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I ran my farthest race event venue to date at Hunat Sugbo 3 held at The Terraces, Ayala Center, Cebu last June 23. It has been more than a decade since I last found myself wandering the street of Cebu. The little of what I seem to recall about Cebu includes the bridge connecting Mactan Island with the main land Cebu. I could not even remember seeing the Magellan Cross. Maybe I didn’t saw it after all. The rest of my memories like the Ayala Mall and SM Cebu were slowly dissipating away ala Jim Carrey’s memories of Kate Winslet in the movie, “Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” which was gradually wiped away. That is why I took pains to see to it I would not miss this run event even if I have to be in Cebu for just the weekend. Barely long enough to get a whiff of the air in Cebu. True enough the little images left flashing before my mind such as the airport and The Waterfront Hotel in Mactan- where once we were temporarily kept when during a heavy rains in Manila, our flight going back to Manila got diverted to Cebu – were not quite helpful to make me recognized how I will go about wading through the city that rivals Manila in so many ways.
From the airport, I took a multi-cab. It coughed me a mere P8.00. I alighted at Quezon National Highway thinking this was far enough from the airport and away from ravenous taxicab drivers preying upon passengers at the airport and later extorting the latters with huge fares, a practice prevalent here in Manila. However, the taxicab I flagged and which took me to the race registration center at Parklane Hotel along Escario Avenue seems to be not of the same breed as those thriving in Manila. Perhaps that also goes the same to all taxicabs in Cebu. From the Parklane Hotel it was just a 5 minutes walk to my hotel at Molave St. and about a little more going to the race event venue which conveniently fronting the mall, The Terrace where I spent the afternoon before going to SM and saw World War Z. I noticed though while walking around the city including the race venue itself there seem to be a lack of any promotional materials announcing the event that would increase the excitement for this event to fever pitch except for the one tarpaulin near the registration area. This was not how an event should be promoted considering the “Hunat” is already on its third year. My fear was further galvanized when I arrived an hour earlier at the race venue on the day of the event itself, I found not much of a stir going on. No sponsor’s booth sprouting around which is a normal sight in run events in Manila. There weren’t much people around except few personnel putting up the official race timer on the race arch. Worst there were no portalets to be seen. The only ones available are a pair of comfort rooms located at the second level parking area, which later were swarming with queuing runners. I was convinced this was another flop race event. However, about 20 minutes before the gun start, runners materialized out of nowhere and soon there were a significant number of them packing the starting arch area.
At 4:30 a.m. we were sent off. The route took us from Ayala Center and into a business district via Gorordo Avenue and M.J. Cuenco Avenue. So far from this part of the race the road were leveled but the route was along the highway with little marshal to keep watch of the runners’ safety from the on-going traffic. Then we hit a road that was uphill. The bad part about this was that a garbage truck doing its rounds of picking up garbage was plying also the same route. A turning point was located on the top of this road. I ran the downhill part letting the momentum and gravity pull me to make up for the mostly walking I did going uphill. I am not exactly familiar with the route but base from how I interpreted the race map we took Juan Luna Avenue then Governor Cuenco Avenue then Salinas Drive where in we passed by JY Square Mall and into Cebu Veterans which was another uphill run. After a turning point, we went back to the intersection where we passed by JY Square Mall and into Gorordo Drive again. We ran pass University of the Philippine Cebu College where I once stayed when I attended a historical conference sponsored by my former employment. We turned then to Escario Avenue where the road took us to the looming Provincial Capitol building. Turning left of it we hit President Osmena Boulevard the end of it was a huge open space with a rotunda and statue. This is Osmena Circle. We ran until we reached Rodriguez Avenue then turned left to the intersecting Rama Avenue. Near the Calamba Cemetery was the turning point which led us back to the Rodriguez Avenue. We run until YMCA. We sought Osmena Circle again and end up in Osmena Boulevard another turning point that led us back to the Osmena Boulevard going to the rotunda until Escario Avenue again. The whole stretch of Escario was the last leg of the race. At the end of Escario was Parklane Hotel while the road under the flyover intersecting Escario will take the runners to Mindanao Avenue and into the Ayala Center and finally the finish line. After crossing the finish line and the medal hung, the runners proceed to the open activity area of The Terrace where we were treated to a meal of hardboiled egg, rice wrapped in pandan leaves, longganisang Cebu and a packed juice drink that was very satisfying.
I think the experience was truly well worth the effort and the money spent. I believe the organization was quite satisfactory. I even thought of having another run in Cebu if I could manage to squeeze in the up-coming run event in November if there will be no other run event that fancied my desire to join in. After all I still haven’t fulfilled my intention of seeing Cebu’s tourist spots and cuisines to install fresh memories of the place.