George Javier and the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc

“Pangarap lang dati, pwede pala magkatotoo.” – George Javier

One of the greatest riches of the Philippines is its world-class athletes. Training hard everyday, they give their best and compete with athletes from all over the world. What’s puzzling is despite the honor that they give to our country, majority of them are unseen or unheard of. Filipinos don’t know who they are, even though the whole world is already amazed of their victories.

George Javier is one of these athletes. His passion for running started with a 3k run that ‘took his breath away’ (“hapong hapo”), to fun runs, before leveling up to road marathons, and finally finding his way to trail running. It took him 5 years of hours and hours of rigorous training, and next month, he will be competing in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

george javier c.adrianaquino
George Javier (c) adrian aquino

At very high altitudes and in difficult weather conditions, it takes a lot of determination, hard work, training, and luck to run in this prestigious annual event. This year, more than 15700 runners qualified for the race, but only more or less 2300 participants are chosen through lottery. 5 out of 8 Filipino qualifiers were chosen.

Other than the countless steps, however, is one more big hurdle to overcome — the finances. Through Indiegogo, he is trying to raise USD 2700 for the basic expenses that he will be needing for the race (click here to see update #1 for the breakdown of expenses). As of now, USD 475 are raised, and any amount that can be joyfully given is another step closer to giving him the chance to run in the trails of the Alps. Sponsorships are enormously appreciated. I don’t know this guy personally, but I believe that simple athletes like him, just like every other simple Filipino, is a pride of our country. Let’s help this guy show the world what we’ve got in the field of trail running. 🙂


SLTB

To show your support to George Javier, please do click on the link below (any amount, as little as 1USD will go a long long way!):
https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/help-pinoy-runner-george-conquer-the-alps-at-utmb–3
Should you wish to contact him directly, you can reach him through his Facebook (www.facebook.com/george.javier.5) or email (georgegjavier@yahoo.com). 🙂

Like, share, comment, and show your love for our athletes! 🙂

Related Articles:
http://crocifixio.tumblr.com/post/124337824615/help-pinoy-runner-george-javier-conquer-the-alps

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Joey Ayala at Sev’s (Feb. 27, 2014)

(I found this buried in my drafts folder and thought I should edit and finally upload it.) 🙂

February 27, 2014
Browsing through Facebook for some ideas to do for the day, BF and I stumbled upon the page of Sev’s Cafe and saw that Joey Ayala would be performing that night. We were really impressed with his TED video which included his version of the Lupang Hinirang, so we decided to go (click here to watch the TEDx video). Since we both still didn’t have our salaries yet, we were on a budget — it’s a good thing that the P200 ticket has a P100 consumable per person included. Reservations were made with Ms. Ipat, and we were on our way to the place.

Located in Roxas boulevard cor. Vito Cruz, it’s very easy to go to and very accessible to commuters. It’s in the Vito Cruz side though, and you’ll have to walk a little from the corner till you see an entrance to a parking lot at the right side — it’s at the end of that parking lot. There’s a guard there you can ask as well. (click here for the map)

As we entered the restaurant, I immediately felt at home with the place. The welcoming atmosphere is just comfortable enough to make you want to come back again and again. It actually reminds me of living/dining rooms were friends and family would gather around and enjoy a great home cooked meal while sharing lots of stories over coffee and/or dessert afterwards (definitely dessert for me!!).

I ordered the Pork Afritada and a banana smoothie, but I highly recommend the Tapsilog and the mango smoothie which BF ordered. The dynamite is awesome with the extra crunch and creamy cheese while the squid rings are cooked just right (and would be great with beer). I’m not sure if I was able to take pictures of what we had  — It’s either buried in my dropbox or I think we were just both hungry that time that we didn’t even thought of taking pictures. Everything on the menu is priced more reasonably than most restaurants, and I was pleasantly surprised at the healthier options (i.e. brown rice instead of white rice; vinegar instead of ketchup-mayo dip, etc.). Oh and did I mention the mango smoothie? You need to try it. 🙂

joey ayala
Joey Ayala

The show started and all eyes were on Joey Ayala. He performed different songs of his — love songs, nationalistic ones, even funny ones among all others in his lineup. With every note and word was his love and passion for music, for his arts, and for the country. It’s amazing how in simplicity, the most heartfelt and striking songs were formed. Watching his own rendition of the national anthem on youtube already gave me goosebumps — this is one Filipino who really loves his country. Yet seeing him performing live onstage was a different experience. Simple words are those that actually pierce through one’s soul, encouraging one to think and reflect on the realities of the present and the current situation of the country.

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The restaurant, just as Joey Ayala is, is proudly Filipino — from the flag just above the door, to a portrait of Andres Bonifacio at the back of the counter, to the tables, chairs, and other decors of the place, down to the menu (they serve Basi and Tapuy shots!) and ingredients. This place is perfect for schoolmates or barkadas who are looking for a chill hangout.

Mt. Pulag: Amba-Amba (Graduation Climb part 3)

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks

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October 19, 2014 — I Could’ve…

The plan was to climb back up the summit really early in the morning to be able to catch the sunrise and see the sea of clouds. BF and I, however, decided that it’s 20141019_071505best to stay at the station and not risk having hypothermia because of the chills earlier in the night (we would later on find out that there were campers who had to be rescued because of hypothermia while at the campsite). Although I regret this decision because those who did pursue the summit were rewarded with clear skies and a magnificent view of the sea of clouds, I’ve come to peace with myself with the thought that I will not stop climbing mountains and that I’ll definitely come back to Pulag.

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Ranger Station

We had lunch courtesy of the rangers… Le Chef and Mr. Ranger were able to buy huge chickens that would satisfy twenty-something stomachs. The rangers were the ones to cook them into two dishes — pinikpikan (tinola, but bitter), and dinuguang manok. It was one unique experience for all of us to be able to watch the whole process — from the preparations, to the actual cooking. I don’t really eat dinuguan, but BF (and everyone else) said it’s the best dinuguan he’s (they’ve) ever tried. It’s probably the slices of smoked meat (probably etag?) that the ranger added… 🙂

looking into the future
looking into the future

 

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I was not able to reach the summit, yet  I would consider Mt. Pulag as my favorite mountain. It is where I made new friendships, pushed my self beyond what I thought was my limit, and allowed my self to step back and put safety before anything else. It is my greatest challenge so far, and I will keep trying again and again if I have to, until I get to the point wherein I can reach the summit through all trails.

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The group went back to Baguio in the afternoon, stopping by the DENR Center along the way to log out. We had dinner at Good Taste Cafe & Restaurant (Buttered Chicken, FTW!) and looked for pasalubong. BF and I walked around the Night Market and bought some clothes before going back to Manila (via Victory Liner).

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Maybe I didn’t deserve that sea of clouds just yet, but I will work for it and make sure I’ll deserve it. I am not much of a goal-setter, and I have doubted my rationality once in a while because of mountaineering — Do I really wanna climb? Why am I doing this? What’s the point of going? Yet, despite all the questions, I went. And every time I go to a new place, I am reminded that there is more to life than the fast life in the city… and I look forward to the next adventure.

 SLTB

Mt. Pulag: Amba-Amba (Graduation Climb part 2)

“Climbing a mountain is a passion, not a competition”

October 18, 2014 – “I’m in Baguio!!”

Wet RoadThe trip from Baguio to Manila took about 5 hours. I couldn’t believe that I’m finally in Baguio! I was trying not to let my excitement show, but man, I gotta try that Strawberry Taho! (OMG, it was so good… and the regular-flavored one had a deeper flavor than the ones sold in Manila, so better get Taho when you’re in Baguio!)

Anyway, we left Baguio at 5 AM to go to Benguet. Although the cold was tolerable, it was drizzling and it seemed like the rain will not stop anytime soon. We had breakfast along the way and reached the DENR visitors’ center at 9 AM for our registration and orientation.

orientationSigning in at the DENR center is required for the regulation of the mountaineers going to Pulag. A 15-minute video will be shown before a short discussion. T-shirts and other souvenir items are sold at the center, while several other stores are available just across the street. We were able to buy some rain coats, gloves, and bonnets at one of those stores. These proved to be really helpful throughout the whole trip. Preparations for the climb were done after lunch before heading out for another 2 hours of drive to the jump-off site.

The Ranger Station is the main jump-off point for the Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail. Restrooms and bathing areas are available for use of the mountaineers.ranger station logo The weather and cold temperature was making us hesitant to pursue the climb. After several minutes, it was then decided that we will start our ascent by 3 PM. It was still raining so we had to protect ourselves from getting wet by either using raincoats or even garbage bags.

 

Hiking in Unpredictable Weather Conditions

We found out later on that the rain was due to an LPA. We pursued the trail until about a third of the way, when we met two people from the Akiki-Amba group going our way. They told us that all the campsites are flooded, and that the rest of the group were on their way to the Ranger Station as well. We were hesitant at first, but the team leader decided that it’s for the safety of everyone to just go back. Walking in the rain was tough. And the wind made things worse… I’m just thankful that I’m in good company — and that the guide was friendly. 🙂

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Our Guide: Ate Noemi
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Last minute pictures before heading back to the Jump-off site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stayed at the sari-sari store in front of the Ranger Station to warm our tummies with coffee.

Simply holding the cup of hot coffee was heaven... actually drinking the coffee was bliss!
Simply holding this cup of hot coffee was heaven… actually drinking the coffee was bliss!

 

Ranger Station: Our Temporary Shelter

We were allowed to stay at the Ranger station after our team leader sought the help of the Rangers.temp They were very kind to us, and accommodating too. Dinner was Tinolang Manok, cooked by our own chef — Sir Aris. There’s nothing better to have in this weather. 🙂

The cold was soon becoming unbearable as the temperature reached 2 degrees on the scale…

Sleep is difficult to come by when you’re shivering/freezing. It’s much more difficult when you’re trying to get sleep on the cold, cold floor.

Watch out what happens next in the last of the 3-part blog series! 🙂

SLTB

Mt. Batulao Itinerary (Mar. 1-2, 2014)

Destination: MT. BATULAO, Nasugbu, Batangas
Date: March 1-2, 2014
Proposed budget (ALL IN): Php 800 (depending on the food)
Days required Hours to summit: Half day / 1-2 hours

Itinerary (2 days)
DAY ONE
TIME Agenda
2:00 PM Buendia DLTB bus terminal to Nasugbu, Batangas (Php. 111.00)
5:00 PM Arrival at Evercrest Golf Course
6:00 PM Start trek
8:30 PM Arrival at base camp
10:30 PM Dinner, Socials

DAY TWO
TIME Agenda
4:30 AM Call Time
5 AM Prep Breakfast / Off to Summit
7 AM Back to Base Camp
8 AM Break camp
8:30 AM Start Descent
10:30 AM Estimated Arrival in Evercrest/ Lunch / Tidy Up
12:00 PM Descent to Manila
3:00 PM Estimated Time of Arrival in Baclaran/ Buendia

WELCOME TO MY BLOG!

Hi guys!

I’ve always been dreaming of being able to travel — first the Philippines, then, the rest of the world. This year has given me lots of opportunities to go places, and I am hopeful that this is just the beginning of a wonderful journey — one that I wish to share with you…. 😀

Welcome to my blog!

your travel bud