September 18, 2016
I recently signed up for a special trail event in the nearby area. If the name of the race doesn’t scare you, then you’re a more courageous person than me. Hearing of its reputation from my more experienced friends, I told myself to take this challenge and see if I can complete it. Sparing no excuses, I attended the recon for the Dead Man’s 300 V3.0.
What makes this race special is that it is Boy P’s birthday run as well as a fundraiser for the benefit of Macaingalan Elementary School. With a registration fee of P500 for the 50k and P300 for the 30k categories, it’s one of the most budget-friendly trail races ever! And take note that the proceeds will go to charity. Amazing! You can view the full details of the 3rd edition of this race here.
The route boasts almost every type of terrain that one can encounter in the Philippines. Mud, river-crossings, pavement, small rocks, big rocks, animal poops, and everything in between. It’s going to be tough, wet, and dry as well. In fact, it combines the routes of Mt. Lubog, Deadman’s Trail (which it got the name from), and passes through the jump-off of Mt. Sipit-Ulang and Mt. Ayaas.
So if I’ve already been to most of the route, why did I go to the recon? Because of the Matulid falls.
The image above is the event photo for the recon. BoyP doesn’t mess around when he says that the route is difficult.
…there are some forks here that would lead you to Aurora Province and Tanay…
I believe him and I don’t wanna get lost and end up in Aurora. So along with my trailrunning friends, we assembled at McDo Ever early in the morning to commute together to Brgy. Toyang. It was amazing to see McDonalds full of trail runners, I saw some familiar faces and some new ones as well.
After we alighted from the rented jeepney at Toyang, we waited a bit for our group to be complete. We were the sweepers of the recon this time. Once Lady arrived, we started our trek from Toyang going up to Sitio Macaingalan, where the first aid station will be.
The route started with a paved road and slowly degraded into a rocky trail and the occasional mud. Marks from motorcycles and tricycles sliced through the path. It’s pretty amazing that the last time I was here, I was riding the habal-habal to Lubog. Now, I’m hiking up it. Mas tipid!
After a brief stop at Macaingalan to replenish our hydration, we started another long walk uphill to Sitio Lubog. The place was still familiar, but the rainy season has also dealt some damage to the place. There were lots of mud everywhere and some very deep puddles too. We had to play patintero with the trail to avoid sinking in knee-deep mud.
In the actual race, runners would have to climb Mt. Lubog first, but in the Recon today, we headed straight for the route to Matulid falls. I was looking at the trail very well because this was the part that I haven’t been to at all.
After the first part which was the muddy trail, we reached a part with steady ascents and into grassy forests. There were also parts with tall grass and the trail alternated from open to shaded. All in all, it was a fun trail to walk through. I just kept watch for the pink trail markers that the organizers have placed to remind the runners that they were in the right path.
After the foresty part of the trail, we crossed our first river. And then the second. And third. And fourth. And so on. Actually it was just the same river, I think, but we crossed it so many times I lost count. This was also the part that I needed to recon because following a trail with river crossings is more difficult and has a higher percentage of me getting lost. But I really enjoyed the experience.
After about a dozen more river crossings, we followed the end of the river into Matulid falls! And it was so beautiful. To be honest, I don’t think any of the pictures can do it justice compared to looking at it with your own eyes. I took some moments to rest and proceeded to jump into the falls’ basin and swim around.
There was also a part where one can dive off the rocks! No need for an explanation. I jumped off it three times. I know that in the actual race, I won’t be able to do this so I enjoyed the moment, the cool water, and the amazing people I’m with.
After a short rest and some more swimming, we all packed up to return to Lubog. We dominantly took the same route back until the first river crossing where we separated and went into the lumberjack trail. To be honest, I forgot where the route separated so I hope that my memory will work in the actual race day haha.
The lumberjack trail was my favorite part of the route. We were literally walking up the river. There were some stepping stones placed by the locals and some steps carved into the trees to guide you. But I preferred stepping in the cool water. My shoes alternated from muddy to squeaky clean depending on the terrain.
After the wet and wild ride, I said goodbye to the last river and it was back to the forest. The last kilometers back to the old trail was a steep uphill that made me consume almost all my hydration. It was a bit tough and made me sore, but I recovered once I noticed the familiar trail. In a few more minutes I was back in Lubog.
Lunch was waiting for us, courtesy of BoyP’s connection with the locals. We ate longganisa and fish. Yum! After eating, we had a quick rest before heading back to Toyang. In the race, this would be altered a bit as we would be heading to the Deadman’s Trail in the junction before Macaingalan. But for today, we just followed the same way going up.
Once at Toyang, we fixed up and ate some grilled bbq before heading back to San Isidro and finally back home.
You can view the Strava details here. (You can also follow me on Strava lol)
Thank you, BoyP and the rest of Team Marupok, for allowing us this magnificent opportunity to play on the trails. I can’t wait for the actual race day.
Thank you Team TUSU + friends for the company. Special mention to master John for the great pictures.
To the trail friends and locals who were very friendly to trail newbies like me. See you soon again!
And thanks to papa God for the amazing weather and good conditions.
See you soon on October 9, 2016! In the meantime, don’t forget to train hard, run smart, and recover well!