Friday, December 25, 2009
Christmas Day Run - Roxas Boulevard
When PSC Ultra Sports Complex announced that they will be closing the oval track from 23rd December to 03rd January for the holiday season, I have no other option but look for an alternative running venue. Fort Bonifacio was an easy choice being readily accessible from my place, so I did my run on the said venue last 23Dec. It was then that an idea crossed my mind to instead be innovative and try other venue within the city during the holiday season to break the monotony of running always on the same venue and at the same time updating myself of recent developments within the city.
Today 25Dec09, Christmas Day, I selected a run along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. I arrived at the Quirino Grandstand area at about 5am and parked just on the northside of the grandstand.
By 5:09am I was on my way passing through Manila Hotel then onward southbound at Roxas Boulevard. It was still quite dark, but, there were already so many people at the Luneta Park area whom I presume spent their Christmas Eve there. My intended run was 10k so I told myself that I will just keep going south until my Garmin 310xt signals that I have reached 5km and then back track to complete the 10k run.
The lighted seaside pathway of Roxas Boulevard from the US Embassy to the Cultural Center of the Philippines was an improvement from the past. The area is now free from eating and drinking stalls that use to cluster the boardwalk along the seaside. However, a disappointment is that the area although free from fixed structures have now mobile hawkers flying their trade. Also the place requires a little sanitation as there are patches of areas that stink of urine. Further, a little street sweeping is needed which I hope the litters that I have seen are because only of the previous night’s Christmas eve celebration and is not a normal early morning sight.
Reaching Roxas Boulevard just after the junction of Sen. Gil Puyat, the place was dark and I had my apprehension in proceeding, but did so as I was less than a kilometer in reaching the 5km turn-around. It was here that a good number of street homeless people have bunked themselves along the curb side for the nightly sleep. It is a bitter reality in metro living and the sight of them will move your heart. You then after realize that God has been good to you and you feel thankful that what we might disregard as usual are the very basic needs of these people.
On my way back it was daybreak when I reached the Manila Yacht Club. A few hundred meters further northwards, I cannot help but feel a little nostalgic seeing the Aristocrat Restaurant on the opposite side of road. It was here that I had my wedding reception in August 19, 1973. The outer structure has not change and looks the same. Back then it cost us only P23.00/head for a full breakfast reception. Such an amount cannot even buy you a cup of coffee these days. How time flies!
Reaching the US Embassy on my way back I could not help but notice that the place was desolated. Normally on any usual day the area is full of US Visa applicants waiting for their turn as early as 4am.
Nearing the Rizal monument I decide to cross over the road to have a close up view of the monument as we shall be celebrating Rizal day in a few days or specifically on 30th December. It was here thatI had my picture taken by the security guard as a souvenir shot of the run.
Then it was long to reach my starting point registering a run of 10.01 kilometers in 01h08m51s. I am glad I did this route on a Christmas Day, it has updated me a lot of the place which has not been a regular fixture for me for the past many years.
The following pictures will describe better the route that I have taken. Just click on the image to enlarge the view.
Where will my next run be?