A Colorful Run – Color Manila Challenge 2017

A Colorful Run – Color Manila Challenge 2017

The Color Manila Challenge was held on March 19, 2017 by Color Manila. It’s a run for 3k, 5k or 10k. The run was designed to have obstacles as people throw colored powder all over the runners. The event seemed promising so we went for it.

We pulled together some of our friends until we had enough to rent a van. In the end we ended up with 2 vans carrying 19 people. We all decided to register for the 5k run which cost around Php 650.00 and included a race bib, sunglasses, a race singlet and more.

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Color Manila Event Grounds

I nicknamed the group – Team Hatak (Because we just pulled more people in until we overshot our initial target, the hatak powers was very strong with this group of people thus ‘Team Hatak’)

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Team Hatak

Earlier this week we had to scout ahead of our group to claim the race kits for everyone. Ariell or “Kuya A” as everyone calls him offered his affordable van rental services to our group and he volunteered to take me to the venue to help everyone claim their race kits.

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First ones to arrive

We were the first ones there, arriving at 8:00am! The event coordinators gave us some Kitkat chunky as an early bird prize.

kitkat2Free Kitkat

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Successfully Claimed Race Kits

It was an amazing experience right from the get go, meeting some cool people in the process.

Event Day! We departed from manila at exactly 2:00am going to Clark Pampanga Parade grounds for the Color Manila Challenge 2017. With 2 vans filled with the 19 awesome people who decided to join our party, we set off for a colorful adventure.

We arrived at 4:00am and decided to stay at a nearby Mcdo for a while. Everyone changed into their race shirts and. the pre-event ceremonies already started when we arrived at the parade grounds.

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Chillin at Mcdo

Doing some Zumba-kind of moves.

6:15 Gun start!

With everyone in high spirits the 5k runners started slow and steady. We can already see some water being sprayed all over the runners in the front.

Then the run picked up the pace and we hit the first obstacle with the color blue.

blue color
Some blue for you

We had to crawl down some mesh-type thing for the next one which was green.

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Mean and Green

then yellow

yellow 3Yellow is so Mellow!

then finally purple

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Purple

There are also stations in between where runners can replenish some of the water they’ve lost.

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A water station

We already had lots of colors all over our bodies but we kept on running.

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A member of our group covered in Colors

We reached the end of the line and rested for a bit before walking back to the starting point.


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The Finishers’ Medals

The Color Manila party was held right after where the runners got to throw their colored powders together and it was an awesome sight marking the end of the Color Manila Challenge.

end1Filling the sky with colors

We ate at a nearby restaurant called Matam-Ih ordered some Bulalo for just around Php 420.00 which was good for 4-5 people. Some Vegetables, Adobong Kangkong and Chopsuey. Rice was a little costly at Php 40 but it with a large group like ours we could afford it.

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Bulalo at Matam-Ih restaurant

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Team Hatak eating lunch together

Together we only spent around Php 1500.00 individually for everything including registration, food and transportation.

We saved a lot thanks to the affordable van service we got from Kuya A. You can also book or simply inquire using their Facebook page: Lakbay Ariell Van Services

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#SquadGoals

In the end I got to spend time with old and new friends where we get to throw colored powder around. We were able to find ourselves a colorful adventure to take somewhere near Manila 🙂

Special thanks to the Color Manila Team, Kuya A of Lakbay Ariell Van Services and all the members of Team Hatak!

Were you able to join Color Manila Challenge too? What other events would you recommend to us? Comment below we’d like to hear from you 🙂

Picture credits to different members of Team Hatak.

Why You Should Explore the Philippines Now

Why You Should Explore the Philippines Now

The Philippines is an extremely beautiful country. 

Seriously! Whether you’re looking for a super chill beach vacation or an adventurous hike, heritage sites or man-made wonders, and even super fun festivals, the Philippines has it for you.  We’re not quite up there yet when it comes to tourism as compared to our neighbors, even locals overlook our own sites! But here are some reasons why you should pack your bags, and explore the Philippines right now.

1. The Philippines is one of the richest when it comes to biodiversity. 

Photo from: www.experiencephilippines.org

Map from biodiversity.sg

The red marks on the map above shows the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Look at the Philippines. That’s the WHOLE country marked in red! Plus, a lot of species are actually endemic. For example, there are 580 recorded species of birds in the country, and more than 35 percent can only be found here. 60 percent of 160+ mammal species, and 65 percent of 10,000 plant species are endemic. So if you’re a nature buff and want to see rare beauties, the Philippines is the place for you.

Tip: If you have little time to spare, but want to see our biodiversity, try visiting the UP Diliman campusin Quezon City for bird watching! There are reportedly 110+ species in the campus.

2. We also have a lot of heritage sites.

If you are a history or heritage buff, the Philippines also has a lot to offer. We have four churches declared by UNESCO as heritage sites: the church of San Agustin in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Nuestra Señora dela Asunción in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, and Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo. We also have heritage towns where you can just walk around and bask in the culture. Eat an empanada in the historic town of Vigan (another UNESCO heritage site) or try a kalesa ride around Intramuros! Check out these articles on Vigan and Escolta street!

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In Intramuros. Photo by: Arielle Castillejos

3. Because Nature. 

Forgive me, I just don’t know how (or if I have to) explain this. Our islands are simply dotted with beautiful natural sites from waterfalls, to mountains, to pristine beaches. And you don’t even have to go far from the city! A lot are reachable for quick getaways. Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Photo from: www.tourismcentralvisayas.com

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Photo from: palawan.gov.ph

Hagimit Falls. Photo by: WiseDvo of Flickr.com

Mt. Pulag. Photo from: www.thingstodoinphils.com

4. Travelling in the Philippines is relatively cheaper. 

Travelling here is cheaper compared to our Asian neighbors. Granted, the sites to see are so different, but it’s pretty easy to see that you can get your money’s worth (or more) with the awesome sites the Philippines has to offer. I haven’t been to many countries myself, so I can’t give actual comparisons. But here are a few travel blogs you can look at for references!

http://gobackpacking.com/philippines/

http://escapology.eu/2014/07/06/three-months-traveling-the-philippines-budget-costs-and-tips/

http://www.ourbigfattraveladventure.com/2013/10/18/philippines-travel-costs-three-weeks/

Note: There are other blogs which say that travelling is quite expensive here, but I guess it all boils down to strategy and good budgeting! Be wise and load up on information about your destination. There are also a lot of Filipino travel bloggers who would give you good insights on many destinations in the country. You can save up on costs by doing this.

5. The Philippines is a lot of fun. 

With thousands of islands, activities you can do in the country can be extremely diverse, and you’re in for a very rich experience. You could go island hopping, spelunking, trekking, mountain climbing, do water activities, or party on the beach! For a more subdued trip, you could go to museums, visit heritage churches, go food tripping or chill in the resorts. Or you know, combine them all. Oh, and don’t forget the festivals you could go to! This site lists down Philippine festivals from January to December. :http://www.philippinecountry.com/festivals.html

Sinulog-Festival-Cebu-City-Philippines

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Photos from: insights.looloo.com and lakbaypilipinas.com

Of course, we can’t forget the people. Filipinos are usually very friendly and hospitable. Some would even invite you to eat with them in their homes! As in other places, interacting with locals will surely give a new dimension to your trip. Filipinos like having fun with everyone. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, when Filipinos have fun, you can (almost) always join in!

and for the locals, you really should travel domestically because:

6. Travelling in the Philippines can help the Philippines. 

There are actually a lot of ways we can help our country through tourism. The most obvious is the boost it gives to the economy of different locales. It creates jobs and opportunities! Another one is heritage conservation. If more people are aware of the importance of heritage sites and structures, then maybe we wouldn’t have such a hard time conserving them!

Oh, and that instagram post? It helps promote tourism! The long and short of it is, you CAN help! and have a lot of fun while you’re at it.

Note: Remember responsible tourism, of course.

7. Because it’s YOUR COUNTRY!

That is actually enough reason. Get to know where you live and where you come from! The sad truth is a lot of us overlook the beauty in our country because of social and political conditions. But really, we should count our blessings. And we have been richly blessed with natural wonders and rich biodiversity. Add to that the rich cultures we can immerse in and get to know! Knowing our origins, our own people and the different cultures we have can enrich us as individuals and as Filipinos.

How about you? Have you tried travelling around the Philippines? Share with us your favorite or dream destinations below!

Why you should visit the ancient city of Vigan

Why you should visit the ancient city of Vigan

The Philippines is such an amazing and wonderful place. That is a fact! One of the most amazing places I have visited was Vigan City, standing tall in the territories of Northern Luzon; this ancient city boasts an array of well preserved ancestral houses, and Filipino-Spanish era atmosphere. It takes almost 12 hours from Manila, but the trip was well worth it.

As we arrived in the city we were greeted by lines of Spanish style houses. The main plaza contains a huge dancing fountain in the middle and the Old Church and City Hall. A bunch of Kalesa can be seen roaming around the place giving it an authentic feeling of the past.

Vigan Tourist

Although the city is now a modern district with all the fast food and groceries lined in the streets, there’s still the feeling of antiquity and prestige that once characterized the whole place. Maybe it’s because of the well preserved details in each of the old houses or maybe the long and colorful history of the place is still echoing from the past.

We stayed in a nice hotel/inn near the market, Green R Hotel. We rented out an air-conditioned room with two beds and a T.V. Their rates are really affordable; you can check their available rates and availability by clicking the link.

Vigan Longannisa

The city also boasts local dishes such as the famous Vigan Longganisa and the Bagnet (a deeply fried pork dish). Their vinegar also has a unique kick of sweetness to it.

The city is really great during the day, but during night time it turns into a magical place. The streets are illuminated by street lights which give off an orange glow, giving more antiquity to the presentation of the place. The light gives a much detailed accent of the wooden windows, and the stone parts of the old houses. The stores below offer unique wooden carvings, tshirts and other knick knacks you can take home.

Kalye Crisologo at Vigan

I really appreciate the atmosphere the place is giving off. Friendly locals and curious tourists line the streets going from the main Plaza to Kalye Crisologo. Diners with a healthy appetite for Filipino food dine in the streets, smoked food (ihaw-ihaw) are also lined up near the diners making any one who pass by craving for the glorious street food.

Vigan Longannisa

For dinner we went to a great place called Comida Del Norte near Kalye Crisologo. The place offered us all the food the great city of Vigan has to offer. They even have Bagnet Pizzas available.

As the evening goes deeper, families and different folks gather around the Main Plaza around the fountain. The fountain-lights show starts at 7 in the evening and lasts for around 2 hours. The lights and water danced rhythmically to the beautiful music. I nearly danced to the beat as the lights played around and encourages you to lose yourself in the show. You can check the dancing fountain video here:

As we leave the city in the morning, we get to say goodbye to one of the most enchanting city I have visited. No wonder it was labeled as one of the new 7 wonders cities. I would definitely not think twice about going back the next chance I get.

Have you experienced Vigan? Do you have questions regarding our stay in one of the most beautiful cities in the Philippines? Hit us in the comments section below!

Appreciating Escolta Street

Appreciating Escolta Street

In every student’s history classes, their teachers must have taught them about the Philippine’s rich culture and history even before the Spaniards came to colonize the Philippines. The Philippines also continued to develop through the cities on which people now see whenever they go around the country to travel, especially around Metro Manila. But there’s this once well-known street in Binondo, Manila that, in my own opinion, needs to be remembered by the Filipinos because of its historical value. Escolta Street is its name.

Being able to visit the Escolta Street, for the first time last year, I felt as if I was stepping into a precious street in Manila. It was known to be the business district of the Philippines because of the widespread trading in Binondo City. Being the business district during the American colonization times, the old buildings in the street showed how it was so alive in the last 50 years.

September 1930, Escolta (photo credit: www.lougopal.com/)

September 1930, Escolta (photo credit: www.lougopal.com/)

First United Building (Photo by Paolo Bustamante)

First United Building (Photo by Paolo Bustamante)

Fact: The late Comedy King, Sir Dolphy, had his office located in the First United Building.

Inside the Juan Luna E-Services building

Inside the Juan Luna E-Services building

Going back to my observations in this valuable street, there are a number of abandoned buildings. It’s already unimaginable how it looked like Makati City before! It is sad that recently, rumors spread that the El Hogar will be soon demolished (read more about this here). Another sad news came last January 07, 2015 (Wednesday) about the fire that burned the building where the City College of Manila and Philippine National Bank were once situated (read more here). But gladly, people (organizations) that advocate for the restoration of Escolta are always on the move to revitalize the street. Part of revitalizing Escolta is the Saturday x Future Market organized by the 98B COLLABoratory. Make sure to watch out for it every month!

Chalk art inside the Saturday x Future Market

Chalk art inside the Saturday x Future Market

Escolta is a Philippine cultural heritage that needs to be conserved. The stories that echo in each of the buildings still needs to be heard by the future generations of people.

Have you been to Escolta? Or maybe you have also been to the projects done to reviving Escolta’s beauty. Let us know through our comments section below!

References:

http://www.lougopal.com/manila/?p=83

http://www.imagesofasia.com/html/philippines/escolta-road.html

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/03/22/14/how-artists-entrepreneurs-are-reviving-escolta

Be updated about Escolta through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EscoltaOfficial