My YABAGMC (Yielding Across Barriers And Gateways Mountaineering Club) Friends make sure that whenever we meet, we make it memorable. Hindi lang puro inom. During the previous years, we’ve had hiking and meetings when we reminisced our childhood by wearing our old school uniforms (Mount Bulalo 2012), when we had pajama party (Tayak Hill 2013), when we wore gowns and tuxedos (Layong Bato 2012), when we became rock stars (Santa Maria 2013). It was all fun and laughter. And for our 2014 yearender, the leader of the group, Migs, thought of something new and decided to hold an adventure race.

Organizing the said event brought nothing but headache to Migs. At one point, he even thought of cancelling the race because, according to him, it was just him who seemed to be excited and nobody was paying attention when he would ask for suggestions or feedback. Buti na lang natuloy!

This year, we rented our friends’ (Kardo and Dang) private island in Cavinti, Laguna for the adventure race. When Rowjie and I first went there last 2013, we thought that it could be a good spot for the YMCF’s activities since it is secluded yet very serene. To get there, as usual, we had to rent a bus because we were just, what, beyond 40 and it would be the most convenient way to travel.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
‘Pag kami aalis, laging isang bus dahil sa dami namin!

After almost a five-hour eternity of traveling, we reached the jump-off where the boats that would bring us to the island were already waiting. Some of us had to stay in the town proper to run some errands and buy more supplies for our overnight stay. We didn’t realize that this little hold up would cause us to be late with our itinerary. We were supposed to start at 2 PM so we could be finished by 5 PM (the race would last for three hours) but our clock shows it’s already past 3 PM.

There were six teams who registered for the race, each of which has their own strengths and weaknesses.

The marshals who were manning each checkpoint couldn’t decide who to place their bets on. We thought they were all competitive in their own right. Well, who shouldn’t be? There were cash prizes at stake!

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Off to the island!

When the third and last batch arrived in the island, the organizers immediately briefed the participants of the mechanics of the adventure race to waste no more time.

  • Each team will be given a passport that they must present to the marshals at the beginning of the checkpoint. No passport, no score.
  • The race is divided into two legs. (1) The first leg must be completed in order from Checkpoint 1 to 9.  Clues to the next tasks will be given upon completion of each checkpoint. (2) Second leg can be done in no particular order and teams can do as many challenges as they can in 1.5 hours.
  • All members of the team must be present in completing the challenges.
  • If one member of the team cannot complete an assigned task, another team member can perform the task but will have lesser points as penalty.
  • Extra points can be earned in some challenges and checkpoints (marked with asterisk in the following tables).
# Points Checkpoint Task
1 80 Team Banner To create a banner and upload it online
2 20 Survival Fishing To create improvised fishing equipment and catch a fish for additional points
3 80 Sipa To finish 30 consecutive sipa in first attempt
4 90 Animal Crawl To mimic lizard, gorilla, and crab walks
5 120 Tent Pitching To pitch a tent with blindfolds on
6 120 Tarp Slide To slide in three different positions
7 120 Nganga Challenge To mimic how elders use nganga
8 NA Groufie To take a groufie along with photos of four objects
9 NA End of First Leg Extra 40 points for first team to finish

When Agot announced the start of the race, it was chaos. Para kaming nasa palengke. All teams were eager to finish their banners for the first checkpoint. Some were conveniently artistic and some were just plain lacking of creative juices. After 10 minutes, it was crayons up! The clue to the next checkpoint was given. The next thing we knew, they were all gone when the next checkpoint was just on the table beside the first checkpoint.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Team Brakadawn finishing their banner for Checkpoint 1.

When the teams finally understood what the picture of a “hook” meant, they hurriedly assembled improvised fishing tackles to complete Checkpoint 2 (Survival Fishing) after which they must leave in a spot they have chosen with their banners attached to it. Extra points will be given to any team who can catch a fish. All teams finished this checkpoint almost at the same time. The words Burot and Black Magic pointed them to the next challenge.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Team Banuyo testing out their Survival Fishing skills.

I had so much fun watching the teams complete Checkpoint 3 wherein they have to complete consecutive sipa depending on the style. I am not familiar with the terms but they really had a difficult time finishing the task. Yung iba inabot na ng dilim, ulan, at malakas na hangin! I really was thankful that I was one of the marshals and was not a competitor. Team Two and a Half Men led this point of the race. As part of the clue, they have to find out where Bituka and Botika would lead them to.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Dito sila inabot ng siyam-siyam, sa Sipa Challenge.

Butiki is the next keyword they have to find that will lead them to Checkpoint 4 (Animal Crawl), which I was manning. I am sorry but I won’t have photos to show you at this point since I have to wait until all teams have finished the checkpoint before I could go back in taking photos. To earn points in this task, each member of the team must mimic how a lizard, crab, and gorilla walk or crawl. The clue for Checkpoint 5 would be sari-sari.

Ejay, owner and founder of Pinoy Outdoor Gears, was manning the “store” for Checkpoint 5 which was Tent Pitching. Here, guided only by voice of his/her teammates, a blindfolded member of the group must be able to pitch a tent on his/her own. Once done, the clue Pepe (not the vagina) is given to the team.

By this time, it was almost dark, the wind colder due to non-stop drizzle, and the more mud we had on our bodies.

Worth 120 points, each member of the team must slide all the way to the lake in three different positions or styles for the Tarp Slide Challenge. They cannot stop halfway and must perform the slide smoothly. Spring break slides, ring a bell? Hello? A photo of a big mouth with teeth will be given as a clue to Checkpoint 7. Two and a Half Men was still leading with Brakadawn and Nga-Nga closely behind.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Joax trying out the Tarp Slide Challenge.

Mouth and teeth, of course, meant Nganga or betel chewing for Checkpoint 7! I’ve tried this in 2011 and here’s another reason why I am so thankful that I was just one of the marshals. When I arrived in Kim’s checkpoint, I saw Aco almost giving up and about to throw up. I know how he felt. Ew. With a little more push, the leading team went to the final checkpoint of the first leg. They must find the marshal carrying the photo of “Play Dead” as the last clue.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Aco of Team Two and a Half Men completing the Nganga Challenge.

Arvin aka Play Dead is the answer! Ask me why he is coined as such and I will tell you. *wink wink* For the final challenge, Rowjie who was manning the checkpoint asked the teams to take photos of four objects he would mention, to take a groufie with the YABAG MC banner, and to upload the photos to the official Facebook group page of YMCF. The first team to complete this challenge would have to go to Agot for 40 bonus points.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Team Two and a Half Men was the first team to complete the first leg of the race.

Team Two and a Half Men lead all throughout the race and earned the bonus points after completing the first leg. It was already dark and the drizzle had now turned to rain, the wind even colder, and the mud now covering all of our hands and feet. Migs decided that the race must go on and all participants must complete the second phase of the game. And since it was impossible to finish all challenges, we had to eliminate two of the most difficult which were Slacklining and Fire Starting.

And as some of you may be aware of, my camera doesn’t take great night photos so I opted to not use it during the second leg. Besides, I was already covered with mud and wet all over. But to give you a rundown of what were the challenges during the second leg, have a look at the table below.

# Points Checkpoint Task
A 150 Knot-tying To copy different types of knots from the printed handouts
B 50 Slackline* To balance between two anchor points
C 86 Ascender* To ascend using a rope
D 100 Fire Starting* To start fire using flint and wood
E 90 Swing Dive* To swing by rope and dive into the lake
F 90 Handstand Walk To walk through hands
G 150 Socials Challenge* To drink alcoholic beverage
H 100 Mountaineering Trivia To solve quizzes about mountaineering
I 50 Blindfold Duo To help teammates in blindfolds reach a specified destination

Sa Second Leg nagkatalo ang bawat teams because of the bonus points. Some of them, exhausted and chilling, decided not to finish all challenges. Some who were eager to complete all didn’t make it due to lack of time (they were given 1.5 hours to complete the remaining seven challenges) or they just lack the skill needed.

YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
The Swing and Dive Challenge the next day. I don’t’ know who that diver was.

Ultimately, Team Brakadawn won the race beating Two and a Half Men by only 15 points. Though Two and a Half Men lead the first leg by 40 points, they weren’t able to complete the Knot-tying challenge which was a whopping 150 points and was completed by the winning Team Brakadawn! Congrats, Angel, Berloy, and Mik! Brakadawn yo!

Here were the team standing and their prizes.

  1. Team Brakadawn (1,302 points) – Php 2,500 + Starbucks GC (Php 300)
  2. Team Two and a Half Men (1,287 points) – Php 1,100 + Starbucks GC (Php 200)
  3. Team Nga-Nga (1,133 points) – Starbucks GC (Php 900)
  4. Team Banuyo (971 points) – Starbucks GC (Php 600)
  5. Team Tita Doods (841 points) – Eat’N Tool
  6. Team Song (645 points) – Guide Light
YABAG MCF Adventure Race 2014
Close fight yet Team Brakadawn bested all teams and bagged home the prizes.

Hats off to all those who joined and gave their best in completing all the challenges! This was just a dry run and we will be inviting you on another BIGGER and TWICE MORE FUN adventure race!

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