Our next marathon was back in the Philippines in northeastern Mindanao! Siargao island has been making quite a name for itself in the tourism scene as the country’s premiere surfing destination. The island was also the subject of a Filipino movie entitled, what else, Siargao.
Although I was born and raised in the Philippines, I’ve never been to Siargao myself. I signed up for the 3rd Siargao International Marathon 2019 and took this as an opportunity to visit and see the latest tourist destination for myself.
Richard and I took the Philippine Airlines flight to Cebu early in the morning of Friday, July 12, 2019. We had a three-hour layover before our connecting 45-minute flight to Siargao.
We exited the small Sayak airport and proceeded to the Globe Telecoms tent to pick up the race kit.
Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa provided the van service that took us to General Luna on the other side of the island.
Our room was not quite ready for us when we arrived. We had a late lunch in their restaurant and waited out the monsoon rains that afternoon.
The welcome gift was a full bottle of Siargao Rum. Nice!
We deposited our luggage in the room and set out to find snacks for later.
The kit included the race shirt, a Gatorade handheld water bottle, and the bib.
Tricycles fare was P20 per person per way around General Luna. The tricycle driver recommended Tag Grocery but the road was flooded.
He drove us to the other convenience store to buy stuff and we stopped at the market to get some mangoes. They were cheap at P120 per kilo, small, but very sweet.
On the way back to the hotel, good thing I checked the race website again. I found out that the race was on Saturday morning and not Sunday! The race organizer Runrio had a shuttle service that picked up runners in the morning for P350 per person. I texted my confirmation and received an immediate reply that yes, I was in their list and to be ready for pickup at 2:00 AM.
We booked a relaxing couple’s massage for P1,520 at Bleu Spa that evening and ate dinner at their restaurant again. We needed to go to bed early for the race the following morning.
I was up at 1:00 AM on Saturday, July 13, 2019 and ready before 2:00 AM. The van promptly picked me up.
We proceeded to make the rounds and picked up 10 more runners. We were at the race site by 3:00 AM.
We had two hours before the 5:00 AM start time. A local fitness instructor led the warm-up while the announcer made regular announcements. Cut-off time was 12:00 noon or seven hours but the announcer kept saying the cut-off time was six hours. I talked to one of the organizers to remind him that the race was advertised with a seven-hour time limit. He apologized and promised to fix the announcement.
Electricity went out just a few minutes before the start time. Richard called me shortly after and asked me if I felt the earthquake. I didn’t because we were busy doing the warm-up routine. I found out later that the 5.5 earthquake hit the southern part of the province, Surigao del Sur.
We toed the starting line in the dark and took off at 5:00 AM. The dawn was just a few minutes away. I knew that I would have to take my time in this race because of the heat.
The course was out and back, with quite a few hills to boot. The aid stations had water; some had Gatorade and bananas. The turn around point was in front of the local church. At that point, the heat and humidity was at its peak. I had to stop at some sari-sari stores to buy ice to cool me down.
I walked and ran, and gratefully crossed the finish line in 6:23. My ride back to the hotel had already left. A habal-habal driver wanted to charge me P500 for the ride back. Good thing there was another runner going to General Luna. We decided to split the fare and the driver agreed. We hopped on his motorbike and made our way back. It was a bumpy 1.5 hour ride back. I was so stiff by the time I got back!
I took my shower and rested for a bit. Dinner was at the highly-recommended local restaurant Mama’s Grill.
We slept in on Sunday and had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Checkout was at 11:00 AM.
We booked a tricycle to take us to Cloud 9 nearby, one of the surfing areas of the island. It was low tide and we didn’t see a lot of waves.
We hung out at the area for a while until it was time to go back to the hotel for our shuttle service back to the airport.