Senti over Cebu

Thursday, 6 January 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Just a few more days until the 2nd Cebu Marathon.  I won’t be flying in this time, but my thoughts will be with all the 6,250 participants (including over a thousand marathoners!) who have registered for the race.

– Thanks to race organizer, John Pages, for sending me this long lost photo just today! This was taken last year with Bea behind me.  Read more about our story here

I feel all warm and fuzzy when I remember Cebu Marathon 2010.  It was truly one of the best races I had run for the entire year.  Race organization was professional and close to perfect.  But, it was the warmth and hospitality of the locals that set it apart from all other races.  Now, that’s something not just any race organizer can plan for nor fabricate; it comes from the heart of the city and the soul of the people.

Good luck to all those running Cebu this weekend. I can only pray you have as much fun as we did last year!

To Maxi and my dearest Bea, I do hope you’re both joining the race again and that you do great!

Cebu Marathon 2010

Tuesday, 12 January 2010  |  Race Reports

TBR RACE REPORT: Cebu Marathon
DETAILS: January 10, 2010, Cebu City
ORGANIZERS: John Pages and Meyrick Jacalan

RATING: Excellent!

LEGEND: (Introducing my new TBR race review rating system for 2010)
5 TBR medals – Excellent
4 TBR Medals – Very Good
3 TBR Medals – Average
2 TBR Medals – Poor
1 TBR Medal – Terrible


  • well-attended and well-organized carbo loading party on a Friday (better than the eve of the race)
  • convenient and easy registration and race packet redemption
  • Timing chip for 21k and 42k
  • Fire works at the start of the race
  • Challenging and scenic route for 21k
  • Abundant water and 100Plus in long tables
  • Marshals along the route
  • Cebu-themed entertainment along the route
  • Cheerers with inspirational signs along the route
  • Bananas, sponges, and muscle rub provided at some stations
  • Announcement of name upon nearing the finish
  • Booths after the race
  • Free Leona’s pastries, 100Plus, and mineral water
  • Awarding began shortly after the race and was situated near the finish so it was very well-attended
  • Immediate release of results
  • Unique mango finishers’ medal for full marathoners


  • Kilometer markers were accurate, but there could’ve been more

Cebu City Marathon: the best local race I have ever joined. The organizers of Cebu Marathon got everything right from the carbo loading party to the awarding program. I was told that they ran Singapore, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam Marathons and attempted to replicate the best from these marathons in Cebu. Looks like they were very successful.

The one thing that stood out in this race, which contributed most to its success but didn’t cost a cent, were the people. The warmth and hospitality of the organizers and Cebuano runners were felt all throughout. Spectators lined the roads and cheered enthusiastically. It didn’t feel like another big corporate-sponsored racing event, but a run to celebrate Cebu, its people, and its culture.



I received an email from Maxi about his daughter Bea a couple of days before Cebu Marathon. He wrote:

“Bea is actually a soccer varsity player at UST.  I have encouraged her to run regularly because I see the potential in her to become a good long-distance runner someday.

Problem is, she has to have a person she can look up to as a model-runner.  She needs a guide, a mentor, a running partner.  She needs an inspiration so that she can take running with passion and dedication.

I think that fits you.”

Woah. I was flabbergasted. For a father to entrust his most prized possession to me, his daughter, even for just a 2-hour race, was an honor. We made plans to meet at the starting line. (more…)

Cebu Marathon: Pre-Race

Monday, 11 January 2010  |  Bullish Insights

Our Cebu adventure started Jan. 8, Friday until Cebu Marathon day on Jan 10., Sunday. Hubby, the kids, and I together with good friend and TBR Magazine photographer, Ben Chan of Photovendo and his assistant, Kevin, flew out of Manila first thing Friday morning.


We parked our bags at Marriott Cebu City Hotel, our home for the next three days. The kids gave their immediate approval of the hotel upon seeing that the room was clean, cold, and, last but not the least, it had a tub in the bathroom!


Of course, later on, they took a dip in the pool, too.




After lunch in Ayala Center and a bit of shopping (really just a mad hunt for bubble bath soap), we headed to Ayala Center’s Active Zone to claim our race kits for Cebu Marathon.

We claimed our race kit in as little as 1 minute, perhaps even less. But, we stayed for over 30 minutes chatting with Cebuano runners, mostly the warm and welcoming Cebu Executive Runners club. It was nice to meet John Pages again, who I first met at QCIM, and Meyrick J., the race organizers of the marathon. I also met other runners like Kenneth and Annie, and chatted with Hearty, the coach of Dr. Yong and Donna Cruz, and Pam of Timex. Soon after, we were invited by no less than Ironman Camsur 70.3 Filipino elite champion and my Ateneo batchmate, Noy Jopson, for the best ice cream ever: Gelatissimo ice cream. Aaah, to die for! (Good thing they have a new branch at GB 5 already!)

– with John Pages, hubby, Meyrick J., Noy Jopson, Kenneth, Annie and the kids –

– non-stop chatting with Pam of Timex, Noy Jopson, hubby, myself, Ben Chan with our new best friend, Gelatissimo ice cream –


We also dropped by the brand spankin’ new branch of R.O.X. also in the Active Zone of Ayala Center. It was a little bit smaller than the humongous branch in Bonifacio High Street, but it had the same outdoorsy, laid-back feel. Its second floor was still being constructed.

The noticeable difference with this store was the various sections for each sport. So, it now had a RUN section. How cool is that? I saw someone there who looked very familiar…

– See ME above ME? How cool is that? –

– TBR photos climbing up the stairs. RUN RUN RUN indeed! –

– Didn’t know it felt so good to be a mural –


All Cebu Marathon runners were invited to the carbo loading party on Friday, 6pm in Ayala Center. It was obviously a well-planned event with runners given tickets to claim their carbo meals from various restaurants, such as Friday’s or The Gustavian, and dining under the night sky with entertainment from a band, race briefing from the organizers, inspiring talks and tips from speakers like Coach Rio and Dr. Yong Larrazabal, plus viewing of the inspiring Spirit of the Marathon video. Cebuano runners really know how to party!



– with Jane-Jane of Leona’s, Annie (fitness program director of Holiday Gym & Spa), Amale (super athlete mommy and Noy’s better half), Bro. Carlos, and Noy Jopson –

– with lawyer, broadcaster, runner and blogger Haide Acuna. Check out her blog: –

– with Joe and his friends. I’m seated beside Monsignor Joseph Tan. Yes, he’s a runner, too! –


– with Annie and the Ong family of the popular Cebuano bakery, Leonas. Yum yum! –

– with another running mommy, Jing and her daughter. Not in pic is her sub-4 marathoner husband, Mark from Cebu Striders –

– with one of the people responsible for the growth of running in Cebu and better half of Donna Cruz, Dr. Yong Larrazabal, TBR family, and Bro. Carlos –

Cebu, Here I Come!

Friday, 8 January 2010  |  Bullish Insights

The last time I was in Cebu was over a decade ago. I was still a single, aggressive corporate slave working in a multinational company and we had a sales conference in Shangri-la Hotel Cebu. It was all about work, work, and more work.

As I return to Cebu (we leave tomorrow morning and head back Sunday), it’s going to be all fun; the trip will revolve around two things I love: family and running. The hubby and I will run 21k at the Cebu Marathon on Sunday, while we take the kids on a tour of the province before race day.

I’m not quite sure if I’m prepared for this half marathon for the following reasons:

  1. My mind is still partially on Holiday vacation mode
  2. I feel heavy (2 lbs heavier in fact)
  3. I’m not familiar with the weather and course

But, I also expect to enjoy my run and have a whole lot of fun regardless of my finish time due to the following reasons:

  1. My mind is still partially on Holiday vacation mode
  2. I feel heavy (2 lbs heavier in fact)
  3. I’m not familiar with the weather and course

Needless to say, it is for the same reasons that I expect to have a fantastic experience at Cebu. I’m letting go of the reins and listening to my body.  If it tells me to take it easy on my sluggish body, slow down, and enjoy the new sights, sounds, and people of Cebu on foot, then I will do so.  If it commands me to speed up because I’m strong enough to achieve my (ehem) secret goal, then so be it.  Either way, I’m going to allow myself to enjoy every moment of my first race for the year!

Looking forward to meeting you all, Cebuano runners!