One year of tri-ingΒ 

This post has long been overdue. A couple of months ago, I celebrated my first year anniversary in triathlon racing. Given that I had done a run relay and a bike relay June and August of last year also, well, that didn’t really count as being a triathlete, does it? But as I have written here before, it was after doing the bike relay in Cebu that prompted me to maybe perhaps try to race all three disciplines on my own… despite being undertrained at that time.

Fast forward to this year, I had just come from a painful experience in racing Cebu ironman 70.3 wherein I had written about my race experience here as well. While some people already called it off season, I had one more race to prepare for – aboitiz tri 2017 aka my anniversary race. Having had this race a year ago as my cherry popper, I felt compelled to do it all over again and compare how I’d fare this time around. 


It was only Lucas Lorenzo and I who were representing Team Gotta for that race, but our friends from the other teams took us in so we were with a group. 

What’s nice about doing this race in pico de Loro is that since it is an afternoon race, you can just make a day trip out of it. Arrive early morning, do all pre-race requirements of registration, bike check in, briefing, race, awarding.. then go home. 


It started raining as we were checking our bikes in… not a good thing as it would mean slippery roads — and we all know that there is that steep uphill right at the beginning of the bike course so a wet road won’t help us at all. The rain also meant rough water, and true enough, as I did my warm up swim, i remember feeling the waves as I tried to swim out and ended up just trying to swim back, nauseated as I got out of the water. My heart pounded, I wanted to throw up. I wanted to back out. The mental games have begun. My swim coach, Noy Basa aka Aquaman was there to race as well and upon seeing how frantic I was with the water, he just gave me additional tips on how to go about my race. 

It was a sweet surprise to see my parents there watching and cheering for me once again – they had told me earlier that they had important appointments that weekend and just wished me luck, so their presence was greatly appreciated.

Before the start, I went up to my friend  (who is the greatest PT in my book — he takes care of me when I get injured) Dr Francis Diano and asked him if we could start together. I teased him that I wanted to keep my eye on him to watch the competition but I low key just wanted to draft behind him in the swim (he knew that ofcourse). As the gunstart ensued we ran in, and 5 seconds in, I had lost Francis into the throngs of swimmers and I was left alone to fend for myself.

The swim was two loops of 750m and after the first loop, you had to go out of the water and do it all over again. All I remember was that the water was so strong going against us that I really had to give it my all in the swim. Minutes later, I found myself swimming at the first turn and remembered how last year, I had to stop by this turn and hang on to a buoy because I was getting a panic attack and thought I was going to drown. I guess I felt like Dory this year and kept singing “just keep swimming” in my head. Or maybe it was a different song… I don’t remember.

Now, I am not a strong swimmer. I’ve been swimming for a year. And given the water conditions that day, i wasn’t expecting to hit a PR on the swim so getting out of the water in 30 mins for a 1500m swim was fast for me. I thought there was something wrong with my watch because… how can I get that split? Ofcourse, being the kikay triathlete that I am though, before running to transition, I ran to a rinsing station to rinse off the lake water from my body – because eeewwwy. (Lol)



My non negotiables in every race also include my bottle of spray sunblock that I reapply every so often while on the course – because race results may matter but irreversible sun damage is forever. 

The bike and run courses weren’t easy. The first parts of both were steep climbs that would really challenge your muscles. But a reprieve was given as we would finish off with a few flat loops. The first bike climb was tough, I witnessed a few people who dropped and/or broke their chains while climbing. But once you get through that, it’s all somewhat flat (or perhaps falsely flat) from then on. It rained for 5 minutes while riding. Annoying. 



I got into the second transition with tired legs. It was a scorcher out there but I had set my mind that I had to finish strong. Our numbers were arranged by gender and age group, so the first thing I noticed upon racking my bike was that the two bikes to my left and right were already racked. I wasn’t sure if the others beside them were too, but I knew that this wasn’t my race at all. It’s ok, i thought.. I wasn’t gunning for podium anyway. But the competitive spirit in me wanted to kick myself in the butt for not pushing harder and maybe perhaps go faster. I tried to run those uphills but the legs started to cramp. Time to slow down then and just make up for it.. when the legs started giving up, I began running with my heart. My parents were watching… they can’t see me walking. I don’t want my mom to spend too much time under the sun – she hates being under the sun. So I ran. Or atleast tried to.


I was officially 20 mins faster this year than the first time I raced here. 20 minutes — that’s a huge jump! That alone was a win for me. But the surprises weren’t over. While I thought I was just there to do my anniversary race, the sweetest cherry on top was landing on the podium. It was a 3rd place finish for me and I couldn’t be any happier. 

Since my one and only teammate had already left the premises, I was adopted by my friends from Revv Multisport for the awards dinner. And guess what? Their team members Miguel Aldeguer, Gadric Chusenfu & Enrico Menichetti got on the podium too! 

Ended the night and my first tri year on a high. My first season lasted a full year. It’s been 9 weeks since that last race and I have since claimed to be in off season already…. I may have raced the Trek100 while on this “break” but who said you can’t still SBR on your off season right?  So elated to have ended my first year with a bang…. and now I can’t wait to train all over again and prepare for another race at the start of 2018z 🀘🏾

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Top 8 IG worthy places in Seminyak, Bali

Let’s admit it, we are an instagram generation and posting photos of our travels are a definite MUST. I have to admit that I’m also guilty of having to make sure that I have cute photos to post, aside from having a good time. Ofcourse, as much as we “do it for the ‘gram” and pose and post photos, we have to make sure that most of the time, we put our phones and cameras down and just genuinely be in the moment and enjoy.
Having said that, I can go on and on and on about how Bali is special to me but having had written about the island a couple of times already, I find that I might sound redundant. So to shake things up a little, I decided to compile a list, a guide for you guys.. incase you plan a trip to Bali and wanted cute spots to take photos of.

Having stayed in Seminyak for my 2 most recent trips to the island, (end of sept and Halloween weekend), and having spent most of my time there in cafes and other hangout joints.. I realized that some places are a bit too dark yet vibey.. meaning the vibe is awesome but the place wasn’t as photo friendly, while other places seem like it was made for social media postings. So, without further ado, here’s my 

TOP 8 instagrammable places in SEMINYAK, Bali, Indonesia πŸ’–
1. Kynd Community – 

  • A vegan cafe that serves smoothie bowls, energy balls, nut milk lattes, avo toasts and more! 
  • Every wall and corner are cute for photos — and don’t forget to check out the bathroom too!

2. Cafe Organic

  • Another cafe that serves the same thing as above but their menu variety is quite different.. also, their avo toasts alone are soooo different yet both so good! 

3. Sea Circus

  • Another cafe but this one also serves main course food. Too bad I only needed coffee when I went (but ended up also ordering a milkshake). The exterior alone is already eye catching, but the interiors match what you see outside as well

4.  Motel Mexicola

  • Every nook and cranny of this place is just so interesting it’s like it was made for instagram
  • Their food is amaaaaazing. Maybe this is why I Keep coming back!


5.  W hotel 

  • Whether you’re checked in or just wanna hang at the woobar, don’t forget to check out their wall murals and take cute photos! 


6.  Potatohead 

  • Make sure you catch the sunset from this beachfront. There are no words. 

7. Katamama

  • The hotel right across the potatohead entrance — yup the one that looks like a stage is actually the entrance to one of the best hotels in the area. 
  • The rooms are amazing and the pool area is quite picturesque as well.

8. Random stores & walls just along the road

  • Just go around Seminyak on foot and you will find that everything is just so worthy of a photo! The girls and I tried to walk to our lunch reservation but ended up stopping every chance we got!

Ofcourse, if you have the chance to get out of Seminyak, go for it! 

If you head to Canggu, don’t forget to check out Old Mans — you can get surf lessons there as well!


Did I miss out on anything? Should I make a short list of places in Canggu and Uluwatu as well? What do you guys think? 

Musaman TriDavNor inaugural race


A couple of months ago, we got an invite to race the inaugural Olympic Distance Triathlon in Davao, the Musaman TriDavNor, that was set to happen on the last weekend of June 2017. We happily accepted the invitation, and looked forward to the racecation.

But a sudden change in climate in Mindanao made us a bit apprehensive of still doing the race. A lot of people backed out, yet also plenty were still trying to get in. Mindanao was in Martial Law, there were news of rebellion just near the race venue. We were quite scared, but the organizers assured us that they will beef up security and make sure of our safety.

So we still flew out of Manila and into Davao, got greeted by police escorts and off to Tagum we went to stay in Hijo Resorts where the swim start and first transition would take place.


They say before the race didn’t feel like one at all. When we biked out to register at the sports complex, I got to appreciate the beautiful palm tree lined road that we would pass on race day. The roads were smooth and flat – it was so beautiful. Of course, it was also my first time to have police escorts as I rode out on the road – an extra precaution that the organizers gave us to entail our safety.


It certainly felt more like a vacation as we just relaxed by the pool and got fed so much local food – fresh seafood, and ulam’s and delicacies from the different tribes of Davao.. everything was so delicious it was hard to stop eating.

Race day came, and the elites were to start first, then the men, followed by the women 10 mins after the first group. To say I was nervous was an understatement, but good thing I was able to shake off my nerves after spotting some friends cheering us on.


It was a fast 1.5km point to point swim in clear flat waters and I was quite surprised to have come out of the water in 31 mins. Having zero swim background, this was very fast for me. I was elated to see my time and went on to transition to my bike ride.

The 40km bike course ran through the palm tree lines roads, and on to a banana plantation til we reached the sports complex where the next transition was. The turns were quite tight so I found myself overshooting and having had to make a u-turn.. I tried to make up for the time lost. My nutrition plan was out the door when I realized my gels dropped from my bento box when I hit a bump on the road so I had to make do with what energy I had left. All in all that bike ride was amazing and I still hit a personal best for that 40km stretch.

As I came onto the flats as a pancake run, the temperatures have risen to 35Β° and all I wanted was to run as fast as my tired legs could take me. I didn’t see a water station until 3km in so I found myself suffering in the heat. On the last km stretch of the run, I found myself running  along 3 male triathletes, one of them stayed by my side and paced with me til the finish line. Grateful for that last push to the finish.


To have finished under 3 hours for the second time in a row at an Olympic Distance Triathlon is a huge achievement for me, especially since I haven’t even been doing this for a year yet. All the training hours certainly pay off.

All in all, Musaman is a beautiful and memorable race and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year.


Shout out to Father Jay, Andy, Christopher, Missy & Keith for inviting us and taking such good care of us in Davao. Our experience wouldn’t have been the same if not for you guys. Also ofcourse, this racecation wouldn’t have been as funny and fun without Kuya Kim, coach Ige, My soul sister Sara (this was her first Olympic distance tri and she rocked it!), Greta, Tim, Cj, Jonah & Jane, Rico & Trixie, Keith & Joyce. And of course the three people who keep me race ready – my swim coach Noy, my tri coach Ige and my unofficial nutrition and race strategy planner Enrico. You guys are everything a newbie triathlete can dream of. I feel so blessed to have you all as my friends. πŸ’•

Mt Maculot


 It was the day after Typhoon Nina had just devastated some parts of the country. We were supposed to climb a different, more difficult mountain that day, but, given that typhoon had just hit the area, we decided to change our whole itinerary.


From a large group of 20+ that was supposed to hike a different mountain at dawn to catch the sunrise, we ended up with a little less than 20 people climbing up to catch the sunset instead. And I’m glad we did.


We saw a tree that had fallen the day before right at the start of the hike. We were scared that the soil might be soft due to the storm but fortunately, the soil was dry, thanks to the humidity and heat that day. Ofcourse, it was the heat and humidity that made the climb harder than it really was as well.


Having some first time hikers with us, we paced slow and steady, and took tons of photos every chance we had. And boy, did we take lots of those chances! 


I kept muttering “oh my God it’s so beautiful” over and over as we were nearing the Rockies. Because it really was. Everywhere we looked, everything our eyes could see… the photos don’t give any justice to the breathtaking beauty that we witnessed.


Standing at the top and edge of every rock just for that obligatory mountain photo was quite a challenge. You look down and see that one wrong move would mean the end. It is of utmost importance to practice extra caution when going up those rocks. Didn’t help that I’m actually frightened of heights so I had to do my deep breathing exercises whenever I’d be standing by a cliff. 


We were all on top of the Rockies when sunset occurred  and we just stayed there. Sat down and took it all in. (And took tons of photos again ofcourse.) there are no words that can suffice to describe it. Mother Nature put on a show that day and to just marvel at what you see was inevitable.


We climbed down as it was getting dark and again, the view of the city slowly lighting up in the dark was another sight to behold. Took more photos not with a camera but just my eyes for the memory bank this time… extremely grateful for that sudden change of plans. Grateful to have hiked safely. Grateful to have witnessed the sunset at the most amazing spot thus far. Grateful to have had another opportunity to climb. To end the year with an exhilarating climb up a mountain is more than what I wished for when this marvelous year started. I love it. 

Beautiful BaliΒ 

Bali is a place I will forever hold dear in my heart as this is where I went to heal, pray & yoga after going through a great ordeal last year.

Several days ago, with a new set of happy & content eyes, I went back, all for a different kind of adventure.
I’ve always been meaning to surf, or atleast learn how to, so just imagine how ecstatic I was upon finding out that first on our agenda was surf lessons from Quiksilver’s Bali Surf Team. 

   
   

I was very much elated to have been able to stand on the board right at the first time!! Even if I only surfed baby waves, boy, was I stoked!

   

Other beach activities were on our itinerary the following day but I chose to just chill by the beach in my very “conservative” swimwear. Having been training under the sun all the time, my shoulders and arms were already a lot darker than my legs. This new swimsuit design allowed me to even out my tan. Don’t you just love it?

 

At the behest of no one, I still awoke at 6am everyday in this trip to practice yoga. Glad the other girls were able to practice also on our second day though! 

   
    

   

Sunset sessions, shopping & just enjoying the sights were also some of the highlights of this trip. To say Bali is Beautiful is an understatement. No words will ever suffice to describe the beauty of it. So let me just say more than a thousand words by these photos. 

   
    
    
    
    
  

What a fun & memorable trip this was. The best part? We didn’t really have to pack anything as we were lucky ducks being able to don Roxy’s newest collection that’s just being released in a few days! Can’t wait for the  the new collection to hit the stores! 

climbing Mt. Pico de Loro

Guess who’s back? Decided to change my blog so that i’m not restricted to writing only about food and fitness. I already have a weekly column at The Standard for that already anyway. For my first post, let me tell you all about my adventure last June 6, as i climbed Mt. Pico de Loro with Β my 2 superclose friends, Angel & Chito. You may have seen my countless instagram posts about this climb, but believe me, you haven’t seen half of it. (I have 367 photos on my phone from this climb alone – here’s 20 of them lol)

Angel, Chito and I met up at Angel’s houseΒ at 2am so we can make it to the bottom of the mountain by 6am — with our water, snacks & mountaineer bags in tow. We sought help from mountain hiking experts, ofcourse, and to my surprise, as they said hi to us, one of them, is a childhood friend of mine. It made the climb much more fun, i think. It made us feel like we’ve known all our guides for a while.

I dont have a specific timeline of our hike, all i know is, everything was very picturesque that we kept pausing to pose away and snap photos… :p

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After a few hours of hiking (and taking a few breaks in between), we finally reached the campsite, which is just near the summit (the peak).. so near, yet so far..

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doing a yoga pose with the summit behind me felt right. lol.

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The climb to the top wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. The view was breathtaking and these photos cannot suffice how marvellous everything was.

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At the summit, you can see the tall rock formation called the monolith, which is behind us in the photos above.. we weren’t originally planning on climbing it, but since we were there already, we decided we were up for the challenge. Ofcourse, we only realized how dangerous everything was AFTER we climbed. It didnt help that it started raining while we were on top, which made us a little bit worried that we might slip on the way down.IMG_2095IMG_2231

the vandalism on the rocks are quite an eyesore though. sad.Β IMG_2193IMG_2196IMG_2012

view from the summit…

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behind me is the summit.

after climbing down the monolith, we decided to traverse our way down the mountain. We grabbed lunch as we found some logs to sit on in the middle of the trail. Stories and jokes went on all throughout the climb. To say it was fun is an understatement.IMG_2183IMG_2118

found a grotto where i had to take time out to pray..

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a few hours later, we were at the bottom of the mountain. We climbed the mountain from Cavite, and went down in Nasugbu, Batangas. It was a fun-filled yet tiring 8-hour hike for us. a real UBE (Ultimate Bonding Experience) for friends and i cant wait to do it again.

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xx,

Bubby