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Run the Philippine Mountains Wherever you Are

Posted at October 28, 2020

Now that we are currently facing a global pandemic, we want our community to know that we are doing everything we can to help with the help of fellow athletes, partners, race organizers and government agencies.

While the ongoing pandemic has caused the temporary closure of hiking trails, RaceYaya together with T8 Philippines and sanctioned by the DOT, offered an event that provides a daily challenge which offered the same exhilarating feeling of running the trails; preparing for when the Philippines and its magnificent beaches and majestic mountains are once more opened to local and international athletes/visitors. The first virtual race happened in July when most of the places in the Philippines lifted the ban on running outdoors, and the second one was held in September.

More than 300 runners registered and took on the challenge of running the Philippine mountains from wherever they are during the first and second edition. Runners from all over the Philippines and neighboring Asian countries joined the virtual race.  Everyone ran together from wherever they are in the world.

The events raised funds to provide protection essentials for the teaching force, parents, and students of Macaingalan, Puray and Malasya elementary schools, located in the remote areas in the mountains of Montalban, Rizal.  This is the second outreach of RaceYaya after its Preloved campaign which helped provide assistance to frontliners and the communities near the mountains in Montalban, Rizal.

Here's a glimpse of our outreach activity.


RaceYaya and T8 is committed to continuously assist these communities in the mountains who are greatly affected by the pandemic.


Here are some highlights from the two events: 




Daniel Jensen has never visited the Philippines, but after taking part in the Run the Philippine Mountains virtual race, he’s quite excited to see the actual and climb the actual mountains. Admitting he has never set foot in any of the Philippines’ 7,641 tropical islands, Daniel said he is planning to visit the scenic spots and his Filipino friends in the future. “I really should go. I thought the photos in the e-certificates made all the mountains look magnificent!” 


The Indonesia-based Danish trail runner was named overall champion after he recorded the overall fastest time by accumulating an elevation gain of 3000m, an equivalent of Mt. Apo or Mt. Pulag altitude in three hours, five minutes and 13 seconds within three days. “Take it easy, there’s no one watching. But take it seriously at the same time, it’s your chance to go harder than if it was just another training day,” said the multisport athlete from West Java. 


For the female category, Shindy Patricia took top honors by clocking the fastest time of 4:35:54 finishing it within three days. “In my opinion, virtual running is a new trend during the COVID pandemic. This event was a venue for us to stay motivated and train,” said Shindy. The advice from the ultra-trail runner? “Train hard and rest harder to avoid injury.”


The fastest Filipino, Carl Patrick Plamus, finished Level 7 with an accumulated time of 4:18:30. Hong Kong-based Overseas Filipino Worker Dolly Sales led the Pinay charge with a 14:21:43 performance to lead her category and the first female finisher for Level 7. Dolly said she was drawn to the virtual challenge after seeing it was promoting Philippine communities. Taking solace in ultra trail running, Dolly was quick to take advantage of a 493m elevation / 5km route close to where she lived. as well as the opportunity to do normal training as long as she follows government protocols.    


The other winners, classified by level and gender, are: 

Level 1

(Overall) Ivan Wijaya (Male), Amy Khor (Female) 

(Local) Alvin Kenneth Agsaway (M), Em-em Aban (F)  

Level 2

(Overall) Cark Patrick Plamus (M), Habiba Benahmed (F) 

(Local) Jomar Buclay (M), Trisha Reyes (F)

Level 3 

(Overall) Sonny Yuharsa (M), Ade Linda Megasari (F)

(Local) Chris Anthony Garcia (M), Placida Pongasi (F)

Level 4 

(Overall) Bayu Arum Raharja (M), Maknawiyah (F)

(Local) Freddie Blanco (M), Teona Manzano (F)

Level 5 

(Overall) Freda Adi Wardana (M), Maknawiyah (F)

(Local) Richard Ryan Rentillo (M), Fredelyn Alberto (F)

Level 6

(Overall) Hilman Maulana (M), Christin Suroso (F)

(Local) Jun Doble Santos (M), Jocel Lanas-Pangan (F)

Level 7

(Overall) Daniel Jensen (M), Shindy Patricia (F) 

(Local) Carl Patrick Plamus (M), Dolly Sales (F)


From July 25 to August 1, the participants registered from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Denmark and Australia. The event was conceptualized to challenge and encourage athletes to keep their fitness while trail running events and access to hiking sites are still restricted. It also aimed to gather international runners virtually. The challenge is to conquer the elevation of seven Philippine Mountains within a specified period, with a certain elevation gain reached unlocks a level or a mountain before going on the next one.

Level 1 – Run 450m of elevation gain and conquer Mount Parawagan

Level 2 – Run 830m of elevation gain and conquer Mount Maculot

Level 3 – Run 1445m of elevation gain and conquer Mount Pinatubo 

Level 4 – Run 1846m of elevation gain and conquer Mount Ulap

Level 5 – Run 2056m of elevation Gain and conquer Mount Guiting Guiting

Level 6 – Run 2465 m of Elevation Gain and conquer Mount Kanlaon

Level 7 – Run 3000m of Elevation gain and conquer Mount Pulag (2926M) or Mount Apo (2956M)


Because of restrictions, runs can only be done from 5am to 10pm daily. Participants performed their actual runs only in areas permitted by authorities and violations resulted in disqualifications. To ensure the runners’ health and safety, total achievements per day was limited to 1000m elevation. 


For others, the challenge was a great opportunity to help the less fortunate. Veteran runner John “Oki” Oquino said he took on the challenge to donate a portion of his registration fee to the beneficiaries – the community of Wawa in the town of Montalban in Rizal province, a place he regularly visits to train for his races before the pandemic happened.


As for the experience of the virtual run, Hong Kong-based ultrarunner Habiba Benahmed and Level 2 overall champion summed it up well: “Whatever the distance or elevation, never compare yourself to others. You are doing it for yourself. The main thing is to enjoy every minute of your climb. A reward is waiting for you at the top --- made of happiness and beauty.




Following the sucess of Run the Philippine Mountains, RaceYaya, once again with T8 Philippines held a second edition of the event. This time, the participants get to choose from four categories: Sprint 500M, Hike 1500, Climb 2000, and Level Up 3000M. Their only goal is to complete the elevation gain needed for their chosen category. The race is from August 31 to September 27. They can choose to finish in one day or over the course of four weeks. Participants can also run in multiple categories given that they register for each one, as proceeds of their registration goes to our beneficiaries.


Nearly 200 runners registered for the event among the four categories. Because they enjoyed the virtual race and because they support the cause, a lot of the runners who joined the first edition also joined the second edition. There were also new names and faces in the second edition - a huge chunk of which come from the Cordilleras. These are runners based in Benguet and Mountain Province. The Cordillera region is known for its highlands and mountain ranges, and the Cordilleran runners made the most of their location for this virtual race while still following government protocols.


Jomar Buclay, from Bontoc, Mountain Province, topped the 3000M category for the males with a finish time of 3:10:08. When he was not logging in his runs for the race, he was busy leading and guiding a group of kids into their runs as they also registered for this event. These kids, with ages ranging from 10-12 are the youngest participants of the virtual race. The virtual race is a great venue for these kids to start an active and healthy lifestyle. 


Leading the female category for 3000M is Fely Bejuna, a Filipina OFW runner based in Hong Kong with a finish time of 5:19:45. 


Here is the complete list of winners per category.

Sprint 500M: Christian Mode Orense (M) and Fely Christine Ferrera (F)

Hike 1500M: Edmund Deles (M) and Christi Ann Semana (F)

Climb 2000M: Roland Wangwang (M) and Cecile Wael (F)

Level Up 3000M: Jomar Buclay (M) and Fely Bejuna (F)


Notable are ultrarunners Jomar Buclay, Cecille Wael and Roland Wang.  Being one of the strong mountain runners in the country, the three joined all events and ranked in the top three of almost all category within the week.  More than the challenge, they also wanted to donate more for the cause, the three of them shared.


RaceYaya and T8 is more than happy with the outcome of the two events. First. runners were able to get back the feeling of running and climbing, while challenging themselves. At the same time, we were able to give back to the community in our own way.


RaceYaya provided the online validation, tally and timekeeping and monitored individual performance. Winners and participants were treated with special loots and discounts from T8 Ultra Gears, AHON, On Running and Vitargo Philippines. The event also launched the special Philippine edition T8 Trucker Cap designed by a Filipino artist, Ara Villena.



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