Dr. Raymund Reel Bontol


I HAVE found the perfect triathlon race. It’s right here in Cebu.

Last weekend culminated the third episode of the annual Tabuelan 111 triathlon race.

Tabuelan 111 starts with a swim of two kilometers along the picturesque coastline of Maravilla, Tabuelan, Cebu. Then, athletes rush to the bike transition area where they start their 88-kilometer bike race. They push their limits along the challenging bike course that leave athletes with wobbly legs at the start of the 21-kilometer run and cross the finish line at the Maravilla Beach Resort.

The 2014 event hosted more than 500 participants from across the Philippines including professional triathlete Joseph Miller, Sen. Pia Cayetano and actor Paul Jake Castillo along with his Omega Pro Triathlon team. Paul Jake or PJC brought his team of athletes from Cebu City to compete in the long-distance event.

The Omega Pro Triathlon Team headed by team captain Frederick Castañeda and owner PJC, along with more than 30 other teams, were treated to a sumptuous dinner buffet and live entertainment during the race briefing the night before race day. Fireworks set the mood of the race.

Tabuelan 111 is a perfect venue to test one’s endurance and skill since it is scheduled a few weeks before the Ironman 70.3 Philippines.

Last weekend’s race was well-organized and race director Tenggoy Colmenares, with his team of marshals like Warren Vergara, Raymond de Jesus, Amale Jopson and Annie Neric, made sure every participant was safe and race-ready.

Tabuelan Mayor Rex Gerona made sure the race would be unforgettable and checked every single detail of organizing a good race.

The heat was almost unbearable during the entire race were it not for the overflowing ice cold water, which was available at every water station.

These very much needed water stations, located every single kilometer of the course, had ice-cold water and fruits to help athletes complete their race even until after cut-off time. The locals were also encouraging as they sat alongside the bike/run course and cheered the athletes on.

They houted “Go Idol!” and inspired athletes to push harder. Even Dindo Arcenas, senior triathlete of Team Reborn, pushed his limits and finished the race.

Although the bike course was hilly and very challenging for beginner triathletes, safety was guaranteed as the roads were closed to traffic and bike marshals were constantly checking the route.

After crossing the finish line, athletes were greeted with a finisher’s medal, food and lots of fluids to start their recovery.

The Tabuelan 111 is not an easy race and athletes have to train just like their preparations for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 Philippines.

I have been a triathlete since 2010 and have joined races both domestic and international. After last Sunday, I now consider the Tabuelan 111 race as one of the best triathlon races our country has to offer. It has everything any triathlete would want at any race. But don’t take my word for it, even Paul Jake thinks “It’s one of the best!”

Congratulations, Tabuelan!