Monday, December 30, 2013

what a journey it has been

 
Like the blank Starbuck Planner for 2013, I was wishing and hoping for more adventures. I planned trips that will definitely tickle my senses-visual, auditory and taste! I’ve written plans, browsed articles while waiting for that next big Piso Fare!
 
"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."'


7-11 Run 800 Starting Line

January 2013 kicked in…and like a box of chocolates, I didn’t know what I was getting

Since I was diagnosed with hepatomegaly, I started running 30 minutes every early in the morning around the block. It was refreshing and it made me feel good that I extended the 30 minutes to an hour.

Then January 20 happened. Around 5AM I crossed the Starting Line that changed the way I look at running…at my health…at my life…


The 7-11 Run 800 - in celebration of the store's 800th outlet across the country. Run for a cause, as they say, the City with the most number of participants will receive medical assistance/aid.
 
We decided to take a plunge by participating in the 5Km category only because we liked the blue singlet. We would have loved the black one, but it was one hell of a distance (21K) to run for someone without any experience.

After the race...we went straight to Tondo for a feast of Sto. Nino!

Bawi-bawi lang din and na-burn na calories...




After the 7-11 Run 800, I saw myself running more races. I stopped traveling places far from the city…

but I certainly travelled kilometers on foot...


PhilHealth gave me the reason to explore Manila when it offered a run in celebration of it’s 18th anniversary.

After so many years, I got to hop in a Light Railway Transit again. The train's first trip from the South was 5AM. Dropping off at UN Station, I crossed Taft Avenue. And to get to Quirino Grandstand (starting line), I passed by Luneta. I got to see the Rizal Monument again…the last was during my elementary school field trip.




 
March came and I made a BIG leap. From 5Km, I ran 21 kilometers and crossed the finish line with the time of 02:42:00.
 
It was a fulfilling experience. It taught me the lesson of believing in one's ability. I found my strength...I saw determination  drive my pair of inexperienced legs to the finish line...

21 Kilometers was long...

It was tiring...

The experience was worth every muscle pain after...


A week after, I couldn't get enough of the hype brought about by running. March 24, I ran for all my friends and loved ones working overseas. I celebrated their heroism by running my first 10 kilometer race along Roxas Boulevard.





















It was not all running...After my 10K run, I had to walk...

It was a different kind...a journey through the aisle of St. Joseph Cathedral...
 
No...I didn't tie the knot...I was the best man, though. It was my brother's wedding...First time kong maging part ng entourage. I've always been a spectator...
 
 

April 28 - National Geographic Channel Earth Day Run...I ran another 21K. I had my very first sports related injury - a bleeding knee...It hit a concrete barrier in an ill-lit part of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue. I did not see the uneven pavement that got me out of balance and hit the barrier...
 
Funny thing was, adrenaline was rushing along with endorphin...I did not feel anything but a slight sting. A concerned runner asked how I was and I just said I feel good and kept running.
 
 

June 02 was Run United's second leg of the trilogy. Another 21K for me. I was putting together a 3-piece medal and I snagged the second one...

Before the first half of the year closed, I left again...My daily commute to Ortigas stopped in June 30. I left the company I have been working for for eight long years. It was a long decision to make. Took me about 3 years to finally draft and sign that resignation letter...

July 01, I met my new family at work. hahaha Walang pahinga...trabaho agad.

I accepted the offer of a US-based payroll and benefits administration provider whose office is a stone throw away (well, not really...but I walk to get home) from my place.


 

October came really fast. October 06 was a happy day! I get to run with an old time friend, Lea. She's a police office based in Pampanga. I've had tons of crams and muscle pain throughout the course of the Run United Philippine Marathon. It was one of the 'longest' race I've ever been. "longest" in the sense that it took me a while to get to the finish line...OVER 3 HOURS!








 
It was fun running with a friend. For the longest time I was running by myself. Well, Me and my phone...
 
Nice to see some familiar personalities too. I get to see Alvin Patrimonio and Benjie Paras.




November gave me the biggest challenge in my running history. It was a rainy day after the biggest storm in history ravaged Central Philippines. It was wet...it was raining for the New Balance Power Run 2013.

The NB Power Run really tested my endurance. I ran 25 Kilometers around almost all corners of the Bonifacio Global City. The race route included the hike of the Kalayaan Flyover all the way to LRT Gil Puyat station (well almost).

My shoes were wet and towards the 4 Km or so, the sun was shining "bright like a diamond". It was hard to see as the wet pavement reflected the sun. I finished the race in over 3 hours. It was appropriate to state that I "crawled" to the finish line...or, given that I have been in the round sise as my good friends would have called it "rolling (gumulong) to the finish line".


And because I was all spent after battling with the 25 Km road/track, I thought I deserved a hearty meal.

Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes - Carbo and protein loading.

Friends have been talking about it and I am yet to discover the place. I got a protein packed pasta of 3 types of meat and a huge banapple smoothie. The serving was just too much even for the hungry hippo! I had to take home half of the meal!


 
Before November finally closes, I received my final docs from the old employer. It was an opportunity to see my teammates and friends.
 
 
And speaking of old and friends, November 30 was the day for the Annual Poor Club Meet up. We had breakfast at IHOP, BGC. The pancakes were good. I had the Cinn-a-stack. Two stacks of fluffy and creamy pancakes, each topped with cinnamon spread... I also had their big steak omelet.
 
Then it's Christmas...
 
I didn't get to see my family for the holidays because I have work on Christmas eve. But I get to spend it with my other family, my HR/B family. We had dinner together and had fun at work... 


 
There 's a whole lot of things that has happened as I look back...2013 must have been one of my most colorful year in my 3 decades of existence. It was a long journey. I did not get to fly this year...I have not seen new places from magazines...2013 gave me the opportunity to reach out to my inner self. The journey was within. I discovered a whole lot about my self...
I tasted new flavors through the personalities I met while running, in my new job, in my new  work place...
 
2014, I am excited to meet you...I don't know what kind of flavor or color you'd bring, but I am looking forward to more surprises...
More travel...
More Run...
More Fun!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Running: New way to explore and travel

Traveling is fun...

Running is fun...

Running while traveling is twice the fun!

As I look back at 2013, I do not have anything to consider as "travel" activity. I was saving up for my "Great South East Asian Adventure" which I was forced to ditch because of work. It was the price I have to pay in exchange for the goodness of being accepted in the very stellar company. Nearly six months ago, I betrayed myself when I declared that I have no travel plans in the next six months. It hurts a bit as I have made the airline arrangements. It's a good thing I have not made any reservations for hotels and train rides.

With the recently discovered enthusiasm for fun runs brought about by encouragement from my medical internist, I have spent a my free time and finances in fun runs. I like the feeling of fulfillment in finishing a race/run like how endorphins give me that "high" while seeing and experiencing a variety of scenery, food and culture on a road trip.

I realized while running that it is somehow a form of traveling. It may not be as grand as flying out to another country or city, but it lets you see places worth discovering (at least for my self).

I've never seen the Rizal Monument since I was in grade school. I came back to see it flooded with lights in the early morning on my way to Quirino Grandstand for the 2013 PhilHealth Run. Another glimpse of Rizal along with the Km 0 marker and the Manila Yacht Club was during the second leg of Run United.

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is a business district known for its contemporary design and running-friendly streets. It was not known to me until I started getting that "high" from running. I found the beauty in skyscrapers that seamlessly blend in the green patches and pocket gardens. I had the opportunity to go around almost every corner of the district when I ran 25 Km for the New Balance Power Run. It was really nice to discover the place.

Piggy-backing on the BGC experience, I was able to discover the uphill and downhill tracks on the Taguig side of the global city. I endured the climb and the fast downhill pavements around the military camp in Taguig, Heritage Memorial Park and back during the NatGeo Earth Day Run.

These places I've mentioned, I'm pretty sure were not in the bucket list, but I have come to realize that they're discoveries I made while running.

January 20, 2013, I crossed the Start Line that got me to run some more...discover myself and my passion for running. It's where I discovered what lies after Baclaran to the south. 7-11 Run 800 gave me that eye-opening experience.

On January 19, 2014 I will celebrate the run that started it all. This time, I will experience the sunrise, the salty and cool breeze of the Cavite coastal waters along the engineering feat that is CavitEx. I am running the 21 Km stretch of Cavite Expressway for the 7-11 Run 1000.

More Run, more fun!


The Backpacking Geek

Busy days are almost over

If you are in my position, you have to hate your company for not letting you get that holiday off you have been used to...then I realize that this is the company that picked me up when I was at my lowest...It just so happened that the company's most busy time is the year-end, much like most of the institutions we are supporting..hence, I perfectly understand why we have a block out for offs during this busy time.

On the brighter side, after the busy times, as I have received the list of my clients for the next batch of benefit enrollments, I am happy to see only six (6) compared to the 35++ for the year end...now this means I am more confident in planning a trip, a vacation--an activity that I have been longing to do for the last 5 months...

it's time to check those airline sites for some pretty good deals! Hello itinerary building tools...


The Backpacking Geek

Sunday, December 1, 2013

the accidental hiatus is almost over

Okay, so my trusted Neo retired a couple of months ago. iPpie the iPad and Sammie, my good old Galaxy SII has been serving my need to be present online all the time.  Unfortunately, they cannot, in any form or shape fulfill that role of keeping my sanity as I pen the lost stories of my 2012 journey.

Oh yes! 2012...My Bacolod story already turned one last September and I have not been able to write more than 50% of the (mis)adventures! Then there's the stormy Palawan adventure back in December! Oh boy! I am really falling behind!

http://www.pantheracomic.com/comics/2012-11-21-Hiatus_2012.jpg
Grabbed from Google:


ALMOST OVER...

LOL :D
For the purpose of catching up with all the backlogs, my good old self has decided to officially let go of Neo...like officially retiring his six (6) years of dedication and hard work. It was finally time to lay him to rest in peace. 

Last week, I met Nina Ativa. She was gorgeously slim and sexy! She was like a dream come true. She was everything I was looking for...err...well, I have been dreaming and drooling over Mac. Hey, Nina is somewhere close to reality than Mac. I took the chance to touch her, caress her silky smooth curves...we were just meant to be! At the end of the day, she was mine!

There! that's the story...:D Why "almost"? Well, Nina and I are still in the honeymoon stage. Pretty much getting to know each other, finding all those dots that connects us...Give us a couple of more days... or a week maybe...and we'll be working together to build those sweet stories of my journey across the seas...


The Backpacking Geek


Photo credit: http://www.pantheracomic.com/comics/2012-11-21-Hiatus_2012.jpg

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Manokan Country! Where Chicken is the only choice...the best choice

Manokan Country

The first thing that crosses my mind about Bacolod is "chicken inasal" or better known as "inato" in the local language. All the stuff I read, all the recommendations I collected pointed to one direction... Manokan Country.

The place is a strip of joints offering the same thing...Bacolod's famous chicken inasal.  Manokan Country is not a place for squeamish  people. Why? They don't offer utensils! But they have enough stations where you can wash your hands before and after dining! Yup! Kamayan style...the best way to enjoy grilled chicken.

chicken inasal

Chicken Inasal. Marinated chicken and cooked over charcoal grill.  What made Bacolod's grilled chicken different? You've got to taste it to know the difference. It's not an overstatement. Nothing beats the authentic inasal right off one of the grills in Manokan Country.

I've read a number of posts talking about which joint is the best. In the end, when I dropped by Manokan Country, I was starving so I went to the first one I came about, Aida's.

...and there was the traditional LOST IN TRANSLATION :)

I came in (wala pa kasing masyadong tao)...

Looked around...(walang pumapansin)...

I asked..."San umoorder?" (there was no counter nor stand where you can identify where to place your order)

Sabi ni ate: Ano yun?
I replied: San pwede umorder? (ate pointed me to middle-aged woman so I came and asked)

Ate offered me a seat and I waited...(It did not occur to me that she was waiting for me to state what I'd like to have). Wala palang Menu. hahaha

And since I am literally a foreigner in this side of the country...I asked "anong pwedeng kainin?" (now that was a stupid question).

Ate politely smiled with her one-time hirit "manok". (Then I realized how stupid my questions was).

What else could I possible eat in a joint in MANOKAN COUNTRY? Syempre MANOK! (I silently laughed out). Your only choices are the parts.

I got myself the usual...

Well what do you know! The meat is tender, soft and moist! pero luto down to the bones! The meat was tasty. It has that flavour in every bite. Samahan mo pa ng chicken oil over a hot steaming rice ball and the spicy toyomansi!

Now even before I came I knew that they're not serving utensils so before the chicken gets cooked I have washed my hands clean and ready.  I came out full and satisfied...


Where is Manokan Country?

You can easily spot it because it has a huge inflatable chicken on the roof. It's pink and facing SM City Bacolod.