My Observations: 2019 SEA Games Obstacle Course Racing Team Relay Gold Medal Won By Philippines

I’m thankful to the Lord not only because the Philippines hosted the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (2019 SEA Games) but also because Obstacle Course Racing made its debut in the said games as a medal sport and their events were held at Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

On the morning of December 4, I hiked from Commercenter to a closed stretch of road just beside the golf range. There the SEA Games OCR was held and, specifically, the event I got to watch was the 400-meter Team Relay event with a pre-finals match between the Philippines (composed of Diana Buhler, Jeffrey Reginio, Klymille Rodriguez and Nathaniel Sanchez) and Malaysia. I recorded a portion of that particular match on my official Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco. Watch it just below.

During the breaks between matches, I made my way through the spectators’ section observing the place, the set-up of the obstacle course and met a few friends (including a Christian sister of mine). The obstacle course really had a lot of expensive looking, customized hardware strategically placed along the closed stretch of the road.

To put in simple terms, obstacle course racing offers lots of challenges for athletes who are expected to not only be fit, strong and fast but also be strategic with their moves because the racing involves running, climbing, light-gun shooting, side-stepping and the like. In other words, it’s a very creative and exciting way of racing.

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Look at all of that hardware.
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More of the obstacle course.

After the bronze medal match between Indonesia and Timor Leste, the gold medal batch between the Philippines and Malaysia was announced to follow. Naturally the spectators prepared themselves for what was anticipated to be a high-pressure match and they were not wrong.

Then the gold medal match happened. From where I was standing, I witnessed Malaysia overtake the Philippines temporarily before the lead went back to the Filipinos. While I was unable to move close to the finish line for the victory crossing moment, the spectators’ loud cheerful reaction and the voice-over by the event commentator confirmed the victory. Praise and thank the Lord for the gold medal victory of the Philippines!

And then the ceremony of the awarding the gold, silver and bronze medals took place which was witnessed by not only the spectators but also by special guests (including a congressman) and varied sports officials. Philippines won the gold, Malaysia the silver and Indonesia the bronze.

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Southeast Asia’s best in Obstacle Course Racing 400-meter Team Relay – Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

There is nothing like witnessing the SEA Games OCR 400-meter Team Relay medal ceremony on location and in person. It definitely is a more engaging experience than watch such a ceremony on television or via the Internet video. I also made the effort to get a good position in front of the stage, record the ceremony on video and upload it on my official Facebook page. After all that, I left to visit another place.

So what can I say about OCR’s debut in the SEA Games? From what I saw, the creative sport has a future in the regional games. When it comes to South Metro Manila, Filinvest City definitely is a solid venue to have OCR events held with an outdoor setting. When it comes to holding the event inside private subdivisions, however, it can be tricky because it will involve the homeowners’ association (HOA) especially when it comes to matters like in-village traffic, security, noise pollution and crowd control. It’s too easy to suggest holding an outdoor OCR event inside Ayala Alabang (which has a country club, by the way, plus roads wider than those of other subdivisions) or BF Homes subdivision (which has no country club but has a sports club) without considering the disturbance to the residents. The way I look at South Metro Manila, Filinvest City is ideal.

Looking for another venue further south? There is Vermosa Sports Hub along Daang Hari, Imus City, Cavite. Apart from the sports facilities, they have a lot of roads and wide open spaces (vacant lots). I can imagine an OCR event being held there. Vermosa Sports Hub is already established as a popular destination for triathlon (swim-bike-run) and aquathlon (swim-run).

No doubt about it. Obstacle Course Racing has a nice future ahead here in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia.

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To others reading this, if you are dissatisfied with print media and you want your community/organization/business/special event or project to be featured on this website, please contact me locally via mobile number 0905-3350831 or via email at Carlo.Carrasco@gmail.com

You can check out my varied marketing services (including Twitter boosting) right here.

We can negotiate, work together and be achievers together.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

New Skyway Ramp to Open on December 1

Hi everyone! Have you been struggling with the constant heavy traffic along the northbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) since September due to the construction of a Skyway extension project (planned to reach Susana Heights) within the Alabang viaduct area?

Well here are the good news: effective December 1, 2019, the third lane of the at-grade level of the Skyway will be re-opened and the brand new, two-lane ramp connecting the Alabang viaduct to the elevated Skyway will be opened to the public!

The anticipated developments should result an improvement of the flow of traffic going north.

“These enhancements will ensure that there will be five lanes available to northbound SLEX vehicles during rush hours, even as we go full blast with the construction of the Skyway Extension project. Motorists will be able to use the original three lanes at the at-grade section, plus 2 more lanes at the elevated section,” San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said according to the press release.

Due to the construction of the new ramp started this past September, traffic worsened as road space was reduced. What used to be five lanes on the northbound direction of the SLEX at the Alabang viaduct was narrowed down to three lanes. The City Government of Muntinlupa itself implemented a one-way traffic scheme along the east service road in connection to the construction.

Skyway managers made the hard adjustments by reconfiguring and maximizing the first section of the elevated Skyway coming from the Alabang-Zapote road to three lanes, from the original two.

The operators stated that with the new ramp connecting to the elevated section, northbound traffic from SLEX can be accommodated without significantly impacting traffic coming from the Alabang-Zapote road.

It was pointed out that the original design for the Alabang-Zapote road Skyway ramp, built by the previous concessionaire, is one lane northbound and one lane southbound. At certain times in the morning, when traffic is heaviest, both lanes are used for northbound traffic.

As such, they emphasized that the advantage of the new three-lane configuration at the start of the elevated portion is that lane assignments can be easily adjusted depending on traffic volume. Even with the new ramp in effect, motorists coming from the Alabang-Zapote road will retain the use of one to two lanes, depending on traffic volume.

With regards to night-time southbound traffic, which normally gets heavy, more or all lanes—including the two lanes on the new ramp–can be assigned for southbound use.

To put things in perspective, the Skyway Extension project is an initiative by SMC worth P10 billion designed to extend the Skyway from Alabang to SLEX near  Susana Heights and the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX). Completion of the whole project is set for December 2020. By then , there should be three additional northbound lanes and two southbound lanes on either side of the existing SLEX. It will allow both northbound and southbound motorists to bypass the Alabang viaduct.

This is welcome news and there should be relief starting Sunday (December 1).

In my personal experience, I work at an office in Calamba, Laguna and since September 25, traveling back to Alabang became more challenging due to the increased traffic congestion. Many times, the tail-end of the traffic jam going north along SLEX reached the Susana Heights area. Some times, the tail-end was at the Southwoods exit.

We will soon find out starting Monday how the promised benefits of the new Skyway ramp will improve the northbound flow of vehicles.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christmas Bazaar and More in Alabang Hills Village this November 29 to December 1

Hey everyone! If you are looking for a new destination for your Christmas shopping or shopping for your needs, then be informed that there will be a Christmas bazaar inside Alabang Hills Village in Muntinlupa City that will start from November 29 up to December 1, 2019.

According to an Alabang Hills Village Association (AHVA) official, the bazaar (formally titled Baratilo & Bingo sa Pasko) will be held at the two covered basketball courts and at a portion of the grass near the old village clubhouse. The schedule of the organizing of the bazaar will be from 9AM to 9PM on each of the three days.

More notably, the AHVA revealed to me that there will be a lot of sellers. As of today, confirmed are 72 sellers of dry goods, 32 sellers of food and beverages, and 29 ukay (used items) sellers. Expect to see a big mix of products like clothes, shoes, bags, household items, appliances and the like. As written on the bazaar’s title, there will also be bingo games held although the precise venue and other key details are not yet available as of this writing.

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Christmas decorations inside Alabang Hills Village.

As with the past bazaars and special events held in the village, non-residents are welcome to visit and shop in the bazaar. Naturally, non-residents who are bringing vehicles that do not have Alabang Hills stickers are required to leave their ID cards at the village gate in order to enter.

For more information, contact the AHVA by calling landline 8850-8254 and  8850-9631.

 

My Observations: Muntinlupa City the 8th Most Competitive Highly Urbanized City of the Nation in this Year’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI)

When it comes to being competitive among the many cities of the Philippines, making the Top Ten of the most important category is a big achievement already. Thanks to the respective news releases of Business Mirror and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) the latest Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) for 2019 showed that Muntinlupa City is now the 8th most competitive highly urbanized city (HUC) of the entire nation.

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Specifically, Muntinlupa is one of six Metro Manila cities that made the Top 10 of the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities category as revealed during the 7th Regional Competitiveness Summit held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on October 24.. The city that is home to Ayala Alabang, Alabang Hills, Filinvest City and Northgate Cyberzone is the only South Metro Manila city to make it in the Top 10 of the said category. This is a notable improvement over last year’s results.

Muntinlupa’s Public Information Officer Tez Navarro responded to my inquiry by saying that their administration is glad that the city made it in the Top 10 among HUCs. I also made inquiries to my sources within the city governments of Parañaque and Las Piñas and, as of this writing, nobody responded. The Most Competitive City for HUCs is Quezon City.

In my view, it’s not surprising that Muntinlupa made it big given the City Government’s (headed by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi) continued public services, efficiency and the local economy’s strong growth. Muntinlupa also made it in the Top 10 on the categories of government efficiency and infrastructure.

As for Parañaque, this year marks another chapter in history in which the city (whose local government unit is led by mayor Edwin Olivarez) failed to break into the Top 10 among Highly Urbanized Cities. In the 2018 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, the city that is home to BF Homes subdivision as well as those fancy casinos and resorts of Entertainment City ranked 14th among HUCs and 21st place overall in the competitiveness chart that includes HUCs and component cities.

Going back to this year’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, Parañaque got tied with Caloocan City for the 3rd place ranking for the Most Improved LGUs category among HUCs. The Most Improved LGU for Highly Urbanized Cities is shared at the top by Valenzuela and Malabon. When it comes to economic dynamism and infrastructure,  Parañaque got mentioned.

Now that the CMCI for 2019 has been published, now is a good time to take a close look at the infrastructure quality and government efficiency in Parañaque. Very recently traffic along Presidents Avenue (the road that connects Dr. A. Santos Avenue with the BF Homes commercial zone and the villages) worsened due to the three road operations (two belonging to Maynilad and one with the Department of Public Works and Highways) happening there at the same time. Those operations occupied significant space on the road making the flow of traffic tighter and more congested. Already motorists who travel regularly along Presidents Avenue are already annoyed with the worsened traffic congestion and a few of them questioned as to why is it that the City Government did not bother to send inspectors on the three road operations. Going back to this year’s CMCI, government efficiency is clearly where Parañaque is lacking.

As for the City of Las Piñas, there is a lack of available information as to how it fared among HUCs in varied categories as of this writing.

Ranking the Competitiveness

According to the CMCI website, The rankings of Cities and Municipalities are based on the sum of their scores on four pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, Infrastructure and Resiliency. Provincial rankings meanwhile are based on population and income weighted average of the Overall scores of cities and municipalities under a province.

The Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index or CMCI is an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities developed by the National Competitiveness Council through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development.

My Observations: Village Food Fair 2 at Madison Galeries

After worshiping the Lord at church this past Sunday in Las Piñas City, I proceeded straight to Madison Galeries in Barangay Cupang, Alabang, Muntinlupa City to attend their special event of the day called Village Food Fair 2.

Months ago, out of curiosity, I attended the first Village Food Fair held at that same open-air shopping mall and I had fun looking around and enjoying some food and beverages. The pleasurable experience I back had then made me wish that the mall would organize another food fair and, as what happened this Sunday, they delivered!

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The food vendors outside the Madison Events Place.
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High-quality beef sold for shawarma.

At Village Food Fair 2, I visited first the food stalls at the 3rd floor just outside of the Madison Events Place (which is a large, air-conditioned hall) where food products like shawarma, rice meals and freshly cooked meat were served. I noticed beef wagyu offered in both packed and in cooked form.

Inside the Madison Events Place was a whole lot of vendors that offered a great variety of beverages and food to choose from. There were packaged sushi rolls, coffee (in powdered form, in beans and in brewed form), organic pasta, noodles, dumplings, pies, nuts, beans, sandwiches, carrot cakes and the like. On keeping the atmosphere lively, the mall operators hired a lady to play the guitar and sing on the spot.

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A customer waiting to be served.
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This lady sang nicely during the food fair.

There was a whole lot to choose from Village Food Fair 2 and I am very glad that Madison Galeries organized this. As a coffee enthusiast, I ordered black coffee mixed with condensed milk. That coffee was prepared for me with the utmost care as two containers were used to pour and mix the coffee and condensed milk together before serving it on a cup. I liked the taste.

I went outside Madison Events Place to try a chicken shawarma. The chicken was really well cooked and the vegetables and pita used made each bite a delight. I got my money’s worth as a result. Before going home, I bought Barako coffee powder from one of the vendors inside Madisons Events Place.

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This looks yummy!
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Coffee, honey, chocolate and other nice stuff for sale.
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Organic pasta for sale. 

In conclusion, I should say that my experience with Village Food Fair 2 was even more pleasurable than the previous time. It sure was nice to see a wide selection of food and beverage products of nice quality along with several customers making transactions with the sellers. I sincerely hope for another Village Food Fair to be organize there at Madison Galeries which is clearly the best open-air shopping mall to be at in South Metro Manila. For Ayala Alabang residents and BF Homes residents (as well as those living in related communities like Tahanan Village) reading this, to visit Madison Galeries without having to travel along the West Service Road from Parañaque, I highly recommend securing a non-resident, passing thru vehicular sticker from Alabang Hills Village Association (AHVA) so that your access will be better.

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Sushi rolls being sold.
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The other sellers inside the Madison Events Place.
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This one really smelled good as the cooking went on.

My thanks to Madison Galeries and the concessionaires who made Village Food Fair 2 happen. I would love to attend another edition of it in the near future. Village Food Fair is easily a standout among all food fairs in South Metro Manila.

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To others reading this, if you are dissatisfied with print media and you want your community/organization/business to be featured on this website, please contact me locally via mobile number 0905-3350831 or via email at Carlo.Carrasco@gmail.com

We can negotiate, work together and be achievers together.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Alabang Hills Village Association (AHVA) Updates (July 27, 2019)

The Alabang Hills Village Association (AHVA) in Alabang Hills Village, Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa City announced that more village stickers for specific people will be released very soon.

Firstly, the 2019 edition of the vehicular stickers for Alabang Hills residents will be released on August 5, 2019. Each sticker will cost as follows (according to the AHVA’s Secretary’s Certificate dated July 6, 2017):

First four cars – P100 per vehicle

Next three cars – P300 per vehicle

Next three cars – P600 per vehicle

11 or more cars – P1,200 per vehicle

For the commercial vehicles, the stickers will be released on August 12, 2019. The stickers will cost P1,500 per vehicle (four wheels) and P2,250 per vehicle (six wheels).

Last but not least, stickers for motorcycles and bicycles will be released on August 12, 2019. The rates for resident motorcycles and bicycles are P100 each, while non-resident motorcycles and bicycles will cost P225 per sticker.

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Pay close attention to the details displayed.

The same AHVA Secretary’s Certificate shows that the replacement sticker rates are at P50 for residents and P100 for non-residents.

AHVA clubhouse update

Meanwhile, the AHVA announced on July 18 that the repair of the village clubhouse locate along Don Jesus Boulevard will be completed next month although no specific date was mentioned. The association announced that its Board of Directors made a decision to allot spaces to service providers that should benefit the residents.

The association officially invited interested parties for the following types of service (with space):

Coffee shop (90 square meters)

Beauty Salon and Barber Shop (70 square meters)

Convenience store (33 square meters)

“The renovated AHV Clubhouse promises an enticing site to relax, socialize and hangout apart from providing security, clinical health and business services,” AHVA president Benjamin Y. Munasque, Jr. wrote.

For the service providers, letters of intent (LOI) with a brief business description are to be submitted to AHVA Village Manager Lanie Rosas BEFORE 5PM of July 31.

For clarifications and inquiries, it is best for you to call the association at phone numbers 850-8254850-9631 and fax number 850-7685. They can be reached by email at ahvainc08@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) 2019 vehicular stickers and RFID tags now available for both residents and non-residents

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Applicants inside the clubhouse along Narra street waiting to be called.

The Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) recently released the 2019 edition of their vehicular stickers and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for both residents and non-residents. Already they are receiving and processing applications at the clubhouse (Neighborhood Center) along Narra street in Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City. The following details were from the tarpaulins of AAVA and the non-resident application form itself.

To apply, fill-up the form as well as the members (referring to AAVA members) registration update (CERD). Apart from filling up the application form, a valid contract of lease (for lessee), the TCT (for owner) and the official receipt and certificate of registration (OR and CR) or the sales invoice for new applications must be submitted.

The AAVA’s rates of fees (note: not for non-residents) for the new sticker and RFID tag are as follows:

1-5 cars – P200 per vehicle

6-10 cars – P2,000 per vehicle

11-15 cars – P4,000 per vehicle

16 or more cars – P6,000 per vehicle

AUVs (above 10-seating capacity) – P5,000 per vehicle

Motorcycles – P200 per vehicle

Meanwhile, the sticker and RFID tag rate for non-resident private motorists (or “visitor/guest with AAVA ID”) is P2,700. The rate is the same for Alabang Country Club members. For motorcyclists, the rate is P500.

P5,200 is the rate for AUVs (with more than 10 seating capacity w/o decal), accredited school bus service (maximum 18 passengers), trucks (food delivery/catering), Elf, Canter and all types of vehicles with company decals. Accredited school bus service with 19 or more passengers is at P7,200. For the accredited school bus service described as “full/big bus”, the rate is P10,200.

P3,200 is the rate for passenger-type jeeps, multicabs and taxis (resident owned). For tricycles that ply inside the village, it is P1,200.

Other requirements for non-residents and the like: Company certification authorizing the applicant to use the vehicle (specifically company-owned vehicle) and the Car Rental Agreement (for rent-a-car).

Once the application has been approved and the fees have been paid, applicants must be ready to get into their vehicles, drive and have it lined-up for the installation of the sticker and RFID tag (which will be done off Narra street).

The installation of the sticker and RFID tag REQUIRES the physical presence of the vehicle. In other words, make sure you bring your car to the AAVA clubhouse to have the association’s personnel install the sticker and the RFID tag.

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The installation of the RFID tag and the new sticker takes a short time to complete.

Schedule of processing

Monday – Districts 1 and 2

Tuesday – Districts 3 and 4

Wednesday – District 5

Thursday – District 7

Friday – Schools and non-residents

Saturday – All districts of Ayala Alabang Village.

Cut-off time is 8AM to 4PM Monday to Friday, and 8AM to 11AM on Saturday.

For more information, visit the AAVA or call them at landline 809-2282 and 842-4411. Send them email at admin@aava.com.ph

RFID defined

RFID is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. The said tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within the direct line of sight of the reader to be tracked.

With regards to vehicular use, a car will be detected electronically as each entry into or each exit from the village will be registered into the database. Since RFID stickers are issued to motorists whose applications were accepted, it is obvious that the vehicle’s information (including the name of the owner, model of the vehicle and others) can be verified by the village quickly. With regards to non-residents entering and leaving the village with their vehicles, they can be monitored more efficiently than compared to the old, non-RFID system.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com