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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

March 19, 2012


Last March 7, 2012, at Camp Aguinaldo, the awarding ceremony of the 2012 Bataan Death March Ultramarathon was held.

Together with my fellow 83nean runners Fards Bob, and  Ernie, I got to attend this BDM event.  My primary purpose in attending the awards night was to show support to Bob who I know would be going up the stage to get his grand slam award.  This award is given to that rare ultrarunner who gets to finish both the 160-km and 102-km races in the same year.  It would be a proud moment not only for Bob but for all of Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 to see a fellow 83nean runner join this rare breed of runners.

Alas, I got a pleasant surprise to know from the emcee of the event, Jonel Mendoza (the frontrunner),   that all of the BDM finishers (all distances) will be going up the stage to receive from the Race Director , Jovie Narcise (the Bald Runner),   our respective finisher’s certificate(s).

So, rather than being an awards night, the event was some sort of a graduation for all BDM warriors, Batch of 2012.

Here are pictures of all 83nean ultrarunners receiving our BDM “diplomas.”  In the case of Bob, he got a double major.

This Penguin got his BDM 102km finisher’s certificate

Bob receiving his BDM 160km finisher’s certificate  

The 2012 BDM 160km graduates

             Navyman Fards getting his BDM 102km finisher’s  certificate from Armyman Bald Runner

Ernie beaming with pride as he gets his BDM 102km finisher’s certificate

Amang of Fairview Running Club and Bob showing their BDM 102km finisher’s certificates

The 2012 BDM 102km graduates

We also have here the pictures of the “honor” students of the 2012 BDM.

2012 BDM 160km Top Finishers with Bald Runner : Benedict Balaba, Haide Acuna,Keisha Fule, Randy Duenas, Emma Alvarez represented by Fairvierw Running Club officer Bert Camangonan. Not in photo is Junny Rex Carreon

2012 BDM 102km Top Finishers with Bald Runner:  Eugene Yasay, Peter Kennedy, Jonnifer Lacanlale, Leiza Valerio, Ma Aleth Reblora and Candy Balaba

Bob receiving Grand Slam award from Bald Runner

2012 BDM grand slammers

It is a proud moment for us to see Bob receive his grand slam award.  

The 83nean runners are also proud of the accomplishments of the Balaba family who are neighbors of Fards and running friends of the 83neans  in the Camp Aguinaldo grounds.  Candy Balaba was the 3rd placer (female division) of the BDM 102 ultra while Benedict Balaba was the 2nd placer (male division) of the BDM 160 ultra.  

By virtue of his BDM 160 runner up finish and his 1st (and only) finisher status of the gruelling Taklang Damulag 100 Mile Endurance Run ultra in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, Benedict was judged the best male ultrarunner.

Here are a few more observations from the March 7 event:
First, the ultrarunning community in the Philippines is starting to go mainstream already, and not anymore an underground culture.  Looking at the many friendly and lively faces in the event, one can say that ultarunners are a varied group of people, representing various sectors of the Philippine society.  Among the BDM finishers are a grandson of President Osmena, a namesake of Blas Ople, a judge from Makati City,  a British expat of Shell,   TV anchorpersons from GMA and ABS CBN,  a handful of doctors and lawyers, a sprinkling of  husband and wife tandems, a squad of high school buddies, a platoon of military types and  a company of  business entrepreneurs.     

Second, I notice a preponderance of lawyers among the top 3 runners in both the 160km and 102km races.  Atty.  Heidi Acuna placed 3rd among the lady finishers  in the 2012 BDM 160km ultra.  Atty. Jonifer Lacanlale is the top finisher of the 2012 BDM 102km ultra.  He even broke the course record with a time of 10 hours 54 seconds.  This goes to show that a key trait to have to be a successful ultrarunner is perseverance.  Lawyers are known for their  persistence, welcome or otherwise.

Third, the camaraderie among ultrarunners is impressive.  The ultrarunning community is a band of brothers (and sisters).  Given the long and challenging  roads we tackle, ultrarunners get to be less competitive and more helpful of one another.  And this esprit de corps is not only displayed on the running course but also on social events like this awarding ceremony.  During this March 7 event, I got to meet new acquaintances.  Among them is Miguel de Alba and his wife Cachelle who the 83nean runners got to share a table with. We also got to have photos with  Vicky Ras, the Titanium Runner, and GreenEyes who is a Bicolano himself.

Amang, Ernie, Vicky Ras, Fards, me, Miguel &  Cachelle de Alba

With Val Caro aka GreenEyes

With Blas Ople Tiangco aka Titanium Runner

Ultrarunners are friendly and nice to be with.  That is one of the reasons why I like joining ultrarunning events, especially those organized by the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU).  

We are “warriors”, yet  we know how to party, too, in and out of the road.

CONGRATULATIONS to all BDM survivors!


  1. Wow! Congratulations, Macky! I never knew until now that you're the Bicolano Penguin. After 2 years, BDMer ka na. Ang galing!

    Thank you for visiting my site and following it. I appreciate it ... a lot.

    You never did slow me down during the T2N 2010. I opted to run with you because that's how ultramarathon is to me ... to race WITH ... and you needed that extra support to get you going and look where you are now. :) Again, congratulations!

  2. Thank you Running Diva. One thing I like about ultramarathons here in the Philippines is the camaraderie shared by the runners.