Boracay sizzles with Bigfish’s Summer Energy!


Are you ready to go bouncin’ in Boracay with BIGFISH’s Summer Energy? You’d better be, because on April 5-8, BigFish together with Freedom Music, present a three-date party series called Summer Energy 2012 with two of Armada Music’s hottest talents and dance music’s most promising acts: progressive house artiste Ashley Wallbridge, Nathan C. of Housexy and award-winning trance tandem Aly & Fila. Joining them at the decks are Bigfish resident DJs DJ Green and DJ John Paul Lee.

Summer Energy 2012

This year’s Summer Energy is Bigfish’s most exciting and ambitious one to date. It kicks off with the chilled-down Sunset Sessions on April 5  at the beachfront of Paraiso Bar in Station 2. Taking the energy up several notches is the Main Party happening on April 7, 8pm, also at the beachfront of Paraiso Bar, where revelers can sway until the summer sun rises. But the celebration doesn’t stop there—on April 8, from 6am onwards.

Bigfish’s yearly sojourn to the country’s favorite summer spot has been attracting party-hearty vacationers like bees to honey since 2001, when they staged their first summer outing at Boracay’s pristine shores. The exhilarating dance beats combined with the salty sea air, the powdery sand, and the waves lapping on the shore have made Bigfish’s brand of beach partying unbeatable. Over 10 years since Bigfish first set foot in Boracay, theirs is still the biggest and longest-running party on the island.

BIGFISH Summer Energy 2012 is presented by Bigfish and Freedom Music, with major sponsors Spy Wine Coolers, Red Bull, Cuervo Tequila, Boracay Eco Village. Official media partners are Magic 89.9, Kalibo Cable, Radio Boracay 106.1, Focus Media, Killer Bee, Mellow 94.7, Wave 891, 99.5 RT, Myx, Velvet, People Asia, FHM, Where, Clavel, Uno, Garage, Metro, Maven, Adobo Magazine, The Philippine Star, Business Mirror, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Business World, Philstar.com, FemaleNetwork.com, SPOT.ph, StyleBible.ph, Focalcast, Media Magnet, ClicktheCity.com, and Cosmo.ph. Special thanks go to official residence partner Diamond Hotel, O Music and Video, Oliver’s Super Sandwiches and Gold’s Gym.

Supported by The Philippine Department of Tourism.

Coming up next for Bigfish is another much-awaited yearly tradition: the massive dance fest that is Bigfish Innovation White, happening on June 23. Every year, Innovation White unites Manila’s clubbing community in this white-themed celebration, where all party-goers don their purest white threads. For this year’s Innovation White, Bigfish pulls out all the stops and presents a total of seven acts! Expect one wicked musical ride courtesy of Chris Raeuber, The Japanese Popstars, Cosmic Gate, Myon & Shane54, Bobina, John Paul Lee, and Emma Hewitt live on vocals.

For inquiries, please contact Team Bigfish through (02) 6327762 or (02) 6348238. For more information, visit www.bigfishmanila.com.

Beautiful Christmas, Beautiful Philippines


See, the thing with blogging is that you have to be committed to posting updates, which, in this technology-driven age is not such a tough feat to accomplish. However, seeing as I have not exactly touched my blog since Davao, I’m a bit hesitant now to label myself a blogger. Nope, not simply as one who’d talk about having eggs for breakfast and picking up stuff at the dry cleaners after, but someone, I hope, who makes just the slightest bit of sense when she posts something. If not that, then at least someone the grammar nazis out there would not want to hang upside down and flog a hundred times until blood is spilt.

So where was I these past few weeks?

Vicky lands in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Christmas fever at the Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta

Let’s see, there’s work and whole lot of it going on. There’s a bit of travel and a whole lot of fun both of it turned out to be. And then there’s Christmas, of course, and how over here in Singapore where I spent it, was quite sedate because of the gloomy and oft-rainy weather running a stretch of over two weeks now I’ve been told; but still, it was a lovely celebration punctuated by a dollop of excitement as the two of us ran around hunting for the elusive raclette grill and the cheese itself.

Christmas in Singapore

And then there’s the mad drive to raise funds internally, in our company, for the devastated families in Cagayan de Oro and nearby areas because of Typhoon Sendong. The drive which began in the morning of Christmas Eve, I am very proud to say, has come up to a 5-digit collective monetary donation — in greenback! There’s really no stopping the power of Jesus when he moves and touches the heart of people with such power as one cannot deny  or refute. The outpouring of pledges from nearly everyone at work was uplifting beyond words and I am proud to be in the company of such an amazing bunch of people.

So, what was Christmas like for you guys?

***

Speaking of Christmas, did you know that Epson Philippines Corporation (EPC) has recently launched its regional photography contest – the Epson Color Imaging Contest 2011? Themed “Beautiful Philippines, the contest encourages photography enthusiasts to explore the beauty of our country from various aspects – human, landscape, nature and architecture. The contest is open to all amateur and professional photographers aged 18 years and above who are residents of the Philippines.

For those of you who are interested to join the contest, visit www.facebook.com/EpsonCICPhilippines and submit your original and unpublished photos through the Epson CIC contest application, which you will find in the left hand column of the Facebook Page. A registered contestant may only make ONE (1) submission of up to a maximum of three (3) Entries.

I’ve heard that this is the 18th consecutive annual Epson Color Imaging photo contest, jointly organized by Epson sales subsidiaries in Asia, and the very first to be held online via Facebook to appeal to a younger and net-savvy audience.

The photography contest will last for eight weeks from November 7 to December 31 on Facebook, so if you happen to be in front of your computer now, cyberstalking your Ex and his/her new squeeze or just posting photos of yourself in various states of holiday drunken stupor, why not post your entry and actually have a  shot at the following VERY exciting prizes?

  • First Prize – All-expenses paid holiday to Taipei and the opportunity to attend the region-wide award ceremony and photo exhibition where your winning artwork will be displayed mong the regional finalists PLUS $1,500 cash prize PLUS an Epson Stylus R1390
  • Second Prize – $1,000 cash prize PLUS an Epson Stylus R1390
  • Third Prize – $500 cash prize PLUS an Epson PictureMate PM310.

In addition to the top three prize winners to be selected by Epson’s judges, fans are also encouraged to vote for their favorite so that the highest voted photograph wins a “Voters’ Choice award.” The winner of this award will get USD200 and an Epson PictureMate PM310.

Every week, Epson’s judges will also pick the top 3 photos. The winners of the Top 3 photos of the week each gets SM gift certificates worth P1,000 and their photos automatically qualify for the final judging.

Now this is truly a great way to showcase the beauty of the Philippines by getting the youth involved as they share their inspiring images with a worldwide audience – thanks to Epson who has been running this contest for a while now.

So what are YOU waiting for? Go on Facebook and join the contest. Who knows? You might find yourself on a flight to Taipei very soon! I have a very valid passport by the way and can travel as your companion, anytime and anywhere.:)

REEBOK EasyTone Footwear and Apparel: YOUR Secret Advantage


With the incredible success of EasyTone in the United States, Canada, and other major markets, Reebok is finally bringing the EasyTone footwear and apparel to the Philippine shores.

On September 14, Reebok Philippines and FTW Magazine gave selected bloggers a sneak preview of what the EasyTone line is all about – at the famous Wicked Kitchen by Chef Kooch. It was an intimate gathering of friends with everyone bringing home a little something – tokens and GCs from partners, which were raffled off or given away as game prizes.

Team FTW before the Bloggers' Preview

With Blogger friends

EasyTone was launched via a mega event at the Trinoma Activity Center last September 15 with Reebok Running Ambassadors Kassy Pajarillo and Vicky Ras (uhrmmm, that would be me – in case you’re wondering) as hosts. EasyTone features Reebok’s resistance technology. The unique placement and tightness of resistance technology hugs the back and thighs. EasyTone apparel makes you look and feel good as you get moving.

EasyTone footwear has built-in balance pods featuring Moving Air Technology that transfers air in response to your stride, creating micro-instability with each step.

Kassy

“I have a confession to make: I fell in love with walking all the more when I started wearing my pair of Reebok Easytone which I also refer to as my silver bullet. When I was told to lessen my runs (mileage), walking has never felt this better. By the end of the day, you’ll feel how much it worked your leg muscles and I think it actually gave my thighs a workout, too! The balance pods boost you up, try standing on one leg, move with it, ah! That’s an instant balance (core) workout. “ – Kassy Pajarillo

Vicky

“I started wearing Matilda, my EasyTone sneakers, a month ago and have worn her several times since, especially on weekends after my long runs (using Bruno my Reebok ZigNano) when I’m out to run errands or just walk around the mall. The first time I wore Matilda, there was the awkward slightly off-balance feel caused by the balance pods which I eventually got accustomed to. I learned that these balance pods are actually built into the sole of the shoes to create instability. The inside of the shoes are actually very comfortable, with the forefoot slightly wider, to accommodate the slight expansion of the feet after prolonged walking. I did notice though that at the end of my long walks, my hamstrings feel heavy and stretched like how they normally feel when I give them a good workout.” – Vicky Ras

Both EasyTone footwear and apparel combine function and style that’s fashionable enough for everyday wear, yet is signed to help provide toning benefits as you move.

To reinforce EasyTone’s message of fit and active lifestyle without compromising fashion and intelligent style, Reebok has tapped empowered Filipinas to represent the brand: Bow Valdez, Rowena Aquino, Pearl Managuelod, Kassy Pajarillo, Nikki Gil, Nina Terol-Zialcita, Betty Romero, Vicky Ras, Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou, and Darlene Anderson.

The Women of Reebok

Introducing, the WOMEN of REEBOK…

Bow Valdez

Bow. Bow is a certified Yogi and Co-owner of FLOW YOGA CENTER ALABANG. She believes that challenges build a person’s character, whether you are on or off the mat.  So expect equal parts of challenge and ease as the usual recipe in her flow class together with Reebok.

Betty Romero

Betty. An educator for the last 21 years, Betty embraces education, empowerment and enlightenment as her advocacy and passion. She is the Deputy Director of Lifeline Foundation Support Team Inc, as well as Principal of Lifeline Foundation South City Central School, a Kinder level to Secondary School in BF Paranaque.

Anna Santos

Ana. A merry mix of contradictions that would probably make a good cocktail. Part single girl and part mother. Ana was once a banker, and is now a journalist and sexual health advocate. Apart from being co-founder of Writer’s Block Philippines, she is Associate Editor of Illustrado Magazine and editorial director of Sex and Sensibilities.com which promotes positive sexuality and informed choice. She may wear many  hats, but she only needs one pair of trainers–Reebok Easytone to make sure she stays on track.

Nina Terol-Zialcita

Nina. Aside from being a co-founder of Writer’s Block Philippines, she is editor-in-chief of AsianTraveler Magazine and author of numerous blogs, opinion columns, and books. She is also a new media social entrepreneur who uses social media for social good. When she is not writing, blogging, or traveling, she is organizing projects and advocating causes. Thanks to Reebok’s EasyTone, Niña can stay on the go and keep up her tight balancing act.

Rowena Aquino

Rowena. Zumba Fitness Instructor. The 50’s won’t stop her from surprising herself. She aims to make every woman dance, and dance some more or get back into the groove they once possessed. Together with Reebok Easytone, she feels younger and is able to move even better. 50, she says, is the new 30.

Nikka Sarthou

Nikka. When she’s not wearing her writer’s hat, Nikka Sarthou indulges in her passion for traveling. Sometimes, she gets to combine the two when she travels for writing assignments. Reebok’s EasyTone line helps her keep up with her hectic yet flexible lifestyle and manage her work as Co-founder of Writer’s Block Philippines, Contributing Editor for Smile, Content Manager for OfficiallyPhilippines.com, and a Manila correspondent for FilipinoStar News – Michigan edition.

Darlene Anderson

Darlene. Not your ordinary Model/Actress, Darlene has a degree in Theater Arts from Central Saint Martins in London. She spends most of her time doing castings, helping street children by hosting charity events and whips vegan cakes for a living.  At a young age 19, Darlene is poised to conquer the world with her own brand of style, talent and passion for kids and animals. She is kept right on track by the EasyTone apparel she loves to wear.

Nikki Gil

Nikki. Nikki Gil is beauty and brains combined. Actress, VJ, model, singer and host, she first captivated the hearts of the Filipino audience and showbiz followers when she appeared in a Coca Cola ad in 2005. Since then, she has recorded several albums, acted in movies and musical plays and appeared countless in print and tv commercials, as well as magazine covers. For Nikki, living healthy and being fit are non-negotiable. So even when juggling projects, she still finds time to do some workout – wearing her favorite Reebok EasyTone tops, pants, and shoes.

Kassy Pajarillo

Kassy. More than just another Reebok face and a certified fitness enthusiast, Kassy’s love is beyond Reebok apparel, style and effective shoes. She juggles mindboggling opportunities from managing FTW Magazine and other business ventures, hence, her often-busy schedule. Losing weight is the bonus. Kassy Manages to keep up a healthy lifestyle by surrounding herself with positive people, getting into a lot of activities and always wearing her EasyTone apparel and shoes.

Vicky Ras

Vicky. Vicky Ras is a 30-something chronicler of life as experienced in supersized measures of beauty, pain, victories, failures and passions. She is a writer, PR and Communications practitioner, ultra runner, and a force of nature with a chronic case of the ‘elsewheres’. Her work takes her to a lot of places, strange some of them, and she balances life, work, athletic pursuits and the intricate web of events in between by following a disciplined fitness regimen where EasyTone proves to be a great ally.

Pearl Managuelod

Pearl. Yoga is the dance of her life. Running, swimming, and nature tripping are among the many things that keep her active, in addition to being a yogi and an entrepreneur. Pearl is also a full-time single mom who makes sure that her children have got everything they need. From teaching a yoga class, running a yoga studio, and taking care of her kids, she balances her lifestyle in comfort of Reebok flip-flops. That’s why, amidst all the sweat of joy from the yoga positions she teaches; keeping her yoga studio operating smoothly; carrying on with her life’s interests; and driving her kids to and from school, she still manages a graceful youth and an effervescent look.

***

Thank you for the lovely photos above Teacher Cheryl Golangco! Follow her blog here.

Aside from the EasyTone launch, that night was also the unveiling of sorts of the newest freebie magazine in the city — FTW! If you’re on Facebook, you may ‘like’ the page here and gain access to everything that’s MADE OF WIN!

FTW magazine maiden issue

For our maiden issue, we have Reebok EasyTone brand ambassador Nikki Gil on the cover, who was such a delight to work with at the video/photoshoot. In the cover story, he talks about her uber active lifestyle and how Reebok EasyTone footwear and apparel just synchs in perfectly with it.

Those who were at Trinoma during the launch were given copies of FTW magazine and they have all gotten back to us with great reviews! We can’t wait for the rest of you to check it out! Please keep visiting the FTW fanpage on Facebook for updates on WHERE you can get your own copy of FTW – which, as I have mentioned earlier, is ALL for FREE!  Only because we love you that much!

Check out some more photos of the uber fun REEBOK Traintone Experience below:

The stage is set...

Vicky with the EasyTone usherettes

FTW's Creative Director Chad Villarmino and Business Manager Kassy Pajarillo

FTW is born!

FTW Events Coordinator Cher Tanchingco and Managing Editor Marga Deona

FTW Editor-in-Chief Vicky Ras with the usherettes

Team FTW celebrates with friends post-event

Are YOU ready for the REEBOK Traintone Experience?


Yup, that’s algae alright.


I was intently peering inside my favorite Aqua Lock & Lock water bottle (it says ‘We make your table more elegance with our design water bottle’ on the sticker-on product label, so guess where it was manufactured from?) because I had been feeling unsettled by the yellowish discoloration at the inside bottom of the bottle which I had been drinking from for several days already — when Laj walked into the office pantry.

Me: Laj, tingnan mo nga ‘to. Why is the color yellow-ish at the bottom? I think it’s moss.

Laj: Na-a-arawan ba siya on your table? I think that’s algae.

Me: Well, yah, ‘coz I leave it on top of my table lang naman and when the sun is high and mighty, it gets exposed to heat.

Laj: Yup, that’s algae alright.

Can you believe that? It turned out I had been drinking algae with my water for several days already and I didn’t even bother to investigate at the first sighting of the yellowish thingy inside my water bottle! I’m surprised all this while that I had been inadvertently snacking on algae I did not grow gills or whatever these fish that feed off on algae have. Took a quick glance on my skin just now and I didn’t see scales – yey, I’m safe!

These things always happen to me. There were times before when I would take a swig off a Yakult bottle or have a sip of milk only to realize after several gulps and the initial sour taste lingered, that those were actually expired stuff in my fridge! Seriously, who does that?!? The problem with me is that I go crazy when doing grocery shopping. I buy so much stuff, mostly perishables, leave them in the fridge for several days without bothering to eat them because I often feel full already from the meals I had taken during work hours. By the time I remember I still have them stored somewhere, they’re expired. Moments like this, I can almost hear Kassy say ‘Gumu-gujab ka na naman!

Patayin sa algae si Becky!

***

This week is war week at work for all of us. Our Boss is in town and we have so much ground to cover in terms of projects pending, and those that will be launched in the near offing. Good news: the first VOYAGER mock-up is ready to be presented to the Boss later. I am really proud of my VOYAGER Team! Call it great talent or serious pursuit of perfection finally paying-off but we are really coming up with great issues one after the other. The last issue which was distributed to our convention participants in Malaysia last May was already pretty nifty and it got great reviews from the readers – and then I saw the first mock-up of the latest issue and it definitely stood head and shoulders above any of the past issues!

Not only that, we have gone online as well. Wanna see it? It’s right here. You can browse through Issue no. 7, no. 6, and no. 5 and see what fun and informative stuff we have put together all these months and years.

***

FTW Magazine is now on its final stages of editing and proofreading and will be hitting the printing press in no time! This one is exceptionally special for the FTW Team (Kassy, Marga and Chad) and our growing roster of supporters and sponsors because this is something we put together with only our ideas and daring in our limited arsenal. After weeks of putting together this piece of wonder and talking to so many sponsors and partners, we are inching closer  and closer to actually touching and smelling the printed pages of the magazine. Yey for us! Not to be yabang or anything but I am pretty sure you would all agree when you see this mini magazine that we have just outdone awesome.

***

Thank you Ena Terol for this photo!

By the way, please don’t forget to drop by TRINOMA Activity Center on the 15th of September, from 5:30 to 8:30pm, for the REEBOK EasyTone Launch and FanCon. We have tons of surprises in store for all of you Reebok fans and converts and you would loathe to miss all of it! For details, check Team Reebok Running page on Facebook regularly.

SEE YOU THERE!

***

On the running front, I must say I am mighty proud of myself for logging decent mileage during the past weeks. Just before I left for Singapore nearly two weeks ago for a workshop, I accumulated a whopping 100.5k mileage in seven days! Unfortunately, Chris and I were only able to run twice while I was in Singapore and did not immediately jump into running when I got back. But after a few days, I was back on the road and have been running an average of 15k every morning – with the longest distance of 25.38k in 2:32:30 last Saturday. I had wanted to do a full marathon distance, LSD pace, with KB Runner that time but he had prior running commitment with some runners down south. I had to settle for nearly 26k, all by myself. I would have gone on to cover a bit more distance than that but I had FTW meeting + family dinner + hangout with the becky’s on the same day.

The past three days, however, I had to take a break from running as I had been waking up lightheaded – which I now attribute to the damned algae on my water bottle! hahaha. But last night, I started to feel the excess weight and the sluggishness that come with it so I committed to start running again when I wake up in the morning. I’m telling you, I am no longer used to not doing cardio everyday. I get cranky, impatient, and I feel bloated even when I’m not. Since I got all maniacal and obsessive about this whole fitness thing, I even feel guilt-stricken having to eat food when I know I haven’t worked out previously.

So anyway, this morning, I did 15.35k in 1:35:30. I was slower than usual, I know, but I think it was because of the fact that my legs went on vacation for three days. Ang tatamad ng mga hitang ‘to! hahaha.

Oh, and I have also been using Claudia for most of my training and she’s awesome! She’s the perfect combination of superb performance and ultra comfort.

I have two major races coming up: One is the PAU 50k from Tagaytay to Nasugbu and Manila Marathon (i’m doing full mary here) back-to-back in September.

This will be my second PAU ultra race, the first one being the memorable Mt. Pinatubo 50k trail race last year which I kind of aced. Last Saturday, the trail runners took to the crater and back again with the 2nd Mt. Pinatubo race but I didn’t join because I am not feeling so confident. I don’t want another DNF on my record, no siree!

Aaaaand that’s all folks! Tune in again in a few days when I post a fresh update. Meanwhile, go and get yourself some good vibes and give back loads as well. Cheers Loves!

Road Test: ON Running Cloudsurfer


It is true what they say: Once you have embraced running as a sport, you would not be able to resist the temptation to try out many different brands until you find one or two that fit you perfectly. It’s a lot like love when you think about it. Sometimes you go through some bad apples before you get your pick of the prime kind. I have tried a handful of running shoes out there and though I may have already found the answer to my running essentials in a particular brand, my curiosity got piqued when I heard through the grapevine that there is a new kid on the running block about to make an explosive debut in September this year — ON Running.

With CHRIS Sports Marketing Manager Arleen Lindo

Avansa Over-all award at the ISPO Brand New 2010 Awards for Innovation in Sports, ON Running is a product of Swiss technology, although manufactured in China – just like nearly everything out there.

Says our condo guard when I asked him to snap this photo: 'Ms. Vicky ang gaganda po lahat ng mga shoes nyo pero eto po pinakagusto ko.'

Although ON Running is only going to be made available in the local market in September, I was fortunate to have been among the first few runners to test the pair. And because I was so excited to see what the rave was all about (hey, it has the best and the brightest of athletes endorsing the brand), I took my pair on a spin right after my 16k race at the recently-concluded Takbo.ph RUNFEST, and two more short runs after that.

Ladies and gents, meet CLAUDIA the Cloudsurfer.

LOOK and FEEL: Aesthetically speaking, ON Running Cloudsurfer is far from offensively garish. It’s two-color combination (mine’s black and lime green) gives it a classy and easily recognizable look. It is very lightweight at approximately 10oz so you don’t feel like you’re lugging around a block of wood when running. The tongue and ankle padding is very comfortable and I also find the wide forefoot a lot to my liking because it gives my weirdly shaped feet some room for breathing.

You see, my feet are a bit of a freak. My left foot has the bone connecting my toe to the foot itself jutting out like, well, a freak. And because i still insist on wearing pointy heels that push the bone out some more, I need a wide forefoot for my running shoes in order for me to be able to run for a period of time without feeling pain in that area of my foot. I mean, I would love to show you my freakazoid of a foot but I won’t be responsible for the nightmares that would haunt you in your sleep!

But forget about my freak foot obsession and how the Cloudsurfer sorts all that out for me because really, ON Running’s greatest advantage is the innovative ‘Cloud-Tec’ feature which are basically those 13 cutesy rubber lugs on the soles whose main function is to improve shock absorption on landing.

Looking forward to more running time with Claudia

ROAD TEST: I have only tried ON Running on the road for about 20kms including yesterday morning’s 5k run (thank God the sun finally decided to grace us with its elusive presence!), give or take, but I can vouch for the greatly reduced impact on landing. There is definitely the feel of real cushioning but without the weight and loss of propulsion, hence, I was able to do a relatively long run without the usual stress on my body and the expected long recovery period. Since I have been running long distance races often, my lower legs, shins, and calves have suffered quite a lot which makes me quite picky when it comes to the trainers I wear.

The second time I ran outdoors with ON Running, it rained quite a bit so the road was damp and I noticed that the sole grip was not as incredible as it was on dry road.

Walking on sunshine, Running on clouds.

On dry road, the Cloudsurfer is quite something. I felt it even more yesterday morning when I did another 5k around Ortigas. I don’t know about other users and their experience but my gait certainly feels different. There’s also an unmistakable spring in my run. It’s almost as though those rubber thingies at the sole are pushing me forward so that I am covering more distance with each step.

I did, however, notice that my pristine white socks got stained by what I suspect could be the black mesh fabric of the shoes. But then again, that is nearly inconsequential when pitted against ON Running’s stellar qualities. Stain versus improved speed and lesser injuries? That’s not even an argument right there.

Channeling my 'inner Kenyan'

PRICE: ON Running will be available at all CHRIS Sports stores beginning September 2011 and is priced almost similarly as Newton and Zoot, so it may be a bit pricey for those who impose a ceiling on how much money they shell out for a pair of running shoes. But if you are just as particular with benefits and performance, you will find this pair to be worth every peso. I am not yet sure about the shelf life as I have only had it for a few days, neither am I sure about its performance on trails as I have yet to test them there, but I am hoping for the best in these areas too.

Epson X-Fusion Media Adventure: Diving Into Fun


Thank you Epson and Total Fitness!

NOTE: Published in TOTAL FITNESS Magazine July 2011 issue.

***

Question:  SCUBA is an acronym which stands for…?

Answer: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

This question was asked in the trivia game which our team, the Black Team, failed to get cookie points for as I remember the two other team representatives were a lot faster jumping into the pool and swimming to the other side to touch the letter of the correct answer. We played a few more group games after that, in some of which our team would consistently lose, but there was just so much fun and frivolity at X-FUSION, the Epson Media Adventure, that none of these losses even mattered.

X-FUSION, the second of Epson Philippines’ annual event aimed at showcasing the company’s sales and marketing efforts in first half of the fiscal year as well as providing a glimpse of Epson’s activities in the pipeline,  was held last 12 to 13May at Acacia Diving Resort in Mabini, Batangas with over 20 media representatives coming from business, IT, and trade publications joining EPSON Philippines’ General Manager Donna Ferro, Business Systems Group Head Jay Lavarias, and MarComm and PR Department Head Roe Dillera.

Mr. Jay Lavarias summed up Epson Philippines’ 14 percent overall sales growth at the end of fiscal year 2010 versus 2009 in a short slide presentation. He attributed the growth for Inkjets and Laser printers to a bullish market for 2011. More importantly, corporate markets can expect lower total cost of ownership this year with the launch of 13 more new product offerings.

Meanwhile, Roe Dillera provided a sneak preview of the global corporate vision of the company dubbed “SE15 Vision” or Seiko Epson 2015 Vision after sharing some corporate and CSR highlights in 2010.

Black Team.

But for compulsive adventure seekers like me, the biggest highlight of the event was the Intro to Scuba Diving which Epson got all of us to try out. It my first time to do diving and the days building up to ‘Fusion’, I was teetering on the brink of combined excitement and anxiety. You see, I do not know how to swim and even though nearly all my friends assured me that swimming is not really a requirement – especially since we will have dive masters assigned to us – there were still some niggling doubts in my head until I went 25ft below sea level and found myself enthralled by the glorious sight of colorful fish and corals! We even saw a school of mangrove jacks (or talakitok says my angler friend); some clown fish occasionally peeping out of the corals; and for a while there I wished we had more time to explore. Or that I have the time and resources to actually get PADI certified soon. Now that’s a thought.

Media Adventure-seekers.

Before taking the plunge, I was pretty sure I would have panic attack just like I did the last time I went on a travel assignment in Pagbilao, Quezon. But surprisingly, I was very calm even from our descent and all the way through the 15 to 20 minutes diving time – which Vlad, the dive master assigned to me, made sure I made the most out of by swimming happily along and befriending sea creatures, even for a brief moment.  Even breathing through the regulator came fairly easy to me I could have sworn I’m a natural!

Yes Siree, we're 25ft under water!

A few times I heard the ticking sound in my ears and, at one point I had some challenges in neutralizing the pressure I had to signal for Vlad to take me back up to the surface so I can get my bearings right again. When we got down to the spot where we were supposed to take underwater group photos, I got a bit embarrassed when I realized that I was the last one to arrive!

With DM Vlad

While I am not exactly a stranger when it comes to media offsite as I have had my fair share when I used to do PR stuff for another IT company many years ago – this was my first time to come as part of the media group and I must say it is something else altogether. I could get used to this!

X-Fusion Participants

From my slipshod snorkeling experiment in Pagbilao last year, I went ten notches up (or down?) with scuba diving and taking into account the fact that I still dream about the sights and wonders I came across with while underwater, I think it is now just a matter of time before I sign up for a course. My boyfriend (now fiance) says we should get PADI certified soon as I get settled-in with him in Singapore and you know what? I just might take him up on his offer very soon.

Race Event: ADIDAS King of the Road


Are you the next KING?

When and where will the 2011 adidas King of the Road Philippines be held?
The adidas King of the Road Philippines will be held on 23 October 2011 (Sunday) at the Bonifacio Global City.

How do I register?
Registration can be done online on www.adidaskingoftheroad.com. The registration will close on 31 August 2011 or upon reaching maximum number of slots. Registration is on a first-come first-served basis.

When is the starting and closing date for the regular registration?
Regular registration starts June 21 and will close on August 31, or while race slots last. Registration is on a first-come first-served basis.

What is the age limit for KOTR 2011 participants?
The minimum age to participate in this event will be 12 years old and the maximum age is 65 years old. 12-17 year-old participants need a parent’s or guardian’s consent to participate.

How do I register if I’m under the age of 18?
Participants below the age of 18 are required to seek parental/guardian consent as deemed necessary by the organizer upon online registration. Failing which, the organizer reserves the right to refuse entry to any participant.

Can I register offline / manually and pay cash?
For regular registration, all registrations are made online and payments are charged via credit card at www.adidaskingoftheroad.com. Only payment via Credit Card is accepted. We do not accept Cash, Check, Debit Card, and Online Transfer via Internet Banking.

How much is the Race Entry Fee?
The entry fees are as follows:
5km – 1,050PHP
16.8km– 1,300PHP
21k– 1,050PHP

How will I know if my entry has been accepted?
Registrants will receive a confirmation email upon successful registration. The system will automatically allocate a unique Registration Number as shown in their confirmation email. Please note that Hivelocity Pte Ltd’ will be listed in your credit card bank statement for this transaction. It is necessary to bring a copy of the confirmation e-mail from the organizer and a valid ID upon collecting the Race Kit.

What are the possible reasons I did not receive my Race Confirmation details after registration and Payment?
It could be due to any of the following reasons:
The transaction did not go through.
The e-mail address provided is invalid.
The e-mail server blocked the email.

What should I do if I do not receive my race confirmation slip after registration and 
payment?

Please contact us immediately at info@hivelocity.com.sg.

Do I get a refund if I choose not to participate after registration?
Registration fee is strictly non-refundable.

Can I make changes to my personal particulars after registration?
Yes. Registrants can make changes to their personal particulars by sending an email to service@hivelocity.com.sg. However changes to race category, date of birth, NRIC, gender and event running vest sizes are NOT considered as changes of personal particulars.

Can I change my race category after I have registered?
No. Race categories are non-transferable.

Why am I unable to select a given size of the running singlet?
The size that you have selected is out of stock. Please select your next preferred size.

Can I choose the color of my running singlet? Can I change the color of my running singlet?
No, issuance of running singlet is on a first-come-first-served basis. When a particular color is unavailable the next available color will be issued. No requests for exchange of running vests will be entertained.

When and where can I collect my Race Kit?
Registered participants are invited to gather at the KOTR 2011 Kick-Off Assembly from Oct 10-12 at the NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City, where race kits containing singlet, timing device, and other race paraphernalia will be distributed and a variety of activities await everyone. Those who have availed of the Free Run Promo get their race kits shipped to their mailing address for free.

Do I get a medal upon finishing the race?
ALL participants who complete the run will be awarded a Finisher Medal at the finishing line. Medals will not be given to non-participants nor non-finishers of the race. A non-participant is a person who did not take part in the race on the date of the event and a non-finisher is a participant who retires from the race before finishing it.

Are rollerbladers and cyclists allowed on the race route? 
No. For the safety of the runners, any person rollerblading or cycling on the race route will be requested to exit the course immediately by the marshals.

Can I bring along my pets?
Pets are strictly not allowed on the race route.

CURVES: Circuit Workout for Women, by Women


So finally today, I was able to check out CURVES in Serendra and boy was I pleasantly surprised! When Reebok teammate Kassy Pajarillo first told me about Curves, I thought it was an interesting workout and the timing really could not have been more impeccable because I am already at that stage where the usual workout routine no longer holds any form of appeal to me. Thanks to INSANITY, my body has gotten so used to high-impact, high-intensity circuit training type of workout that pain and maximum heart rate have now become my benchmark for a good workout. No pain, no gain.

And I also happen to have such short attention span (I suppose I need to have myself checked one of these days as I seriously suspect I may have ADHD. No, really.) that I cannot stay committed to just one type of workout. And especially not for long stretches of time. I need intense movements. I need variations. I need constant and fast transitions. And if possible, I want to cry and scream bloody murder at the end of each workout; swear never to do it again, only to do another round of it the day after…and the day after that…and so goes the cycle of pain. And why would I mind the pain, really, when it gave me this as a result?

This kind of 'INSANITY' comes highly recommended. Believe you me.

Now as much as I enjoy annihilating my own body within the four corners of my tiny home doing Insanity, I still am a social creature who sometimes wishes I have workout bodies. But since the usual gym setting no longer appeals to me and I have somehow gotten quite tired of  being scrutinized like a fly under a microscope maybe because my workout outfit tend to look a bit risque on me sometimes, I have decided to look for an alternative. I must because I will die – seriously die – if I don’t get to workout at least five times a week, and that already includes running of course.

Vicky and Kassy lead the pack of fit and active modern-day multitasking women professionals (yes, best in caption award!)

Enter CURVES. The minute I saw the purple logo and the purple and pink-themed interior, I fell in love. The place itself gives you that warm fuzzy feeling but there is nothing in there that will put you to sleep! Curves’ General Manager Ms. Fe Abrihan was there last night and Joi, the amiable marketing assistant, took me around the center for a quick tour and it was all I needed to write my name down as a member. This is exactly what I was looking for – a circuit training fitness program that will look after the unique needs of my body (a woman’s body, generally, is unique and beautiful) and tone it in a way that I will look neither emaciated or too macho for a girl.

Being interviewed by Annie regarding my fitness & medical history

Ann took my fitness and medical history along with my measurements and I found out that ohmydotingdaddy, I still have 5lbs in excess of my target weight! Although she said that my weight may be such (in the neighborhood of 100lbs) because of the muscles that have already been formed due to my intense workout and so we decided to just focus on my ‘problem’ areas – arms and thighs. Although my arms and thighs are so much better now than when I was lugging around more fat, I still see some jiggle when I run, for example. The sagging and jiggle have to go.

Getting my body fat measured.

Now looking at my fitness goals and objectives, Curves is just perfect because it works every major muscle group with a complete 30-minute workout that combines strength training and sustained cardiovascular activity through safe and effective hydraulic resistance. If you ask me, I’m already happy with this but no, Curves also has these benefits to offer women —  weight loss, gain muscle strength and aerobic capacity, and raise metabolism with its groundbreaking, scientifically proven method that ends the need for perpetual dieting.

But don’t just take my word for it. Why don’t you come and drop by one of these days and find out what Curves can do for your body?

Get the curves you want at CURVES!

Oh and by the way, Zumba® Fitness classes have recently been added to Curves® Circuit in Bonifacio Global City – much to the delight of women, young and old alike. During the 30-minute class, participants work out on each Curves strength machine for one minute, alternating upper, lower and core muscles. After one minute, the music cues the participant to change stations on the circuit, and she moves to an area between machines to do Zumba® moves, which tone and sculpt the body while burning fat. Licensed Zumba® instructors from the Zumba® Instructor Network (ZIN), Via Bonoan and Rowena Jose, teach simple, modified Zumba® moves from the center of the circuit.

Kassy tries Zumba with Ms. Via

Zambales Fun Run: That Which Became Woeful In The End


When you have two stories you can’t wait to share –  one is happy and the other is, well, quite the opposite – which one do you tell first? A bit of a pickle, isn’t it? I guess if the intention is to end the storytelling bit on a high note, you serve up the bad stuff first, hoping the bit of  good news would neutralize the jarring effect of the former.

TEAM REEBOK at the Starting Line

So, on to the unpleasant side of things…

Like I said in my previous blog entry here, our trip to Zambales over the weekend was mainly for the 400th Anniversary Fun Run, of which Reebok – our very generous team owner – was one of the sponsors.  Perhaps the one and only good thing that the race offered was the venue, specifically, the race route. For most of us who have gotten used to running the same old running routes in the Metro, the opportunity to take on a new race destination is incentive enough to go all the way to Zambales. Add ten points if you actually get to run on the beach for a third of a kilometer before you move on to the town proper before heading back down to the beach where the start/finish line is. Yes, that part was good.

These days, any race would not be complete without the gazelle-like Kenyans like Will

We woke up at 3:30am knowing that there are seven of us in one room and we would have to queue to use the bathroom and gear up for the race, if we have to make it to the 5:30 gun start for the 21k. It was still dark when we filed out of the room and made our way to the starting line, where the rest of the runners lay in wait.  But alas, it was already an hour past the gun start and we were still behind the line waiting for the real action to start. The runners were getting antsy and why not? We have participated in a lot of races and not a single one of those have made us wait for more than five to ten minutes past the published gun start.

Good call, Kassy!

Kassy made a brilliant call of going onstage and announcing the start of the race. It should have been the race director’s job to ensure that everything is well-organised even before making that call, but in this case, the race director himself needed some directing. After it was announced about 50 times that ‘the race is about to start’,  we were finally doing what we set out to do in Zamba — running! Ohhh weee.

But, whatever disappointment we may have felt at the beginning was quickly overshadowed by the obvious charm of the place. I loved the beach run, although very short, as it reminded me of those times I would run on the powder-soft sandy shores of Boracay. I did 10k with Kassy, Trick, and RunningAtom, along with several other younglings – most of them half my age. Literally.

50 minutes and 40 seconds later, I crossed the finish line. Arguably, my best time yet. I remember back in the days when I would cover 10k in 1hr 2mins or something like that. But now that I am older, I am evidently faster. How cool is that?!? Very.

Smug Smuggerson after placing 5th in the 10k female division

I placed 5th in the 10k female category and of course I felt exceedingly good about it. You would, too, if you’re running alongside 13 to 15-year olds. In my case, I was struggling to keep up with the young sprinters. The first place winner took only 34 minutes to cover the whole 10km stretch. Beat that, Vicky Ras! Uhrrrm, no, I don’t think so. But thank you for the offer. I will get back to you on that in my next life, ya?

After the last 21k runner has crossed the finish line, the organizers were ready to award the winners. And that’s when the drama ensued. THIS JUST IN: Jordan, one of the race event organizers wrote in response to the succeeding statements in my blog entry: Apparently, the runners-up were NOT supposed to get any cash prizes but they demanded for such claiming they traveled miles and hours to get to the race and therefore, deserving of some form of remuneration. Out of the goodness of the organizers’ hearts, they relented. But according to Jordan, instead of feeling grateful, they got greedy and asked for more.  Some of them even went to the Mayor’s office to ask for more dole-outs. If this indeed were the case, then it certainly puts things in a slightly different perspective. Worse, it reflects very negatively on the state that running as an industry is starting to show signs as becoming. Whatever happened to running for fun and health and social reasons? So yes, money was given – and even more – according to Jordan.  Itago na lang natin ito sa pamagat na ‘Ang Nawawalang Mga Pa-premyo’ or ‘The Tale of the Missing Cash Prizes’. We did not stay long enough to investigate as it was not in our place to do so anyway, but there were runners – young aspiring athletes – who were robbed of their cash prizes. One girl who was supposed to receive P5,000 only got P500. Now I don’t know about you guys but that to me is more heartbreaking than my first breakup. Much worse even if you consider how these kids have commuted from several towns and kilometers away to take a shot at the prize money and actually nailing it on the head…only to find the envelope containing only 10 percent of the published amount. THAT. IS. CRUEL. AND. INHUMANE. How are we supposed to inspire our young and talented but underprivileged athletes when some of us have no compunction – AT ALL – about dousing their fire even before it has had time to burst into flames? What do you say to these kids in their inconsolable state? Pasensiya na iha, ganyan talaga sa totoong buhay. Parati kang maiisahan kaya masanay ka na. Is that our way of telling them to just deal with it?

Me being me (is that even grammatically sound?!?), I am very quick to see the merit in things especially when crucial details are being put forward. Like I told Jordan, a lot of things did not exactly unravel the way they should (have) during that race event such that there were very loose ends at the beginning, during and especially after the race that were not exactly tied to perfection. I, too, come from an events management background which greatly explains why I tend to be very thorough in looking into details. Add to that my propensity to be obsessive-compulsive by nature, then holy moly, you have a weirdo in your midst!

No, but seriously, I’d like to personally thank Jordan for coming forward with his side of the story. As event organizers, I’m sure they have the greatest intentions for the race and the runners and perhaps it was just unfortunate that the outcome was not exactly what they had envisioned.  At the end of the day, I am blogger who calls it as I see it and if my being brutally honest with my thoughts has caused some people some measure of pain and discomfort, then I am sorry.

Now going back to runners who run purely for monetary reasons: can we blame them entirely for being too brutally honest in their intentions for doing what they do? This clearly runs deeper than what can be seen on the surface. A social illness, if you may. People do not have enough resources to tide them over for a day, a week, or maybe for months even that they resort to unconventional means to earn extra – such as emotionally blackmailing race organizers, for example to shell out more. It’s sad isn’t it? One day, when I am rich – and I mean filthy, disgustingly, inappropriately rich – three segments of the society will rank high on my priority list: the abandoned children, the elderly, and the underprivileged athletes.

But as promised, I will try not to leave you in that state of sadness and disbelief at other people’s beastly behavior. Because there, in fact, were one or two more good things that happened that day. Beep Beep, our Reebok teammate, placed 7th overall in the 21k race category. Titanium Runner, Alex, and Kassy all got good time for their respective race categories. Our guests RunningAtom and Trickoy also did very well at the race.

Now the other good, nay, great thing that happened that day was meeting the legendary and controversial Nancy Navalta. People my age and older would remember Nancy as the very promising heir-apparent to Lydia de Vega in the early 1990s. Nancy was fast, very fast, on the track and for a moment there, she seemed almost unstoppable. Until she was forced to undergo gender determination tests, which said that she was “genetically male.”  The Philippine Sports Commission instructed Navalta to compete as a male or to undergo “corrective measures.” The ruling effectively ended Navalta’s competitive career. It was a sad say for the Philippine running community but it must have been a million times heartbreaking for Nancy herself. I was in my teens when Nancy was all the media could talk about and I never thought the day would come when I would actually see her in person. I mean I was awestruck when I saw Lydia de Vega three times at the PhilSports Arena track and I remember she even said ‘ang ganda mo naman’ when I smiled at her one time (Thank you, by the way Idol Lydia! You don’t know me from Eve but I will forever remember that compliment you paid me that forgotten morning at ULTRA) But this, this right here is Nancy Navalta, arguably one of the most controversial Filipino athletes in history and even at present time.

With the sensational Nancy Navalta

Nancy, today, serves as the Athletics Coach of the University of Luzon. Those teenage girls that beat the crap out of me in the 10k division – they were Nancy’s ward. Perhaps if I were coached by Nancy, I would be running waaaaay faster than I do now. Yes, even with my 32-year-old knees. From what I’ve heard, Nancy is actively involved in promoting inter-barangay track competitions where, she says, we can find runners of Olympics caliber – especially those in the out-of -school youth (OSY) segment.

So how about we help Nancy help the struggling young athletes out there? Think about it. And one day, when you have made the decision to help, do it unquestioningly.

Having said that, I still want to end this post in a crescendo of good vibrations so how about I post some more photos of myself (I love to talk about myself so better get used to it!) and Team Reebok as we bring our Zamba trip to a worthy end?

REEBOK is Pro Active Lifestyle

Crash diet and starvation are a No-NO!

From running to beach bumming

To making friends...Hi, Will!

Goofing around with Kassy

Oh look at that, a little bit more of me...

...and me.

OKAY. This unabashed display of over-the-top self-love has got to stop. Vicky, you are out. TEAM REEBOK, paaaaaaasok!

Weeet...weeew!