Thursday, April 12

Inside PMA: A Runners Haven

Trail run inside the Philippine Military Academy (PMA)? That is such a great idea, I thought.  For never in my wild imagination will I ever experience running inside the campus of this fully secured training ground of the top most military officials of the country.

After my recon of the TNF trail, left with nothing to do and still eager to continue my trail run training, when an invitation from a friend who happens to be living that weekend in one of the headquarters of an official in the academy, without reservations I decided to join the run rather than do some shopping of outdoor brands in the ukay ukay. And it prove to be a worth while decision.

Bringing all our bags, we get inside the academy. Our friends are already waiting for us including our host and will serve as our escort, Major Ronald Illana. He said we will be running a restricted zone inside the campus ordinary citizens like us will be allowed to reach this area without any escort by an  inside official. Really lucky for us. This is a 10 kilometer trail traversing the two sides of the campus.  We started on the left side, the one facing Nugget Hill and the mountain slopes of Itogon. It's a gradual descend trail under the shade of the big pine trees. This also serve as the training ground of the military trainees, having the shooting range on this side of the slope. Unfortunately, the Nugget Hill, a beautiful mountain slope has been slowly eaten up by the deep excavation of small minors who continuously do mining despite the place owned by the government. As what May Illana told us on our stops from the run, this place used to be a mountain slope full of big pine trees which has been slowly cut and uprooted due to mining. I myself felt the sadness in  my heart, I wish they can do something about it to stop mining and rehabilitate the mountain. Oh well, but nonetheless, we end the first part, the day 1 of our trail with a smile on our face. It has been a great run and a tour of the sites of PMA open to the public. We have to rush back to the headquarter for Jules needs to catch up for the bus going home.

The other side of the trail, the one facing the mountain slopes of Mt. Sto Tomas and Mt. Cabuyao, on the area of Tuba, Benguet is explored the following day, still on the morning after breakfast before we head home. We started on the trail right next to where we ended our run yesterday. It's under the shade of huge tall pine trees. View not so visible at the first few kilometers due to lush bushes and branches, as we go further we reach the area above the run way of airport. It's beautiful, there again residential houses scattered but not as congested as that of the other day. Mountain slopes are still full of growing trees. It was not a very long run but a sweet one. It was long enough really for us to stretch our legs again, a good drill for the day. And just before we leave the place we tour the visitors center but unfortunately the museum is  close for it's holiday.

Truly, what a good way to spend my two day in Baguio, running on the trails inside this camp.


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