see the main road. The last 4 kilometers to People’s Park in the Sky, so we refilled our water bottles at the last aid station, gathered every ounce of strength and stamina left, and made a run walk for it. It’s hard to run or jog and we’re playing it safe because the road to People’s Park is still uphill. At least it’s a faster 12-13 minutes per kilometer pace compared to the 13-19 minutes per kilometer pace on Sungay Road. We relaxed and made our way to a safe finish.

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My 2nd Ultramarathon. Compared to my 1st ultra which I finished at 6 hours 31 minutes, this run I finished at 9 hours 16 minutes. My longest and toughest run so far.
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We’re not just finishers, we’re survivors of the toughest uphill route in an ultramarathon. Extra congratulations to my running buddies, John Paul and John. First time ultramarathoners who ran an advanced level race route.

So, how do I rate my 2nd ultramarathon? did I like it? Well, I can say that as a running event, it’s a failure for not being able to provide the basic runners’ entitlement, the trophy and the finisher shirt. We got the medal, but we still need the other things that we worked hard for (and paid for). Without them it felt like an LSD training run because you don’t get to see, touch, and more importantly take home the objects that make the run feel complete and accomplished. I don’t understand why there was a manufacturer’s error and why the delay? there’s only 18 participants. Another problem was the lack of guidance in the route. Why are there no markers to point the runners to the right direction? Sure there are some marshals waiting for us in selected areas, but there are some that don’t. Had we not seen the 2 runners near 7-Eleven, we probably got lost. And there are 2 runners ahead of us who got lost. I don’t rate running events on a 1 -10 scale, but this one is an exception because I counted all the shortcomings of the organizer and the overall score is 5/10 which is an average score. This is just my honest opinion and I thought nothing can top one the worst organized event I participated in and that was my first ultramarathon last year. For the positive things about the event, I say the route is good, specifically Sungay Road. It’s scenic and very very challenging. I liked the challenge, but didn’t enjoy it and for me it’s a one time thing just to experience an extremely hard uphill route (dare I say harder than Nuvali, Casile, and even the Philippine Marine Corp Marathon Route in Ternate Cavite). And the race director, Joseph Prince Baltazar is a nice guy and very accommodating. The best thing about this event is that I met good people, whom I can say the ideal running buddies in an ultramarathon. I’m a solo runner most of the time and in most events (that’s why my blog is named the Rogue Rebel), but for the first time I enjoyed running with others from start to finish. It’s too bad the event didn’t turn out to be a good one and I hope that they can make it better next time because from what I’ve heard, the previous Sungay ultramarathons didn’t have any of the problems we experienced in this one. The race director said that he will contact us and have the trophy and finisher sent to us via courier. I hope it happens soon or at least before the year ends.

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I would’ve given another minus 1 point for the overall score for getting my name wrong, (I said it’s Gian Rodil loud and clear, not Jian Rodin) but I don’t want to give it a below average score of 4/10.
Posted in 10 kilometers, 10k, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 5k, 5km, fun run, half-marathon, Marathon, places to run, running, running event, Running Soon, travel

Running Soon: Five Fast Facts about Clark Sunset Marathon

I was invited to attend the media launch of the Clark Sunset Marathon yesterday morning and here’s what I learned…

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1.) This is the first marathon event to be held in Clark Freeport Zone.

This is the first Clark Sunset Marathon and the destination was chosen so runners can enjoy running in a place away from city traffic and pollution. According to Noemi Julian of Clark Development Corporation fun runs has been done in Clark before, but this is the first full marathon event.

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The official race singlet.

2.) Four distance categories

There will be four distance categories, a full marathon (42k) and a half-marathon (21k) for the long distance and competitive runners. And 10k and 5k categories for those who prefer to finish the running event early to have some time to chill and explore. The 42k race route will have portions outside Clark while the rest of the distances is within the vicinity.

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Runrio’s Andrew Neri introducing the first Clark Sunset Marathon.

3.) The race route is AIMS / IAAF certified.

This is the first running event with a race route measured and certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) together with  International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The route is measured using The Jones Counter instead of a GPS device for accuracy.

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Media and Bloggers’ Q&A portion.

4.) One of the main objective is to attract foreign runners.

The event is expected to attract 5,000 runners including foreign runners who wants to run on an IAAF-labeled route (which means it has the same certification as world class marathons like the Boston Marathon, New York Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon)  and promote tourism.

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Runrio’s Franco Bambico, CDC’s Noemi Julian, and Runrio’s Andrew Neri presenting the official race singlet.

5.) A Music Festival after the race.

After enjoying the sunset and a nice night run, a music festival will be staged for a relaxing and more fun Saturday Night experience. DJ Ashley Rivera and DJ Tom Taus will be there to provide a memorable party for the participants.

 

That’s about it, feel free ask questions or leave comments in the comment section below. Online and in-store registrations are open. I will update this article once I get the digital copy of the press release.

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Media launch at Burgoo SM Mall of Asia.
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The singlet and the Finisher by Adidas.
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Looks similar to the Gatorade Run shirt.

 

REGISTRATION AND RACE INFO:

Registration Fees:

5K – Php 650 (Php 1,300 international fee)
10K – Php 850 (Php 1,700 international fee)
21K – Php 1,400 (Php 2,800 international fee)
42K – Php 1,800 (Php 3,600 international fee)

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Racekit Inclusions:

Singlet, Finisher Shirt (for 21k and 42k categories only), medal, loot bag, and music festival ticket.

Gunstart:

5K – 5:45PM
10K – 5:30PM
21K – 5:15PM
42K – 5:00PM

Posted in #GAMING, E-Sports and Gaming Summit, Expo and Events

Gamesta’s Paradise… ESports and Gaming Summit 2017

I was a big console gaming fan back in the 90s and early 2000s. Then I got hooked to PC gaming during the golden age of RTS games like Starcraft, Warcraft 3, Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 and FPS games like the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series. I stopped PC gaming when I couldn’t afford upgrading my PC anymore. Smartphone or mobile gaming today is a growing market with games reaching tens to hundreds of million downloaded and game developers are making a lot of money through microtransactions. Even I couldn’t escape the appeal of games like Clash of Clans, Arena of Valor and Fallout Shelter. And recently, I also got back to console gaming with the Xbox 360. I know, I’m a generation behind, but there are still a lot more better games on the Xbox 360 than the Xbox One and even the PS4. I don’t pick my type of gaming, I just love games, be it on a game console, a PC, or a smartphone. And there is only one big event in the country that brings the trinity of gaming together, and that is the ESports and Gaming Summit.

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I arrived before 10 am and there’s already a long line of gamers waiting outside.
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And the line starts here.
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And even when you finally get inside SMX, there’s still another line.
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And the line also starts here.

I arrived at SM Mall of Asia around 9:40 am and I can already see the long line of gamers outside SMX from a distance. This is a testament to the popularity of the event and the growing population of active gamers in the country. Luckily, I have a media pass and was able to get in without the need line up and wait. Once I got inside SMX, there is still another line for the first batch of early attendees. I went inside Hal 3 to check out the preparations for the event. This is a very big event and preparations has to be done right and that is the reason why the gates were opened to the public at 10:30 am, to make sure that all systems go once the people start pouring in.

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The main stage is set.
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Your hosts on stage.

One of the best things about ESGS is you get an exclusive preview and play the demo of games before they are release to the consumer market.

Console Gaming

Just like last year, Sony’s got a massive booth, but it’s better designed this time and they now allow us to take photos of the games (last year was very strict). They showcased some of the highly anticipated games like Dragonball FighterZ and Call of Duty: World War II. They’re not PS4 exclusives (both will be available on Xbox One as well), but Sony showed some of their own like Dissidia Final Fantasy NT and Playstation VR games like No Heroes Allowed! Bravo Team, and Gran Turismo Sport.

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Playable demo of Dragonball FighterZ courtesy of Sony. The game is set for release on January 2018.
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Like last year’s Infinite Warfare, Sony is once again previewing another upcoming Call of Duty game, World War II. The game is set for release worldwide a week after ESGS.
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The newly released Gran Turismo Sport in a Nissan GT Academy-style setup.
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The almost real driving simulator.
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No Heroes Allowed! VR is a RTS (real Time Strategy) game designed to be controlled with Playstation VR.
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Bravo Team VR a first person shooter exclusively for the Playstation VR. Coming this December.
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Found Chun-Li at the Marvel vs Capcom Infnite arena.
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And she’s already winning with a smile.
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Tsong Lee x Chun-Li
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The newly released The Evil Within 2 at the Playstation booth in case you wanna try before you buy.
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A pinoy favorite game, the yearly, the immortal, the 2k18 edition of the NBA 2k series. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for NBA 2100.
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Sony held a COD WWII Tournament.
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With one of the Sony booth models.

Ubisoft Philippines also had a huge and stylish booth. They only have Assassin’s Creed Origins and Just Dance 2018 on display, but they’re definitely fun and soon to best sellers. They are also on the look out for talented programmers and graphic designers.

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Did you know, the initial release of Assassins Creed Origins was October 27, 2017. The same day as ESGS 2017 Day 1. Also that yellow glowing pyramid is where you can drop your resume’ in case you want to be the next Ubisoft Top Model… programmer.. or graphic designer.
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The Just Dance 2018 dance floor is ready.
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The Party’s Here!
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Light up the dance floor.
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Shawty fire burning, fire burning, on the dance floor…
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Just Dance delivers that fun for everyone, all shapes and sizes kinda vibe.

Namco Bandai seemed to be a no-show this year, but Capcom was in to fill the void with a playable demo of Monster Hunter World. It was operated by Data Blitz and you can get free posters for playing the game.

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I’m a very big fan of Monster Hunter during its Playstation Portable days. No other multiplayer (online or WLAN) co-op or MOBA game has ever come close to the depth and skill-based gameplay of the MH series.
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Brawlfest is hosting fighting game tournaments like Injustice 2 and Tekken, including the classic Super Smash Bros. on a Nintendo Gamecube. And that CRT TV is a bonus, doesn’t get any more nostalgic than this.

 

PC Gaming

PC gaming peripherals and rigs are always the main attraction. The big guns, MSi and Predator were present, the other big one, ASUS ROG has not yet set foot on an ESGS event. New products from AOC, Viewsonic, Philips, Thermaltake, Hyper X and more round up the show. Some booths also held contests and competitions where you can win gaming backpacks, shirts, peripherals, and more.

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msi’s booth is a huge presence in the event.
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MSi still got the best looking gaming rig and I just love this facehugger giving a loving hug on this rig.
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Not to be outdone, Acer’s Predator unleashes the cold fusion power with an ice-themed booth.
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It’s like the mechanized version of the ice dragon, Viserion.
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Oh, my frozen heart
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Some like it red hot, I prefer ice cold.
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AOC Gaming is Gearing Up for War…
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They’ve got one of the finest soldiers too…
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Too fine.
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ViewSonic is Built to Win.
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The fiery thermaltake booth.
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Did you know: The Sony and Philips connection, they once collaborated to create the DVD which is one of the best selling media format ever and a major selling feature of the Playstation 2. Today, Philips is one of the best display makers in the world.
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Hyper X gaming peripherals for PC and Console gaming. Products for the best of both worlds.
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Two types of attraction. The looks and the electro-magnetic power of the staff…
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The looks is powerful overpowers magnetic attraction though. The force is strong in this one, indeed.
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Another one of Hyper X’s best attraction.
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Filipino-made and done right. They had a free play at the event.

 

Mobile Gaming

Today’s definition of mobile gaming is not limited to the PSP, PS Vita, 3DS, or even the Nintendo Switch. Mobile gaming is dominated by games available for download on smartphones and MOBA games like Mobile Legends, Heroes Evolved, Arena of Valor and more has become a big part of the eSports scene.

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Heroes Evolved is one of the biggest MOBA game at the event and Bruce Lee is available to use for a limited time.
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The ever present EverWing.
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Clash of Clan is one of my current favorite mobile game. I’ve heard on-stage that a cash prize is as high as 30,000 php.

 

ESGS 2017 Day 1 is just Electrifying!

All I can say is that, ESGS is the most electrifying event I attended so far. The ambiance, the environment is just full of energy and there’s so much fun coming from all directions. The games, competitions, contests/raffles, free Mountain Dews, they’re all great stuff. To be honest, I never expected this year’s event to be better than last year.  But, what I’ve experienced in Day 1, it’s a level up and I’m very excited to see what they can bring in 2018. The only disappointment is.. well, the disappointment  is just me for not being capable of attending Day 2 and Day 3 (due to the delayed payday). It’s a very big regret because I found out that Day 2 is bigger than Day 1 and MMA fighter Brandon Vera was present at the Predator booth. And Day 3 was the grand finale with a cosplay competition and Just Dance showcase. If there is something that the event lacks, it’s the absence of some of the well-known, big brands in the industry. There’s no Microsoft and Xbox presence (I really wanted a live preview of the Xbox One X) which is a shame because I remember more than a decade ago, Microsoft was pushing for a big Xbox presence in the Philippines and it seemed like the campaign just evaporated. And ASUS’ Republic of Gamers brand and Razer should make their presence known someday or hopefully next year to challenge the other brands. As an eSport and gaming event, ESGS 2017 succeeded and deliver an exciting and memorable event and it definitely got a lot of gamers excited for next year. For now, let’s enjoy what we love to do and keep playing, the wait for ESGS 2018 wouldn’t feel that long.

 

Post-Credit scenes….

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Senator Bam Aquino spotted!
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eSport enthusiast, and cosplayer Le Josette at the ZOTAC booth.
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Mineski Infinity’s Een Mercado.
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I never got to enter this dome. I wonder what’s inside.
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Coziest area for a break.
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Big thanks to Gariath Concepts for giving me the opportunity to be part of the media partners for the 2nd year. Looking forward to the 3rd year.
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Raffling the good stuff! gaming keyboard, mouse, and power supply.
Posted in 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 5k, 5km, adventure, fun run, half-marathon, running event, Running Soon, Uphill Run

RUNNING SOON: Splendido Sunset Run 2017 Trio Edition

Witness as the country’s first team-oriented run unfolds.

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SPLENDIDO SUNSET RUN 2017 TRIO EDITION

December 16, 2017
Saturday
3:00 pm onwards

12 Km Trio Run @ Php 999/person
21 Km Individual Run @ Php 1,199/person
5 Km Kiddie Run @ Php 599/person

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Splendido Taal Country Club is giving away as much as Php 90,000 in total cash prizes.

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Splendido Taal Country Club is located at Km 67 Tagaytay Nasugbu National Road Laurel Batangas.
The landmarks are Royale Tagaytay Estate & Sonyas Garden.

The highlight of the event is the 12 km TRIO run. Each team is composed of minimum of three (3) team members. All three (3) runners of the same team must cross the finish line together.

Inclusions:

12 km Trio Run
Singlet, Race Bib, Finisher’s Shirt, Finisher’s Medal, Beverage

21 km Individual Run
Singlet, Race Bib, Finisher’s Shirt, Finisher’s Medal, Beverage

5 km Kiddie Run
Singlet, Race Bib, Beverage

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NOTICE:

1. The run is a RAIN-OR-SHINE EVENT.
2. There will be NO ON-SITE REGISTRATION.
3. LIMITED SLOTS only for all events.
4. All runners must bring their own tumbler, the organizer will not provide water cups.
5. The Splendido Terrain has been acknowledged as the toughest terrain in the country, so bring in your best running buddies..
6. All runners are required to bring in headlamps and reflectors.
7. Gunstart at
3:00 pm for 5km Kiddie Run & 21 km Individual Run
4:00 pm for 12 km TRIO RUN
8. Only 12 years old and below are eligible for the cash prize in the 5 km kiddie run.

REGISTRATION

Early Bird Registration is until October 15, 2017 only. EBR gets 10% discount.
Deadline of Registration is until November 30, 2017 only.

MODE OF PAYMENT

1. Online payment with GOORAHNA please visit:

https://reg.goorahna.com/

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2. Over the Bank Payment

Please deposit full payment to:

BDO Account Name: SPLENDIDO TAAL COUNTRY CLUB INC
BDO Account Number: 265-0278-214

Please send the scanned deposit slip to:

membership.splendidocountry@gmail.com
frontoffice.splendidocountry@gmail.com

3. On-site Registration @ Splendido

Splendido Taal Country Club is located at Km 67 Tagaytay Nasugbu National Road Laurel Batangas.
The landmarks are Royale Tagaytay Estate & Sonyas Garden.

For Inquiries:

09053364071
09283911373
09175920907
09176234173
09175563972
09167393292
09162076757

02-519-4788
046-423-4388

or visit:

www.splendidotaal.ph

By: TEAM SPLENDIDO

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A preview…

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Posted in E-Sports and Gaming Summit, Expo and Events, Playing Soon, Video Games

Playing Soon: E-Sports and Gaming Summit 2017

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ESGS 2017 Brings The Best PC, Console, and Mobile Games To The Country

Manila, Philippines (October 10, 2017) – Gariath Concepts will be bringing fun in the world of gaming with the Esports and Gaming Summit 2017, which will be happening on October 27 to 29, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Compound, Pasay City. Now on its fourth year, expect more game demos, freebies and esports matches from a diverse set of publishers and developers in the video game industry.

Here are a few things to expect when ESGS 2017 opens its doors to gamers from the casual to the most hardcore:

More Presence from the Big Brands in the Gaming Industry

ESGS 2017 Ubisoft

Some big brands who have graced the previous ESGS events will be making a return to the event. At the PlayStation booth, expect to see upcoming titles for everyone to try out, plus some surprises that will be revealed at the event. Ubisoft will showcase Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Just Dance 2018 as well as hosting a series of activities about game development. Fans will be able to try out Capcom’s Monster Hunter World. Hi-Rez Studios will also make its debut on the ESGS main stage as they will be hosting demos and tournaments for Smite and Paladins.

Local developers such as Secret 6 will be showcasing their latest build for their upcoming FPS game Project Xandata, Ranida Games will have playable demos for their fighting game Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?, Indigo Entertainment’s booth will feature their anticipated mecha fighting game Garrison Archangel along with their other games, and Synergy 88 will be bringing some surprises for their upcoming projects.

Mobile game developers and tournament organizers will be making a bigger splash in this year’s ESGS as well. R2 Games’ Heroes Evolved will be present, as well as Moonton’s massive hit Mobile Legends. Expect game demos, the latest news, and other activities from these publishers. The Mobile Esports Arena will be hosting a series of mobile game tournaments to satisfy your thirst for competitive matches.

Gaming and hobby shop Ludus will be bringing Final Fantasy: The Card Game to the stage, the first nonelectronic game to take center stage at the event. They will also hold live demos of said game in their booth, where fans can also purchase Final Fantasy: The Card Game and other games.

Of course, gaming won’t happen without hardware, and these brands will also make a huge wave at ESGS with their newest products and activities. Expect more surprises from MSI, HyperX, Thermaltake, Predator, AOC, Philips, ASRock, Zotac and PowerColor.

More Spotlight for the Indies 

ESGS 2017 Indie ArenaThe independent scene will be given a spotlight as the Indie Arena will highlight some of the current game titles developed by international game devs, while the local indie game developers will have their own area with GDAP’s GameFest station. Here attendees can try out the games and have a chance to chat with the developers and maybe walk away with exclusive freebies!

ESGS 2017 GameFest

Brace yourselves for more Brawlfest Action

ESGS 2017 BrawlfestThe biggest fighting game communities will unite once again to bring another intense Brawlfest minievent to satisfy fans looking for intense console competition. The communities from Playbook, PinoyPS, Cosmic Gorgons, and Secret Base have joined forces to host a series of tournaments featuring fan-favorite fighting game titles. Their main highlight will be for Tekken 7 where the winner will be heading to EVO Japan 2018 to compete with the rest of the top players around the globe.

Leveling Up on Game Development

Aside from hosting local indie game developers, the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP) will be having their GameFest to promote the academic side of game development. They will also be bringing several academic schools and game development partners in their area to share their specialties to the public. They will also be inviting some of the top developers from different studios for a series of game development talks* where everyone can learn more on concept art, animation,
programming and more.

Gear Up for the Cosplay Competition: Gaming Category

ESGS 2017 cosplayWhere there’s gaming, there’s bound to be cosplay. ESGS 2017 will be bringing back its gaming-themed cosplay competition with bigger prizes are on the line. Participants will be evaluated by a panel of judges who are also long-time cosplayers themselves: tech influencer Kang Dupet, freelance events organizer Loki Heart, and World Cosplay Summit Philippines President Tessa. The cosplay competition will be handled by Anime Alliance Philippines and powered by Animax.

ABOUT ESGS
Organized by Gariath Concepts and dubbed as one of the biggest E-Sports Competition and Gaming Conventions in Southeast Asia, ESGS continues to grow and provides the best gaming and esports experience in the Philippines and has grown to become a bookmarked local gaming event, eagerly awaited by brands, publishers, tournament organizers, academic institutions, cosplayers, and fans of games and gaming.

ABOUT GARIATH CONCEPTS
Established in 2014, Gariath Concepts aims to become anything that is beyond ordinary in hosting gaming events and tournaments. With ESGS as its flagship event, Gariath has created other events where they partnered with major brands and esports leagues including the popular Pinoy Gaming Festival: Summer Assembly where it showcases some of the hottest esports activities in the metro during summer, the allfighting game event BrawlFest where it features the biggest fighting game communities and the esports Tour (co-organized with Mineski Events Team) where it reaches out to other regions in the country to celebrate esports and gaming.

ABOUT GG NETWORK
GG Network is the esports and gaming entertainment vertical of TV5 and D5 Studio. GG Network aims to provide a balanced serving of digital gaming content that caters to gamers no matter their affiliation or interest level. It is a Multi-Channel Network focused on the gaming pillar that involves strategic partnerships, original programming, streamers on different video platforms, editorial content, team and
event sponsorships and naming rights and is now the highest followed media-backed esports community in the Philippines.

ESGS Baller
Limitd Edition Baller. Collect them all if you can =)

 

SCENES FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE

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The main stage is set.
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Good Food served.
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Some of the gaming industry’s best minds all in one place.
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Contents of the media kit.
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Press Start to Enter. See you on Oct 27-29.

And if you want a preview of what to expect, check out my Day 1 coverage of last year’s event.Day 1 coverage of last year’s event.

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Posted in 21k, fun run, guerilla race, half-marathon, run for a cause, running event

EGG-xactly the right kind of fun for the whole family… Eggciting Adventure Family Fun Run 2

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Now that’s a happy egg… or should I say he’s EGGstatic.

Running events these days are becoming overpriced and I can’t blame some people for saying that organizers are just doing for the money, a cash-grab business which makes their advocacy an afterthought or almost non-existent. I wonder why some organizers charge people 1,000 php (or more) for a 5k fun run if it can be done for half that price or even less. Thankfully, there are some organizers out there who can still deliver a good experience at a justified price. And one of the running events that I can truly say a great value for the money and with an even greater advocacy is Eggciting Family Adventure Fun Run. Reasonably priced registration fees aside, their campaign to disseminate the healthy benefits of eggs and daily egg consumption is made even better with their goodwill to provide aid in the educational and financial needs of our brave soldiers’ children. This is the 2nd time I ran in an EGGciting event and I continue to support this running event because you’re not just running, you’re running for a  good great cause.

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Remember, it’s healthy to #EATLOGEVERYDAY.

Since it was my first time to run in Camp Aguinaldo and I’m not familiar with the place or the route to get there, I decided to commute via public transportation and leave home early. And I arrived way too early, around 1 am and gunstart was scheduled at 4:30 am. I was able to rest and take a quick nap at the camp’s grand stand.

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The starting line before the arrival of the runners.
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Early bird grabs the egg? Early birds get more freebies.
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Some of the booths (games and photo booth) were opened early for the eggcited runners.

It rained that night, but by the time the booths were opened and final preparations were underway, it was only a drizzle. After the warm-up exercise, the participants approach the starting line, the 21k category started late (it was 4:50 am on my watch), but it was likely delayed for safety purposes.

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EGG-cited to get this run rollin. Photo from Eggciting Fun Run facebook page.
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All eyes to the right, please! Photo from Eggciting Fun Run facebook page.
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Me behind the very fast women. Photo from Eggciting Fun Run facebook page.
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For the record, I’m not texting, I’m starting up my Nike Run Club app. Photo from Eggciting Fun Run facebook page.

The run started smoothly, the road was wet but safe, it was a bit cold and there’s still drizzle. Just like last year’s run, there are easter eggs (including big ones) hidden around the route that runners can pick up and bring to the finish line in exchange for prizes. Since I’m running a half-marathon, I didn’t focus on looking for the eggs. The route for 21k runners consists of three 7-kilometer loops (I hate loops, it affects me mentally) and some parts of the road don’t have street lights and it was pitch dark. Small lights coming from the flashlights of the marshals can be seen from a distance to guide us and there are some vehicles passing by that lit the way with their headlights. I was surprised by the uphill segments of Camp Aguinaldo, I didn’t expect it and it provided a good challenge during the run.

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Eggcited to reach that finish line. Photo by Tris for Active Pinas.
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Just 1 more loop. Photo by Tris for Active Pinas.
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Just the last 7 kilometers. Photo by Tris for Active Pinas.
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uggghhh…. I’m Eggs-hausted! Photo by Tris for Active Pinas.

The 2nd loop is much easier now since the surroundings are getting brighter and the muscles warmed up. I did good during the first half, I managed to finish 10k in under an hour even with the uphills slowing me down.

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Faking the smile on the 3rd loop. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Winner of the fake your smile to hide the pain contest. Photo by Active Pinas.

The 3rd loop is where I started to feel exhausted (or should I say, Eggs-hausted!… yeah, I know, bad pun) and slow down drastically. I did the best I could with a run-walk interval and played it safe. I missed some of the events at the activity area like the Egg Pledge because I was still on the road.

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Starting to feel like Conor McGregor during the 8th round of his fight against Mayweather. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Feeling like McGregor on the 9th round against Mayweather. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Got a bit of a 2nd wind though and can finish all the way to the 12th. Photo by Active Pinas.

The last 2 kilometers was the hardest, I don’t want to push too much to avoid injury (especially on situations where the event is far from home and I don’t have a buddy with me), so I walked longer than usual. I finally crossed the finish line at 02:06:23 with a total distance of 20.61 km based on my Nike Run Club app (02:06:04 @ 20.40 km on my Soleus GPS watch). It’s 500+ meters short of the half-marathon distance, but I’m not sure if my GPS devices are inaccurate at the time. Nevertheless, it was one of the toughest half-marathons I’ve ever ran and I enjoyed it.

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Back at the activity area, I grabbed my loot bag and walked around a bit to see what else I can do or see.

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A happy heart is a good heart =)
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Those who want more easter eggs.
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They see me EGG Rollin’….
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Little Angels in the Outfield….
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Welcome to Egg Land! Egg-themed games for the kids and kids at heart.
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Scrambled Eggs Unscrambled.
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The Great EGG-scape! (Again with the egg puns).
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No dribbling necessary… because eggs crack, you know.
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All hands on the lucky egg!
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Wouldn’t be complete without a celebrity performance.
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Innocent until proven EGGuilty!
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She saw it! Now that’s a huge egg!
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What I got from the loot bag. Got a Nido 3+ Milk too. Could’ve gotten more if only I still had the energy to line up or participate in the games.

When it comes to fun run EGG-cellence (yes, another egg pun), Eggciting Family Adventure Fun Run is currently up there with the 7-Eleven Run and Robinson’s Fit & Run series when it comes to best value for the money.  And it’s a run for a cause, you will always feel great when running to help others. I hope this run series grow bigger and continue their EGG-ceptional (last egg pun, I promise) advocacy,  because we need more running events of this kind.