BALAAN BUKID 21K & 3K Trail Run: Running After and With Ilonggos! Namit Ged!

Upcoming Event in Guimaras: 2nd Guimaras Ultra Marathon 2014 – May 18, 2014 ONLINE REGISTRATION at STORE.AKTIB.PH!
This post is part of Running in Guimaras series.
Related Story: Valle Verde Moutain Resort, Guimaras: Walking Distance Away 

Running Event: BALAAN BUKID 21K & 3K (ON/OFF) TRAIL RUN (Share your Balaan Bukid story at here >>.)
Organized by: Iloilo Prosports
Photos of this event: Check Benz Custodio Ruiz
Upcoming races organized by Iloilo Prosport: Puerto Princesa, Palawan Road / Trail Ultra (50K/80K), Guimaras Ultra (50K/25K/15K), Silay City Marathon 42K: Mt. Patag Eco Endurance Trail Challenge


After having experienced running the eastern part of Visayas, Bohol and Leyte (story here and here), I was wishing of running in the western part of Visayas.

I prefer “travelling” to a new place by joining races because it gives me an instant itinerary.

Holy January

So when Iloilo Prosport announced a Balaan Bukid (Holy Mountain) 21K & 3K Trail Run to happen last January 26 in Guimaras, Iloilo, I thought that it’d be a perfect combination after my run for Sto. Nino (aka CCM). I don’t know with others but I can feel the greatness of God Almighty the most during runs. It’s during runs that I feel most how blessed we are — the beautiful sun, the trees, and just for being alive and positive.

Facepalm Moment

But before I could be so overly romantic with our Balaan Bukid run, I had a facepalm moment when I saw that there’d be less than 100 participants. “Ownose!” Most of my experience when running in some “far-away” places with only a few participants can mean that the participants all CAN RUN in a decent pace. This means I’d be so left out at the back. I certainly have no problems with being last. But being so last and away from the pack in a different place can be a bit tricky to handle.

Out of Place

With only Mark and I from Cebu, it did not feel much reassuring. But then if I won’t just mind the difference in language, somehow, runners are more or less similar wherever they are. There are the:

Minimalist Runners

There were the minimalist/barefoot runners, the running couple, Jonah and Nenet. They made their running sandals out of airplane tires. All runners are interesting, but I tend to find barefoot/minimalist runners interesting in a different way. Is it because they have a better feel of the earth when they run?

Iloilo Barefoot/Minimalist Runners

Iloilo Barefoot/Minimalist Runners

Authentic Local (Guimaras) Runners

After asking pic from one running group to another, I realized that the bulk of the participants were from Bacolod (iRunBacolod). When running in a different place, I always looked forward to those runners who hail from that place just so I could brag that I ran with people in Guimaras in Guimaras. There is less bragging rights when I’d say, “I ran with Cebuanos in Guimaras.” But I could not tell who among them were from Iloilo or Bacolod, or Guimaras, or other parts of Western Visayas as they all speak in Ilonggo.

So it took me some time to spot them, and I realized that I could disguise as one. It proves that runners have more similarities than dissimilarities.


Guimaras Runners

Biggest delegate

And just like in any races, there are always that running group who joined with the most number. As in the case of Balaan Bukid Half Marathon run, the Bacolod ruled in numbers.


Hopping from one Ilonggo Group to another Ilonggo Group

Before the race started, I was really hoping I could keep up and stick with the back-of-the-pack group.

Balaan Bukid Half Marathon Run, Buenavista-Jordan, Guimaras

Balaan Bukid Half Marathon Run, Buenavista-Jordan, Guimaras

Inday Tan and her recruits

I got to run the first stretch with Inday Tan, her sister, and her friend. She ran CCM with an injury. And, I thought that I could probably match their pace because she just recovered from her injury, and she’s also accompanying her 1st-timer 21K sister.

Inday Tan, right, bacolod runners

Inday Tan, right

Road Racers

Then, the next group I got to run with was a lovely couple and a male friend. Knowing that it was their first time to try running in trails was kind of reassuring; it would not be much of a problem to keep up with them. But when I heard them saying they would make up once they get to the paved road, it scared me. I’d seriously be left in the dust once we’d get to some paved road.

Jiuri and partner, and Elvir, bacolod Runners

Jiuri and partner, and Elvir

Run-Walk Group

The next group I ran with were doing interval pacing of run-walk. I was happy.  Though, their run part was very fast for me, but I was still able to catch up with them because of the walk interval.

Heartbreak Hill

There was a part in the first stretch of route with a very steep incline, which they called “HeartBreak Hill.” Everyone was walking, and so did I. For some reason, I was feeling good that I managed to get over it without feeling dying.

I can’t help but feel that Transcentral, Hiway must be proud of me. Somehow, it gave me confidence to just go on and run alone.

Photo from Benz Custodio Ruiz. Looky at my hams

Rolling Hills

From then on, it was mostly rolling hills — my favorite!

I caught up with two biker dudes. One was slowing due to some pain on the side of the knees, while the other was concerned on how they could bike on the following day. We talked a bit about a duathlon in Bogo they’re planning to join.

I can’t help but feel positively amused at how can one be in pain but still manage to think about joining a duathlon or biking the following day — only happens in runs.

Biker friends

Biker friends

Biker on bikes

Then, I met bikers biking. I’d say that Guimaras is really more of a biking/running/trekking haven than a beach haven. With mostly a rolling-hill terrain, and a lot of forking trails, itching feet would be happily scratched.

Guimaras = biker haven?

Guimaras = biker haven?

John Lloyd Cruz

Period. If you’re interested with the story, ask Khim!


The last group of runners I ran with was John Lloyd, Joanne, and her hub. We were talking about their upcoming run, Condura Marathon. Condura Marathon had been the talk from one group to another. I was guessing a lot of them would be joining it too.


Condura Marathon, why?

I got a text from Mark that he was waiting for me at KM18. I got a bit worried, and so I sped up a bit so I could get to him.

While running alone again, I found myself asking, “Why did joining Condura Marathon never crossed my mind?” It probably is the biggest marathon in the Philippines based on attendance (or is it Milo?). We shouldn’t miss it!

Why did I bother instead running in some middle of nowhere island with no decent internet connection, and no coffee that is not instant!

I guess, it’s because I always have a soft spot for “small” races. Races that, as they say, no frills. That sometimes you could not help but think if you could find the finish line.


Races in which you’d realize that the person who did the gun-start, photographed the runners, and marshal is also the RD and head of the organizing team, and probably also made the posters. Kudos to all the race organizers, big or small!!! =)


Sir Rentoy and Sir Ruiz

And, it’s in this small races that most participants are kind of faithful “innocents.” Like me, most of us probably wonder some time in the middle of the race of what we got ourselves into.

iRunBacolod Group. Photo by Benz Ruiz

iRunBacolod Group. Photo by Benz Ruiz


And, when we finally got ourselves to the finish line, we could not help but wonder how did we ever survive that. It must be some blind faith that we could really finish it!



Catching up with the Lead Pack

Finally, on my way climbing to the finish line, I caught up with the top placers. They were on the way going home, while I was on my way to the finish line yet.

Top 10, Rudycer Panes

Top 10, Rudycer Panes

At the peak of the Balaan Bukid, I could feel the Transcentral Hiway back in Cebu so proud of me!!! I did not have a good finish time, but it was the strongest finish I had so far!


More pics: (For more more Balaan Bukid Run pics, you can check here >>)

King and Queen of Balaan Bukid, 1st placers of 21KM

King and Queen of Balaan Bukid, 1st placers of 21KM
Champion Charity, daughter of the Photographer Benz Ruiz


Top 3 of 3K Male Category (no sweat at all)


Top 3 of 3K Female Category

Some more random pics:

P1060176 P1060179 P1060199


Posted by:


Rose Buenconsejo. A runner who runs after runners, and their stories, and her dream to become a NEDBANK.
Promo Girl,
View her aktib race calendar >>

3 Responses to BALAAN BUKID 21K & 3K Trail Run: Running After and With Ilonggos! Namit Ged!

  1. Nenet 2 February, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    it’s really nice to see that you had fun in the run, maybe we can see more of you and runroo in the future runs here in Guimaras. the 50K and 110K ultra in September perhaps? 🙂

  2. archRATA 12 February, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    The Balaan Bukid was my first Trail Run and a dream come true to visit the island of Guimaras Although it’s just a boat ride away from my Sugar Island and a constant view every time I visit Ilo-ilo, i never had the chance to set foot on the Island of Sweet Mangos. But on January 26, 2013, my running experience was brought to a new level of Spirituality. We conquered Balaan BukiD ! … nice blog Ms. Rose 🙂 brings back alot of happy memories …


  1. 2nd Guimaras Ultra Marathon (30K/65K), May 18, 2014: Beyond the Mango | Running stories in Cebu and around Philippines - Runroo - 1 May, 2014

    […] Balaan Bukid Half-Marathon, which some parts of the route is part of this incoming ultramarathon (Read our race story here >>.). And, Guimaras is an island that is best experience on foot thus if you want to fully experience […]

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