SABAYANG PAGTAKBO (BOW)

Matagal ko nang sinasabi (at ina-argue pa nga sa iba) na ang Running ay isang sport na pang-solo.

 

Trying to finish the TIMEX run 2012

 

At dahil pang-solo siya, kalaban mo ang pinakamatinding kalabang puwedeng mong makaharap: ang sarili mo. Madaling makinig sa iPod mo sa loob ng dalawang oras, pero kaya mo bang pakinggan ang sarili mo – ang bawat yabag, kulo ng tiyan, dighay na di natutuloy, hingal, mga pimple na nagmamakaawang paputukin, mga bulung-bulungan na naisantabi mo sa sulok ng utak, mga pangarap na nahihiya kang idasal, at mga takot na baka di mo matapos di lamang ang karerang tinatakbuhan mo, ngunit pati ang maraming ibang bagay?

 

Subali’t aaminin ko rin naman na isang communal event ang Running. Kahit ba pang-isahan ang labanan, may benefits na pang-maramihan (parang tagline ng Supermarket, no?)

 

Una, pag sabay-sabay kayong tumakbo, at medyo ilang libo kayo – malaking statement ang naipapadala niyo sa buong mundo. Isipin mo na lang, napakalaking abala ng ginawa niyo. Nagpasara kayo ng kalye. Nambulabog kayo ngmarshalls. At minsan, nagiging dahilan ng mabigat na traffic.Paralang may maisigaw na punto na di kayang maisigaw ng isang running priest lamang. Tulad ng Save the Dolphins. Save the Mangroves. Save the Butandings. Save the Last Dance.Paralang yang Sabayang Pagbigkas nung Elementary. Wala nga lang pag-bow sa dulo.

 

At eto pa – napipilit niyo ang isang lugar na maging mas environmentally-friendly. Tulad na lang ng Quezon City Circle na gumaganda dahil nagdagdag na ng running trail, o ng Bonifacio Global City.Paramakatakbo sa isang lugar, kailangan safe ang baga ng mga tumatakbo. At para mangyari yun, kailangan environmentally mainam ang lugar.

 

Nagtutulungan din ang runners. Sa basketball, pag may nahuhulog sa sahig, expected na magtulungan ang teammates. Pag nahulog ka at puro kalaban ang nasa paligid, bahala ka na lang sa buhay mo. Ang mga tumutulong sa kalaban makatayo – yan ang mga namumukod-tanging nananalo ng Sportsmanship Award. Sa running, di man kayo teammates, nagtutulungan kayo.

 

Nung TIMEX run, may natapilok. Kahit ikababagal nila, ang iba’y tumigil para tumulong. May nakasabay din ako sa RUN UNITED – nag-cramps, sinigurado muna naming okey siya bago kami lumarga muli. Sa 42k na full marathon, nakakarinig ako ng mga kuwentong mga di magkaka-kilala ay nagbibigay ng words of inspiration sa isa’t-isa. “Konti na lang!” Hindi ko sinasabing lahat ng runners ay may mabuting kaloobang ganyan. Ang sinasabi ko, madalas, nirerespeto ng runner ang kapwa runner dahil alam nito ang hirap di lamang ng pagtakbo, pero pati na rin ng preparasyon. At dahil alam nilang walang teammate na tutulong sa kanila, alam nilang wala silang ibang maaaring asahang tumulong.

 

At kahit ba napakalaki ng isang running event na kung saan merong libu-libong kasali, nirerespeto ng bawa’t isa ang katahimikan ng bawa’t isa. Saan ka nakakita ng libu-libong taong sama-sama sa iisang lugar pero hindi nagkakabuwisitan, hindi kailangang mag-usap, at hindi kailangang magkabanggaan? May respeto sa kaniya-kaniyang pacing, kaniya-kaniyang finishing time, at maging kaniya-kaniyang style ng pagtakbo.

 

Marahil, ang pinakanagsasama-sama sa lahat ng mananakbo, ay ang katotohanang lahat naman tayong tao ay nasa karera. Di nga lang kilometro ang panukat, pero taon. Lahat tayo, binibigyan ng daan, at ng oras. Ang bagsak ng paa, ang running shoes, ang cheche bureche sa balikat, ang sunblock, at ang background music, diskarte mo na.

 

Lahat tayo, gustong takbuhin ang buhay nang buong giting at buong sigla. Nang tinutulak ang katawan sa kahuli-hulihang maibibigay ng talampas ng kakayahan.

 

Yan ang palagay kong dala natin habang sabay-sabay tayong tumatakbo, pagputok ng starting gun sa madaling araw. Oo, kahit si Piolo Pascual pa ang nagpaputok nito.

How running can save the world

Let me clarify.

 

The thought came to me as I was riding a rented bike in Quezon City Memorial Circle. Ever since I was a kid, our dad brought us there to rent bikes, and then eat breakfast in a nearby McDonald’s or Jollibee after. In my memory, QC Circle was a deteriorating national landmark, a mere vestige of what once was a great symbol of a proud city. Pollution had become commonplace. Shrubbery had overgrown. If you wanted a classic case of how we didn’t care for parks, this was it. But when I went back there last month, it had blossomed into something usable, at the very least. The bike trails were clearly marked. The plants had been neatly trimmed. Playgrounds had ample spaces. Bazaars had their own areas. Families also enjoyed both nature and activities. And the running trail.

 

The running trail was something I did not expect. I had thought of running in Fun Runs in QC Memorial Circle before, but the thought of buses on the outside and pollution that had crept in inside, stopped me. But I am happy to say that I have now been proven wrong. It had changed faster than I could say “makeover.”

 

Making a venue ready for a running event entails making it cleaner. With their lungs already working overtime, runners would just be murdered by the smog. But a place that respects runners, and is willing to change their infrastructure and sustainability plans for them, allows them to obtain benefits, too: income from running events, a cleaner area which more people would like to move into, and becoming a living proof that progress doesn’t have to mean being assholes to the environment.

 

The Ayala Triangle, Greenhills, Bonifacio Global City, MOA, and now QC Circle, because of their runners, are becoming more environmentally friendly. Definitely, we’re nowhere near the perfect score, but their caretakers and governments have seen the profitability from a more environmentally sound (therefore runner-friendly) place.

 

I have always wanted to give back to the places where I run. I feel that the location does a lot for me – giving itself to be trod on, letting me stay healthy, letting me think, pray, and park my car well. But now I see that if I run in a certain place, if I am one of the runners who call the attention of those in charge of the place to take care of it, then maybe I am already giving back. I hope by running in these locations, I can become part of the collective voice (which sounds more like rubber soles on asphalt) that tells city governments that we can have sustainable development in our cities.

 

Thus, apart from cardiovascular health, and psychological well-being, add saving the world to the benefits of running.

A SHOT OF DARKNESS

A shot of Moroccan espresso

Its aroma alone could drive off evil spirits (or the spirits from last night’s bottles, for that matter). The steam seduces the lips to come closer. The deep, dark mysteries of its origins find the tongue, and tease it. The textures from faraway fields and misty mountains are rebirthed, as their suns dance in the mouth.

It is not bitter, as many claim it to be, for bitter only begins to describe it. rather, its body is an entire collection of tastes – the fullness of the earth’s flavors. In a single cup of espresso  is the fruition of God’s work and humanity’s ingenuity – farmers and factories coming together.

It is a miracle, how something so dark can usher in the brilliant brightness of a new day.

Happy new year, from Hotfishballs!

I realize that this blog is actually one of the highlights of 2011. Whatever it was intended for, or whatever it’s turning out to be, I hope it’s at least making some people smile, or at least stirring some brains. I know it’s stirred my brain, and made me smile quite often.

I hope this year, we get to experiment more with different topics, different ways of using this blog (I’m still trying to figure wordpress out…), and hopefully, different audiences to interact with!

Let’s start it off with a shot of espresso for everyone!