Day Two: Misibis Bay Fitness Escape

Friday, 20 May 2011  |  Bullish Insights, Healthy Food + Recipes

Day 2: May 18, 2011 | Wednesday

The day started early at 4:45 am for our ATV ride right outside Misibis Bay. We had a clear view of Mayon Volcano and the ocean as we drove around the area feeling like we were literally on top of the world.

– All aboard our ATVs! –

– Check out the awesome view behind us! –

We stopped at a secluded yet secure area and then began a steep 30 minute trail walk towards a hilltop that offered us even a more scenic view. Wow, this was truly rejuvenating not just for the body but for the soul.

– Trail walking and, for the more adventurous, maybe trail running –

– Reaching the top! –

After a quick change, we all met at the beach for Mitch and Armand’s Beach Boot Camp. This was a series of short bursts of cardio activities like running, high-knees, etc. interspersed with strength and core training. It was a fun but need I say challenging workout.

– It was hot and tiring, but I’d do anything for a good workout –

– Push ups until our arms went numb. Well, at least mine did! –

– We survived…with hundreds of calories burned to boot! –

To cool down (but not exactly slow down), we jumped into the pool for an Aqua Aerobics session. Wow, I never knew how difficult seemingly simple arm and leg movements are when done under water. Definitely great for toning those arms and legs!

– Never thought aqua aero could be this fun! –

After a healthy lunch, we hopped onto the speedboat towards Pututan Island for some cave exploring!

– Ready for the boat ride –

– We saw Mayon from the boat. I was speechless –

We climbed 120 steps up towards the cave only to rapel down into it. Once inside, we submerged ourselves into the oh-so cold water and viewed the rocks and stalactites formed over the past hundred years.

– Those 120 steps was easier than we thought. Now onto the cave –

– After a muddy rapel down, we all made it to the bottom! –

– We climbed, and crawled… –

– …walked and laughed all for some cave fun –

With that busy sched, we had our share of relaxing downtime too. We had a healthy salmon sandwich snack by the beach served by the excellent staff of Misibis. If we had special orders, such as coffee or yogurt, they provided these with a smile. Fantastic!

Before dinner, Mitch led a lifestyle modification talk where she offered individualized advice to each of us based on our interviews and assessments. I will share with you what she said about me in a later post, but can I just say she was spot on?!

– Mitch discussed healthy lifestyle eating habits –

Dinner was a healthy Filipino dinner by the sea again. I had to run off and leave them though as my masseuse—along with her massage bed and lavender oil—was waiting at the villa.

Previous: Misibis Bay Fitness Escape – Day 1

Mercato Centrale: The Place to Eat after a Race

Friday, 19 November 2010  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

Who’s not joining the much awaited Leg 3 of Run Rio: Run United this coming weekend?  For those of you are signed up for the Sunday event, I’m giving you an additional reason why you should run: Mercato Centrale.


Mercato Centrale is a new weekend food bazaar at Bonifacio Global City.  “Inspired by the outdoor markets of Mercato Centrale in Florence and the Boroughs Market in London, Mercato Centrale at Bonifacio Global City is an innovative weekend lifestyle market with unique, great tasting food finds that you won’t find anywhere around the metro!  Mercato also has an extensive selection of healthy and organic fruits, vegetables and livestock, all located in a clean, comfortable, well-ventilated and organized setting.” They will also stage fun activities, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, and even Sunday mass for families.

Behind Mercato Centrale is popular blogger and TBR Dream Marathon alumni, Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, RJ Ledesma (of Royal Tru Orange fame), and my soon-to-be-runner (although she doesn’t know it yet) sister and bro-in-law, Janice and Gary Villanueva of Creative Juice.

Ribbon cutting and grand launch of Mercato Centrale will be this Sunday, November 21, 2010.  Everyone is invited.  Yes, it’s perfect after Run United, don’t you think?  Your family can also choose to shop (and eat) while you’re running your race.

Hope to see you there and every weekend thereafter!

The Weekend Market in Mercato Centrale
corner of 30th Ave. and 9th St., Bonifacio Global City
Landmark is at the back of The Spa, Bonifacio High Street
open every Saturday and Sunday from 6am to 12 noon

The Downside to Eating Healthy

Friday, 15 October 2010  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

So I’ve been eating relatively well since the end of July.  I can’t believe that I’ve gone this long on low-sodium, low simple sugar, and as little processed food as possible.  What I thought would be a killer diet turned out to be a lifestyle change I can actually live with.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had my little slip ups.  Quite a number of them, actually.  Harvie, my friendly nutritionist and food conscience, once told me that I’m one of his most difficult students. While I manage to eat proper wholesome mini meals every 2.5 to 3 hours, I also succumb to the temptation of stealing a handful of treats from my kids’ lunchbox or tasting a spoonful of ice cream. But, that’s about it.

Only twice did I mess up BIG time.

1) The first was when I overdosed on Bee Cheng Hiang one Sunday. Being half-Chinese,  I have fond memories of devouring loads of cured pork from my lola’s cabinet almost every Sunday.  Yummy and, at that time, completely guiltless and harmless…or so I thought!  The last time I feasted on these was every single day we were in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Marathon last February.  Since then, I had been craving for it.  Then, one Sunday, we were in for a treat: they had the Chinese food bazaar at Powerplant Mall and there was Bee Cheng Hiang right before my eyes. I thought I died and went to Chinese food heaven! For a moment, time stood still, tears started flowing from my eyes, and I ran (in slowmo) towards the stall reunited with my beloved.  I spent P800 on cured pork, chili pork, and golden chicken coins.  Gone in a couple of hours.

2) Then, a few days ago, I chanced upon the new Shakin’ Shots of KFC while ordering the kids’ lunch.  We bought one box.  I tasted it.  Liked it.  Tried another one.  Liked it even more.  And, you can probably guess what happened next.  Needless to say, it was finger lickin’ good!

What happened hours after both instances was something I never used to experience in the past.  I had major migraine attacks probably from the sodium and whatever else they put in that food.  Harvie would probably say “Those things come from the devil,” which is exactly what he said about fries this morning.

For half the day after eating those “evil food” my head was pounding.  I could barely work or focus on anything. I didn’t feel like working out.  I couldn’t sleep.  I could barely get out of bed!  In short, I felt like total crap.  I thought: Is this the price I have to pay for eating healthy all these months?  Why not continue to eat the same way as before and remain completely oblivious to the junk I was ingesting?!

But, of course, I was ranting. And feeling awfully guilty about cheating on my diet, too.

Looking back, the migraine is really the only downside to healthy eating (I know, I know, it wouldn’t even have happened if I didn’t cheat at all!)  I continue to reap the benefits of a more nutritious diet: more energy throughout the day, faster recovery after long runs, less cravings for unhealthy food, slightly smaller belly (I wonder if it’ll ever fully shrink to pre-preggy size?!) and last but not the least, enhanced performance during runs.  It is completely amazing and I have no intentions of heading back to my bad eating days.

As for Bee Cheng Hiang and KFC, can I be honest with you? I know I cannot bid them goodbye forever.  Life is too short for that.  I will indulge in them once in a while and in moderation.  Maybe just P400 worth of Bee Cheng Hiang at the next encounter.

Low Fat Chocolate Milk for Recovery

Tuesday, 14 September 2010  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about LOW FAT CHOCOLATE MILK being a good recovery drink after a run. Experts say that the high protein and high carb combination make it the perfect drink to replenish tired muscles and replace lost fluids during an intense or long run. It’s been mentioned so many times all over the web and in Runner’s World I wonder what took me so long to try it after a workout.

Oh, for one thing, the only low-fat chocolate milk I knew of was Nestle’s Low-Fat Chocolate milk in the refrigerator section of supermarkets. I grew up with Magnolia Chocolait (yes, I reached the one in bottles before) and loved it. In fact, when I was pregnant, I drank it like water and my OB-GYNE advised me to quit it after I gained all my pregnancy weight in the first few months.

You don’t know how happy I was to find it’s low-fat counterpart in the market years ago. Although less rich in flavor, it still appealed to me. I would drink it at home, but never as a recovery drink because I worried about its portability. Even if I kept it in a cooler, I worried it would spoil easily after a 2 to 3 hour run.

I also regularly drink Holly’s Low Fat Chocolate drink whenever I drop by Saturday Market in Alabang Country Club.  Again, I never dared to bring this along with me for a long run and risk spoilage.


Last week, I finally chanced upon a low fat choco milk in tetrapak: Anlene Low Fat Chocolate Milk.  This solved all my portability and spoilage issues. For one pack, a 250ml serving, it contains 150 kcal and 2.5 grams fat. Not bad. I bought two packs to try.


I drank one pack after my 18k long run last Saturday. I didn’t experience any soreness all throughout the day.

The following day, I ran 12k including a 10k tempo pace at Fort Striders Run. My legs felt great. Again, I drank my milk 15 minutes after the run.  (It goes well with heated Tuna Pandesal from Starbucks. Drool drool.)

The results? My legs felt fresh after both runs. I felt fine come Monday morning—as if I didn’t run at all over the weekend. Why didn’t I try this sooner?!

Yesterday, I bought 6 more packs of Anlene. Yey to good and quick recovery!  But, boo to my long term promise to myself to never buy anything made by Fonterra, the makers of Anlene.  (Don’t ask me why, but I just don’t believe in the company.)

So, here’s a suggestion to Nestle or Alaska: Why not manufacture low fat chocolate milk in tetrapaks? You would make a lot of runners very happy, including this one.

Related articles:

Got Milk? Try Chocolate After Your Workout –
The Advantages of Chocolate Milk as a Recovery Drink – The Running Planet
Chocolate Milk Refuels Muscles After Workout – WebMD

Eating More to Lose Weight

Monday, 30 August 2010  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

I have a confession to make. For the past month, I’ve been in rehab: food rehab, that is.

I’m learning how to eat all over again. Or, let’s just say, I’m learning how to eat. Period. Almost like a child in preschool, I’m learning about proper food portions, choices, and timing…slowly but surely. Next to a marathon, it is one of the best things I’ve committed to working on for my own good.


I am what you call a perennial dieter. Since college, I stopped eating rice in an attempt to keep the weight off.  Carbs came from whole wheat bread, oatmeal, cereals, and graham crackers.  Protein was egg and chicken.

I didn’t have normal meals but I was grazing all throughout the day. “Good days” meant that I ate less than a thousand calories for the day. Breakfast for the past 5 years—yes, even when I started running—were 3 graham crackers and coffee while dinner was usually cereals and low-fat milk.  Being low fat, I seriously thought I was eating well.

“Bad days” meant I munched on my favorite junk, which were Cheetoes, V-cut, and Poppycock (the list can go on and on). Needless to say, since I was always hungry, I would always “slip” by indulging in junk and I would try to make up for it some other day.

There were more bad days than good.  My weight would fluctuate by 4 pounds every week.  I maintained my weight by burning all the junk away with a long run over the weekend. It worked.


All of this changed after my Hong Kong Marathon last February 2010. After running four 42ks in 5 months, I was aghast when I gained a whopping 6 pounds after the trip. For someone like me who takes my running seriously, this was huge. Remember that 1 pound is equal to 4 pounds impact on the knee. So, that’s an instant 24 pounds additional impact on my delicate knees! (Of course, the bulging belly and flabby arms didn’t look good in my Photovendo pics, too!)

From March to July, I significantly reduced my food intake and increased mileage, but still the numbers on the scale wouldn’t budge. If I starved myself even more, I was fearful of the consequences on my training. Worse, I was scared I’d collapse during a run.

How then could I lose weight considering the little that I ate while training for New York City Marathon this November? I was baffled. And, I felt helpless and frustrated.


Last month, I bumped into my good friend Harvie, a triathlete who recently graduated from his sports nutrition studies, and I told him about my predicament. He talked vaguely about fixing my diet and gradually introduced his idea of a wholesome, healthy diet that I could live with.

Week by week, he worked with me to remove one bad habit at a time. In hindsight, I realize that the slow process was necessary to ensure that this diet became a part of my lifestyle—not just another fad diet I was taking on to “drop 10 lbs. in 2 months.”

WEEK ONE: EAT MORE. This was a struggle for someone who equated “good eating with eating less.” It was a nightmare when Harvie asked me to stop counting calories and eating more. I felt guilty about feeling full. It was the first time since highschool (except when I was pregnant) that I tasted rice again!

WEEK TWO: CUT THE JUNK. I cut all junkfood out of my diet. What was most difficult was saying goodbye to Cheetos Jalapeno and potato chips.  I was surprised when Harvie considered my daily breakfast of graham crackers as junk, too.  Harvie said anything with a lot of processed ingredients in its packaging we were to consider J-U-N-K.  So, I bid farewell to canned goods, cereals, and even whole wheat bread (Harvie switched me to brown rice.)

– Harvie taught me how to read the labels. The more stuff in it, the more reason to stay away –

– No more skipped meals. This is what dinner usually looks like now…and I am loving it –

WEEK THREE: EAT EVERY 2.5 HOURS. Harvie asked me to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I became more aware of what I eat and when I eat.   Harvie changed my mindset about food; it was no longer something to be feared or rejected, but nutrition and fuel that should be mindfully consumed.  I also started to feel hungry more often, which according to Harvie was a good thing; it meant my body was working like a machine, using my food as energy very efficiently.

– Harvie checks on my food journal every week. Food police, I tell you –

– Harvie asks me to take photos of my meals. He says this meal of brown rice and fish was too little and asked me to add eggs and veggies. You gotta love the guy for constantly reminding me to eat more –

To date, I’ve lost 4 of the 6 stubborn pounds I’ve been whining about for the past 6 months.  I’ve lost a couple of inches too and the jeans have finally loosened its grip on my thighs.  What’s amazing is that I lost this all while eating the most food I ever did in decades.  (I still can’t wrap my brain around it!)  Even better, I’m training hard for NYC Marathon and I feel stronger than I have ever been.

The reason why I posted about this a full month after I started working with Harvie was because I made myself a guinea pig before I told you all about it.  Not only did I want to make sure it worked, but I wanted to make sure I could commit—not just to the diet—but to the entire lifestyle. Harvie also wanted to make sure I truly believed in it.

I am still a work in progress.  I still have my slip-ups.  There were more than a handful of days when I munched on those peanuts, indulged in way too much chips on my cheat days (I get to eat everything I want on Sundays), and lost my patience when the scale wouldn’t budge.  There’s a lot of commitment, self-discipline, and hard work involved on a daily basis.

But, I do know that I can do this…and I will.  I’m definitely committed to giving more respect to my body and giving it the chance to perform at the best level.  How can I even consider going back to feeling weak and hungry all the time when I’ve literally had a taste of the good life?

NOTE: Expect more blogposts about healthy food and nutrition now that I’m no longer in starvation mode. There’s a whole new world of healthy yummy meals and recipes to explore.

If you wish to contact Harvie de Baron for consultation, email him at harviedebaron(at)