Monday, April 29, 2013

Team Peoples Park Runners Club shines in 3rd International Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge

Team DOLEFIL wins LOGSAC Sportsmanship Award.

Davao City-based Team Peoples Park Runners Club of Davao, Inc. rules the 3rd International Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge held in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur on April 27-28, 2013. Former marathon champs Ronald Dagaang and Mario Ecalner (with Alexander Fulgencio as their logistic crew) completed the whole race course with a total time of 12 hours, 22 minutes and 58 seconds. The team paced a new record being the fastest champion in the history of Boulder Face competition. Previous record was set by Team Bebang of Philippine Army Manila with a time of 15 hours, 38 minutes and 33 seconds.  

Dagaang, who also won the 80-kilometer TDR Ultramarathon in Davao City last March 16; and Ecalner, a security guard in one of the commercial banks in Davao City, managed to survive in a race that has been considered one of the most extreme in Asia covering four disciplines namely: mountain biking, trail running/trekking, water tubing and road running.

Race Director Engr. Albert Gabriel said the race has a total of 113.3 kilometers starting from the municipal grounds of Sta. Cruz all the way to the summit of Mt. Apo, the highest peak of the Philippines and vice versa. He further said that with the plan of the LGU to further stretch the mountain biking stage, a portion of the mountain biking had to traverse through sitios of Marawer of Barangay Kapatagan in Digos City.

Seasoned cyclist Dexter Nonato and April John Maniyog of Team Columbia/DOTA was at close second tallying a total time of 12 hours, 32 minutes and 21 seconds while early race forerunner Team Franklin Baker Company of the Philippines finished 3rd place with a time of 12 hours, 46 minutes and 51 seconds.

This year’s competition features several changes in the route. Engr. Gabriel stressed that the mountain biking stage was extended to about 20 kilometers, making it an unpredictable race giving equal chances to both runners and cyclists. The water tubing in Sibulan river accounted for 3.5 kilometers while the open road had a total distance of 12 kilometers.

Other winners who made it to the top 10 are the following; Team HEDCOR (Elmer Bartolo, Angelito Sibayan), Team White Peak Outdoor Shop (Marcial Catanggi, Gerald Daraydo), Team PNP-DOPPO (Jonathan Pido, Juny Rex Carreon), Team Flying V Philippines (Charlito Esparar, Mark Anthony Rance), Kidapawan City’s Team PORBO (Noel Oyson, Ireezbone Barrientos), Team San Miguel Brewery, Inc. (Alex Suguilon, Edzel Sumagaysay).

Team Franklin Baker was also winner of two special awards being the fastest mountain bikers and the first team to arrive in the summit of Mt. Apo. Team Peoples Park Runners was the fastest trail runners. Team PORBO was the fastest water tubers while the fastest road runners was claimed by Team PNP-Davao Oriental Police Provincial Office.

Team DOLEFIL from Polomolok, South Cotabato was the 3rd winner of the prestigious LOGSAC Sportsmanship Award.

The 3rd installment of the international Boulder Face race saw 3 foreign teams competing with two casts coming from Indonesia and one from the Netherlands. Team Tricky Trails (Netherlands) was the only foreign team to make it to the finish line in barely 26 hours.

Of the 31 total participating teams, 26 finished it. Other finishers were: Davao City’s Team Base Camp, Team Bernadette from Tagum City, Team Multi-Sports Adventure from Manila, Team Tagum Runners, Digos City’s Team Four Jewels, Team Mulatto from Davao City, Bukidnon’s Team Quantum Farm, Team Bibwak, Team Cebumba 1 and 2, Davao City’s Team PALS Outdoor, Team Quest Rangers, Team Aboitiz Power Army and Polomolok’s Team DOLEFIL and Team Friends of Mt. Matutum.

“The higher percentage of finishers is mainly attributed to the modification of the route,” said Engr. Gabriel.

In the inter-collegiate category, Team Brokenshire College bested two other opponents to claim the amateur crown as sponsored by the Franklin Baker Company of the Philippines.

The Local Government of Sta. Cruz, being the lead agency of the event as a major highlight of its Annual Pista sa Kinaiyahan, was strongly backed by the Department of Tourism XI. Private sectors who also contributed much to the success of the events are as follows: San Miguel Brewery, Inc., Aboitiz Power, Columbia Sportswear Company, Mountain Hard Wear, Franklin Baker Company of the Philippines, Cebu Pacific Air and Rexona. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

LOGSAC gets first snow climb up Taiwan’s Mt. Yushan through Danrev

For a simple mountaineer who grew up climbing in tropical mountains in the Philippines, climbing in a snow-filled mountain is every pinoy mountaineer’s dream. LOGSAC member Danrev Broñola (Papong) also felt the same. “Climbing up a mountain in a very cold weather is difficult for us who are used to climbing tropical mountains,” said Papong.

Indeed, when I talked to Papong 1 week after his meaningful assault of Taiwan’s Yushan mountain, he was still suffering a major leg pain caused by the extremely cold temperature in the area. “It took me 1 week before the pain subsided. When I get to the Philippines, I could hardly walk,” was how Papong related.

Papong’s climb to Mt. Yushan happened last Holy Week. He reached the summit on March 28 and had to descend 1.5 kilometers more than the usual itinerary because the famous Paiyun Lodge was under renovation during his climb where they were supposed to stay overnight, forcing them to hike to the other camping station. Papong said that from the trailhead to the summit measures more or less 10 kilometers with a pure uphill trail.

With Mt. Yushan being considered as an important natural legacy for the people in Taiwan, climbing in this part of the country can be done with permits drawn through lottery. Luckily, Papong was included during the drawing of raffles more than a month before the actual climb.  

“The drawing of lots was the first hardship I encountered. The second was when we were almost not allowed to climb by the park authorities because of the sudden shift of weather. A night before the climb, we were informed that there were thunderstorms and that snow started to form. Along with the other mountaineers, we insisted to just pursue with the climb kasi sayang naman yung time na nandun na kami. Fortunately, we were allowed to climb in the morning but the trekking was further delayed because they still waited for the snow to at least melt.” Papong arrived in the summit at exactly 4:00 in the afternoon.

Mt. Yushan, or better known as Jade Mountain, is the highest mountain in Taiwan standing 3,952 meters. It has also been considered as the tallest in the Northeast Asia region located within the Yushan National Park. It is Papong’s second mountain climbed in Taiwan after a successful climb of Snow Mountain last year.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mt. Apo Lenten Season Climb Monitoring 2013

This year, just like last year, we conducted our Mt. Apo Holy Week Monitoring Climb using the trail that has been considered as the most strenuous – Sibulan Trail to Mt. Apo on March 28-31, 2013. We departed early from Sta. Cruz and took the Baracatan-Colorado-Sibulan City route with the help of our driver Nong Jun Bolanon from the LGU of Sta. Cruz. We headed directly to the jump off point which was at Cabarisan Tunnel and had a short river trekking off the Sibulan River to HEDCOR’s Plant A.

Sibulan River Trekking
With HEDCOR’s aid, there was a new established foot trail from Plant A to sitio Tudaya, expunging the old trail of Tingting that was already covered with bushes and is very difficult to pass especially for first-timers. We trekked just a little over 30 minutes from Plant A and then proceeded directly to Baruring using the perennial out-of-this-world ride of that Tudaya Power Cab owned by a friend Jepoy Albofera.

The new foot trail from HEDCOR Plant A to Tudaya
The Tudaya "Power Cab" was our sole carrier from Tudaya to Baruring and vice versa
For the last 4 years, my monitoring team just stayed at Tumpis base camp to check the safety of climbers passing through Sta. Cruz trail, as well as to supervise climbers doing indecent mountaineering practices like leaving garbage in the mountains and those that were not observing the One Entry One Exit Policy. However, with the presence of five first time climbers in Jinggoy, Bryan, Hector John, Chombian and my inanak Franzine; we were forced to climb up the summit on March 29 and trekked back to Tumpis on the 30th.

Summit Assault via Pundok Basakan
Tinikaran Campsite 2
As per record, Sta. Cruz trail had a total of 288 climbers registered. The figure includes tour guides, porters and the members of our monitoring team. The bad news was that it exceeded the maximum carrying capacity by 38 climbers. The good point, on the other hand, was that not all have climbed all the way to the summit. There were others who backed out few hours before the actual scheduled climb. Others have their climbs rescheduled for some personal reasons and there were climbers who just stayed at the base camp and opted to have a side trip to Mundo Apo and Palaka hot springs in sitio Colan.

87 Degrees Campsite
As usual, Sta. Cruz trail has been religiously observing the policy of regulating climbers to climb Mt. Apo in a single season when it comes to trail carrying capacity. With overcrowding as a major issue in Mt. Apo every Holy Week, Sta. Cruz authorities made it sure to really observe the policy so as not to hamper the environment in the name of ecotourism.

The Sta. Cruz Monitoring Team

Another good thing about the climb is that the other monitoring group, Team Palaka of Coronon, had conducted a serious clean up drive through the campsite of Sta. Cruz trail and at the peak of Mt. Apo including Lake Venado. The group unloaded some 15 sacks of garbage from those areas and were turned over to the Ecological Solid Waste Management Office of Sta. Cruz. “For the good of Mt. Apo, we will always do this kahit na medyo mahirap,” said Johnville Tragico, Team Palaka President. Mr. Tragico even said they experienced hardship not in carrying the trashes but with the attitude of other climbers leaving their garbage in the mountain.
Bulk of garbage gathered by Team Palaka during the Lenten Clean Up
Team Palaka
To the Team Palaka group, congratulations for a job well done. To the members of LOGSAC who always kept joining this LGU initiative voluntarily, we can really assure that Mother Nature will always be sparing a smile to us in the future. Until the next monitoring climbs.