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Saturday, November 1, 2008

THE weeklong adventure race and eco-awareness that is 2008 Carrera Habagat

This is an adventure open to all if u could join, please do.

TIME has proven that physical exercise and communion with nature are two of the more engaging activities in man’s pursuit of wellness. Not the repetitive jogging or kayaking on the beach, but cardio exercises that combine swimming, mountain climbing and running, plus a few mind-bending puzzles that involve the natural environment.

These are the features of the upcoming weeklong adventure race and eco-awareness program, dubbed 2008 Carrera Habagat, to be held in Santo Domingo, Albay, from November 12 to 16.

This coastal municipality faces the Pacific Ocean on the east, and the noble Mount Mayon in the northwest. The town is known for its rare and exotic black-sand beaches, which are likened to the beaches of Hawaii (the main island of the Hawaii state). The locals say that this rare type of black volcanic beach sand was formed from the erosion of ground lava, and is said to have therapeutic benefits. Very small specimens of several gemstones (including ruby, sapphire and diamond) may be found in the magma-black sand.

Carrera Habagat is considered the country’s toughest and most grueling adventure race. The interdisciplinary race requires several days of nature-related adventure challenges. The teams are confronted with basic and hard-core orienteering-and-navigation, cross-country running, mountain-biking, paddling, climbing and related rope skills.

Carrera Habagat is also known for fielding the best of the country’s adventure-racing teams. Among the prominent teams that have joined the past Carreras are Team Santorini and the Philippine Mount Everest Team.

For first-timers, habagat is the Tagalog term for south wind. The race is also called such because the driving force behind it is the Habagat Outdoor Equipment, a popular brand of adventure-racing gear and like products. The race and eco-awareness-related projects started in 2000 as Carrera Habagat.

Habagat head honcho Randy Su explains that Carrera Habagat is the perfect event that celebrates the company’s passion and support for adventure racing and eco-awareness. It also is a practical laboratory of sorts, where Habagat products can be “field-tested.”

“In effect, we are practicing what we preach: It wouldn’t be Habagat if it was not built by hand and tested by nature. The business and development of quality and innovative products for practical and outdoor use, and adventure racing simply grew out of our love for nature and the outdoors,” says Su.

Carrera Habagat also introduces and develops awareness for environment-protection and preservation.

“One of the most important things that the Carrera touches on is the appreciation for the environment and nature. In Carrera, the countryside becomes your ally, the sea becomes your guide, and the locals become your friends. Habagat does its best to showcase the many beautiful places that may be found all over the country, not just in the more popular ones. It’s not uncommon for our participants to exclaim they never expected to see places in a particular locality that are so beautiful and yet unknown to most people,” says Nadine Vallejos, 2008 Carrera Habagat coordinator.

Vallejos adds that the organizers are expecting this year’s Carrera Habagat to be bigger than previous events.

She says, “We’ve always had a lot of teams from across the country, especially those coming from Manila and Eastern Visayas. This year teams from up north won’t miss the chance to join the Carrera.”

There’s been too much reality TV on this type of race. Nothing beats the real thing.


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