On All Things Brave and Sexy.


It being a Sunday and F1 Race Day at that, I will keep my post as concise and straightforward as possible. At least, I will try.

How many of you have seen the movie Hunger Games? Show of hands! One, two, 300. Good for you. I haven’t. Yet. Now, how many of you have read the book – at least the first installment of the trilogy – before making a beeline for the cinema? I see a few hands raised, good! Now I’m probably one of the many who crammed reading The Hunger Games in anticipation of the global premiere last Thursday – except that I haven’t made a trip to the cinema just yet.

In which my 'hunger' turned out to be just transitory.

I have read The Hunger Games, yes. In fact, I finished the book in less than 12 hours – totally sacrificing some precious hours of sleep – first, because I didn’t want to be the only person on the planet who’s clueless about the book that has the whole world raving about Suzanne Collins and second, well, because I found it riveting enough not to put it down until I’ve read it from cover to cover.

I think Katniss Everdeen is all things brave and sexy…at the beginning and all the way to her emergence as one of the victors of the 75th Hunger Games and even farther down the intricate labyrinth of gore and brutality of the Quarterly Quell in Catching Fire (Book 2) – where she was ‘conveniently’ thrown back into the death arena along with the living victors of the previous hunger games.

But when Mockingjay, the final installment of the trilogy, opened to our favorite heroine’s pained ambivalence and annoying ‘uncooperative’ spirit just when the wheels of the revolution against the evil dictatorship of President Snow and the Capitol, have already been set in motion – I couldn’t help but feel pangs of disappointment. I thought – and not that Katniss cared about what my thoughts are – she was being fickle-minded and selfish by hesitating to see the revolution down the wire. But then again, perhaps, I, too, am being unfair by denying her the right to be human and therefore be susceptible to feelings of doubt, self-loathing, and vulnerability. After all, I was not the one who was forced to kill and watch other tributes die in the most brutal way possible in order to save the people I love.

It turns out, I’m not alone in this. My friend Gail was just as disappointed with Mockingjay and having my feelings validated like that has officially killed whatever little excitement I still harbor for the once-anticipated climax.  But since I got the box set, I feel it would be doing my hard-earned money a disservice by not finishing the book – however long it would take me to read it because frankly, I am no longer psyched. Katniss and her emotional outbursts have become excruciatingly boring.

***

You know what else is brave and sexy? Having tested for HIV.  I hope all of you reading this post right now are not viewing my declaration with myopic eyes. Take away your predilection for sanctimonious behavior and self-righteousness just for a moment and instead, think of the staggering number of Filipinos now confirmed to have been infected by the virus and are consequently reeling  – if not dying – from its full-blown effect. The last thing they need is your coldhearted judgment or worse, apathy.

We live in dangerous times and the sooner we accept that, the smarter and more vigilant we will be in handling certain situations we still have control over. Like staying HIV and STI-free, for example.

Sexy and I know it!

Late last year, my dear friend Noel and I signed up for the HIV/AIDS seminar, after which, we got certified by the Department of Health (DOH) as peer educators or volunteers whose main vocation is to help spread knowledge and information about this dreaded virus and hopefully, prevent it from spreading far and wide. Sadly, if you go by statistics shared by the DOH and independent parties, the number of confirmed HIV cases is rising.  However, that can also be viewed positively (no pun intended) as perhaps having the shroud of ignorance and denial being lifted, little by little, which has resulted to more people getting tested and myths getting busted, i.e., AIDS is a gay disease (IT IS NOT!) – thanks to the small number of social-medical workers and volunteers who make it their mission to drum-up support for a vigilant HIV-prevention strategy coming from all sectors of the society.

With photographer and dear friend Noel Abelardo.

As volunteers, we share our two best and readily available resources: time and talent, for the purpose of advancing this noble mission. Take Noel, for example, who makes use of his great photography skills by conducting an open ‘themed’ photoshoot and sharing chunk of the proceeds with Take The Test and its various programs including free testing/screening, counseling, seminar, and certification.

In which Ian tries to make me look presentable for the lens. Napagod yata siya dun.

I just came from the second Official Take The Test Open photo shoot session and I am simply in awe of the volunteers who share so much of themselves, and selflessly at that. I am especially in awe of Atche and his commitment to this cause.

Remember, you aren’t brave or sexy enough if you don’t take responsibility for your sexual behavior.  Whatever you do, remember these five letters: A, B, C, D, and E.

A = Abstinence

B = Be Faithful

C = Consistent and Correct way of using condoms and other protection

D = Don’t do Drugs or drink alcohol

E = Early detection

Be guided by this 5-point rule book and save your own life and that of your loved ones.

***

In other (BREAKING!!!) news, FERNANDO ALONSO claims victory at the 2012 F1 Malaysia Grand Prix against all odds – especially Sergio Perez’s relentless pursuit of his Ferrari! This has got to be one of the best races I have ever seen and one I prayed hard for. So hard, in fact, that I almost reached for my bible and just clutch it really close to my heart. I know it sounds ridiculous but I’m really hoping this would be a Ferrari year. Okay, fine, an Alonso year. I really think he’s the best driver in F1 today and it’s unfortunate that his car is taking a while to adjust to levels where it can be considered worthy of going wheel-to-wheel with the McLaren and Mercedes cars.

Even today in Sepang, he had a bit of a tough time shaking off the relentless Sergio Perez who, by the way, is rumored to be on top of Ferrari’s shopping list for a Massa replacement. A long time coming for Massa, I would say. I can imagine his self-esteem taking a wild beating each and every time Alonso would outperform him – which happens to be all the time. Maybe it’s really time for him to pack his bags and let someone else take the Ferrari wheel. It’s painful to watch him being relegated merely as a charity case.

Oh would you look at that! Over a thousand words already and I did say I wanted to keep this short! Si Fernando Alonso kasi eh!  Anyway, I hope you guys had a fantastic weekend. Mine is superb on so many levels and not just because of today’s Take The Test activity and Alonso’s F1 victory.  If you would allow these few words of sharing: I am happy because finally, I can see God’s hand at work in my life and I am happy to finally be in a state of genuine gratitude and need for His presence.

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Race Event: REEBOK ZigTech Run on June 5 & Zambales Fun Run on June12


It seems I am not going to be left out in the cold when Team Reebok goes to Zambales for the 400th municipality anniversary fun run after all.  Just learned from Kassy that it has been postponed to June 12 and I would already be back in Manila by then and that could only mean one thing, tadaaaaah, one more race for me before the Nuvali 50k Trail Challenge on the 18th! June is going to be absolutely insane for me on the road race front and I can only hope I would still be standing by the time July comes and I celebrate my 32nd  birthday. Oh my. When did I get so old?!?

Go vertical with Team Reebok!

Now tell me Loves,  are you all pumped-up and ready to rock n’ roll at the Reebok Zig Tech Run on the 5th of June? Registration ends on May 31 so you better make your way to the Reebok store nearest you – or you can also visit Royal Sporting House in Ali Mall and Robinson’s Place Ermita, as well as, The Shoe Shop in Rockwell and Alabang Town Center. The ZigTech Run is a combination of road and vertical races, so if you are on the lookout for something different but equally challenging, this is the run for you! Choose from 5k, 10, and 15k and make sure you are in fabulous condition for the race. Remember to eat healthy and on time, hydrate as much as your body requires, and if you’re planning to get yourself a new pair of running shoes, may I suggest a pair of ZigTech?

INSANITY with Bruno

On a somewhat related note, just to prove to you that I wasn’t just running my mouth like I’m known to do sometimes, haha, when I said I will try to keep my Insanity workout right on track despite the crazy-ass schedule we have here, I did Insanity on the double this morning. Although it’s supposed to be my off day, based on my Insanity workout calendar, I decided to forgo rest knowing that beginning tomorrow, we will be clocking in a minimum of 15 hours each day until the event officially ends on the 1st of June.

So, how about we form that TeamBeachBody club now?

Now if only there’s an official Team Beach Body club in the Philippines, Abby and I would most certainly file our membership application in a blink of an eye and make Shaun T. extremely proud! I mean, why wouldn’t he?

***

In less than 6 hours, Fernando ‘the greatest love of my life’ Alonso (of course, Chris is my one true love so there’s really no conflict there. I swear, I cleared it with him. hahaha) will be slugging it out with the Red Bull and MacLaren drivers – who claimed P1 to P3 in yesterday’s qualifying race. The Spanish Grand Prix is home race for Alonso being a (hot) Spaniard himself and I’m confident he will finish the race somewhere in the top three. Vettel’s winning streak has got to end at one point, right? I think maybe this is it. So Fernando My Love, go forth and bring that GP trophy home to Momma. Yes, Me, not that woman Racquel. *ROTFL*

FUEGO Sunset Run 2011 and Estan Cabigas


It’s raining wildly outside as I type this blog entry; and there’s still the burning sensation on my tongue, courtesy of the hot soup I had nearly an hour ago at Nasi Lemak. I take full responsibility for the scalded tongue because, as usual, I did not think before taking a sip. For the bazillionth time, I had murdered my taste bud. But no, neither rain nor burnt tongue will dampen my edified spirits because yesterday – yesterday, was one darn fine day and let me tell you why.

But first, have you met Purple Pippa?

Purple Pippa

This gorgeous Zig Glam pair is the youngest of the Reebok brood I keep safe and nurtured right at home. She came just weeks after Bruno and Basia arrived separately and the three of them practically took over my athletic life, much to the consternation of my other running pairs. I just don’t have the heart to give up Zara my Zoot and Blu my Wave Rider because they were both given to me as a gift.  I could not have chosen a better way to break-in Purple Pippa than this weekend because she looked absolutely stunning out there!

Vicky FTW!

TEAM REEBOK Pilipinas at the Fuego Sunset Run

I won first place in yesterday’s FUEGO Sunset Run held at Club Punta Fuego in Batangas! This hot little munchkin has lorded over a handful of 5k female runner hopefuls and crossed the finish line in 30 minutes. But wait, before you all scoff at my little achievement, allow me to state for the record that it wasn’t just your regular flat surface run. It was an evil cardiac hills run at 4:30 in the afternoon with the Fuego heat beating down on us! And for someone who’s not quite used to running hills, I would be the first one to admit that it is not at all easy. Sure I have had my share of trail runs – MH All-Terrain Race in 2009 in Sta. Elena featuring Phoenix who is now back in the grave, never to resurrect again; Merell Adventure Trail Run 2010 at the La Mesa Dam where a bunch of us trail runners got lost and so we ended up just photowalk-ing; and my all-time favorite 50k PAU Mt. Pinatubo Trail Challenge where I trailed behind the sensational Camilla Brooks – but I certainly don’t do this type of run on a regular basis.

Post-race posterity shot

TEAM REEBOK Pilipinas with PEP SQUAD Events and Race Marshals

At gun start, I made a mad dash for it like everyone else but nearly met an accident when confronted by the sharp downhill which started just a few feet from the starting line. It was almost like that time  I first attempted to do mountain biking at San Mateo, Rizal, flew off from my bike, and landed hard on the pebbled dirt road, sustaining a number of injuries.

TEAM REEBOK

At the Starting Line

I still carry the scars from that accident to this day. Like that deep downhill slope of San Mateo, this one in Punta Fuego has got me foot-braking in an attempt to slow down (the) momentum which could potentially send me sprawling on the ground again, in a bloody heap. Thank God, this time, none of the sort happened. I was in full control of my legs and wobbly knees (hey, they’re almost 32 years old, so cut them some slack, will you?!) and though I slowed down considerably after that – which gave this other girl the opening to overtake me, at least for a few meters, before I would snatch back my lead and continue to keep the girls at bay all the way through the finish line.

The heat was pretty intense that, for a while there, I got worried Purple Pippa would sustain permanent injuries herself! I could feel the heat literally creeping up the soles of Pippa, all the way through my legs, and up my thighs and it was debilitating! But the second the FINISH LINE materialized before my eyes, the pain and heat seemed to have vanished and I was like Oh yeah, baby! Who’s your Mommy?Errr, that doesn’t exactly have a nice ring to it, ya? Nowhere near ‘Who’s your Daddy?!‘ so I guess I better quit it.

Nognog Runner on a rampage!

Great race performance by Team Reebok!

We stayed until the awarding ceremonies and got our fill of delicious buffet dinner. Beer was overflowing, too, much to the boys’ delight. Meanwhile, I got a medal and a gift check from Reebok (what are the odds of that happening, huh?!?) which I’m planning to use to get me another one of the Cirque de Soleil top I so adore! See that blue top I wore to the race? That’s the Cirque de Soleil apparel and it also comes in pink – which I’m claiming using the GC I won. I also won a GC worth Php1,000 from Milk & Co. during the raffle.

TEAM REEBOK at the Awarding Ceremonies

All in all, it was a great race and Pep Squad did a good job of organizing it! Thank you, too, Reebok Philippines and my team mates at Team Reebok Pilipinas for the wonderful opportunity and, yes, the warm friendship and solidarity. Here’s to greater success in future races and other events. WE JUST ROCK, don’t we?

Oh, by the way, prior to the sunset race, we spent some time at the Terrazas de Punta Fuego – mostly to enjoy the food, glorious sun, and the nice beach. And since we have TEAM REEBOK’s de facto photographer Estan Cabigas with us, expect some great photos of our pre-race beach-combing, the actual race, and the awarding ceremonies. Below are some of the photos we took by the beach. These are not by Estan, so you will have to excuse the poor quality. Estan’s are definitely waaaaaaaaaay better, so watch out for it!

Before the clothes came off...:p

Team Reebok hours before the sunset race

No, that definitely isn't spray-tan. Au naturelle, baby.

The Succulent Runner with the Titanium Runner

Beep Beep, Vicky, and TR

Purple druhmuh. Bow.

🙂

Caution: VERY dangerous curves ahead.

In which we traded our running gear for sunscreen. Yay.

POST SCRIPT:

  • Congratulations to Pinoy Pride MANNY PACQUAIO for yet another momentous victory in the international boxing arena! Ikaw na!
  • Congratulations, too, FERNANDO ALONSO aka The Greatest Love of My Life for a strong P3 finish in yesterday’s F1 Turkish Grand Prix. Oh you should’ve seen the silly grin that refused to leave my face the whole time I was watching the post-race press conference! Kilig kung kilig ito! Round 4 done and over with – 15 more to go and things have started to look real good for my favorite Spaniard.
  • Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! Yes, that includes you, my dear absentee mother.
***
Finally, as promised,  here are four photos taken by ESTAN CABIGAS. Gorgeous, ‘innit?

Estan Cabigas Photography.

Estan Cabigas Photography

By Estan Cabigas

Vicky Ras by Estan Cabigas

The Young(ish) and the Restless


THIS JUST IN. Grab a copy of Men’s Health Philippines May Issue with one of the country’s most sought-after leading men, Coco Martin, on the cover and turn to page 96 for some hard truths in modern-day relationships. Read and let me know what you think.

***

Osama Bin Laden is dead. The long-time leader of the Al Qaeda and arguably the most feared face of terror was reportedly killed in a targeted operation somewhere in Pakistan. It took over a decade of countless search and destroy operations, not to mention, inumerable deaths and collateral damage until finally… peace. Or, at least, some semblance of it.

***

UFC 129. I woke up late and almost didn’t make it in time for the co-main event which would have been a pity because Aldo and Hominick gave what GSP and Shields failed to deliver – excitement! On my way to the viewing party, my friend told me that Randy Couture took quite a beating from Lyoto Machida. Not that I’m surprised, really, because The Nature is already quite old – at least by UFC standards. It would have been a bigger upset if The Dragon were the one who got the pounding instead. But Hominick, man, you gotta give it to the guy. He took all the punches and leg kicks that Aldo kept throwing his way and when he got that elbow on the forehead that resulted to this huge bump (Joe Rogan said ‘it looks as though there’s another head growing in there!’) – I thought the guy was finished! But he simply refused to buckle and even managed to give Aldo his share of ground and pound beating just before the final round ended. If I were his very pregnant wife and I happened to be watching that fight, I can’t be faulted for going into labor right where I’m sitting! The main event, however, was as boring as most of GSP’s fights of late. I was quite certain this time around, with Shields as his opponent, he would actually end the fight via stoppage or submission – but none came. Instead, it went all the way to the judges decision – AGAIN – and a very close one at that. Though he left the octagon the same way he entered it – as the champ – I, for one, do not think it was such a great victory.

***

Formula One. Now as most of you who have been keeping tabs of my blog (especially my old blog here) would know, I am and always have been an Alonso fan. More like an obsessed fan, really. So much so that when I was in Shanghai on the same weekend that the F1 Chinese Grand Prix was held there, I kept praying I’d catch a glimpse of the Spaniard – no matter how improbable the chances of it happening were. Oh but anyway, all’s not entirely lost as I did, in fact, catch a glimpse of him – rather, of his Ferrari – at the F1 Malaysian Grand prix last month. Much love to F1 Marussia-Virgin racing team, I was lucky to have been given a grandstand pass on race day along with other colleagues from work. It was, if I’m not mistaken, the third time that I watched the F1 race in Sepang.

Here with Chris, who's forever a 'V' fan. *wink wink*

Insanity with Shaun T. Boo-hoo. Today is my final week of Insanity and I only have the greatest raves about the wonders it has done for my body and my overall physicality. That I have grown stronger, more agile, and flexible are some of the benefits that cannot be emphasized more. When I got started with it 55 days ago, I didn’t think I was going to last. Let alone complete the 60-day program without cheating. But I survived and not only that, and this is where I really ought to give credit to my uncompromising take on fitness commitment, because even during those times that I’m traveling abroad for work and/or vacation, I would never leave the hotel without doing Insanity first. Although I may have defaulted one or two times because I was too ill to even get out of bed, I made sure to compensate for it by doing double Insanity the soonest I’m better. I used to take photos of my daily workout, you know, to keep track of the progress I’m making, but got so sick of looking at the same face and body (who would’ve thought, right?!) so after a while, I stopped. But this morning, it being my 56th day of Insanity, I dared to take a photo again and see how much of an improvement has happened – if any. At the risk of sounding too self-absorbed which I really am anyway, I think I’ve achieved most of the fitness results I had set my sights on at the beginning of the program. I still have 3 more days of Insanity and one more fit test to do before I take a week of rest and recovery and then it’s back to going all-out INSANE again!

Day 20.

Day 56.

SOLACE. So last Saturday, the first of the two-part Solace Open Photoshoot series was successfully launched with my dear friend Noel Abelardo behind the lens. It was a very successful project with the actual turnout exceeding the target. I arrived late – coming from the nearby hospital where my sister was confined for the weekend due to a rare heart disease – therefore missing the greater part of the camera action, but mighty glad still to see Abie and her beautiful daughter Bianca at the set. The guys who did my hair and make-up thought it would be exceedingly cool to make me look Beyonce-ish but Noel said it was more J-Loish, but I don’t really mind all the ish-es because these days, I’m in such a gloriously happy-ish state – thanks in large part to Victory and my renewed faith.

THOR, Corned Beef Sinigang at Sentro, Chewy Junior. DELICIOUS, all of them. That’s all I have to say about these three.