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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 3, 2017

RUNNERS IN OUTREACH: Reverse Caroling in the Aftermath of Typhoon Nina

To the run-of-the-mill kibitzers, running is just an exercise.  But for those who are actually living and breathing it, running is more than just a physical sports.  It is actually a way of life that encompasses the physical, emotional, social and even moral aspects of one's being.  Running offers an avenue to meet new friends and deepen ties with old friends. Running too offers the opportunity to be able to help others. Runner's high and helper's high seem to go hand in hand.

There are many examples of this in the local running community  all over our Philippine archipelago.  In Cebu, we have Tony G who has started the 5pcs Daily Habit which pushes for the awareness to all the people that we need to do something for our current garbage situation. His 5pcs Daily Habit Army  is sprouting in one province to another.   In  Leyte, we have Doreen D and friends who conduct  outreach activities every Christmas time for 9 years already among the poor kids in Brandy Island, Baybay City.   In the Caraga region in Mindanao, we have  Rose B who has the Run for Cab-Ilan  project which is a year long challenge that aims for the donation of sacks of rice to the residents of Cab-Ilan Island, Dinagat thru the accumulation of training run mileage by running volunteers. This Dec 31, 2016, about 89 families in this island received a sack of rice each from Rose.  Closer to home in Camarines Sur, we have Team Sinarapan (TS)  whose members have been organizing the  Takbo Mo, Edukasyon Ko  annual fun run which raises funds to buy school supplies for the poor students of the public elementary schools in the town of Buhi.  TS has been doing this since 2013.  For the biggest running group in Cam Sur, Caceres Runners Club, they regularly have outreach activities in the province.  For Dec 2016, they visited and provided cheers to the inmates at the Naga City jail.

For our fledgling running tribe, the row5runners of Naga City, the outreach of choice is the reverse caroling.  They have done it in 2015  and for 2016 it is the same.  The difference is that they undertook the reverse caroling just a couple of days after a Category 4 typhoon hit the province on Christmas Day 2016.  In the aftermath of Typhoon Nina, the City of Naga and the whole province of Cam Sur still had no electricity and many houses and structures lay damaged. But this did not deter the intrepid group of row5runners from pushing thru with the outreach activity of visiting poor families in Barangay Carolina and singing to them Christmas carols. At the end of the singing,  the row5carolers gave the families packages containing rice, canned goods, bihon noodles, coffee, milk and candies. In total, 40 families received these packages on their Dec 31 outreach.
The row5runners of Naga about to start their outreach activity last Dec 31, 2016.
The group had to walk thru bushes and...
...fallen houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Nina.  
Row5runners lining up to start... 

... the caroling. 
After the singing, the handing over  of  the xmas package.  

Tony in a playful banter with one of the recipients. 
Ric taking his turn in the gift giving. 
Allen enjoying the reverse caroling. 
Eng & Shie, sweet partners in charity. 
Bem with kids.  Exposing them young to good deeds.

Asked as to why they do this, Allen T, one of the group leaders, has this to say - "It is a yearly panata. This is a way to give back the graces our family received. It gives us joy, when we see people happy."

Likewise, Ric L echoed the same sentiment - "True to the spirit of Christmas, we give back and share anything we could offer to the needy and less fortunate ones, especially the hardest hit of the recent typhoon."

Well said. Proud of you. Thank you indeed to our row5runners in Naga City:  Shie, Eng, Sherrylou, Bem, Belle, Naddy, Aura, Ric, Joji, Tony, Kevin,  Cyril and Allen. And of course their kids.

Let us continue to get high on running and helping.




  1. BP, thank you for the heartwarming writeup....hope this coming December 2017, we'll have more recipients and probably sponsors for our reverse caroling....Challenge Accepted (Cyril & I) to the 1000km run/bike

    1. Thank you Allen, Cyril and our fellow row5runners who try to live the spirit of "men and women for others." The reverse caroling which the group started, reminds me of a favorite line from the movie Field of Dreams. To paraphrase it: if you sing it, they will come.