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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..

April 18, 2016

2016 MAYON 360: Palarong Pambansa 2016 Torch Bearers

What was new in the 2016 edition of the Mayon 360 Ultra Marathon?  Not that it needed any changes or additions to continue its reign as Bicol region's best and hottest long distance running event, but indeed there were a few new things  in the 6th running of the Mayon 360.  

Most endearing of  these was the staging of the Palarong Pambansa torch relay during the Mayon 360 ultra marathon last April 9.  Actually, the Palarong Pambansa torch took a 3-day journey around Albay.  April 8, the journey started in Agos, Polangui carried by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and the uniformed men of Team Albay and JCI Legazpi.  On April 9, various running groups carried the torch on a 80-km run around Mayon Volcano. On April 10, local athletes like running legend Mario Maglinao and PWD athlete Francis Everesto carried the torch around the oval inside Bicol University and lighted the Palarong Pambansa 2016 cauldron. 

Much pride can indeed be derived by Bicolanos from the Palarong Pambansa Torch Relay.   For one, it has been 64 years since the province of Albay has seen again the Palarong Pambansa torch.  More importantly, the creation of the 2016 Palarong Pambansa torch primarily utilized local Bicol talent. Getting the mandate from the Albay governor, JCI Legazpi formed a team for the creation of the torch.  Members of this team included Yves Eli Yu (over all design and concept), Richard Ong (computer modeling), Kaloi Garcia (digital graphics rendering), and Mariano Maddela (fabrication).  JCI Legazpi commissioned Anne Cadiz, an Architectural student of Bicol University to draw the theme "Transcendence of Albay", which Yves choose to add soul to the torch saying "A lighted torch on its own already symbolizes many positive things but a torch etched with the success story of the Albayano community carries with it the shared strength and passion of its people." The shape of the torch is inspired by sili, a base ingredient for most of Bicol's culinary delights. The torch is 72 centimeters in length and weighs 850 grams. At the lower part of the torch, illustrated is the Mayon Volcano, symbolic of nature’s beauty at its best and nature’s wrath at its worst. At the peak of it, is symbolic of an Albayano families embracing each other against all odds, enduring every disaster that comes in the way, as they are shoved by different other types of calamities such as typhoons and storm surges. Thus, the Torch is also a symbol of the tenacity and the resiliency of the Albayano in an environment that is both rich and beautiful yet challenging and dangerous. Albayanos sailed throughout these obstacles but eventually came down hand-in-hand to become united through constituting more effective typhoon responses, rescues and preparations for mitigation against disastrous aftermaths; symbolized by the hands held at each other. The horse represents power, and this is symbolic of the stage where the Albayanos have been empowered to be brave, united and cooperative towards growth- represented by the tree.
Gov. Joey Salceda with the Palarong Pambansa torch.

JCI Legazpi officials Yves Yu, Richard Ong, Kaloi Garcia and Mariano Maddela with the artist Anne Cardiz.

The Mayon Volcano and the symbolic family.

The symbolic horse.
And it is this cooperative spirit that makes the torch relay very endearing to runners from Bicol and beyond. That is why many running groups from Bicol joined the April 9 Palarong Pambansa torch relay held as part of the 2016 Mayon 360 ultra marathon.  The running clubs and groups that participated in the April 9 torch relay are the following:
Team Assignments
4:05am - 4:35am Team Subo A 5k
4:35am - 6:30am Ayala Triads 15kms
6:30am - 8:00 am Team Subo B 10kms
8:00am - 10:00am Team MP 10kms
10:00am - 11:30am Row5Running 12.5kms
11:45am-12:45am Team Kapulikat 5kms
1:00pm - 2:00pm Oragon Striders 5kms
2:15pm - 3:45pm Team Kapurit 7.5kms
4:00pm - 5:45pm Albay provincial sports Office 16.7kms
5:45pm-6:00pm JCI Legazpi 1.3kms

The day before April 9, there was a briefing conducted for the torch relay participants.  It was also an opportunity  for the runners to take photos with the 2016 Palarong Pambansa torch. The row5runnin torch relay team headed by Allen Tolledo with members Cyril Tolledo, Sherrylou Desaliza, Bem Volante-Baret, Mafe Santiago, Yan Yan Acoompando, Francis Castillo and  Kevin Moral, definitely enjoyed.  If the excitement during the briefing was any indication, the running of the torch relay come race time the following day would surely be a festive and awe-inspiring one. 
Briefing for torch relay participants the day before the April 9 torch relay.

Having fun in a group photo with the torch the day before.
And it sure did was a celebration.  A celebration of what is good about running.  Camaraderie. Dedication. Inclusivity.  Allow the photos to tell the story. 

At Km 0, Team SUBO had the honor of starting with the Palarong Pambansa Torch.

Beyond Km 5, it was the turn of Ayala Triads to run with the torch. 
At Km 20, Team SUBO got it back.

Team SUBO ran with the torch up to Km 30.  

Team MP ran from Km 30 to Km 40.

At Km 40, the torch was handed over by Team MP to row5runnin. 
row5runnin torch relay team nearing the city center of Tabaco.  

row5runnin handing over the torch to Tabaco City mayor - Maria Josefa Demetriou.

Part of the ceremony.

The Tabaco City mayor making a speech.

In front of the Tabaco City Hall.

At Km 52.5, the torch was handed over to Team Kapulikat. 

Team Kapulikat are on...

...their way.

While row5runnin and the Tabaco City officials wave them goodbye.

row5runnin and JCI Legazpi

Team Kapulikat on their way to Malilipot.

At Malilipot municipal hall, the torch is ready for... 

...hand over to Oragon Striders.

At Km 62.5, Team Kapurit await their turn to run with the torch. 

Team Kapurit with the torch.

Arrival of Team Kapurit at Km 70 where they hand over torch to runners of Albay provincial sports office.  

Allow the Mayon 360 Palarong Pambansa torch relay participants to tell their story. Read how they wax poetic about the experience.

Abner Corpus (Team SUBO) :  "Why I join?  Kasi this a historic event. After more than 6 decades, the Palarong Pambansa flame is back once again in Albay thru the effort of our energetic and climate change czar Joey Salceda.  I am so very proud na naging part ako and my team (Team SUBO) ng historic event na ito.  My learning from the expereince is once I got hold of the torch, sabi ko sa sarili ko, maging mapgkumbaba ka lang lagi at ipagpatuloy ang maalab na pagmamahal sa larangan ng pagtakbo. Habang may gumagabay sa iyo, isipin mo na lang lagi na para din tayong apoy, namamatay at muling magniningas sa tamang panahon."
Abner Corpus of Team SUBO at Km 5 for the handover to Ayala Triads.

Cyril Tolledo (row5runnin) :   "Being a part of the Palarong Pambansa 2016 torch relay is a rare opportunity so I decided to join as torch bearer instead of running the Mayon 360 relay (4-man).  I felt ecstatic, proud and honored because I am carrying the symbolic torch of a momentous event that will only happen once in my lifetime.  The strong bond of row5runnin group, the perseverance to run extra miles, the untiring support to all runners and the good camaraderie among us I can say are the best learning(s) from the experience." 
Cyril Tolledo leading the row5runners to Tabaco.   

Bem Volante-Baret (row5runnin):  "I feel that I am carrying a magic wand that brought so much joy and excitement at the same time.  I had never experience such a feeling in all my runs.  The take away from the experience is that I would have never imagine that one day I would have carried the Palarong Pambansa torch. I'm glad I am part of the row5runnin tribe.  I'm one of the chosen few."
Bem Volante-Baret running with the torch.
Kevin Moral (row5runnin):  "Ng unang hawak ko, grabe energy ko. Di ko mapigilan ang bumilis at di rin makapaniwala...at parang tireless ako kahit mabigat siya.  My learning from the experience is just be humble always. I does not mean na naging torch bearer ka, magaling kana. I am very passionate when it comes to running.  Maybe yan na rin reason kung bakit nakasama ako as torch bearer. Milestone siya sa buhay ko."
Kevin Moral with the torch.
Kaloi Garcia (Team Kapurit):  "Honestly, it is mystical.  Prior to carrying the torch with Team Kapurit from Bacacay to Sto. Domingo, I was also part of a relay team.  I ran the Sabluyon section, when I reached the transition area in Buang, biglang tumigas yung left legs ko, as in hindi ko maigalaw, kako baka di na ako makatakbo sa torch relay later. Sinamahan ko na lang yung team ko sa turnover ng torch from Bonga, Bacacay with my legs still hurting.  When it was our turn to run, kako samahan ko lang saglit ang team ko for photo ops but lo and behold,  nawala yung leg pain ko at natapos ko yung buong 6kms. Nakasabay pa ako later sa last part ng torch relay with JCI Legazpi from Caltex to Albay Astrodome.  Parang may binibigay na powers yung torch pag binuhat at tinakbo mo.  It makes you run fast ng di mo namamalayan. Parang hinihigop ng apoy yung mga negatives na dala mo at binibigyan ka ng positive energy."
Kaloi Garcia with his Team Kapurit buddies.

There you have it.  The Mayon 360 Palarong Pambansa torch relay experience  was mystical. The positive energy transcended to the organizers, running groups and to the communities the torch passed.

Truly transcendental.      

P.S. Photos taken from facebook pages of Aura Menolas Reduta, Kaloi Garcia, Abner Corpus, Mafe Santiago, Debz Nuada, Gia Estrella, Mar Lobas Mendez, Maria Josefa Demetriou and Yves Eli Yu.      



  1. Thank you very much for this..wow! You documented the whole relay.. it fills me with so much joy you thought of this. One of the main reason for the torch is to give all of us a shared value, shared goal, and shared impact. Your article gives the whole event the human side. THANK YOU. :)

    1. Thank you to you and the JCI Legazpi for inviting our row5runnin in the torch relay. Your JCI Legazpi team did a good job with the 2016 Mayon 360 and the Palarong Pambansa torch relay. The twin tasks were daunting but your team remain undaunted. JCI Legazpi is truly making a difference in the community. Albay continues to be an inspiring model for other provinces and towns on getting things done well.

  2. BP, two thumbs up!! A FIRST-RATE article that uplifts the morale of us, runners..More power SA blog mo padi..c u soon.

    1. Thank you Allen. The collective leadership in row5runnin (Naga) is inspiring to many of us.

  3. Thanks BP runner,, on behalf of my Team Subo,, Maraming maraming salamat po,,,

  4. Your welcome Ryan. Team Subo is proving to be an active running club that is very much in touch with the community. I guess of all the running groups participating in the April 9 torch relay, Team Subo had the biggest number of participants. Well done. Looking forward to joining the 2016 edition of your L2M ultra later this year.