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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..

January 13, 2016

TMEK 2015: Ang Sarap Galing Sa Team Sinarapan

I have said it before and I'll say it again - nothing beats running on your own home turf. And when that home turf happens to be in Bicol, you can bet that the passion to run in our home place is fiery volcanic indeed.

Such is the context of the Takbo Mo! Edukasyon Ko! 21 Km Challenge 2015  for the Bicolano Penguin and running buddies.  That is why we motored down from Paranaque,  leaving  the metropolis 12 hours before gun start to travel more than  400+ kilometers to the idyllic town of Buhi. That is why, with us, on that trip, was a high school  friend who came all the way from Singapore, to join us in a 21-km fun run. That is why we had more than a dozen row5runners from Naga City and Iriga City  waking up at 1 in the morning to  be at the starting line at 4am.  That is why I was lining up at the starting line of this half marathon even if less than 48 hours ago, my left ankle was swollen purple after suffering a sprain in an evening run.               
Swollen left ankle On Dec 25

Rock tape for my  foot and  ITB.  

We are truly passionate about running in Bicol and we have the Team Sinarapan to thank for the TMEK.  This running club of young and dynamic runners with roots from Buhi have been organizing the TMEK for 5 years already. 

Half marathons are not a regular occurrence in the Rinconada part (5th congressional district of Camarines Sur) of Bicol. It takes guts for a young running club to organize a long distance running event but Team Sinarapan  has persevered for a handful of years already.

We are truly thankful for this perseverance of Team Sinarapan  as we  enjoyed running in our very first TMEK.  Running the TMEK  is great given the clean air and less vehicular traffic along the route. Running the TMEK gives the runners a great view of both Mt. Asog and Lake Buhi.  In a play of words, sadyang nasarapan kami sa takbo na gawa ng Team Sinarapan.

 Standing at attention for the Singing of the National Anthem...
...and for the prayer.
Group photo before the start.
At the start, it was still dark.
The Indian Run and the Chicken Dance
Yan Yan looking fashionable with the head bandana.

At the 10-km mark, we saw ourselves trudging thru the sleepy main street of Buhi.

Still looking strong at the halfway stage. 

As we breached the halfway point, the rest of the strong runners were on their way back to the finish line, including new row5runnin recruit Jimboy Sayson and... 

...Bob and ... 
...Cyrus and ...

...brother Jonas and ...

...veteran Joji. 

While the back-of-the-pack runners like Bitoy and Ed enjoyed the Lake Buhi environ.

I had the honor of being guided by elite runners Brando and Yanno thru the idyllic rural road of Buhi. 

While Ernie zealously paced Bitoy, our visitor from Singapore.

Aura was a true picture of a running tourist with a handy camera and a lovely running buddy in Remy. 

Myonee, running the 10km got an escort in fellow row5runner Jonas.  

The shirtless wonder Brando. 

Naddy crossing the finish line and getting a warm welcome from race volunteers.

Gilbert, the smiling and running doctor of row5runnin.

Crossing the finish line, Kevin shares a light moment with fellow row5runners Shie and Bem.

One of the youngest row5runners, Tommy bagged his 3rd half marathon with the TMEK 2015. 

Two strong lady row5runners - Sherrylou and Mafe.

Always make it a point to clapping my hands as I cross the finish line.  It is a gesture of celebration of the beautiful sports of running.  

I must say, the young ladies at the TMEK finish line  are beautiful.

Agree, Ghibz?

"Macho Man Savage" Allen crossing the finish line. 

Ed followed soon in finishing.

Sharing Xmas chocolates at the finish line.

Upon reaching the finish line, Ernie had to check his watch to see how soon they could get to the bus terminal as  he and Bitoy  were going back to Manila on the same day.  

1st year high school classmates (LG-4) at the Ateneo having a group photo:  Ric, Omar, Bitoy and Bicolano Penguin.  

Showing the row5runnin compression sleeve. 

Juritz pacing Remy, the last runner to cross the finish line. 

The last finisher getting the most attention from running buddies.

The BP with Leo Arcilla, one of the leaders of Team Sinarapan

Hoka Hunks showing off their kicks.

row5runner Yanno winning 1st place in the 5km fun run of TMEK

Feeling proud to have a photo with Bem, a podium finisher at the 10km fun run.

Taking a group photo with Marino (the blue-shirted runner) the Champion of the TMEK half marathon 

TMEK Half Marathon Official Results

True to the our team name, many of us occupied the last row of finishers.

A bonus for us row5runners was that after the race, we were treated to a delicious breakfast courtesy of our Ateneo de Naga Hs Batch 1983 classmate Omar Mercurio and his father, a former Mayor of Buhi.  Omar, a former Vice Mayor, was a gracious host and he made us feel the very warm hospitality that provincial homes are known for.    
row5runners in the house of Omar.

Gifting the former Buhi mayor with a row5runnin shirt.

No doubt, the row5runners and many more running clubs in Bicol like Runconada, Mt. Isarog Runners and Team Caceres will be back next year for the next edition of TMEK.  This is a beautiful race.


Team Sinarapan

Congratulations to Team Sinarapan and more power.  More kilometers to make the TMEK next year a full marathon already, Please pretty please.

P.S. Photos taken from the facebook pages of Team Sinarapan and Abbiegail Cruz-Lee. 




  1. Congrats Guys!!! Godspeed ;)You have come a long way bp...

  2. Thanks Nino. We missed you in Buhi. Looking forward to sharing the road or trail with you again this year. How is your playground?