The Hungduan Climbathon is a 21-km mountain running race traversing the historical Mt Napulauan in Ifugao Province, starting from Bokiawan Information Center, will pass through the world-famous rice terraces, ascend to the peak, and descend to the finish line at the Municipal Ground, Poblacion Hungduan. At a maximum elevation of 2642 meters asl, this race is officially classified as a SKYRACE, a mountain trail running race at high altitude.
Only one thing came to my mind. I must go there!
Unfortunately, I was undertrained and had to undergo a minor operation that made competing our of the options. Thus, as a photography enthusiast and a member of the Philippines Skyrunning Association (PSA), I volunteered to document the event! 🙂
Hungduan is one of those places where I have second thoughts of sharing to people. It’s wonderful Rice Terraces and kind people makes me want to bring everyone there, yet I have to stop and rethink because if too many people go there, the amount of garbage and clashing of mountain culture and city culture may destroy the place. So why am I sharing this to you? It’s because I trust the local Department of Tourism and people of Hungduan to handle the tourists there well (just like how they did with us), keep the place safe and clean.
As a travel organizer, I like the way PSA organized the event. They gave clear and concise information and itinerary to the participants and volunteers so they could coordinate and plan their way to Hungduan and other parts of the event. They gave free accommodation in school buildings for participants who were on a tight budget and comfortable yet affordable (P100/night/pax) lodging at the Eco Lodge.
For those that were not able to ride with the hired jeepney, PSA were constantly monitoring the participants on where they were and what other options they could take to get to Hungduan and be able to compete on the Climbathon.
On the morning of the Climbathon, all the participants and volunteers rode a jeepney to the starting point. Some of the local participants were picked up on the way. And what better way to ride the jeepney but to topload! 🙂
The climbathoners passed by my station and all I have to do was to take pictures of them and to cheer them on the long, steep uphill to the summit of Mount Napulauan and back downhill to Bokiawan.
After all the runners went passed my station, we waited for the other volunteers and went to Bokiawan to prepare the finish line and put other markers on the way so no runners will get lost. We better do it fast because the local runners are also fast.
As soon as all the preparations are made, we were now only waiting for the finishers.
Finishers were given a medal, nilagang saging and water at the finish line. But wait, there’s more. At the lodging they have delicious free lunch!
And when all the runners finished, here comes two of the volunteers, the Tail.
No! Kian was not wearing a straw skirt. Those are trail signs that they picked up on their way. There are two reasons what the volunteer tail is for. (1) They ensure that all the participants have finished and are not lost on the trail. (2) They ensure that no garbage nor anything that is unnatural to the terrain due to the race is left behind, making them pick up the many trail signs and garbage along the trail.
Then we rest, ate and freshened up for the awarding and picture taking.
Congratulations to all the finishers!
Thanks to the Philippine Skyrunning Association for doing a great job on organizing the event and allowing me to document it. Thanks also for the cooperation of the Municipality of Hungduan and its citizens for the warm welcome.
Next time I hope to compete in Hungduan and see the magnificent scenery at the peak of Mount Napulauan.
If you want to read on the personal accounts of the runners at the Hungduan Climbathon 2011, here are 2 of them
- The Trail Running Mistress – http://runningmistress.blogspot.com/2011/04/skyruns-2nd-hungduan-climbathon-april.html
- Lagataw – http://www.lagataw.com/2011/04/2nd-annual-hungduan-climbathon.html
If you’re into running and loves nature then be a member of the Philippine Skyrunning Association. Click on the logo below to know how you can be a part of the Philippine Skyrunning Association.