Philip’s Sanctuary

I like the fact that we did not spend Christmas Party in the office this year, but rather, whisked in a boot camp for a day to enjoy and bond after a year’s work.

Of course, the highlight of the day is the mud crawl and mud slide. If I enjoy the roller coaster ride of Battlestar Galactica in Universal Studios Singapore, I also like the Pinoy version of ‘ride’. The mud slide. Yes, “bilbil” wiggling and all.

I hope we do the same thing on summer 2012. Happy New Year.


Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011

The main purpose of my stay in Singapore first weekend of December 2011 is to join the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. I joined 21.1K or Half-Marathon. Their gun time is actually a little late, if you compared it to Manila since we have the same time zone. The gun time is 6.30am, but their 6.30am there is still dark!

First half of the half-marathon route is in Sentosa Island, home of Resorts World Singapore and Universal Studios. Lots of trees and overlooking the beach. According to the official publication of the organizer, there are 19,700 runners for 21.1K alone. That’s a lot of runners! But because the run lane is only narrow, there were a lot of choking points which affects PR of some, especially runners who are located at the middle and end part of the starting lane.

One thing I complained about the race is the hydrating stations—it is located every 4KM. I was used to the races in Manila where there is hydrating stations every 1.5KM. But the narrow roads and hydrating stations were compensated by the fact that part of the running route is located inside Universal Studios Singapore. I was there the day before, so when I realized that we will be running again inside, I got excited. The characters went out of their way to cheer and greet us a good morning (and doing high fives!). There was Shrek standing in front of his castle. There is Frankenstein, Marilyn Monroe, the penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and lots more.

The weather in Singapore is hot, and because we started a little late, runners bear the brunt of the heat upon reaching the finish line. It also affected their run, especially in the highway leading to the business district where there is not much shelter. You tend to walk because you are exhausted.

I may not say that my first international run is relatively superior than the fun runs I joined in Manila. We have better, and organized race here. Partly, this might be because there are fewer runners here compared to theirs at 65,000. Overall, it was a good experience that I will treasure in my lifetime.

The medal is really nice. Well carved, and shiny.


Singapore Swing (Day 1)

The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011 is my first run outside Manila. And it takes months to prepare. I knew that this marathon opens its registration online around June 2011, but I cannot register then because my passport expired, and I need to get one. I immediately apply for a passport renewal in DFA so that I can register in the next 30 days (Passport # is a requirement in the registration if you are non-SG resident).

After I have my renewed passport, I immediately enroll online for the half marathon (21K) category. It’s a little expensive if you compare it to Philippine Peso, but my decision is final—I want to join an international race at least once this 2011. After the online registration, the next step is to buy plane tickets. I decided to purchase that of Air Philippines Express, the budget carrier of Philippine Airlines. It is the only budget carrier that flies directly into Changi Airport Terminal 2. The rest of the budget carriers (like Cebu Pacific, Tiger, Air Asia) dock in Budget Terminal Airport in Singapore. Yes, even the airport is being put into consideration. My plane ticket costs me roughly P8,000 roundtrip (net). That is exactly the same fare as, say, you want to go to Davao. Plane tickets going to nearby countries are affordable now.

So on a good Friday afternoon (December 02), I pack my bag and running shoes and go to Singapore. This will be a short trip (just the weekend), and I want to spend it as much meaningful as possible. I arrived in Singapore around 8.30pm of Friday, after a 3 hours and 20 minutes flight time. Immigration is a breeze, and I was not even ask by the officer. She just stamp my passport with a tourist pass. I immediately get my luggage then headed out of the airport.

I stayed with my friend there so accommodation expenses is not a problem. After we check out of the airport, we hop into the taxi and went straight to Makan Sutra Gluttons Bay for late dinner. It’s a hawkers area, but the food are just sumptuous and really good. We ordered fried rice, garlic shrimp, squid, and kangkong. Wash them all with sugarcane juice, which I must say is a newfound discovery (at least for me).

But I just have to say that there are a lot of Filipinos now there than two years ago. It’s like you never left Manila.

More of Singapore on my next blog entry.