Takbong Pangarap: Joy Rojas’ Big Dream to Run Across America

Last Saturday, I was privileged to hear and meet a Filipina whose “never say die” spirit is one that can spur and motivate many of us who think that whatever handicaps we may have are good enough excuses to back down from our dreams.

Not Joy Rojas!

Joy dreams of crossing the United States in 120 days — RUNNING!

Yes, she plans to run 5,000 kilometers from West to East at approximately 50 kms A DAY, for 100 days!

Takbong Pangarap

This dream appears daunting, especially when you find out she survived tuberculosis (TB) in 2001. But the spirit of this 43-year old freelance journalist flies high. Just a month short of finishing her treatment for TB, Joy completed a 42-km run in 4 hours and 11 minutes. Then in 2005, she became the first Filipina to run from Davao City to Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte in 46 days — a good 2,000-km course!

WHY TAKBONG PANGARAP?

When Joy completed her Trans-Phiippines run in 2005, she did not just sit on her laurels. To her, the end of that dream was just the start of others. She asked herself where she would run if given the chance to equal or exceed that run and her thoughts brought her to the USA.

More than 200 people have already run across the United States. In fact, Cesar Guarin, a Filipino, did this in 1987. However, no Filipina has accomplished the same feat. In fact, NO SOUTHEAST ASIAN WOMAN has.

THE ROUTE

Joy will begin her run on May 11, her 44th birthday. The kick-off event will be at Eagle Rock, California, where there is a fairly large Filipino community. She will then continue through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey towards New York City where she expects to cross the finish line at the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue on September 8. Of her 120 days, 100 of them will be spent running while the 20 days are designated rest days in between.

 

(picture courtesy of Chuck Crisanto)

(picture courtesy of Chuck Crisanto)

THE TEAM

At the Meet and Greet at Powerbooks Megamall, I met the other members of Joy’s team.

The first one I talked to was Mat Macabe, Joy’s trainer and running partner. Mat was supposed to do this run with Joy until he had to undergo an open heart surgery in 2008 for a congenital heart condition. Instead, he will bike alongside Joy during some parts of the run. Mat had many funny stories about his running experiences, including outrunning a desert fox and wrestling to the ground a Doberman which was trained to kill. He regaled us with stories about people they had met along their runs. When I asked him about his surgery, he gamely pulled up his shirt to reveal a scar that ran from throat to waist! Gosh!!!!

Next I got to chat with Chuck Crisanto, team manager of Takbong Pangarap. He’s a jolly fellow from Ateneo who is a long distance event record holder for the school. Chuck gave me some additional insights about their planned route, including getting Fil-Ams in the places they go through, to run with Joy part of the way as support for a countrywoman.

(L-R): Mat Macabe, a pulmonologist from TB Society, me, Joy Rojas, Chuck Crisanto

(L-R): Mat Macabe, a pulmonologist, me, Joy Rojas, Chuck Crisanto

 THE PREPARATIONS

Joy is training fervently for this run. She runs for 2 hours, 3-4 times a week, with at least 1 out-of-town run each month. Her diet consists of fish and vegetables. Adidas, one of the sponsors of this run, is providing her different types of attire for different weather conditions. When asked how many pairs of rubber shoes she was bringing, she said she would use 12 pairs which she plans to use in rotation. Wow!

Technology is playing a large part in this attempt too. The Philippine Online Chronicles has put up a channel specifically for Takbong Pangarap. Her every step will be chronicled through this special site and more plans are underway to maximize the access that technology will give to Joy’s supporters.

Joy has an online presence as well:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/takbongpangarap

Plurk: www.plurk.com/takbongpangarap

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Takbong-Pangarap/67564894131

Email: takbongpangarap@thepoc.net

The beneficiaries of this run are the Social Services Division of the Philippine Heart Center and the Anti-TB Program of the Inner Wheel Club of Quezon City, District 378.

Sponsors to date include Adidas, Smart Communications, HSBC, Rustan’s/Shopwise, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Sony Ericsson Phils, Asiana Airlines, Asian Journal Publications, and the Manila Peninsula. SportsAde will provide Joy’s hydration needs.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Despite these sponsorships, the team said that they still need help to ensure that all logistics (including money for food, gasoline & lodgings) for Joy’s run can be provided for. There are several ways to help in your own way:

1. The POC website states that supporters can donate funds via Paypal/Western Union, being a 5k sponsor, and soon via SMS.

2. If you live in the United States and are along the route that Joy will pass, you can help Joy, Mat and Chuck achieve their goal by offering to host them as they pass through your area. Keep checking the POC.net site for details of the route.

3. Embed the Takbong Pangarap widget on your blogs to create awareness of her dream run.

4. For other forms of assistance, contact Chuck Crisanto at chuckcrisanto@yahoo.com or 0917-8983621.

Thanks also to friends Noemi and Dine of filipinaimages.com for hosting the event.

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Ipanema Walks a Green Mile for Haribon

Last March 21, the boys and I headed out to the Fort Strip to join hundreds of people, young and old, to support Ipanema’s Walk a Green Mile for the benefit of Haribon Foundation.

Walk a Green Mile banner Haribon Foundation tent

Ever since the Ipanema launch of its GB Seeds Collection, I had made up my mind to join the walkathon. The cause was impetus enough. The exercise I would get out of it as well as the bonding with bloggers were the icing on the cake.

The boys at registration table

The boys at registration table

M1 & I with Patxi Elizalde of ELRO Corp. (Ipanema distributor)

M1 & I with Patxi Elizalde of ELRO Corp. (Ipanema distributor)

The walk started at a little past 5PM. The Uganda Band began playing Brazilian and African beats. At the starting line, confetti rained upon the participants and we all started the 1-mile hike around the Fort, basically walking to Boni High Street, going all around it, and making our way back to the starting point.

That entire walk took about 40 minutes and everyone made it back happy to have contributed to a worthy cause.

Several blogger friends were spotted and of course, we had the usual blogger photo ops. Click, click, click….

with Melyn & Jon Limjap

with Melyn & Jon Limjap

Met up with Liezl (right) & her friends

Met up with Liezl (right) & her friends

The camwhoring bloggers

The camwhoring bloggers

Karla & Sha

Karla & Sha

A pair of GB sandals personally signed by Gisele Bundchen was raffled off and no other than Melyn Limjap, a blogger, came away with the prize.

The lucky blogger!

The lucky blogger!

Celebrities were around too to grace the occasion. Here are some snaps of them:

All in all, it was an event we enjoyed a lot because I had time to bond with my boys who were attending a semi-blogger event for the first time. The instant dinner we had after the walkathon allowed them to meet some of my blogger friends.

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Ipanema Launches its GB Seeds Collection

Last Feb. 19 (Thursday), Ipanema launched its GB Seeds Collection of fashion-savvy flip flops. Gisele Bundchen, a famous Brazilian fashion icon and dubbed by Forbes Magazine as “The World’s Top-Earning Model”, is the inspiration behind this line of flip flops.

C2 and I were lucky to be part of the well-organized event held at Le  Souffle at the Fort.

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Ipanema has been around for a while but this new line of flip flops has some great features:

* all the soles have a forest-inspired print

* the straps have a metal spiral button gracing the front sandal strap symbolizing “the seed of life” (this reminds the wearer to do his part and share in the campaign towards a lush Philippines by helping to spread the word)

* made in Brazil, we were told by Mr. Francisco Patxi Elizalde, Managing Director of ELRO Commercial and Industrial Corporation (exclusive distributors of Ipanema) that these flip flops are made entirely of recycled plastic. 

C2 and I sat at a table with other blogger mommies and friends: Dine, Maki, Cookie, Wenchie, Aiza, and Julie. And later, we bumped into others like Annalyn, Aileen, Lace, Mica and Cess. Spotted at the event too were other male blogger friends: Fritz, Azrael, Eric, Jay, Dante, Jayvee, WinstonMarkku, etc.

 

My mommy blogger friends and C2

My mommy blogger friends and C2

 

With Lace, Dine and Jay

With Lace, Dine and Jay

 

The tables were simple but tastefully arranged. A unique touch was the incorporation of the flip flops into the decor.

ipanema0016-medres     ipanema0043-medres

The food served us was a full-blown feast — from appetizers to main dishes to several dessert selections. Le Souffle’s menu was definitely something to relish.

After the sumptuous feast, we were treated to a dance performance by members of the Philippine Ballet Theatre who were all wearing the Ipanema flip flops. 

I sat entranced during the entire show. First, the fact that it was a dance presentation appealed to me because I was, once upon a time, a ballet student on toeshoes. But what really caught me by surprise was the fact that the dancers wore flip flops that looked very pliable, soft and almost like ballet sandals. When the dancers pointed their toes, the soles folded easily for a great en pointe. They twirled, leapt, sashayed across the catwalk in them. We learned that these were the same sandals they wore during their rehearsals.

See how the flip-flop follows when she does her en pointe? Whew!!!

See how the flip flop follows when she does her en pointe? Whew!!!

Ballet shoes get the most punishing workout so if their Ipanema flip flops survived without breaking a strap or worse, getting the soles split in the middle, that definitely spells DURABILITY. I’m a convert!

 

Francisco Patxi Elizalde with the Philippine Ballet Theater

ELRO Managing Director Francisco Patxi Elizalde with the Philippine Ballet Theatre

Here is a video of one of their dances:

 

The organizers also raffled off bags that were designed with gardening tools but lo and behold! Inside each of those bags was — a pair of Ipanema GB Seeds flip flops! AND I WON ONE! A second pair for the night…Here are pics of the 2 pairs I took home.

  ipanema-gb-seeds-new-thong-fem-brown_bronze  ipanema-gb-seeds-thong-strap-ad-brown_bronze

The advocacy of ELRO Commercial and Industrial Corporation to contribute to environmental consciousness does not end here. In partnership with the Haribon Foundation, the environment conservation organization, they are organizing a Walkathon to benefit the Philippine rainforests. The walkathon, called Walk the Green Mile, is slated for March 21, 2009, with the assembly point in front of Le Souffle, The Fort, Taguig.

You can help Haribon with its “ROAD to 2020″ (Rainforestation Organizations and ADvocates) campaign to plant and grow native trees in 1 million hectares of our local rainforests until year 2020. Purchasing a pair of Ipanema flip-flops allows you not only to join the walkathon but part of the proceeds from your purchase will go to Haribon’s program.

Here are the details of the walkathon:

Date: March 21, 2009

Time: registration starts 3pm; walkathon starts 5pm

Assembly point: parking lot near Le Souffle, The Fort, Taguig (The Fort Strip, beside Embassy)

What awaits participants on this day:

* The first 30 persons to finish the walkathon get a free pair of Ipanema GB Seeds flip-flops of their choice

* The first 300 people to join and register on March 21 get a limited Ipanema Gisele Bundchen baller ID

* The first 100 people to register at the venue get a limited Walk the Green Mile shirt

* 10% off on Ipanema GB Seeds slippers at the Ipanema booth

* Up to 3 pairs of Ipanema GB Seeds flip flops signed by Gisele will be raffled off to participants who buy during the event

If you are interested in joining the walkathon, get in touch with Ms. Maricel Mabalot of ELRO Corporation at 753-3647 to 48 local 103 or email cel.mabalot@elrocom.com.

Many, many thanks to m2comms people (Shyla and Cecille, among others) for such a wonderful event (and cause) and of course, to Aileen who initiated the invite.

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Bloggers Do Yoga

It finally happened. An event unlike any other that bloggers have ever done.

Bloggers came together at the Vinyasa Yoga Center (where I practice) and did yoga for an hour and a half, followed by a vegetarian dinner cooked by my own yoga teacher, Pio Baquiran, who is not only a great yogi teacher but a fantastic chef as well.

PREPARATIONS IN FULL SWING

Chona and I were there early. Actually, Chona did yoga at noontime while I had to bring over to the center all the donated items from the sponsors. We ate a leisurely lunch at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, then went back to the center where we packed the media kits and the other donations together with 3 lovely ladies from the ad agency, Aspac/Law (Ria, Kathy and Mia).

(Mia, Kathy and Ria of Aspac/Law)

Some bloggers came in early so we had a chance to chat and get to know those whose names were familiar to me but who I had never met yet, like Francis, Melanie, Janine, and Carl. I was particularly interested in chatting with Francis, who, it turns out, already practises yoga at Fitness First (my thought bubble: this is the perfect endorser for yoga for men!!!). Melanie, too, it turns out, has been doing yoga for some time now and in fact, took yoga lessons that same morning with Chona’s and my good yogi friend fresh from Riyadh, Jon Cagas! What a small world indeed!

Later, a whole bunch of bloggers came in: Poyt, Fritz, Arpee, Noreen and my mommy bloggers Chats, Cookie and Dine.

Juned of Blog and Soul came by a little later from another “shoot” and became the event’s volunteer photographer.

Yogini mates Minna (also the VYC directress), her sister Therese and Trin Custodio dropped by to support the event and practice together with Chona and I. All in all, the shala was filled and energies were strong!

THE CLASS — ENERGY TO THE MAX

Pio informed us that he had designed a special sequence just for bloggers. Now that caught everyone’s interest. He began with a short meditation, taught the bloggers the proper way to breathe, then followed it up with eye exercises, rotation of the hands, fingers and shoulders, and shorter variations of the sun salutations.

Pio also made us go through simple forward bends, side bends and wide angle bends to stretch the spine (good for sedentary bloggers, right?). We also did leg raises for the abs as well as the Bridge and Fish poses.

Class ended with everyone sweaty but feeling good. We had a class picture and naturally with everyone being bloggers, we had a whole slew of cameras and smiling to get through before we could call it a night!

THE HEALTHY DINNER!

Pio’s dinner consisted of pasta, burgers (using vegetarian patties) and his eggless leche flan. Arpee had the time of his life trying to guess the ingredients of this one!

(vegetarian pasta)

(burger with vegepatties)

***realization*** – I just realized I forgot to take a pic of the eggless leche flan! Chona, help!

Each blogger came away from the event fully worked out, fed with healthy vegetarian food, armed with a bag of items from sponsors like Coke, RFM, Nestle and VYC. And also special thanks to a yogini mate, Lomen, for the iced tea donations (yes, we chilled them and drank them during dinner!!!).

NEXT: THE CONTEST!

Blog and Soul has also announced a contest where bloggers who did yoga could compose a blog, photo gallery, vlog or any other form of post about the event. Prizes up for grabs consist of a 1 liter aluminum bottle from Swiss company, SIGG. In addition, there are 3 yoga outfits (jacket and pants) for girls from Aura Athletica Rockwell. Judging will be done by Blog and Soul together with VYC and the winners will be announced soon. For mechanics of the contest, go to Blog and Soul’s website.

I did a random, ambush interview of some bloggers (including Francis who did a fantastic spiel on yoga for men — yey!).

And as I find blog entries on the event, I will post these below.

1. Juned (photos)

2. Chona: Bloggers @VYC: An Evening of Fitness, Food and Fun!

3. Janine: 10 Things I Know About Yoga

4. Poyt: Yoga at VYC (photos)

5. Melanie: Yoga for Bloggers at Vinyasa Yoga Center

6. Dine: Yoga for Fitness, Good Health and Relaxation

7. Arpee: Yoga goes the foodie

8. Cookie: Bloggers + Yoga = Blogginis?

9. Chats: My First Yoga Class

10. Poyt: Going Back to Yoga

11. Fritz: The Vinyasa Yoga Center Experience

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Yoga for Bloggers Event (June 28, 2008)

I had long been wanting to organize a yoga blogger event. Maybe it began with my love for yoga followed by a desire to get more people interested in their own healthy lifestyle. The idea had been brewing for over a year now but I did not even know where to begin.

Enter The Blog and Soul Movement with Jayvee and Juned, two buddy bloggers I first met at iblog summit two years ago. When I spoke with Juned about it recently, he immediately offered Blog and Soul as a venue for gathering the bloggers. This was followed by a lunch meeting with both Jayvee and Juned to seal the deal. We were off to organizing the first ever Fat Blog series of Blog and Soul (the first of several planned series to get bloggers who often lead sedentary lives off their butts and into a healthier lifestyle). And of course, my yogini mate-cum-blogger herself, Chona, is helping out with the logistics.

I am lucky to have my very own yoga teacher, Pio Baquiran, from Vinyasa Yoga Center (VYC) doing the FREE yoga class.

This is to be followed by a short Q&A on health and yoga and capped by a vegetarian dinner.

We also have some sponsors so as is usual in a blogger event, there will be items to give away.

Some details are as follows:

Date: June 28, 2008

Time: 5pm onwards

Place: Vinyasa Yoga Center, 17/F Strata 100 Bldg., Emerald Ave., Ortigas Complex, Pasig City

Space is limited at the shala so Blog and Soul is only taking in ten (10) bloggers. Several things though to keep in mind. One, you MUST BE A BLOGGER. Two, this is for non-VYC students as this is an event to make more people aware of yoga.

Head on over now to Blog and Soul. Those who make the cut-off will get confirmation emails from Blog and Soul. More details will be provided later. Visit this blog regularly for updates.

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We Celebrate International Women’s Day Today!

Every March is International Women’s Month and specifically, March 8 is celebrated globally as International Women’s Day.

On the International Women’s Day (IWD) website, the day is described as follows: “Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. While there are many large-scale initiatives, a rich and diverse fabric of local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.”

Many corporations have began to actively support IWD. Even Google reportedly changes its logo every March 8 on its search engine pages.

google-iwd.gif

I found several activities (many from FilipinaImages.com) in Metro Manila as well as in the provinces that aim to celebrate women and inspire each one to achieve her full potential — to celebrate womanhood in all its forms.

March 9, NBC Tent, Rockwell (7am – 5pm)all women’s expo and all women’s run of different distances. Sen. Pia Cayetano will be one of those joining the run.

March 9, Quezon Park, Dumaguete City (5am – 10pm) – A 5-kilometer Fun Run/Walk for all women and girls will take place with support from men distributing information flyers on womens rights.

WikiPilipinas is hosting the Portal Encyclopedia of Filipina Women.

Filipiniana.net has a link to Philippine Women Studies which features links to laws relating to women, academic and statistical works on Filipino women, and literary masterpieces written by and for Filipinas.

FilipinaImages.com founders Noemi Dado, Dine Racoma and Lorna Dietz, in collaboration with wikiPilipinas, launched a writing contest, “Filipina Stories” for bloggers.

HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY TO ALL —

Filipina kababayans (fellow citizens), most of all to those who have distinguished themselves in their own fields and given the Filipina a positive image

my Pinay mommy blogger-friends (you know who you are!)

my women blog readers

women all over the world — with special mention to those whose basic rights as women are not respected, upheld or appreciated

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!

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