RP’s Toughest Outdoor Adventure Race held in Sto. Domingo, Albay

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Carrera Habagat 2008


Carrera Habagat 2008 Champion Team Mulatto Davao composed of Paulo Dino Ouano, Keith James Argones, Jeffer Jatico, Cherryl Araneta and support crew Marjun Balaite and Charlito Esparar receive their trophy, medals and cash prize of P100,000 during the awarding ceremony at the Black Sands Beach Resort in Sto. Domingo, Albay last November 15, 2008. Also in photo are Event Director Randy Su, Mr. Nico Delos Angeles and Vice-Mayor Edna Banda.

Carrera Habagat Adventure Race organized by Summit Outdoor Equipment and Services, Inc. is widely considered as the Philippine’s toughest outdoor adventure race participated in by the country’s toughest outdoor enthusiasts, most of whom are tri-athletes with international race experiences. The organization is a firm advocate of environmental awareness and protection as well as respect for people and local cultures. Most notable past participants of this race were the Philippine Mt. Everest Team and Team Santorini, the 2001 winners who competed in the 2001 Eco Challenge in New Zealand. For this year’s 8th edition, the race dubbed “Isang Linggo sa Sto. Domingo” was held from November 12-16, 2008 in Sto. Domingo, Albay, a coastal community that faces the Pacific Ocean in the east and Mt. Mayon Volcano in the northwest. It was the first time that this race was held outside the Visayas-Mindanao area and the first time in Luzon and Albay.

A total of eleven teams, 4 from Manila; Cebu (2); Leyte (2); Davao (1); Iligan (1) and Sto Domingo, Albay (1) composed of 4 racers (one of whom must be of the opposite sex) and 2 support crew per team, participated in this extreme adventure 4 day non-stop race that combined trekking, biking, swimming, paddling and rappelling. The 11 teams started out in Sto. Domingo proper and went through 20 Control Points (CP) or destinations in sequence provided only with the coordinates of the CP’s and armed with their multi-disciplinary skills, navigational skills and the right team dynamics. The route took the participants from Sto. Domingo where they got their passports after climbing a palo sebo to Camp 1 Mayon, Centennial Park, Alimsog, Starship Café, Tabaco, San Miguel Island, San Antonio School in Cagraray Island, Maninipot Shoreline, Barangay Misibis, Sula Port, Mt. Cabugcay, Malilipot Port, Bagacay Church, Pili Pier, Namantao Island, Buhatan, Sula Port and finally to the Black Sands Beach Resort in Sto. Domingo. The team’s support crews were only allowed to provide and replenish the team racers’ supplies at 4 designated points.

During the first day of the race, Team Merrel took the early lead at Control Point 7 at 21:07 followed by Blood Red Cebu, Team Mulatto and Team Iligan Pride at CP 6. AFP Power Trekkers and Sto. Domingo were slapped 4 hours penalty for bypassing a control point. Slowly but surely, Team Mulatto took over the lead which they retained until the end finishing the race in barely two days with the team members getting only 17 minutes of sleep. Team Merrel finished second while Team Iligan Pride was third. Two teams out of the 11 were not able to finish while Team Sto. Domingo, a neophyte finished a respectable 8th place.

For their efforts, Team Mulatto Davao proved that they’ve got what it takes and retained their title. They are the first team to emerge as back to back Champions aside from winning P100,000; trophy, medals, certificates, gift packs and the bragging rights of being the best in a grueling race that tests the limits of human endurance. Team Merrel wound up second and won P60,000 among other things while Team Iligan Pride who placed third won P40,000.

Mr. Nico Delos Angeles made the initial overtures to bring the race in Sto. Domingo, Albay which was adopted by the Municipal Government of Sto. Domingo led by Mayor Celso Delos Angeles, Jr. who doubled the prize money and provided the Black Sands Beach resort as the race headquarters. In his message, Mayor Celso Delos Angeles said, “The holding of the yearly ultimate Philippine adventure race and the gathering of outdoor enthusiasts, from the fresh breeds of backpackers to the hardcore mountaineers, in this part of the country is very timely and significant as the Municipal Government under the present dispensation, in coordination with concerned government agencies and other stake holders, is doing its best to put Sto. Domingo, Albay in its rightful place in the global tourism map”.

Mr. Randy Su- Event Director on the other hand admitted during the closing ceremony, “I was apprehensive that the Carrera Habagat will be held outside our comfort zone which is the Visayas Mindanao area. I became more hesitant when I learned that it will be held in a little known town in the Bicol region. But when I saw the place, I knew it was the perfect venue.”

The race participants on the other hand were euphoric and have only kind words for the hosts. “Sa lahat ng editions ng Carrera Habagat, ito ang pinakabongga! May hot shower pa.” Aside from the excellent food, the spacious rooms and luxurious amenities provided, the participants experienced first-hand the breathtaking sceneries of Sto. Domingo and the neighboring towns as well as the first-class hospitality and good nature of the people of Albay.

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