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Ormoc Odyssey

I took a quick trip to Ormoc City the other day upon invitation of Casa Ilongga operator Dr. Bebot Torres and his daughter Valerie, who takes care of the outlet at the newly-opened Gaisano Riverside Mall. Well the trip was hitting many birds with one stone like spreading the gospel of running and reminding the people of Ormoc that Elvis is “alive” and coming to the city soon. Well, Ormoc is slowly following the running boom with several clubs starting to take to the streets. In fact, there’s a local group called Bigfoot runners that runs every Friday at 9:00 pm. Yes folks, its the Ormoc counterpart of the Ungo runners. Gaisano Mall manager Alfie Adlawan is excited when I agreed to do a race there in the  last week of May. The morning after my arrival, I ran a few kilometers along the main streets and it’s really a joy since the roads were almost deserted. Of course, pollution there is lesser than the metro cities like Cebu and Manila. Bigfoot leaders like Miko Larrazabal (Yong’s cousin) promised to support the plan to hold a race there and even said Yong is organizing a trail run in their pineapple farm this March. Then after Ormoc, Doc Torres and I will be organizing the Casa Ilongga Pintados Bridge Run in Tacloban hopefully in June. If things don’t miscarry, we will run from Tacloban to Samar via the San Juanico Bridge. I’ve been dreaming of doing this run for a long time and I just hope we will make this dream come true. Are you still sleeping Doc Bebot? Wake up and let’s get to work.

Elvis in ormoc

The other bird we will be hitting is the Elvis concert in the Gaisano Riverside Mall. Alfie said he’s building an outdoor stage as he expects a good crowd. We are still looking for a good date but we have started looking at the logistics like the live band, sound systems, back-up singers and dancers. The event is also in celebration of Casa Ilongga’s 30th year anniversary.Heh, I better start training este... rehearsing.

Freedom run

I missed the freedom run in Manila and Cebu due to my Ormoc City sojourn. But the EDSA revolt will almost be in my heart and mind. I will always treasure 1989 when yours truly was designated as the Freedom Runner in the first ever anniversary celebration of the EDSA 86. I had the honor of carrying the torch, running from the Mondragon House in Makati to Camp Crame where 12 other runners including the late Jimmy dela Torre, former national marathon record holder Herman Suizo, Primo Ramos and one-legged Rudy Fernandez waited. After lighting their torches, we proceeded to Ortigas EDSA shrine where I lighted the urn after the unveiling of our Lady of EDSA statue. It’s really a great feeling to be part of history.

Bro. Carlo, haide conquer 160 km

While I was writing this column, a flash report from Capas, Tarlac lighted my cellphone. Cebu’s undisputed Ultramarathon king, Bro. Carlo Bacalla completed the Bataan Death March 160 km ultramarathon in 26 hours, 8 minutes, placing 14th among 59 runners. Congratulations Bro.Carlo. I knew from the start you could do it. Rest and see you on May 1, when the Cebu Coast to Coast 64 km ultramarathon blasts off from Toledo City. On the other hand, Iron lady Haide Acuna also finished but missed the cut-off of 30 hours. Haide clocked 31:08. Haide was third among 4 women entries and 36th over-all out of 38 finishers of the total 59 starters. My running cap is off to you Haids. Frankly, I was a bit apprehensive on Haide’s chances of finishing the ultra. You see, just a week before, she ran in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong marathon in 5:03, she could have finished in about 29 hours had she not joined HK.

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