Another Year, Another Journey

A year after my tragic bike crash in Bagac while doing the recon ride of Challenge Subic’s bike course, I made a short post for Though I get shivers when flashbacks of the incident cross my mind, my emotional state of joy for having survived is still enormous.

Here is a repost from an article I wrote for Multisport – Another Year, Another Journey.


I have another journey in mind for 2015, will you join me?

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Do You Have What it Takes to be an Atleta Ako Ambassador?

 Are you who we are looking for?

Are you who we are looking for?


Earlier this year, out of frustration of finding my training needs in one store, I dreamt and created Atleta Ako! It took me a thousand small steps, studies and restudied each move because the sports retail industry has never been my expertise. But after seven months, I have decided to take a bigger step! With the help of several friends, Atleta Ako online store is now cooking!

As suggested by our web designers, brand imaging should already be part when we launch the online store. So after some creative discussions with the web group and the help of my sister Lili, friends and family, ideas poured stronger than this months rain and the search for the Atleta Ako ambassador became a magical idea!

So, lets make this quick for the eager active females!

What traits do we look for?

  • Age is not an issue, as long as you are 18 to 60, you are qualified! Yes you got it right – 60! Age is only a number!!
  • No coaches and professional athletes my apologies, let’s give chance to other ladies please
  • No professional models too!  We don’t look for the “X-factor” please take note.  You have to be charming though when you wear our merchandise! A great smile and charisma should be an advantage.
  • You should have been loving your sport for the past two years! What kind of sport? Swimming, biking, running, yoga, cross fit, surfing and Zumba because our merchandise are perfect for these sports! Yes you get to wear them and take home some too! Sounds exciting huh?!
  • Foreigners based in the Philippines are welcome to join!
  • Recommendations are accepted as long as with permission from the candidate

What awaits the winners

  • Token from Atleta Ako
  • A feature on the Atleta Ako website

Application requirements

  • A full body photo showing the contour of the legs and arms, yes my dear, show how lean you are!
  • Copy of your best close up shot, no photoshopped photos please. Remember this is not for a toothpaste commercial, we just want to see your best smile!
  • A thousand words essay about the effect of accumulated sport activities to the human system.  Just kidding!! But please tell us something about yourself and the sport you love.  Maybe how you got into it and how you can encourage others to try it too.  Tell us also what keeps you busy when your work out is done for the day. Don’t forget to give us your date of birth please.

Where to submit entries

  • Email – please send the necessary requirements and contact thru and place “Atleta Ako ambassador search” on the title bar
  • Drop off or courier – yes, we are old school and like dropped in applications. Our address – 4th Floor Aguirre Building 812 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati 1200.  Office number is (632)7529087.  Please look for Jo or Cherry.

Deadline of submission

  • Please don’t wait until September 30, 2014 to decide okay? We will wait until 6 P.M. only.

If you are not familiar with Atleta Ako and the amazing products we carry, please check us thru Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by searching for Atleta Ako.

We can’t wait to see your application ladies!










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The Story of the 30 Cooks

Upon my arrival from Cebu for the Cobra Ironman 2014 race, my sons Yaya greeted me with the news that our cook of two months who asked permission for a day off during the race weekend didn’t come back. Ate Meldy, a look alike of Connie Reyes Mumar, who’s cooking ability was 6, texted she was diagnosed with low blood and a flu. Several days after she was back though. However, she got sick again and this time her myoma was bothering her and wanted to rest in her hometown. So, we had to let her go. I learned later on she’s not really a cook and would call a friend for help when asked to prepare meals. I had a suspicion but we needed extra help.

 Wanted Kusinera with experience

Wanted Kusinera with experience (photo grabbed from the web, ty)


Taking care of a house hold in crutches is not really difficult but quite painful on my injuries of course especially when struggling to get to the kitchen from my morning bedroom/office. Our two other house help and driver are quite efficient and know the family routine by heart. Yaya and Kuya R have been with us for a decade while our other girl – A – has been a balikbayan (just our term for a staff who resigned and came back to work for us again). Our household crew have assisted us for years and saw us cross so many finish lines but we have never been lucky with a kusinera (cook).

Let me tell you the story of some of the 30+ (Yaya used to count but she lost count when I asked her) cooks we’ve had in the last 10 years.

Ate Bibing – the best cook we’ve had. A true blooded Ilongga, she makes the best batchoy, laing, sinampalukang manok, etc. Actually she can cook anything you ask for! However, after a few years of stay with us she was pirated by a Madrigal and was given a monthly salary of 11k a month. During her day offs she’d come over to make us leche flan and my favorite laing. A year after she left the Madrigals to work for a German expat. Her salary accelerated to a whopping 20k/month PLUS overtime pay! She still comes over on her offs. When we have get togethers at home she makes California makis and prosciutto with grapes and olives. Her choice of menu obviously has upgraded too! After 2 years, the German expat left. Ate Bibing started her money lending business (5-6) got married and went back to Iloilo. We miss Ate Bibing.

Then came Manang Rose who was a Filipina version of “Beauty and the Beast’s” Mrs. Pots. Manang was always smiling, very bubbly and motherly but cooked mostly American dishes since she worked for an American expat. Our taste buds were not trained for bland dishes but for toyo (soy sauce) and calamansi or suka (vinegar) and bawang (garlic). She stayed with us for awhile though. I believe she had to go home to the province that’s why she resigned. Mrs Pot’s cooking ability 6.5.

Ate Helen, another Ilongga, mestiza with long shiny black hair, cute dimples, really good looking but never set her heart for any special man. She is probably the middle aged version of Mrs. Pots! A fan of frequent market trips, she padded our market budget too obviously! Have you seen a 220/kilo chicken at any wet market? And that was her price five years back! Even in Guadalupe market where the richest of Forbes Park do their weekend market, the prices are not that escalated! After a few more ridiculously padded market errands for her I had to make her leave. Cooking ability – 7.

Manang with a forgotten name 1– hired at 12 PM cause she said she can cook anything, left at 6 pm cause she thought she can’t last in our household. She didn’t even cook a single dish!

Manang with a forgotten name 2 – hired one afternoon, left the next morning, she said our house had an eerie feeling! Duh! Our house does not look a bit of a haunted house! I can’t even remember if she cooked anything!

Mary Jane  –  dressed like she was working in a beer house, so we told her to be in a uniform always. Her meals were quite impressive and can rate her cooking skills an 8.5! When we left for Ironmam Cobra 70.3 in 2012, we told the helpers not to leave the house. Guards were advised that they are not permitted to leave the village too. However, together with house help A (our balikbayan helper) charmed and tricked the guards that they will just hear mass. They had a great escapade and came back only before we arrived from Cebu. After a few months Mar Janne resigned together with A. Both were pregnant! When asked how it happened, both admitted going out during our Cebu race! Sadly, A never saw again the dad of her child. He ran faster than the speed of Pete Jacobs when he learned A was carrying his baby! Holly guacamole!

Ate Laila – the girlfriend of our office driver. Cooking ability 8, very respectful, pretty Filipina features, and with a proper make over, she could pass for a ramp model. Unfortunately she was very forgetful and could remember only one out of three instructions! Honestly, I don’t know what she saw with our office driver who’s really short and barely reaches her shoulders. She got pregnant too after a year of stay here. Don’t you think our house is a fertility temple?

So now, I’m back to being the official chef! I know how to cook but not as expertly as my sisters. I can not make fresh pasta or hickory smoked ribs that taste like they came from the US of A, so my family has to settle for the basic tinola, adobo, bulalo, barbecue and spring rolls. My cooking ability – well ask my kids 🙂

I made bread for the first time too…

 My husband said this should be titled the tasty effect of a DNF.  Cooked high protein bread for the first time! #nomnom

My husband said this should be titled the tasty effect of a DNF. Baked high protein bread for the first time! #nomnom


On to the next cook… Can you recommend one? 🙂

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The pains of a DNF – Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2014

A month or so ago, I received a confirmation on my wait list registration for Cobra Ironman 2014. I was so excited cause I felt the need to do one more “A” race since it would have been too soon to call the season off after Cairns Ironman 70.3. Training had been fun this time! I thought of the fishes in Shangri-La when I swam, hoped the pot holes of Cebu would be flattened or at least fixed and wished trees grew bigger in Amisa for a better shaded run.

A few days before I flew to Cebu, Zell dela Cruz of Dans Bikeshop called to let me know that my crash replacement helmet was ready for pick up. That was perfect timing!

 My new Evade helmet!

My new Evade helmet!


But to make things a little complicated, for the first time, I joined the Cobra expo under the business name of Atleta Ako, mainly to advertise our future store in the Makati business district coming very soon. Aside from introducing our products that are mostly female specific brands, it was a challenge having some of the souvenir items of Cobra 70.3 designed, produced, marketed and sold! While manning the store, I kept my excitement mellowed and did my best conserving all possible energy for race day!


Some of the souvenir visors we designed for this year's Cobra 70.3

Some of the souvenir visors we designed for this year’s Cobra 70.3


 Yes an umbrella was needed for a very sunny race day!

Yes an umbrella was needed for a very sunny race day!


A shot with the PROs Belinda Granger and Amanda Balding who also handles the female specific brans SOAS

A shot with the PROs Belinda Granger and Amanda Balding who also handles the female specific brand SOAS


Noelle de Guzman passed by my booth and after some chit chat on how tiring yet fun it was to work during race week, she suggested to consider Sunday’s event as my day off. Truly did I kept that in mind and looked forward to my off from work!

Thanks Noelle for the photo!

Thanks Noelle for the photo!


So on to race day…

After making sure my gears were in the right arrangement for a methodical transition, me, my husband and his relay mate Doc Renan headed to the swim warm up area. It was such a beautiful early morning swim on a perfect Sunday weather!

Our wave was the last to start at 6:45 a.m. with the female participants and the relay swimmers. I managed to stay on the left then coursed thru the middle to avoid the congestion of swimmers aiming to swim nearest to the small buoys. Getting to the first turn was difficult because of the current! I told myself – o-oh it’s the same current heading back! But once we turned around the swim was easier, slightly faster!

 I never grabbed from Finisherpix but I can not buy photos for this race, sorry.  Thanks for the awesome photo!

I never grabbed from Finisherpix but I can not buy photos for this race, sorry. Thanks for the awesome photo!


On to the bike – There was a slight variation on the course this year due to some road repairs further down Talisay. It was harder because of the 8 loops of the semi lighted tunnel plus the wind factor which made it gruesome for all. Well, that’s Cebu’s strong winds which made the the course challenging!  The pot holes I hoped not to see were very present and this time worse!  Cebu must have been confused on what the race was last August 3.  They thought the event was Xterra! hee hee 🙂

Honestly, I felt strong on the bike. I wasn’t fast but I saw negative splits on my Garmin. I accepted that I will not beat my previous years bike splits due to the change of route and the worse road condition. But, I knew I’ll do an awesome run based on how I felt physically.

However, immediately after I made a u-turn on my 7th loop, I saw 3 locals in white shirt crossings the street. I was managing my gears and shouted to give way but they continued to run. 2 of them were able to cross the road’s island but the slowest girl did not make it! I ran over her and I fell on the island hitting my butt. The girl shouted of pain. But she also received the most curse she would remember for the rest of her life!

The race marshals helped me stood up. I felt something hurting on my right thigh but told them it could be just muscle strain. I took immediately a pain reliever and asked if I could continue my ride to finish. Initially I asked for 10 minutes but the medicine didn’t seem to have any effect. Then 20 minutes… 30 minutes … 40 minutes … an hour and the pain became unbearable.

The ambulance team in that area (Baranggay Tinago) was the worst medical crew I met. The event marshals were insisting an initial assessment. The paramedics (if they really were one) didn’t even know where to start nor how to assess. They only took my blood pressure and personal details. They said cramps lang po yan! (she’s only cramping). I told the lady in the ambulance this isn’t cramps! If it were cramps they should have treated me for cramps right? They just stared at me waiting maybe for my pain to go away! Cobra’s race marshals even commanded the ambulance crew to give me some ice.  That’s only when they moved!

The baranggay captain of Barrio Tinago came to apologise. He said his community had been “practicing” for the event and was surprised why they still crossed the streets. His apologies were very sincere but he should be very vigilant next year. I told him I only wanted to finish because it is my goal to do five 70.3s before 2015 and that day’s race should be my fourth. He mentioned how remarkable my iron will was! But no matter how my heart was set to finish, my injured body had found its limit.

I prayed before I submitted to a DNF.  I thanked God that I was safe and I have called the season off.

Later on I was driven back to the medic tent at Shangri-la where I asked to be brought.  I wanted my husband to  diagnose me first.  However, he had me sent to the events designated medical institution – Chong Hua Hospital for an X-ray to be definite of a medical finding. I was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis, 2 to 3 weeks of bed rest, 6 weeks recovery, MONTHS in crutches.

I have not gotten over my DNF of course because it has just only been two days from race day as I write this post.  It is more painful to have a DNF than finish a 70.3. It may be more painful to have a DNF than finish an Ironman.

But after two consecutive bike crashes, I am glad that I am still in one piece.

I am a toughie, I am not an Ironman, I am an Ironmom.


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Racecation review – Cairns 70.3 2014

This is a long post and doesn’t get to the details of the race until halfway thru the story. But, this was an adventure I have to write from arrival at Queensland till I crossed that finish line, so I will not forget the memories of a great journey!

Let me share another road I took, Cairns 70.3.

On June 2, our group of four left for Cairns via Sydney. All of them (my husband, Nino and Mayan) will be doing the full Ironman, I alone will conquer the 70.3. We decided to arrive earlier, though Australia is just two hours ahead of Philippine time to be able to adjust to the cooler weather and have a good basis on how the course would look like. So, with an itinerary of how our week will be, we started the journey.

 I often thought before the trip that I was going on a vacation, but the welcome banner made me realise I will race in five days!

I often thought before the trip that I was going on a vacation, but the welcome banner made me realise I will race in five days!


First stop – Find Nemo at The Great Barrier Reef – Yes, we started the week with a tour because we might not have the energy to do this after the race! And of course one should not miss to see The Great Barrier Reef when in Cairns!


Yes, this is the signage at Palm Cove, where the swim  for Cairns Ironman and Cairns 70.3 was held! Terrifying!

Yes, this is the signage at Palm Cove, where the swim for Cairns Ironman and Cairns 70.3 was held! Terrifying!

According to the athletes guide provided to us prior to the race, the waters of Australia could be infested – one of which is the crocodile. Thus, since we had some swim workouts to do, The Great Barrier Reef was the best place to try on our wetsuits and get used to swimming with it in open water.

The tour took one whole day, unfortunately in very choppy waters which was uncommon according to Scotty, one of the tour’s friendly staff. He also mentioned that if it’s choppy in The Great Barrier Reef, our swim course at Palm cove will be choppy too! That day, the water temperature for practicing our wetsuits was perfect. We snorkeled several times and met a huge tortoise, mean looking barracudas, a vast of coral plantations and some fishes that I’ve never seen before. I got extremely dizzy though on several occasions so please do not do try this prior to a race. One needs time to recover from this type of day tour if you get nausea easily like me. So did I meet Nemo? Oh yes, and I saw Dory too!

 Only group photo at Great Barrier Reef

Only group photo at Great Barrier Reef


 This is Laila, our ships's Captain, feeding some huge fishes!

This is Laila, our ships’s Captain, feeding some huge fishes!


 A shot with the Ocean Freedom tour crew

A shot with the Ocean Freedom tour crew


On Thursday we registered and picked up our race kits. We did some biking and running too along the Esplanade, an area in Cairns Central where the T2 and the run course will be. Weather was great except for some strong winds which was forecasted to last until the weekend.

 This is it! 2424!

This is it! 2424!


The long que for the race packet pick up at The Esplanade

The long que for the race packet pick up at The Esplanade


Friday came and as decided, we will check the swim course at Palm Cove and drive till Port Douglas where the turnaround of the bike course for the full IM will be. When we got there, we were very surprised!

 Yes this was the view of our swim course at Palm Cove

Yes this was the view of our swim course at Palm Cove 🙁


 ...and another view of the choppy waters!

…and another view of the choppy waters!


The turn around for the 70.3 was at Thala Beach, a few kilometers after Rex Lookout, the highest point of the bike course where the view was magnificent! As described on the athletes guide and some past race reviews I read, the bike course was truly undulating and winding. It was comparable to Subic but with with longer climbs. The winding descents were fast but designed to be cyclist friendly. The roads were wide and of great conditions too but could be bumpy on several areas especially near the shore. So, to those who will try next years race, it is wise to rent a car and check the course. Then stop by Port Douglas for some snacks. It was a great stop for a quick meal and some shopping.

 This was the view from Rex Lookout the highest part of the bike course

This was the view from Rex Lookout the highest part of the bike course


So on to race day…

As predicted by Accuweather, there will be 100% chance of rain during the race! Oh boy! Accuweather was indeed accurate! It was raining when we got up at 3 A.M.! Good thing we had on our wetsuits cause it was extremely cold for one who has been used to hot and sunny Manila!

Swim 1.9k – After a quick bye bye to my husband and Rommel, a Filipino residing in Australia and a participant of Cairns 70.3 too, I braved myself to the swim start.

This is the best way I can describe the swim course – If you are a Filipino triathlete and witnessed the Tri United Matabungkay swim of 2011, the Tri United race in Laiya Batangas in 2013 where the waves were humongous and a lot didn’t dare to do the swim, or the swells of Cobra Ironman 70.3 last year, well those races were nothing compared to Cairns! This was the toughest open water swim I did! To make things worse, there was no rope or small buoys to guide us.  Only big white buoys with the M dot logo guided the participants.  However, the huge waves were white too so it was very difficult to find the buoys! I tried looking behind to see how far I have gone, but the waves blocked my view of the shore.  We are indeed very pampered here in the Philippines, with all the buoys – big and small, lifeguards, scuba divers, festive looking bancas (fishing boats) and kayaks around the swim course.  I remember having to ask several lifeguards how far I had to swim during Cobra 70.3.  In Cairns, there were very few!  In fact I got lost and swam an extra 100 meters but no kayak came to call my attention.  I had to swim back and fight the current! Swim cut off in Cairns was ONLY ONE HOUR (1:10 for Cobra 70.3 2012 and 1:20 last year due to weather conditions).  I did it in 1 hour and 3 minutes! So, I asked the race marshalls if I can proceed with the bike, and I was told – “Go on!” Ironman had a very kind heart that day!


 Thanks to for the swim start photo of Cairns Ironman. Can you see the big white buoys?

Thanks to for the swim start photo of Cairns Ironman.
Can you see the big white buoys?


Bike 90 kms. –  Still tired and dizzy from the swim, I managed to carry my bike and shoes out of muddy T1 and mount with grace. I went on with a very slow speed… very very slow! I thought there might be something wrong with my bike but realised it’s not the bike, but the dizzy biker!

Rommel warned us earlier how he doesn’t like biking in Cairns during rainy days. I thought it was because of how slippery the roads become. But according to Rommel, rough and pointed stones protrude on the road surface as the rain cleans the road. Indeed, a lot of participants were unlucky to have gotten flat tires! Here is a photo of how the road looked like.

 This is how the roads of Cairns were made of!

This is how the roads of Cairns were made of!


But other than the unusual road condition, the bike course was still cold as rain continued to pour. I enjoyed every kilometer of the serene ambiance and the views of the ocean from different angles. Well, not everything was good – let me not forget to mention how strong the wind was on the way back!

Run 21.2 kms. – Well, the weather has not changed since the race started. It was still cold and wet and slippery. Though exhausted from the swim and bike and with calves cramping till I reached the 2nd kilometer, the run I can say was most fun. I loved running in that rain! I knew it was cold because the spectators looked like they were freezing while cheering. Even if most of the participants have crossed the finish line while I was still enjoying the rain, the positive words and encouragement of the spectators and co participants gave me the motivation I needed. Nutrition was abundant too, it was more of a nutrition buffet! Oh I must have eaten a kilo of those sweet and juicy watermelons!

 Are the clouds low or was it foggy?

Are the clouds low or was it foggy?


One thing I loved about Cairns 70.3 were the race marshalls who were mostly seniors and ladies that were VERY caring.  Since I had no personal cheerer along the course and no one to meet at the finish line, it was a mixture of emotions when the race ended.  I cried from exhaustion and frustration but this lady marshall hugged me.  Her words were most comforting!

I am proud to have finished my third 70.3, the hardest race I’ve done so far! I may not have beaten my time, but the chance to race and finish a 70.3 six months after my bike accident was another blessing I should be thankful for.

 Finally the finish line! That was one tough race!

Finally the finish line! That was one tough race!









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The most hectic summer 2 – road to Cairns – via Paris

On January of this year, Bea turned 18. Instead of the usual debut party, she opted for a trip. Initially she wanted to go to Brazil then Machu Picchu. But later, she changed her mind and chose a trip to Paris.

So for the next part of my hectic summer, I had to accompany her to Paris. Work had been very hectic too so I had to jumble my 24 hours compressing time for family, work and training, missing much of the latter.

Here goes 12 days of mom – daughter bonding! First stop Paris!

Sharing here some of the amateur photos I took during our second summer escapade!

 First part of the trip was to the Hop On Hop Off Tour.  Unfortunately it rained so hard :(

First part of the trip was to the Hop On Hop Off Tour. Unfortunately it rained so hard 🙁


Continue reading

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The most hectic summer 1 – Road to Cairns – from Subic to Boracay

It has been some time since I’ve had the luxury of time to write a post! So now as I spend the last few days of taper to Cairns 70.3, let me share you how the summer of 2014 passed so quickly…

Bea graduated from high school this March. Long before the anticipated march, majority of the senior students (from different schools) planned a summer celebration week in Boracay. We allowed her to join friends on the condition that I will be there too.

However, before party time, there was a race for us to finish. For Bea, it might be her first and last for 2014 as she should prioritize the adjustments on college life for this year. For me, SubITU was part of training, part of the long journey to Cairns 70.3.

Bea won third in the sprint distance for 16 to 19 age category! Here are some podium photos courtesy of Atty. Marge Buot.


All smiles for bronze! Bea must be thinking – Boracay here I come!


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