Salomon Philippines will hold its 2015 Trail Run in Morong, Bataan on April 25. Weeks ago, I registered and got myself a pair of Speedcross 3 to break in before the race. As far as I know, this will be the first trail race in my hometown, so I got excited to join.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to run this Saturday due to an injury. I wallowed in this sad realization. For about an hour. Then I thought of coming up with this little list of reminders for my fellow trail runners who will join the race.
Leave nothing but shoeprints.
Most trail runners I know care for the environment. Why would you go through the hassle of training, traveling to trail destinations, and enduring a difficult route (with horse shit, slippery rocks, insects you don’t recognize, etc.), if you don’t love the ground you‘re allowed to tread?
If you say you don’t care much about the lovely view and you’re doing this for your ego, then leave it at the starting line. It is sad that in the past races I joined, mostly way up north of the country, there were a few runners who littered the route with energy bar wrappers. I’m not sure if they were afraid that the weight of the trash could affect their PRs.
The Salomon X Trail Run Rules state that littering or defacing of the premises shall be a ground for dismissal. As a preventive measure, we have to demand that the organizers implement this rule strictly and that this be emphasized especially before the race starts. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s drop them a line about this.
I remember that during the Khao Yai Trail Marathon in Thailand last year, the briefer in the race kit emphasized that aside from the high fine, which was in thousands of baht, spitting at the route can kill about ten thousand elephants. The statement was effective as I kept hearing about it from fellow runners along the half-mary route. It was a commercially sponsored event and the first trail run in the area. See? Just because we all get it that they’re doing it mainly for marketing purposes, that doesn’t mean race organizers have to be so careless.
Trust me, for I have seen Morong’s beauty by car, by boat, by bicycle, by carabao-drawn cart, by old farm-bound kuliglig and by foot. (If anyone offers to lend a chopper, I’d probably resist and say we’re cutting down on fuel.) The best way to fall in love with my hometown is a pie. Since this weekend’s trail runners have been given that privilege, I hope this affair won’t leave the town with scars.
Here are some spots you might want to visit:
1. Vietnamese food joints at Barangay Binaritan. The town used to be a temporary home to refugees from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. During their stay here, the refugees were able to pass on their culinary knowledge to the people of Morong. That is why most of us have concepts of hutieu and banh mi, adjusted to local taste and available ingredients.
If you ask me where I usually go, well, I’m partial to the taste of hutieu from Aling Solly’s. Back in high school, I’d put aside a portion of my allowance so that at the end of the day, I can join my friends for a bowl of our favorite soup, best enjoyed with chili and rauram. There was free broth refill to the delight of our teenage hearts. I can attest that the taste has been consistent through the years. You have to give it a try.
Loleng’s Hutieu-an is also in the area. The place serves Vietnamese and Filipino food. Last month, I tried their bun thit nuong, spabok (which is a known Bataan dish) and halo-halo, all in one sitting. This will be a good place to go for your recovery meal.
2. Montey’s Buko Pie. According to friends who received this default pasalubong from me, the buko pie is good as it isn’t too sweet and the coconut used tastes fresh. I like it mainly because, with clear notes on what time I’m picking up the pie, I’m sure to get it packed right out of the oven. The numbers are 0919-702-4833 and 0928-254-4936. The store is located at Barangay Sabang, a few minutes from the Anvaya Cove where the starting/finish line of the race is set.
3. Pawikan Conservation Center. This is located at Barangay Nagbalayong. I was surprised, in a rather unpleasant way, upon reading from the race website that the Center is the official camping ground of the Salomon X Trail Run. I hope effective rules will be set as to where the tents may be pitched and how the campers should behave in the area. If you’re dropping by, please make it a visit for the purposes of information and conservation. Don’t stress out the pawikans by poking them as I witnessed some tourists do in my previous visits.
4. Resorts. The organizers have partner resorts listed on the race website. In case you’re still cramming for your accommodation, there are a lot of resorts in the town. ERC Resort is at Sitio Panibatuhan. Leave me a message here if you’d like me to connect you with the owners. Bucco Bali, on the other hand, is located at Barangay Sabang. You may check their Facebook account.
Enjoy your stay. Be a responsible runner. And maybe next time, when my injured foot heals, see you at the trail!