Avalon Organics for Sensitive Skin

My selection of skin care products is quite limited.  I have sensitive skin which only allows me to follow a basic skin care regimen: a gentle facial cleanser, a water-based moisturizer, sunscreen with SPF 30, and occasionally -a cream-based moisturizer to treat windburn (when I travel).  I would shy away from toner, no matter what the labels indicate (for sensitive skin).  I would try a toner today, then rashes and dry patches would start to form the next day.  I seldom wear make-up, too. 

Last month, in one of my visits to Healthy Options, a shop where I regularly purchase dietary supplements (vitamins) and other organic food, I gave in to an impulse buy in favor of a product called – Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Hydrating Cleansing Milk (about PhP 345 per 251 ml bottle).  The change in weather from warm to cool night-time breeze did not only indicate Christmas, it is also that time of the year when my skin begins to peel.  This made me receptive to organic skin care products – the shift has to be one product at a time to make sure that I don’t hurt my skin in the process.

I tried the cleansing milk as soon as I got home.   The cleanser comes in a convenient package.  A pump is enough to generate the right amount of cleanser for my face.  I cautiously worked up a lather on my right cheek, and purposely, I let some lather into my eyes – it didn’t sting, no tears!  It has an orange-y scent, and yet, gentle enough for my skin.  Immediate result: clean, soft skin (you can touch).  It didn’t disappoint, so I’ve made this product my (new) daily facial cleanser.  A major plus – it helps fight photo-aging! As a recreational runner, I usually do my long, slow distance (LSD) run under the clear Sunday morning sky.

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Hydrating Cleansing Milk

Another thing I love about Avalon Organics is that it has an NSF seal.  A product bearing an NSF contains at least 70% organic ingredients.  Avalon uses 100% vegetarian ingredients.  They don’t test their products on animals. 

NSF Seal

Last week, I went back to Healthy Options for an Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Balancing Toner (about PhP 345 per 251ml bottle).  I’m almost convinced that not all alcohol-free toners are created equal.  I’ve been using the toner for a couple of days already – no rashes, no sting, no dryness, no irritation – only clear skin and a bit of orange-y scent.  Should things go well in the next 2 – 3 weeks, I’ll have to include an Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Moisturizer in my shopping list. 

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Balancing Toner

To learn more about Avalon Organics, please follow this link to their official website

Disclaimer:  I don’t have authoritative information about skin care regimen and products. If you are hyper-sensitive to certain products or ingredients, please consult your dermatologist before you buy or apply new skin care products.  =)


My Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore Anniversary

Today marks another milestone in the long, colorful history of running : Dec. 2, 2012 – Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

I’m going nostalgic over it.  I ran 42.195KM in last year’s edition.  It was my first time to join a full marathon event abroad, and my first to cover such distance without the presence of any of my teammates.  I intended to run it that way, for I wanted to test my WILLPOWER so badly‘What the mind conceives, the body achieves’…on with it!  I registered as soon as SCMS started accepting runners for the 2011 ed.  I had my flights and hotel accommodation booked, as well.  I invested on this test.  I had to finish it no matter how crazy it sounded.  I posted it in Facebook, not for the bragging rights, but to challenge myself even more.  Failure was never an option. 

I have a way of working on and around my goals, but at that time, it wasn’t working.  If it wasn’t working in a certain area of my life, then I would have to compensate the need to accomplish something – running did it for me without fail.  I was certain to beat all doubts in my head. 

SCMS 2011 - From Orchard - East Coast Park - Raffles Blvd - Padang

SCMS 2011 – From Orchard – East Coast Park – Raffles Blvd – Padang

Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 – I spent only half of the day in the office.  I had a late afternoon flight to catch at NAIA Terminal 2, and a carbo-loading dinner waiting for me in Pasir Ris, SG.  The dinner was hosted by Ate Emma – whose friendship I cherish for two decades and counting. 

I checked-in at Concorde Hotel Orchard Road around 11PM.  Staying in my friends’ flat meant that they would also need to wake up at wee hours of the morning, so I opted to stay in a hotel near the START line (Ngee Ann City, Orchard). Five things about Concorde: spacious room, courteous staff, good food, location, and competitive rates.  Adrenaline and dopamine fueled my excitement.  I can’t wait to start the next fun-filled day with my long-time friends.

Concorde Hotel Orchard - my home away from home for two tonights

Concorde Hotel Orchard – my home away from home for two nights

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 – It was never too early to give myself a small reward for being gutsy enough to join SCMS.  It was a breakfast treat – the best strawberry pancakes via room service! 

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Right on time, 10AM – my SG-based soul sister Atty. Cashmere fetched me from the hotel, and we headed straight to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) for the Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC).  With almost 60K runners, the REPC that morning was surprisingly hassle-free!  We still had time to do a little shopping before we met up with Renchie to lunch.  We were greeted with fine dining at Sky on 57, and the best aerial view of Metro Singapore at the SkyPark.

Bestfriends from Bukluran days! =)

Best friends from Bukluran days! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptous soup is served with a shot of Johnny Walker Blue Label.  Superb! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptuous soup is served with a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Superb! =)

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! - MBS Skypark / View Deck

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! – MBS Skypark / View Deck

View from MBS - The Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer – view from the SkyPark

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Another tourist coming to life...

Another tourist attraction coming to life…

The day didn’t end at MBS.  It started to rain again at 3PM, and I was thinking – here’s another epic run waiting to happen, a full marathon in the rain.  Cashmere probably noticed that I was beginning to feel the pressure.  The remedy:  we went to another shopping destination – Takashimaya, later to be joined by the lovely couple Kris and Jenny-Vi.  Good conversation over Korean food – we called it dinner!  Cashmere accompanied me back to the hotel.  She asked for my after-race (kikay) kit and promised to cheer for me at the Finish line.  At 8PM, it was ‘goodnight, Orchard’.


Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 – My day started at 2AM.  A bit before 5AM, I was one with the crowd as we cheered at the START line.  No time pressure, I told myself,  finish it

SG has a relatively flat terrain and warm climate – same as Metro Manila…but humidity in SG was a major factor. I didn’t expect that level of humidity.  After KM5, I felt that my body fluids were gone.  At KM23, East Coast Park – I saw a number of runners down to their knees, agonizing in pain called cramps.  It was shocking.  At KM31, I thought it was the FINISH line for some distance categories, as the crowd was thick.  It wasn’t a finish line, it was the MEDICS area.  I passed by and saw a lot of people lying on stretchers.  They were so pale.  It gave me ‘The Chill’.

At KM32, I noticed edema (water) in my fingers.  All 10 were swollen already and started to numb.  I knew it was temporary, but I didn’t want to risk it – not being able to finish the marathon.  I didn’t fly all the way to SG to DNF (Did Not Finish – a term use in running.  It means ‘dropping out of the race’).  I had to lower my pride.  I knew at that moment, I wouldn’t be able to beat my time at MIM (Manila International Marathon).  I had to walk all the way to the FINISH line.  The good thing about it was, I had my cellphone-camera with me. 

The course wasn’t all pretty as I reached the FINISH line.  Runners dropping out of the race in pain, assisted by the paramedics and race marshalls – it was a common, disheartening scenario.  I continued to pray.  The race became my metaphor.  I set goals to achieve…then what?  I realized that I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life, not like this – ALONE!  Pride had no room at that moment.  I was confronted by my metaphor.  I knew there was something out there for me, which was more than running and chasing goals left and right.  I knew it all along. 

START Line - Ngee Ann City

START Line – Ngee Ann City

7KM na lang! =)

7KM na lang! =)

Scenic race route

Scenic race route: it was like touring SG by foot

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

My favorite shot during the race - an SCMS official photo

My favorite shot during the race – an SCMS official photo

Finish! =)

Finish! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

After-race-treats! =)

After-race-treats! =)

Atty. Cashmere waited for me at the FINISH line.  She knew that I would have a tough time negotiating the impact of SG’s natural humidity.  She didn’t bother to tell me before hand; it might be quite discouraging.  She also knew I would get through it – come hell and high waters.  (Thank you, sis!  You’ve got faith in me! Thank you for supporting me all the way! It meant a lot.)

That same day at 5PM, I was already in Changi Airport, bound for Manila.  This was, indeed, one for the bucket list.

Wait, there’s more!  I managed to shop online for an original DVD as soon as the official SCMS announcement came out.  Addict! =)  This one is for my (future) children. 

Talk about drafting a personal history...

Talk about drafting a personal history…

Max Ehrmann’s ‘Desiderata’

About the poem:    Desiderata (Latin: desired things), a prose poem written by American author Max Ehrmann in 1927.  Copies in poster form started to circulate in the mid-60s.  In 1967, the prose went mainstream as recited by artist Leonard Nimoy, calling it “Spock Thoughts”.  – Wikipedia.org

What it means to me:  This poem is a gem! A theater director handed me a copy of Desiderata twenty years ago; she even asked me to memorize it.  The poem turned out to be ‘a gift’.  A couple of months ago, for the first time in N years, I had to dig it out of a virtual treasure chest —  while I was ‘soul-searching’…for there are moments that warrant the need to read something in order for us to cope – for us to be reminded of things which we already know…  I find it difficult at this moment to paint a vivid picture of how it was to go on a soul-searching mode nearing mid-life. Whew! Over it! =)


Marie Antoinette’s Estate – Versailles, France
Photo by: C. Dirampaten

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. 

As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. 

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in  the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not
distress yourself with dark imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the starts; you have the right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.  Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. 

Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

Blooms – Riksjmuseum, Amsterdam
Photo by: C. Dirampaten

Notes on Introspection

Introspection (or internal perception) is the self-examination of one’s conscious thoughts and feelings. In psychology, the process of introspection relies exclusively on the purposeful and rational self-observation of one’s mental state; however, introspection is sometimes referenced in a spiritual context as the examination of one’s soul.  Introspection is closely related the philosophical concept of human self-reflection, and is contrasted with external observation. – Wikipedia


Photo by: A. Sales

I used to be so excited about the Year of the Dragon, but after facing the first quarter storm, I was under the impression that 2012 would be a lackluster year…I was wrong.  Change of perspective or luck?  =)

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. ” – Dalai Lama XIV

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers, because their presence provide you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience, and understanding.” – Dalai Lama XIV

I’m not as feisty as I was in my 20s.  The years have probably mellowed me.  Since last year, I found myself in deep introspection in several occasions.  It wasn’t about entering a depressive state, but rather thinking about lifelong happiness and fulfillment…a selfless pursuit in putting more meaning to life.  Time to shut the noise – those unwanted signals which blocked the flow of positive energy. Once again, the vibrant energy has begun to transcend across multiple facets of life, including interpersonal dealings.

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes everyday.  This is a power you can cultivate.  If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind.  That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

Quo vadis? – Sentosa, SG
Photo by: C. Dirampaten

“When life becomes too complicated, overwhelming, or confusing, it’s useful to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose or goal.  Take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities based on that.  This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see what directions to take…The turning toward happiness as a valid goal and the conscious decision to systematically seek it can profoundly change the rest of our lives. ” – His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.,  The Essence of Happiness, 2010.

“The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Sunset – Boracay Island, Philippines
Photo: A. Sales

The World is My Oyster

Based on my Facebook post, Wanderlust, 29 March 2012.

It was in 2006 when I experienced total clinical burnout which started from chronic fatigue syndrome. Talk about life before wellness. I dedicated a huge chunk of my energy and time living in the fast lane – it wasn’t as fulfilling as it is today.

Since that disturbing clinical diagnosis, I’ve been living a happy life within the most responsible terms I could muster. I entered a fitness program, then I tried sports – I found out how much I enjoy running, badminton, and practically anything that could stimulate the adrenaline big time. I started to travel, not for work, but for wanderlust. Traveling is, indeed, liberating.

I travel to unwind, get fresh perspective, and educate myself: the food, sight, culture, people and their dialect. I made all sort of travels, either solo or with my favorite people.

1. Road trips with Charlaine, Lowell, and BFD

2. Solo trips, here and abroad

3. Vacation with family and friends

4. Out-of-town / out-of-the-country — all for the love of running and carbo-loading (runner eh!)

5. Traveling, and still not coming to terms with true love (yahoo!!!)

6. Nature trips, theme park escapades, cultural immersion (plus, good food and wine)

7. Shopping trips (retail therapy!)

8. For the arts (D’Orsay, Louvre, Versailles, Van Gogh…and Louis Vuitton?, etc.)

9. Adventure trips, including water sports – parasailing, helmet diving, hiking, snorkelling, rappelling, white river rafting, zip line, canopy bridge walk, and wakeboarding.

10. Quiet weekend / a li’l soul-searching (to accept or not to accept…nininu ninu)

More trips to enjoy and learn from, more adventures to conquer…the world is my oyster! =D

How high can you fly?
Parasailing with Charlaine

How deep can you dive?
Helmet diving with friends =)

When you feel like pushing your adrenaline level…
White river rafting with friends, Cagayan de Oro

How far can you run?
Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore

When no weather is too cold to go out and play…
Snow ball fight at Mt. Charleston

How far can you drive?
Bangui Windmill Farm – about 560km from Manila

When you feel that you’re never too old to enjoy Disneyland…
Fun time with my family =)

When you open yourself up to the city, and it begins to educate you…

What else do you want to learn?
Wine class at O Chateau Paris

Traveling…there’s just no stopping. =)

Mini-vacation by Island SPA @ Island Cove

The universe has already made it available to everyone the concept of taking a mini-vacation.  It could mean a 15-minute power nap during lunch break, or an afternoon siesta at home with mobile phone turned off, or driving to a spa resort for a weekend. It could get as quirky as re-arranging the contents of your fridge in alphabetical order on a lazy Saturday afternoon.  It’s your choice!

Island Spa is a few minutes away from our home, and I don a relaxing outfit whenever I go there . This is to set the mood that I’m off to a rejuvenating mini-vacation.

Just like everyone else, I only have 24 hours in a day as much as I would want to make it 48.  I’m practically addicted to life.  After some weeks’ worth of stress, one of the simple joys I give myself is taking a mini-vacation at Island Spa.  I’m now writing about the best 1.5 – 3 hours spent for a holistic pampering – mind and body; with level up happiness and productivity guaranteed.

In some days, a mini-vacation for me entails a trip to Island Spa.
Island Spa @ Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park, Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite
Philippines!!! =)

We celebrated the 114th Philippine Independence Day last week, June 12.  It was a legal holiday and I was not supposed to report to work for that day, meaning, I had the whole afternoon planned out for a mini-vacation at the spa.

I arrived at the spa just in time for my 2PM appointment.  Genuine, friendly smiles greeted me at the reception area where I was to meet my therapist Ate (a-te)* Carmen.  Being my therapist for almost four years, Ate Carmen could tell that I did some running on the treadmill earlier that day.  She prepared everything ahead of time – my robe, the shower with all the green tea shampoo + conditioner and shower gel, my favorite treatment room, my preferred rice bran oil, hot pouch for my nodules (lamig in Tagalog), and some treats for my tired, achy feet.

For a full body massage, my top pick is rice bran oil. It is lightly scented and non-sticky. It leaves a healthy glow on my olive complexion.

I opted not to use the sauna, but I gave my calves its much-needed thermal shock by varying the shower temperature, vacillating between hot and cold at regular interval.  I enjoyed some refreshing lather using Island Spa’s hypoallergenic green tea shower gel. After getting that clean and refreshing feeling from the shower, Ate Carmen led me to the hands-and-feet treatment area so she could get started with my hard-working feet.  Brown sugar was used as foot scrub, creating an instant moisturizing effect especially on the soles.  It was followed by a 5-minute foot soak, using a combination of warm water and rock salt for a non-drying detox.

Happy Feet = Brown Sugar (Scrub) + Rock Salt (Soak)

Next was the full body massage that started with a 10-minute application of hot pouches on my back, and I requested the pouches to rest on my calves for a few more minutes. Island Spa uses two hot pouches per treatment, which instantly create the feeling of back muscles being ironed (or flattened) to drain off the nodules.  The effect was calming and I almost fell asleep at that point.  The pouches were followed by Island Spa’s signature treatment – Hilot** Isla (Hee-lot Is-la).  Ate Carmen targeted the nodules on my shoulder blades, and she eased through my calves which were stiff due to my running routine.

This lovely candle table piece lights up each of Island Spa’s treatment rooms.

I was also preparing for my first half marathon (21KM) for 2012 (the event took place only last Sunday, June 17).  I needed to do some extra prep for my legs by adding 30 minutes of foot massage to the 1-hr Hilot Isla treatment.  I’m referring to the traditional foot massage called Dagdagay***, which uses small wooden sticks in stimulating blood circulation in the calves and soles.  Ate Carmen applied an icy cool gel on my legs and feet for a more soothing effect.  My legs got the proper conditioning, ready for the challenge of a half-marathon. 

Dagdagay (dag-da-gay)*** originated from the Mountain Province in Northern Philippines. This treatment makes use of ‘runo’ sticks to massage the feet.

 To cap off  my mini-vacation at Island Spa, I indulged in aromatherapy.  I was given a scent of eucalyptus while getting a quick refresher facial. I seldom go for facial treatments because of my sensitive skin, but I need not worry about it at Island Spa.  They have a wide range of hypoallergenic facial and skin care products from Switzerland. 

Ate Carmen served me a cup of my favorite herbal tea akin to the Filipino ginger brew.  I also had to warm up my vocal chords as I would be meeting old-time friends with delightful stories to share from late afternoon through evening: pastry treats + Vietnamese coffee at iCafe and dinner at the Fishing Village, both located at Island Cove. 

What’s your idea of a mini-vacation? Share it! =)


* Ate (a-te) = Tagalog, noun; older sister, also used to refer to an older girl or lady as form of respect in Filipino culture.

**Hilot (hee-lot) is a traditional Filipino art of healing.  It is still being practiced today to relax stressed muscles by way of deep tissue massage. 

***Dagdagay (dag-da-gay) is a traditional Filipino foot massage that originated from the indigenous tribes of the Mountain Province, northern Philippines.  It uses sticks to massage the soles and legs. It instantly provides relief from muscle aches and tension, as it promotes better blood circulation.


Want to visit Island Spa?  Book an appointment today. 

Island Spa is open daily from 10AM to 10PM; cutoff for receiving is at 9PM.  For inquiries and booking, you may dial these numbers:  +63 46 434 09 88, +63 46 434 77 78, +63 917 505 62 80.  You may also visit their website – http://www.islandcovephil.com/activities/rejuvenate/

Getting there

From Manila (private vehicle) :  Take Manila – Cavite Expressway.  End of expressway, make a u-turn to Covelandia Road.  About 15min-drive from Mall of Asia, light traffic. 

From Manila (public transport) :  From Baclaran, board a bus going to Cavite City or Naic/Maragondon taking the Island Cove route. 

From Alabang (public transport) :  From Zapote, board a mini-bus or jeepney going to Cavite City or Tanza/Naic/Salinas taking the Island Cove route.

Related post


Island Spa @ Island Cove : A Take on Wellness

Have you been to the SPA lately?  Yes? No?

Now, you may continue reading.  We’re not gonna talk about crashing the bank here.  It won’t lead to overall wellness.  Instead, this is about slowing down a bit and planning out a well-deserved, rejuvenating mini-vacation:  a trip to a Mediterranean-inspired haven with a charming Filipino twist, that is ISLAND SPA!  No Euro trip required.  Remember, it’s more fun in the Philippines!  You only need to head out to the historic town of Kawit, Cavite, and enter the gates of Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park.

Treatments offered

To get the most, as in the ‘most-est’, out of your visit at Island Cove – include Island Spa in your agenda.  Dagdagay (foot therapy) and Hilot Isla are two of their signature, must-try services, which promote the overall healing effects of authentic Filipino therapies. 

If you are in need of a Ventosa (Cupping) Therapy minus the red marks on your skin, then Hilot Isla with hot pouch is perfect for you.  The hot pouch contains aromatic seeds, which take out the ‘lamig’ (in Tagalog), or unblock the ‘qi’.  This action ensures that energy will flow properly throughout the body. 

Island Spa also offers:  Swedish/Shiatsu massage, body scrub, warm bath, facial, foot spa, hand spa, waxing, and paraffin treatment.

Mini-vacation : Island Spa

Inside Island Spa
These lovely photos are also published at http://www.islandcovephil.com/

For promos, new treatments, and exciting updates, be sure to ‘LIKE’ Island Spa @ Island Cove in Facebook: Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park.  I will also be posting select promos and packages in this blog…and we’re starting off with a favorite among regular clients – Hilot Isla. 

My testimonial :  I’m a client of Island Spa for four years already.  I live an active lifestyle.  For fatigue and muscle pain, I don’t go for pain relievers.  I just go to Island Spa for a therapeutic massage. My personal favorites are:  combination of Swedish-and-Shiatsu massage  – I availed of this every other week when I was training for a marathon last year; post-marathon, I’m still loving this treatment with my choice of rice bran oil;  hilot Isla – after a tough badminton game or boxing at the gym; and footspa, mani/pedicure every other week. 

Walk-in or book an appointment today

Island Spa is open daily from 10AM to 10PM; cutoff for receiving is at 9PM.  For inquiries and booking, you may dial these numbers:  +63 46 434 09 88, +63 46 434 77 78, +63 917 505 62 80.  You may also visit their website – http://www.islandcovephil.com/activities/rejuvenate/

Getting there

From Manila (private vehicle) :  Take Manila – Cavite Expressway.  End of expressway, turn left to Covelandia Road.  About 15min-drive from Mall of Asia, light traffic. 

From Manila (public transport) :  From Baclaran, board a bus going to Cavite City or Naic/Maragondon taking the Island Cove route. 

From Alabang (public transport) :  From Zapote, board a mini-bus or jeepney going to Cavite City or Tanza/Naic/Salinas taking the Island Cove route.

Map courtesy of Google

I go for the journey, not for the race

My second full marathon is just around the corner – mauuna sya kaysa sa Christmas!   

December 4, 2011:  another dream that I must fulfill = my first offshore full marathon = touring the prime districts of one of my favorite cities by foot = The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

I completed a long distance run of 32KM last week, which coincided with the Run United 3 Afroman Distance event.  While I was at it, I was practically re-tracing the route of my first full marathon (Manila International Marathon, 25 Sept 2011).  Running, once again, gave me an opportunity to reflect, count my blessings, be grateful, and come up with creative ways on how to become a blessing to others.  Buhay na buhay ang spirit, hindi lang katawang lupa.   

Looking back to that first full marathon experience – It’s one of those firsts which cannot be replicated – yun na yon, kung ano pa man yon.  I enjoyed every minute of it kahit alam kung may susunod pang ibang running events.  Hindi ako nagmadali, eto yung pakiramdam na kung pwede lang huminto saglit ang oras – ako lang, yung ibang level ng fulfillment na naramdaman ko noon, at syempre, ang aspalto.  Hindi halata na in love ako sa running.  =) 

Several times did friends ask how it must have felt reaching the finish line of a full marathon (42.195km).  To me, it was a mixed of raw emotions – (sobra) happy for a dream fulfilled, and (medyo) sad because I knew I would miss the journey – the weeks of preparation, the special petitions, the excitement, pep-talk by friends, consultation with the doctors (wala na talaga ako sakit!)…even my in denial hopeless romantic side was not spared, at madami pang iba. 

 The journey is something I can’t get enough of.  It’s a metaphor of life.  Nakaka-addict!  =)

Run United 3 - 13 Nov 2011 - Afroman Distance - 32KM


So happy to see the Finish Line


SCMS - 04 December 2011


Ann + Running = Forever

Manila International Marathon (MIM) – 25 September 2011

I was in the middle of Macapagal Avenue, just 8KM to the finish line when my calves were attacked by the big bad wolf = cramps.  I was shamelessly talking to my feet – yes, it was my bratty self talking, “kasi naman, ano klase mga paa kayo…dinala nyo ko ng ganito kalayo tapos dito nyo ko ititirik?!  “C’mon feet, make me the happiest person today, please…”

Call it Divine Intervention, the sharp pain disappeared from both calves, and I was able to jog to KM39. 

KM39 mark, I began walking.  A weird thing hit me, mentally.  It was even worse than the cramps…I never thought the idea of stopping would ever cross my mind.  It did.  I was asking myself whether to walk all the way to the finish, or why am I doing this in the first place?  I could hear my pacer Jigger telling me to run, “takbo na Ann, kayang-kaya mo pa, sprint”, but I was not listening.  It was a part of me which I never thought existed, until KM39 of my first full marathon.  My legs were literally numb.  It was scary and disorienting.

After almost a KM of hitting that mental wall, a surge of energy jolted me back to reality. People on a truck in the other lane were handling me bottled water…I got one and poured the water on my face, and I cooled down a bit. I saw a number of under nourished kids crossing the street.  Something I knew all along surfaced – that I was to draw strength from a charity program (HAPAG-ASA) which my friends would be supporting, provided that I finish my first full marathon (they pledged to help, just finish the marathon alive…hehehe).  I was back in the marathon.  I was pacing to the finish line once again.  “C’mon, Ann! Run!  Run! Run!” 

300m to finish line, I was so happy to see Dhes, our cheer leader.  Ed was still somewhere in the area, while Jigs running by my side fulfilling his pacer duty. Darwin was ready with a camera.  God sent me angels! I was smiling for all the right reasons.  I was ecstatic – yeah, 42.195km and now the finish line! We made it!  =)

My angels did spoil me up to a certain extent, before-during-after the marathon – Jigs and Ed paced me during longer runs while I was training.  In the actual marathon, Jigs even allowed me to take a snack break, Bacchus break, a bladder break in a posh hotel. Darwin made sure that I stayed injury-free, and volunteered to become my official photographer.  Friends like Dhes were all out with cheers and prayers.

The race organizer screw up big time, but the good things were so much greater than the negatives.  I received more than I prayed for. 

I would never ever regret the day when my bitchy, rebellious self decided to alter the medication program –I flushed all my maintenance medicine in the toilet, threw away the oxygen-in-cans. Time to start a journey to wellness, minus those medication drugs – I couldn’t take it anymore.  I am forever thankful for that morning when I first laced up my shoes to run.   I never thought I would love to run for as long as I can.

I met myself again along the road leading to the finish line – that part of me with a classic sense of determination. It was so re-assuring that life is going to be fine.  From training to completing the marathon, I passed a decade’s worth of cardiac tests, blood chemistry analyses, and ultra sound screenings.  Finally, I am healed.  =)


jigs on pacer duty

ultramarathoners turned pacers: jigs and ed

Finish line!SM Runners

My full marathon checklist: hindi talaga ako excited!!! =)

Game na sa Sept 25.  Pre-marathon checklist:

 1.  Months of training – done

  2. Running shoes – check

  3. Race day outfit – check

  4. Race kit – check

  5. Garmin – check

  6. Energy gel and Jelly Beans – check

  7. Storm-free weather – check

  8. Carbo-loading – check

  9. SPA – check

 10. Bayview – check

  11. Pacers (Ed and Jigs) – check

  12. ‘Ruckus’ – check 

  13.  My heart, brain, soul – all for it! – check  (42.195km is no joke)

  14.  Prayers – check

Wala naman makakapagsabi na excited ako.  =)