Skyrunning Course To Mt. Ugo
MANILA, Philippines — It’s more fun to skyrun to Mt. Ugo in Itogon, Benguet. Why? It is not simply a mountaineering adventure called “skyrunning” or high altitude running above 2,000 meters, it has amazing benefits as well – it is healthy, it provides you nature’s feast for the eyes, food for the mind and inspiration for the soul.
These wonderful experiences were what we got from the recent “Pilipinas Akyatlon”, the Philippine International SkyRace in Itogon, Benguet.
Located in Barangay Tinongdan in Itogon, Mt. Ugo is 2,150 meters above sea level. Thus, it has been chosen by the Philippine Skyrunning Association (PSA) as the ideal testing ground for the virility of mountain-climbers. The latest skyrace held in February was participated in by runners from Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and the Cordillera Administrative Region, and those from Australia, Kenya and Malaysia.
The winners were: in the male category – Eliud Kpugut Keing of Kenya; Jackson Chirchir also of Kenya; Mario Maglinao of Albay; and Saffrey Sumping of Malaysia. In the female category, the winners were – Kuilin Gongot of Malaysia; Julie Green of Australia; and Baby Maritess Bitbit, a Filipino Olympian.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez thanked Benguet’s local government and vowed to work for an annual skyrunning race in Itogon, saying: “Mt. Ugo can be number one for fun, and it’s really more fun in the Philippines.”
Proof: mountain-climbers had more fun from start to finish of the 33-km. out-and-back race as they cut through the crystal clearness of the morning light that displayed the dazzling blue of the sky. The race began with a 1.7-km. downhill jog on paved road and uphill to the summit, where it turned around and went downhill to the finish line at Tinongdan Barangay Hall.
Along the way, runners became one-with-the-universe, basking in the verdant and fragrant freshness of pine-trees and strawberries, while chattering birds, whispering butterflies and buzzing bees make harmonious music with the melodious murmuring of rivers, brooks and springs.
Nature’s awesome beauty in this part of the Philippines was not only soothing to the senses; it was also physically energizing, mentally-enlightening, as well as spiritually-uplifting. No one can truly love nature and not love its Creator!
Besides Mt. Ugo, Tinongdan (which is 45 minutes from Baguio City) has other tourist attractions: rice terraces, the Binga dam and its six gateways, Igorots’ traditional gold-panning or mining, caves and tunnels, old houses, therapeutic swimming pools and abundant plantations of fruits and vegetable, as well as unique flowers that blossom only in the cool Mountain Province. Indeed, more fun is worth the run!