Right smack in the shadows of Festival Mall, you would not suspect a trail sanctuary for both bikers and runners. The so-called Garden City south of the bustling metropolitan Manila in the Alabang area, Filinvest City provides a playground for the outdoorsmen and women. Metro Manila has evolved so much these past years infrastructure-wise that nature would seem like a long lost neighbor. Luckily, some corporate think tanks still have their childhood wonders alive that they would ingenuously provide such places to enjoy nature and its wonders with given the value of space these days.
The group excitedly met up at Starbucks, Greenbelt 1 and after but a few minutes traversing the Skyway, we are already in Filinvest City. There we were welcomed by the AVP and head of Filinvest City, Don Ubaldo, who himself is an avid sportman and a competitive one at that! We were immediately assured of something not only well conceptualized but challenging as well coming from a runner’s/ biker’s perspective. The head of marketing, Daphne Sanchez, was already there to ensure that every details are already taken cared of.
After some initial introductions and instructions (and the “mandatory” pictorial coutesy of Rafael Ordonez and Lestsky Les, of couse!), the giddy group of bloggers was off on their feet to savor the excitement this trail has to offer.
The first stage is just a flat grassy surface with the trail moving snake-like along the area most appropriate for newbie bikers and suited for warm-up jog before some serious stuff. I felt confident that I will finish this trail run like a rural princess running the plains of the countryside. There were portions where we need to cross a road, though, in order to get to the other portion of the track. This immediately puts me in perspective that I am not in any province but the Metro! There were lots of efficient traffic enforcers in place to make sure that it is safe at any points along the route. Anyway most of them are closed to traffic at all times of the week. It is here where road runners frequent if they prefer to pound the hard cement to the differing textures of the trail.
Rolling grassy terrains constitute most of the area with large trees providing shade during hot summer days where one can rest for a while before going for more. There was even a creek that provided some rural diversity to the terrain. It is along this area where a large tree can be seen leaning across the single file trail providing some technical challenge to bikers passing underneath. Runners would just lean forward to avoid bumping their heads.
Lost in a midsummer noon’s revelry while in a foliage of greenery, a huge billboard of hunk Derek Ramsey offering a delectable pastry once again jolted me into reality that I am in no countryside but in the middle of an urban district. Such huge picture of something delicious (not the pastry of course! Hehehe….) would no doubt distract any damsel in running distress from endorphin stupor!
Friendly and very considerate bikers abound in small groups with some consisting of family members, a proof of this kind of activities bringing families together most especially in summer months when there is no school. This must also be the driving force behind the Carless Sundays . The concept of which involves closing at least two lanes along the circumference of this trail area which Filinvest City is enforcing all Sudays from this day forth. This will encourage weekend warriors and families to spend them together doing something healthy as running and biking in the trail and the closed roads. I cannot help but notice that most of them are cute too! Well exercise does indeed elevate ones aura to cuteness!
A part of trail passes by the perimeter walls of the Palm Club where one needs to pass through the canopy of leaves of lush foliage. One can make believe that he or she is in the thick of the jungle being chased by cannibals! (Churva eklaboo my inagination really is at work here.) That is after passing some rock formations, huge boulders and the area where one can view the panorama of skyscrapers at the commercial district that surrounds the area. Most corporate slaves would want to check this area just under their noses that can provide a respite from a pressure filled work environment.
Upon reaching the start area where some very much needed hydration was provided, a very welcome presence of no less than triathlete and Xterra World representative of our country, Matteo Guidicelli, provided the temporary relief from heat and demanding trail run! Unfortunately, had it not been for a friend who recognizes him from a bunch of buff, sun tanned men on wheels, I would not have an iota of an idea that he is Mateo, the celebrity! The very same person I and gorgeous Lestsky had been talking about on our way from Makati and wishing she would meet him sometime soon in one of her sports photography assignments! He undoubtedly looks like one but the uninitiated me is simply clueless. Our gorgeous photographer Lestsky Les can’t help but thank the gods of fate for this very opportune moment to see her crush. Well, the power of thoughts. Or maybe it’s just that Filinvest City attracts beautiful people like us? Well, hehehe…..
This distraction though would not stop our pacer, Don Ubaldo, from letting us have a longer rest than necessary to finish the route. Not yet finished! I almost shouted my thoughts out loud. But I am not somebody to bow down to a challenge. After all I am a Fabulous Running Diva! Ask Ivan, a fellow diva, and he will tell you how it is so. After some criss-crossing of the snake-like trail along the grassy area adjacent the one where we started and after a steady climb atop the rocky boulder, we reached the finish line just before I start to see stars circling around me and drop in the arms of Mateo! But he is nowhere to be found already so I just sucked in all aches and pains and pretend that I am still up and about.
Filinvest City is used to be known as Filinvest Corporate District. The change in name is in line with their concept of making the area accessible to more areas of residential development aside from corporations and business establishments. The Green City concept though had been its unique character ever since it has been in existence since 1997 (thus the presence of decades old trees and lush foliage). This I came to know from Madam Daphne and Sir Don at the conference after the trail run.
After almost 10k of pretending to be hard core trail runners, I felt more like a skunk princess than a countryside princess. The thoughtfulness of the team extends to providing us a refreshing bath at The Palm Country Club. Thus when we are about to take some needed nutrition at the conference hall, we are all squeaky clean and smelling good. Or so they thought! Forgeting to bring some extra wear aside from a shirt, I was half clean and half naughty! Hahaha….
The experience was indeed priceless in this time and place full of urbanities. It is great to experience not only the amenities Filinvest City has to offer and plans to offer in the future but the very warmth and thoughtfulness of the men and women behind it. The very quality I believe that made them intune with the needs of modern urban dwelling Filipinos and corporations. The very same quality which makes Filinvest City the most enthralling place to be living and doing business in nowadays!