Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cebu-Bacolod Christmas Epic Ride

My dad and I have been planning to bike to Bacolod but it was postponed the first time so finally, this pushed thru.

Route is Cebu-Bacolod via Uling (Blue) and then Don Salvador (Cyan), then Bacolod-Cebu via Don Salvador, then Trancentral Highway (Green). Distance is about 164km (Blue+Cyan) and 159km (Cyan+Green) to and from Bacolod, respectively.

It's been years already when we last visited our hometown. My younger siblings were also enroute via Ceres bus. We're glad that we were able to catch up with the same barge with them to San Carlos and back to Toledo.

For more pics, check out the CebuCycling thread at:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Anniversary At Shangri-La

We celebrated our 9th Anniversary (Dec. 9, 2009) on the weekend of Dec. 11-13.

Look at the place. Isn't that nice?! Who would expect there is a paradise in Mactan, just a few minutes ride from Cebu. We enjoyed the fishes!

Just about 3 meters away from the shore, schools of fishes are already flocking around us as we feed them pinches of sliced bread. They like it better than Stick-O. Hehe. There are the navy blue-colored fishes, zebra-colored, the big eyed, little ones, and the footlongs. Check out this video:

Here are some of the pics. Haaay! What a relaxing vacation, we felt we were in some paradise away from the country, but hey, we're just minutes away from home. Now that's a vacation! =)

Happy Anniversary Gä!!! ÜÜÜ



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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Insane Tour of Cebu 2009

Have you ever done something plain crazy and fun in your life? This is it! =)

My friends and I joined a 24-hour endurance Insane Tour of Cebu on our mountain bike. This is pushing our limits beyond anything you can imagine - bike the coastline of the Cebu island!

The race started at Minglanilla at 4am on Satuday, Nov. 28, 2009. We headed north to Bogo, then south towards Santader, then back to Minglanilla. This is a 500km route where 10% is rough road. We were on slick tires. We have four riders (Rupert, Dominique, Anklai and me) and six support crew (Lanlan, Ronald, Jun, Jam, Emily, and Ruby/my gä). A few months ago, I tried to create a team of five riders and a couple of support crew. Our fifth rider, Myles, unfortunately didn't make it to Cebu on the race date. We called our group -- Team Emily.

Every year for the past seven years, the Alliance of Mountain Trekkers and Adventurers, Inc (AMTA) have been doing this, i.e. the Insane Tour of Cebu. Two groups from the Cebu Cycling community were invited to join the experience.

The tour was a test of will, both mental and physical. To date, this is my longest ride yet. I'm also glad that gä was with the group during the race.

At 4am of Nov. 28, the riders were set. We prayed as the Minglanilla Church bell rang. Then off we went. Our team was very relaxed at first. We then started to focus on drafting. Before we knew it, we were pedalling at almost 40kph with the peleton. It was my first time to experience that speed in a pack of riders. Now I understand even more how vital it is to draft with the group. I was pedalling at a pace I'd do solo at 27kph but my speed was already 38kph when in a group. It was amazingly fast. I was too pumped up that I tried to forward myself to the third lead rider of the pack of about 40 riders. It was a non-stop fast pace 100km first quadrant of Cebu. During that time, Dominique was unable to stay with the pack after a series of traffic light stops. This took its toll in making up with the gap. 80% of the rider's effort is just breaking the wind. I phoned the group to assist Dominique at this time, while the rest of us are taking the lead at the Lugo climb. At that time, we needed the crew for us to refill our tanks. We were already out of food and water. After assisting us, our support waited for Dominique. As we moved on, we had a flat. We had extra wheelsets in the vehicle but the support is trying to catch up now that they are going back and forth to support the riders. Atop the climb, we were overtaken from our lead as we replace Rupert's tubes.

At Bogo, the support was trying to catch up. We were doing 30-35kph. At that time, I started to feel a little discomfort in my right ankle, where later I found out that my right cleats was misaligned. As the support reached us, we loaded up on food and drinks. This was the time when we realized that it was really difficult for the team to be in two places. After a century kilometer, Dominique decided to stop at Bogo. This was his first Lugo climb. Way to go Mik! I know he will return next year with a vengeance.

We continued pedalling until San Remegio which starts the 30km rough road. Along the way, my ankle discomfort was getting worse that I had to slow down. Not wanting to drag Rupert and Anklai, and so not to spoil the lead, I let them go. I told them I'll be at their tail. I thought if not for my misaligned cleats, I could have joined them tackle the rest of the route. So they were ahead, while I was doing solo. I tried to catch up with them but they were already ahead. I slowed down as the sun was full blast on the rough roads to Tabuelan. I tried to recover on my speed during the nice straight roads of Asturias. It was past noon that I needed to stop and look for a carenderia for lunch. The crew was still trying to catch up at that time, with Dominique already on board. One by one I come across lone riders as well of the race, realizing that maintaining 25kph-35kph could get me to my teammates in no time. As I stopped to have lunch, the AMTA group passed me by. I thought to myself, there is stilll enough distance to cover that we'll just see each other one way or another. As I pedalled again, the AMTA group were taking a breather. They invited me to join them instead. At first, I was hesitant, but the very cold Pepsi drinks was irresistable. =) It was at that time that the support crew made it to where we were resting. We then agreed that they go ahead and support Rupert and Anklai, while I stay with the AMTA group. This is also where my cleats was adjusted. In no time, I have recovered from my ankle discomfort.

As we passed by Balamban then Toledo, Rupert and Anklai were already in Pinamungahan area. As they rested at the Milk station with the support, the AMTA group and I were still about to tackle the Aloguinsan to Mantalongon climb. Rupert and Anklai went ahead while the support waited for me so I can get my headlamp. The support drove with us as we went to Dumanjug area for dinner. This is the last support I got, as they had to catch up with Rupert and Anklai who were biking with limited lighting somewhere in Badian, that they had to stop, eat dinner, and wait for the support. As I had my dinner, I talked with the group that I will just have to stay with the AMTA group for the rest of the route. I had to take my backpack to the AMTA's support vehicle. After a few minutes, we were all set. The support tried catching up with the long-haired steeds.

The AMTA pace at night was very fast. We were going 30-35 kph even at pitch black trusting our headlamps. It takes about a few seconds reaction time before you could notice the tires/signages along the road. The support took about a few hours before reaching Rupert and Anklai. They catched up with the boys somewhere in Oslob, while we were somewhere in Alegria.

It was during this time that exhaustion took it's turn. We were already sleepy. This was my first time to fall asleep for a few seconds, while pedalling! It was dangerous as big trucks pass by you in a swift. I had to splash cold water to my face to stay awake. Even cups of coffee weren't enough.

Sunlight kept me a little awake, which made me grateful. Upon reaching Argao, the rest of my team was already nearing Minglanilla. That last 60km was the most gruelling part. It was the last few kilometers where I had to exert my last ounce of energy to reach the finish line. Rupert and Anklai tied up at 2nd with 24:27 in their time. I was the 5th to arrive in the finish line with the rest of the pack with 27:58. I was very tired, but felt really good accomplishing this feat.

It was a priceless experience, but all worth it. I was one of the few to tour the whole of Cebu in a little over a day straight. I was glad to share this experience with friends, especially my gä.

Here are some more pics:

Check out the race result here and here...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My First MTB Race (Nov. 8, 2009)

This is my first mtb race. The Cebu Cycling Invitational Cup was held on Nov. 8, 2009.

Check out more pics at:

Monday, November 2, 2009

South Cebu Epic Ride (Oct. 31, 2009)

My friend Jam and I had an epic ride in South Cebu on Oct. 31, 2009.

This is sunrise at Naga... Wherever in the world, sunrise will always be breathtaking...


More pics in the slideshow...
More talking in the forum...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ondoy (Ketsana) typhoon...

Last Saturday, Sept. 26, Manila was shocked when typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) hit the country's capital and drowned a number of lives. Millions worth of damage in properties are evident in youtube videos. Up to now, I am still in awe seeing videos that are usually just seen in movies, or somewhere in the world other than our country. This is really happening. I was in China during this time and Manila floods is all over the news. On my way to Cebu from HK, Ondoy (Ketsana) was already en route to Vietnam.

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In fact, our flights were a bit delayed due to the weather and we had a bumpy ride all the way to Cebu.

It is during this time, at the brink of disaster where character of man is tested. Even during these hard times, we are heroes in our own ways. I'm glad I've seen that in fellow Filipinos, inspite of the depressing state of our country. We are being watched all over the world. Our actions of good deeds, of helping our fellowmen in this hard times is truly an inspiration to all.

God bless the Philippines...

Today (Oct. 4, 2009), I joined our Cebu Cycling community in biking for a cause for Ondoy victims.

More pics at CC Ondoy bike for a cause here...

A few days later, we received an email from a former colleague who experienced Ondoy. His first hand account was so overwhelming and moving that I asked him if it's okay if I can post his email here... Here it is (with permission)...


It has been 14 days we have been tirelessly cleaning up after typhoon Ondoy
(international name: Ketsana) caused heavy (and seriously excessive)
flooding here in the Cainta/Marikina/Pasig area. In our village alone, I
estimate the flood level to be about 8 feet. Inside the house, it was about
5 feet (approximately equal to the distance from the floor to an inch above
my jaw line).

I can still recall what happened that day (Sept. 26, Saturday). It was
still Friday night (Sept. 25) when the rain came. The downpour was steady
and it did not weaken or strengthen until Saturday. When morning came, I
have seen that the water was about an ankle deep in the street outside.
Also, water was gushing to the lower parts of our village. At about noon
time, water in the street was about waist-deep. I have told myself that our
house will not get flooded since it is really elevated as compared to that
of our neighbors'.

With that kind of security in my mind, I went in our roof to have a fun
shower in the rain. A few minutes passed, fun time was over. It was about 1
PM when I learned that the inside of our house is an inch away from being

Papa, Mama, and I started lifting things up (from carpets to clothes, TV
sets, fans, refs, washing machines, and many others). Mama's cellphone was
the first to fall in the flood. So, I made it a point to take care of my
phone as it will be our last mode of communication.

When 3 PM came in, the water was already waist-deep inside. I started
getting my vest, and placing everything important inside (like ATMs, IDs,
credit cards, cash, car keys, and flashlight). I also told Mama to give me
all important documents so that they won't get wet. When the water was
about chest-deep, I have told Mama and Papa that we evacuate and go to our
roof (via our permanent ladder). Almost everything that we have raised to a
higher level has not remained in their place. All equipment and furniture
either floated or got submerged inside. Mama and I have tried as much as we
can to get some foods. I can remember Mama getting the rice cooker before
the cabinet toppled down.

Every one of us got bruises from the flood. The water was also really cold.
I shivered and literally trembled when the cold water was chest-deep. I was
really shaking. I just did my best not to get drowned from the flood as it
will cause another alarm among our parents.

When 5 PM came, we were already at the roof (which has a little roof on
it). It was a cold night and the water was still rising. We were all
sleepless that night as we were observing the rain and watching the water
to rise up. Also, I was not able to save my cellphone as it got submerged
in the flood as well. That is the reason why you or Kuya Ronald was not
able to contact us for days.

Mama initiated to pray during that hard time. I was really overwhelmed with
the level and amount of flood since it was just too much.

It was already 6 AM the next day (Sunday) when the flood receded to
knee-level. We checked the inside of the house. There was too much mud. It
was certainly a disaster.

Today, the scenario of our place and the nearby towns has not significantly
changed since September 26. Tons of foul garbage is seen outside of every
house and on the sides of the major roads. Mud and sand are still
everywhere. Also, our wooden doors cannot be locked anymore as they have
expanded due to the water. Our car still needs to be repaired as it got
fully submerged as well.

Most of our things became garbage. I hope that we will be able to clean up
everything before October ends.

As of now, we are already physically safe. The TV has shown a lot of
stories of people that has lost their family members during the tragedy. I
was saddened by all of these.

I hope that you can call Mama again if you have time as she has been very
emotional (and worrying too much) these days. Papa has not stopped from
cleaning and repairing things as well. I am doing my very best to clean
things as well.

You might be aware of other heavy flooding on other provinces of the
Philippines in the previous years like in 2001 or 2005 where "people were
already on the rooftop" of their homes. Having been subjected to the heavy
flooding, I should say that there is a “big” difference from seeing it on
TV and actually experiencing it. Malaki yung pagkakaiba nung nakikita mo sa
TV compared sa nae-experience mo siya.

I just realized that most of the things in our life is just a garbage. Just
like every thing that we have disposed off from our house during the
tragedy. We don’t need garbage in our lives, we need something else more


May the Lord bless you,
Charlton =)

China Trip 2009

My China Trip Sept 17-28, 2009

DAY 1 (Sept. 17):

As soon as I woke up today, I told myself, "I'll be in China today".

A colleague and I travelled to Zhongshan Guangdong, China for a business trip. Got to enjoy the Air Philippines lounge at Mactan prior to the trip. By noon, we were on board Cathay Pacific for a two and a half hour flight to HK Airport. At 3:30pm, we were already waiting for our baggages. It's a first time to go out of HK so we asked the things we needed to know in getting to Zhongshan and began converting some of our money to the local currency (ie. HK dollars and RMB). Got to chat with a colleague from Shenzhen who is in Zhongshan, and he agreed to meet us at the ferry terminal. We took the free shuttle to the China Ferry terminal. There was a mild traffic. I was glad though that we made it just in time for the 6pm trip to Zhongshan.

About an hour from take off (from Cebu)... And a few minutes before landing (HK)...

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It was a little tiring trip. While in the ferry (just like Supercat ferry in the Philippines), we tried to decipher the TV shows. Now we're starting to feel that we're really in China. I'm watching Chinese commercials!

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Upon arriving at the hotel and checked in, we registered for Shangri La membership. What do you know, they have a promo that gives you a free night if you stay for 4 nights. I can use this in Shangri La, Mactan. Here's how the room looks like... And a view from my window...

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Here's how the Cafe Plus lounge looks like...

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It's the first day at work tomorrow, and it's gonna be a hectic day. But... it's also the last day of the week (assuming there's no work on Saturday), so we have to arrange our plans on touring the area, or how 'bout Great Wall of China? Hmmmm. Maybe next time...

(More Day1 Pics here...)

DAY 2:

It's our first day at work. And I believe we have done so much for the day!
We had a very busy first day, and yes I was just done sending reports. And it's 2am! (so, technically it's Day 3 now.)

At lunch, we ate spicy food in the nearby cafeteria. They have a tradition of washing the chopsticks with hot tea. Here, a Chinese colleague is showing us how. They served these foods...

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Although this has been a tiring day, I am very happy that it turned out productive. We had results. We were working with Japanese and Chinese counterparts, so language barrier may have been another roadblock to solving some of the issues we are working on, which of course, I can't disclose here. So much of work stuff. I am just glad that with our efforts on this very first day, I already feel satisfied that all my learnings in my (almost) 5-year stint in Lexmark have been put to test and was very substantial in interacting with our counterparts and manufacturing partner. I feel great, but tired.

So, it was time to relax. We were still at the office by past 8pm. My colleague and I ate dinner at the Cafe. I treated myself, as anyone would if he's tired, to a sumptuous dinner. I had Indonesian nasi goreng cuisine - fried rice with beef satay, fried egg, shrimp crackers, pork barbecue. After dinner, we asked for the receipt (called 'fapiao' in local), and here's what we got, denominations of how much we spent, but as receipts.

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After talking and relieving ourselves with the overwhelming work for the day, Oh, was I still talking about work? Well, just imagine we're soldiers being sent to war! =) (Disclaimer: This is just an analogy and may not necessarily pertain to something specific for that matter)

We talked with the staff at the bar on suggested site-seeing places around the area. He recommended this bargain stall in Suixi, just about 30 minutes by taxi. We will check that out tomorrow. We also got to talk with a kababayan Filipina singer from the bar.

So much for the day. Tomorrow's starts our only weekend (well, from what we expected at least) for our stay here, so we might as well use that time to tour around. Zhongshan was known to have been named after the Father of Modern China about some 80 years ago, so that's why ZS is also popular. But according to a hotel staff, the place is boring. I can second that, that's why my colleague is still looking at the possibility of going to the Great Wall. I'm not so sure we can do that given the time we had, and maybe the budget. And considering I haven't brought any tracking device (GPS) to help us if we get lost (the maps are in Chinese, and not all locals speak English, and... you get it). So our plan of going there appears blurry.

Looking forward to our weekend touring tomorrow...

(More Day2 pics here...)

DAY 3:

I thought today would be an exciting day, but our strolling was a bit boring. We wanted to tour the city but we got out of the hotel late. We went to this Yuhai Mall. We ate at a familiar fastfood, McDonalds. Well, the mall looks classy, but as you would expect how a mall would like. What we wanted to do the first thing is, find a Zhongshan map, and in english! We walked, and walked, and I told myself, I should have brought a GPS. It's so hard to ask for directions here as not all locals speak english. Almost everything is written in Chinese (Some road names are in English though). It's so frustrating. Haaaaay... We went to Sunwen Road West (near Zhongshan park). There are lots of stores there. I was looking for a ZS fridge magnet but to no avail. Here are some pics at Walker's street...

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Oh well. We strolled around the hotel. They have these gymnasium and infinity pool. Here are some of the hotel pics.

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I played with my digicam settings, and practiced photography. Here are my amateur pics:

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Tomorrow's a new day. We will look for a Catholic church. We also plan to visit Sun Yat-sen memorial. Although, I miss home...

(More Day 3 Pics here...)

DAY 4:

Today, we looked for a Catholic church. We started our day with a breakfast at Cafe Plus. We asked for directions and learned that there's a Catholic church near Sun Yat-sen memorial. We went to the memorial, took pictures, then walked our way to the Church. It was really nice to see a Christian church in a place far away from home. It provided a sense of belonging. We stayed there for a while to pray. The caretaker can't speak english, but he doesn't have to. He knows why we were there. A lady from there gave us a contact card of the church.

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This is Sun Yat-sen memorial...

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We then walked to the Buddha temple.

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The weather here is hotter than the Philippines. The place is very secluded that you don't see any crowd. But inspite that, that's the only place where we met Chinese people welcoming us to China since we arrived.

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The couple were kind enough to guide us with our map when we asked for directions to the Suixi town, at Li Gang Street, the place with stalls selling inexpensive stuff. I bought shorts worth 10 RMB (That's about Php 68). We also bought a few moon cakes and other Zhongshan food for pasalubong. I was looking for a fridge magnet of Zhongshan (by the way, I'm collecting fridge magnets of the different places I travelled to) but its really hard to find one here. It's about 2pm when we came back to the hotel where we ate our lunch.

(More Day 4 Pics here...)

DAY 5:

At lunch, we ate spicy food again in the nearby restaurant. We had beef, chicken, vegetables, and fried rice. Another colleague from Shenzhen joined us at lunch. We talked about travelling to the Great Wall, and other stuff. Did you know that a Chinese couple are allowed to bear only one child? Any more than that will costs you 200,000 RMB per child. But there are ways to go around the red tape. =) Bearing a child in HK makes the newborn a resident of HK. But still it's expensive to live in HK.

When the day was over, we passed thru this Walmart, which looked like a castle! I wasn't able to take a picture of it. I'll try to get a snap of it tomorrow.

(More Day 5 Pics here...)

DAY 6:

On our way home today, I took a picture of the castle-like Walmart that's set to operate by year-end.


We ate dinner at almost midnight already. So after extended work at the hotel, we did unwind in the bar. They have Filipino and Chinese singers. Then we met this French guy. Nice but naughty guy. One of the things he said worth sharing is, Filipinas are the best Asians. Asians by look, Latinas (fierce) by blood. They're painful to love, even painful to hate. =)

DAY 7:

It's our last working day here tomorrow.

We ate at a new restaurant not so far from our office. It's called Any Kitchen. They served egg, lamb, pork, rice, and tea. We talked about a lot of stuff during lunch, about snorkling in Mactan, etc. I showed to my Chinese colleagues a phone picture of me and my gä... =)

This trip is definitely a very good learning experience.

DAY 8:

What more can I say, we're going home tomorrow. =)

DAY 9:

Oooops! We're back! Hehe.

We we're asked to stay 2 more days. I know that by staying here, we're making a difference for Lexmark. Got so busy today, I just got 2 hours sleep. So goodnight for now.

By the way, it's the last day tomorrow! For real!

DAY 10:

This is the last day at work! And guess what, the issue was resolved! Yuhoo! =)

DAY 11:

We were on our way to the ferry. Unfortunately, we missed our ferry trip schedule so we waited for the next one, which is already close to our flight schedule. We tried to catch up, but we were still in Kowloon 20 minutes before our flight. So we had no choice but to stay for a night in HK. We stayed at Marriott Renaissance. Since my colleague is a Platinum member and I am a Gold member, we were treated with complimentary drinks and snacks upon checkin. We ate at the lounge and exchanged some money, and went to the Mongkok night market. We also went to the Avenue of the Stars. The last time my gä and I came here, we weren't able to see Bruce Lee's statue so at least I have to take a picture of it.

Here are some pics of Renaissance in Kowloon.

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Here's our complimentary food...

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The lounge...

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The lobby and facade...

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At Mongkok night market... We saw Mr. Mossman (Golden Retriever)...

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At Avenue of the Stars...

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(More Day 11 Pics here...)

DAY 12:

Finally, going back home. In HK Int'l Airport, the last time I wasn't able to visit the Cathay lounge. Tried it this time. It's spacious. They offer noodles of different sorts. Also tried my favorite croissant, glazed in honey with chocolate toppings. Delicious! =)

The Pier lounge...

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The flight to Cebu was turbulent because of Ondoy (Ketsana) typhoon. It was one of my bumpiest flights. I'm glad we landed safe. But I felt terrible of the floods brought about by Ondoy, which was all over the news in Hong Kong. People there are also preparing for it as it is going in South China's direction.

Anyways, about the business trip... It was really a very good learning experience. Really... I'm glad that the issue was resolved. And I'm glad I was able to experience what it's like to be in China...

(More Day 12 Pics here...)