No Limit To The Filipino Spirit – Takbong Pangarap

“All I want is to reach Pagudpud running. And I did… If I had to do it over again, where would I go?”

 

This has been the starting point of Joy Rojas’ ambition. After running across the Philippines from Davao City to Pagudpud thereby establishing herself as the first ever Filipina to have ever done so, Joy will again show all of us that although every ambition needs a starting point, dreaming never has a finish line.

Via Takbong Pangarap, Joy urges us to dare to dream with her as she champions the belief  that there is “no limit to the Filipino spirit” by running 5,000 km across the United States of America. If she succeeds in her attempt, she will be the first Southeast Asean woman to cross the US from California to New York. Whoa!

Just as I am thankful to Botak Philippines for inviting me to a bloggers’ get-together wherein I was able to personally meet and shake the hands of Mr. Cesar Guarin, the first Filipino to have ever run across the USA (from New York to California), I am equally thankful to the Philippine Online Chronicles (POC) who sponsored a “bloggers meet-and-greet” with Joy Rojas and the Takbong Pangarap team.

The “meet-and-greet” session was truly worth my while not only because we were able to receive on-hand information on POC’s advocacies and the Takbong Pangarap project, but also because we were able to get to know Joy, Mat Macabe her training and running partner and team manager Chuck Crisanto and be inspired by the stories and experiences they share. I tell you guys, after this session, I am slowly giving ultramarathons and long runs serious thought.

THE PHILIPPINE ONLINE CHRONICLES

Ms. Kristine Mandigma of The POC

Ms. Kristine Mandigma of The POC

As their website says:

Philippine Online Chronicles (www.thepoc.net) is a weekly online publication which features a new kind of news. POC presents a multiplicity of perspectives in a single article. It reports viewpoints on the news, along with the facts of the news. POC does not confine itself to mainstream news sources but actively cultivates alternative sources of information like blogs, student newspapers, and other alternative publications. POC’s content is distributed among nine channels: Politi-Ko (politics), Mukhang Pera (finance), Sportacular (sports), Sosyal! (entertainment), Metakritiko (reviews), Buhay Pinoy (lifestyle), Kamundohan (international news), Lintech! (technology), and POCYouth (youth and campus).

Now, POC ventured into sharing unique stories from the world of Philippine sports and introduces an athlete like no other through the launching of their Takbong Pangarap channel. This channel will feature regular news, features, photo, podast and video updates of all events related to the Trans-USA journey.

TAKBONG PANGARAP

Mr. Chuck Crisano explaining what Takbong Pangarap is all about

Mr. Chuck Crisanto explaining what Takbong Pangarap is all about

So what is Takbong Pangarap all about? Takbong Pangarap or the Tran-USA Run 2009 is Joy Rojas’ attempt of a 5,000 km cross-country run across the USA. Starting from Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California on May 10, 2009 (which is the eve of Joy’s 44th birthday) and will last until Sept. 8, 2009 at New York City.

TAKBONG PANGARAP TEAM

The team - Mat, Joy and Chuck during the Q&A

The team - Mat, Joy and Chuck during the Q&A

Joy will be accompanied by her teammates Mat Macabe and Chuck Crisanto in this endeavor.

Mat is supposed to run alongside Joy just like he did during Joy’s Trans-Philippines run but in 2008 he had an open heart surgery thereby relegating him to act as joy’s pacer and navigator wherein he will at times be able to run with her and the other times, he will have to ride the bike while supporting her.

On the duration of this project, Joy will approximately be running for 100 days and take 20 days of rest along the way. Her target is to be able to run 50kms five to six hours of each running day.

TAKBONG PANGARAP ROUTE

The route will start in Eagle Rock, California and continue through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Its finish line will be at the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

WHY TAKBONG PANGARAP?

Having run across the Philippines in 2008 wherein she covered 2,00 km from Davao City to Pagudpud in 46 days, she felt that she doesn’t have to stop dreaming because she already has accomplished this dream. She asked herself, if she had to do it all over again, where would she go? She thought of running across the USA because the said route has been run hundreds of times before and because there are Filipino-American communities along the way from which she could draw support.

What’s best, aside from living her dream, Joy wishes to help others’ dreams come true by running to raise funds for two beneficiaries: the Social Services Division of the Philippine Heart Center and the Anti-TB Program of the Inner Wheel Club of Quezon City District 378.

WHO IS JOY ROJAS?

Joy Rojas sharing her dream

Joy Rojas sharing her dream

Joy Rojas is a magazine editor and freelance writer who initially took up running to relieve herself of the the stress of her job. She was active in local road races from 1995 to 2002 wherein she consistently placed among the top 10 women finishers of prestigious races.

One interesting thing to know about Joy is that she is a tuberculosis survivor, having overcome the disease on 2001. One month before finishing her medication, she joined a 42 km run and competed it in 4 hours and 11 minutes.

But eventually, she stopped running competitively because according to her, running to race or win takes out the joy in running. Her passion for running now goes beyond defeating others. It is more of having to outdo only yourself each time you run. She now enjoys running for the sake of running itself.

She also shared with us that she doesn’t have a strict diet or nutrition plan – geesh, she even has a weakness for junk foods! – to complement her training. However, she religiously observes a diet of fish and vegetables. To stay in shape, she also devotes at least two to three hours or four times a week of running. Once a month, she also tries to go on out-of-town ultraruns. She says up to now, she still experiences chills or goose bumps whenever she passes the welcome arch of each town whenever she runs.

As she makes her way through America via her “Dream Run”, Joy will be touching base with the Filipino-American communities along the road. In her interactions, she will share how it is possible to achieve seemingly impossible dreams if one simply works on it – as she has and as she will.

HOW CAN WE HELP JOY AND THE REST OF THE TEAM?

We can help Takbong Pangarap become a reality by sending donations of any amount through Paypal. You can also be a Takbong Pangarap 5k sponsor – all you have to do is donate PHP 5,000 (appoximately USD 100). In turn, Joy will run for at least 5km wearing a runner’s bib with your dream or your message written on it. You will also get a collectible autographed Takbong Pangarap shirt and a citation in the forthcoming book that records the historic run.

If you are living in the US along the Takbong Pangarap route and interested in helping Joy, Mat and Chuck achieve their goal, you can also do so by offering to host them while they pass through your area. Or you can even run along side joy and keep her company, egg her on and let her know that she has your support.

Or send Joy and her team words of support and encouragement through any of these means:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/takbongpangarap
Plurk: www.plurk.com/takbongpangarap
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Takbong-Pangarap/67564894131
Email: takbongpangarap@thepoc.net

 Lastly, we can help them by just spreading the word about Takbong Pangarap and pass on the message : There’s no limit to the Filipino Spirit!

Hey Joy, Mat and Chuck. It was great to have personally met you that Saturday. I came to the POC meet-and-greet expecting a common press brief which I thought just won’t hurt for me to drop by to. But then, having heard what you three have said and shared, I came out feeling inspired and grateful I spent time sitting there and listening to all of you. As I have said, I will pray (together with the whole running community, I hope) that you get to accomplish your goal in this run so that you not only achieve your dream but also be able to help others – your beneficiaries and inspire all of us – that in dreaming, one just have to really be focused and work for it. There is no finish line, no limit. Good luck and godspeed. Ang lapit, lapit na!  🙂

that's me with Joy ;)

that's me with Joy 😉

Note: Know more about Takbong Pangarap, Joy Rojas and the Takbong Pangarap team by visiting the Philippine Online Chronicles’ Takbong Pangarap Channel

Advertisements

Tour of the Fireflies 2009

When was the last time you saw fireflies in the city?

Fireflies have fled the city due to dirty air. As factories and motor vehicles continue to poison the air we breathe, urban dwellers – cyclists, pedestrians, commuters, even those who ride cars – are affected just as much.

Why resign ourselves to this situation? Join our fight for clean air and bring back the fireflies!”

pdi-ad-final-1

This has been the advocacy of the Firefly Brigade, a non-stock, non-profit and SEC-registered volunteer action group which spearheads the yearly Tour of the Fireflies event. Now on its 11th year, I have been happy to be part of the 5,000+ bikers who joined to promote the fight for clean air last Sunday.

With the event title, “Bike To Work, Bike To School, Bike To Play. Bike Today!”, the Tour of the Fireflies 2009 had its bike ride route covering four cities – Pasig, QC, Mandaluyong and Makati via Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare: EDSA.

me and pol at Tiendesitas

me and pol at Tiendesitas

bobby and me

bobby and me

pol and bobby with team paco bikers

pol and bobby with team paco bikers

The ride was exciting and fun but difficult all at the same time. Exciting because one has never been able to just bike along EDSA (just as we were not usually allowed to run at the Skyway, right?). Fun because you get to ride your bike, no discrimination here – any bike will do, in a leisurely pace together with your friends, families and new friends that you may get to meet along the way. Difficult because  the heat of the sun makes it so together with the angry motorists along the heavy areas in EDSA which the bikers at some point has to contend with. But generally, it was one hell of a ride enjoyed with friends and fellow-clean air advocates as well.

off we go! in front of Rob Galleria

off we go! in front of Rob Galleria

short pitstop along EDSA

short pitstop along EDSA

It was my second year to join the ToF with my friend Pol and some of the Pinoy MTBikers and Team Paco Bikers. At a few minutes past five a.m. yesterday, I rode my bike to the Shell station in Tejeron, Sta. Ana and met with the Paco contingent. Pol also met me there coming from his house in Pasig. We biked all the way from our own homes to Tiendesitas, the start and finish point of the ride. Oh and Bobby, my running buddy, met us at Tiendesitas to experience his first ToF.

with ex-feb friend/ofcmate and pmtbiker dino

with ex-feb friend/ofcmate and pmtbiker dino

with pmtbiker sir eric (bm5er)

with pmtbiker sir eric (bm5er)

with jeremy

with jeremy

I rode mostly with Bobby and Pol – with Pol being the good friend that he is, (sipsip ako!) and being the more experienced biker, took hold of our camera and have been our photog for our much-wanted “documentation”.  We were able to see a lot of familar faces in the running community including Jeremy of Pinoy Ultra-Runners, Maui and Coach Ige Lopez and other biker friends during the ride. And what’s worth mentioning is the number of kids (yep! little kids as young as three years old) who joined the ride with their parents. Imagine the energy and tolerance these kids have completing the whole 42-kms distance of the route under the extreme heat of the sun and the challenges of the unfavorable road conditions (as Jeremy quips, we never realized how bad the roads of EDSA were until yesterday!). At the post-ride programme at Tiendesitas, there were bands who provided the entertainment, noted-composer and artist Noel Cabangon was there too. Awarding of the winners for best in costume, youngest and oldest participants and the group with the most number of members were done there too. We were also able to see and chat with Banggi, a fellow Happy Feet member.  The event was capped with a raffle of various exciting prizes.

having fun on the road with bobby and pol

having fun on the road with bobby and pol

post-ride lunch at Tiedesitas

post-ride lunch at Tiedesitas

with Banggigay

with Banggigay

I came home, dead tired, dirty and stinky because of the prolonged exposure to the sun and dust and smoke from the vehicles but I was happy, I was ok. Yep, I did miss the Greenfield City Run. But I don’t regret it now because I enjoyed the ride and completed it without any problems.  Most of all, I was able to accomplish something worth of noting – I was able to bike along EDSA (and contributed to pissing off the motorists especially the bus and jeepney drivers. Yehey! Akala nyo ha, naasar ko din kayo, hehe!) which is a one-of-a-kind “sticky” experience (read: nakapanglalagkit!) and I was also able to contribute in my own little way to the fight for clean air and to the celebration of Earth Day.

There were a lot of areas that may need to be improved in the organization of such an event of a great scale (my gosh, 5,000+ participant bikers!) but what the heck! I went there to ride, have fun and help spread the word that we all want to have clean air, if not in our lifetime but in our kids’ at least.

Hopefully, I’ll see you in next year’s tour!

More pics:

bikers filled-up a long stretch of EDSA

bikers filled-up a long stretch of EDSA

som erode using their tandem bike

some rode using their tandem bike

oh, basta bike puede!

oh, basta bike puede!

even babies were there too (wawa naman, sobrang init!)

even babies were there too (wawa naman, sobrang init!)

costumed biker

costumed biker

Pol with PMTB peeps

Pol with PMTB peeps

the guys with costumed biker

the guys with costumed biker

pol with elvis

pol with elvis

band providing entertainment at the programme

band providing entertainment at the programme

noel cabangon received warm audience reception

noel cabangon received warm audience reception

need i say more?

need i say more?

Choosing Between Two LOVES

I have always found it easy to juggle my outdoor activity schedules for running and mtbiking with ease. I love doing both but when it comes to organized races (for running) or rides (for mtbiking), I never had the problem of having to choose between the two because the events I always want to join in doesn’t conflict with the other. Oh, there was one time that they did, but I was still able to do both – joined a running event but opted to do just the 5k and went to join a trail ride right after running.

But last Sunday was to be my greatest challenge. There was the scheduled Greenfield City Run at Sta. Rosa organized by Finishline and then there was this yearly biking event called Tour of the Fireflies (ToF). Weeks before, I already knew that I have to do some choosing. I can in no way do both because venue and time are directly in conflict with each other. I realized that I really like to do any of the two, making it hard for me to come up with a decision. Napakahirap! Even with a “pro-and-con-list” (yes, I made a list to compare both!), I can’t choose.

Then on Holy Thursday, Pol dropped by the house and gave me, as he said, “my” ToF jersey. Unknowingly, he also registered for me when he did. So with all the painstaking thoughts and what-nots, I decided to join the Tour of the Fireflies and passed on the Greenfield City Run. My justification? I have been without any runs – practice or otherwise- since my Condura 21k last March and it may be better to start getting back into the physical activities doing the less intense one (they say that biking is less demanding physically than running) AND of course, I could not disappoint my friend who thoughtfully registered for me for the ToF and hey, he did get the correct size for my jersey ha. Perfect! 🙂

The events happened yesterday. My friends who were at Greenfield enjoyed another well-organized race which has been the signature of all races falling into the hands of the “Coach Rio-and-Vince-tandem”, who we now know and recognize collectively as Finishline. Half of my thoughts were with them yesterday and I must admit, with all the pictures that I am seeing so far, I cannot avoid feeling envious. I could have been there too but then, I chose to have fun someplace else. Oh, much fun i really had! I had a great time at the ToF, I biked the whole route of EDSA together with Pol, running buddy Bobby, who I was able to invite last minute but still decided to join, and some 5,000+ other bikers albeit the super annoying heat of the sun. I will be sharing my ToF 2009 experience and pics in a while, watch out for it. 😉

Ha! There you go folks! It’s nice to be loving a lot of things and liking and enjoying every moment that you indulge in it. But when it comes to having to choose to do just one of both, it is really hard pala. One is equally good as the other. And in choosing, you just have to rely on your decision, stick with it and make the most out of it. As for me, I just psyched myself with the thought – “ok lang yan, marami pa namang runs!”.

See you at the outdoor!

NUVALI 2009 Outdoor Challenge, Cross-Country Duathlon

Hey folks! Some of you may want to take their running activities to the next level by doing a Duathlon (run-bike-run).  I too would want to be able to try this, considering that this combines my two loves – running and biking!

And so, for us who are hopefully contemplating of joining one or for those who are into it already, here is one Duathlon event that might interest you. Haven’t done any serious training for a dua yet? Heck, you can join and be a fun-racer, no pressures, just sheer will and fun!

Read on for the details! (thanks to Ms. Rivka of Ayala Land for the info!)

nuvali-2009-outdoor-challenge-poster

Hit the trail at NUVALI, Sta. Rosa, Laguna on April 26 for the 2009 NUVALI Outdoor Challenge, Cross Country Duathlon.  See the sunrise over open green spaces, rolling terrain alive with over 65 species of birds, and a whole day’s activities with a mass, weekend bazaar, kite fest, rc regatta and a concert.  Race starts at 6:00 am.  Registration at Bike Town, Power Bikes or through ask@nuvalievoliving.com , or hotline 09175-ASKNUV (0917-5-275-688).
 
You may also visit
www.nuvalievoliving.com.

The Sole Mates

Just the other night, Mikey and I were talking about how runners eventually get hooked to having their own running blogs. Just as there is a running boom, there is also an abundance of running bloggers which is a welcome fact.

Now, there is a really good new running blog in town which I want to recommend to all of you. Guys, welcome “The Sole Mates”, my good friends JunC and Mariel’s running blog. This one is different because it’s a “he says, she says” kind of thing which initially reminded me of the Chico-Delamar radio tandem, hehe. Reading through the first few posts made me smile. Nakakaaliw! And don’t just take my word for it. Take a peek and put a smile on your face too.  Visit their blog at http://thesolemates.wordpress.com

JunC and Mariel at the Condura Run 2009

JunC and Mariel at the Condura Run 2009

Welcome to blogging Jun and Mariel! I will always look forward to your posts. 😉

I Am Ninoy Runners UPDATE

iamninoy_runner_logobig

There was an overwhelming response after the soft launch of the I Am Ninoy Runners group at the Condura Run 2009. Although some may have noticed some sort of a lull with regards to public exposure, there were actions being done “behind the scenes” for the group to be able to continue creating awareness to its cause, increased participation and thus meet its eventual goals.

Todate, these are the status of the I Am Ninoy Runners movement as sent to us via email by Ms. Mayi Lopa (thanks Mayi!) :

1.  As of this writing, the total number of people who registered on-line and want to join in our cause is 236.   So including our original batch of 50, we now have a total membership base of 286 runners.

2.  Rudy Project has agreed to be our apparel sponsor.  They are currently producing the shirts and we should be getting them by May. They have also agreed to use their stores as venues for registration and fulfillment centers for the shirts.  We are also planning to come out with singlets.

3.  Together with 5775 Movement, we will open sometime this week the bank account for all the funds we raise.  All One-time registration fees to our group, sponsorships, as well as pledges made on our behalf will be deposited to this account.   Details of these will also be posted on our website for everyone to see.

For those who have registered to be part of the group, please stand-by for the details on how, when and where you are to finalize your membership. You will be advised of this via email and updates will be posted in the movement’s websites.

For those who would want further information or better understanding regarding the I Am Ninoy Runners group or the I Am Ninoy movement per se, please find time to visit the official site by clicking here.

Run and be a hero, join the I Am Ninoy Runners group. 🙂

Greenfield City Run Update

greenfield-662x10241

Hey runners! If you are participating in the scheduled Greenfield City Run on April 19, FINISHLINE.PH has aced another treat for you.

Aside from the free shuttle service (see related post by clicking here), they were also able to make arrangements with the Techno Park Hotel who agreed to give discounts to runners who will book a stay on the duration of the event. 

So if you are planning to go to Sta. Rosa the day or night before the race but still haven’t found a place to stay, Techno Park is a good option. The original rate of PHP4,500 is now being offered at a discounted amount of PHP 2,500 NET without breakfast. For bookings, please get in touch with Ms. Pia Balasabas at (049) 541-3090 to 94.

A nice treat indeed ha! Discover, Run and Enjoy the great escape at the Greenfield City Run. 😉