Paa-bilisan 21k in Baguio, 28 March

Every time there’s an invite to run in Baguio City, and as long as it goes well with my schedule, I do try to join, and most often consider it as practice run. When you’re in Baguio, its running event is totally a different experience, especially, when you’re from Manila. With its thin altitude, difficult landscape, cold weather (yes, even on a hot summer), and a mix of asphalt and cemented roads, running the city’s terrain is not easy.


Leaving for Baguio

Finding a cab can be very difficult on a Friday night when most of the folks were already on vacation mood in preparation for the Lenten season. Fellow runner, Mon, who patiently waited for us, was already at the bus station in Pasay City. ‘Us’ would mean I still have yet to find out who were coming. Joyce, a friend of mine from, running late just like me, was on her way then to the bus station. Our bus left at exactly 10PM. The more-than-five-hour journey went well. We reached the city welcomed by its cold weather which was a delightful break from the hot climate in Manila.

Arrival and Stay

All I could think of was to hit the bed as soon as we arrived at the dorm where we would be staying. Renting a dorm was a lot cheaper than to have stayed in a hotel in Baguio. However, sleeping was put off temporarily. Mon’s friends who were there ahead of us, woke up early just to prepare a hearty breakfast, and welcomed our arrival. Indeed, a very touching gesture, taking into account that most of them are guys. Yes, Joyce and I were the only female runners in the group. We left the dorm after lunch for a short city tour and shopping. Later during the day, Mon, Joyce, and myself attended an anticipated Mass prior to Palm Sunday.

Race Day

The guys woke up too early! That no matter how much you wanted to go back to sleep you didn’t have any choice but to get out of bed and get ready. A good thing since we had ample time to warm up when we reached Burnham Park, the start/finish site.

It was nice to see familiar faces, not only those from Manila but also the locals as well, especially, Joyce Newman aka Running Lola, a Baguio-based runner, still a strong runner in her 60s, where I had the chance to compete with during the Baguio 30 for 30 Road Race four months ago. I also saw and chatted with petite yet very strong golden girl, Che Alberto, race organizer, a Boston Marathon qualifier, mountaineer, rower, etc.

The 21k race started late but it was still a cold run for all of us. The first ten kilometers were mostly uphill runs. Turn around point went past Mines View Park, a hilly course. Whew!

I couldn’t help but smile when I was at the last water station, the water boy asked me, “Kumusta ang takbo Ma’am? (How’s the run, Ma’am?) Huffing and puffing, “Mahirap!”(Difficult!) He asked me another question while handing me a plastic cup with water, “Saan kayo galing po?” (Where are you from?) I answered, “Manila.” He said simply, “Ah, kaya pala.” (Ah, that’s why.)

For the locals, the steep hills in Baguio were nothing. McKinley Hills at The Fort would be nothing if you’ve ran the hilly route of Baguio.

Happy Feeter Mon and Joyce of

Happy Feeter Maf

Joyce aka Running Lola and Kaka aka Don Robert

Running Diva running the last four kilometers on her way to the finish line

I enjoyed it so much and still finished strongly despite racing every Sunday for the past couple of weeks. Podium finishers were young athletes from a well-known local university. The two Joyces won also in their age categories. All 21k finishers were given a finisher’s medal. As for the guys, running mates of Master Mon, they, too, won in their respective age categories!

Group photo

Joyce won 3rd place in her age category, Running Diva, and Caezar Ryan of

Photo below: Joyce, Eddie, Mon, and Peru (Eddie and Peru prepared our food)

The enjoyable race in Baguio was made possible because of people with a big heart, especially, Mon and his friends. Kudos to Botak Paa-bilisan race organizer and staff for a job well done! (Photos Courtesy of Caezar Ryan of and Eddie)

10 thoughts on “Paa-bilisan 21k in Baguio, 28 March

  1. Congrats! I saw you as you were waiting for the 21k starting gun (10k ako nun). Yup, Baguio's a very challenging route. But I hope to race again there next year.See you at the races!


  2. Ey, thanks for dropping by Jonel. I couldn't agree more with what you've said. We traversed a different route but what we had last December was also a different kind. About the TNF thingy, am not registered and I don't have any gear yet for a trail run. 😀 This passion for running is getting expensive, haha!


  3. during my hischool days in Sagada Mt. Prov. I used to compete in our anual F.Day and Bcame a champion in another school.When I went home last March, I jogged where I used to run and its really dficult if u came from the lowlands,just in the first kilometer I already catching my breath,puffing and puffing but when I followed it the 2nd and the 3rd day I already accustomed to it but its hard to sweat specially in the morning.


  4. thanks for your good comments, we really want a marathon in baguio so that local runners will enjoy running, and we want more organizers to have their venue of marathons in baguio.jga


  5. I think a marathon in Baguio City is going to happen soon! Calling the all organizers! I wonder … if a marathon is staged on a flat road with minimal uphills and downhills, an average marathoner finishes within six hours … how much more in Baguio when it's mostly hills! 😉


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