If initial talks progress a lot, then electric vehicles as well as charging stations could be established at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the future as the Manila Bulletin recently reported that the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and a private entity formally started discussing a key proposal that emphasized renewable energy.
To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin article. Some parts in boldface…
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), holding true to its commitment to promote the use of renewable energy, has welcomed its partner Indigo Distribution Corporation in putting into the boardroom a proposal to set up an Electric Transport System inside SBMA as part of a new initiative for renewable energy projects inside the facility.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino and Indigo Distribution Corporation General Manager Gerard S. Galang have started serious discussion on a proposal that also includes setting up solar and electric charging stations inside SBMA to support and promote electric vehicle adoption for private and public transportation.
This is also in line with the ’Renewable Energy Act of 2008′ that affirms the government’s commitment to accelerate the utilization of renewable energy (RE) resources in the country. This is to effectively reduce harmful emissions and achieve economic development while protecting health and environment.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) have started to gain popularity, globally, as many countries decide to pursue the use of alternative technologies that reduce harmful emissions, climate-related effects and reliance on the use of fossil fuels.
Electric vehicles are cars and other vehicles with motors that source power from electricity and not liquid or liquefied fuels.
EVs count among its technological benefits: few moving parts, charging done overnight when electricity demand is low and cheaper fuel cost, running cost and maintenance cost.
The above report ended stating that the SBMA believes that the initiative would bring down the cost of electricity by harnessing the free energy from the sun.
As I mentioned before, Subic Bay is a great place to visit for holidays, shopping, organizing special events, doing business and discovering new things. I was there when the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) happened on May 1 (for references, click here and here) and I saw SBMA chairman Paulino who took part during the awarding ceremony of the Elite Men category. I also managed to revisit my favorite restaurant there and had a great lunch. To learn about SBMA moving forward with renewable energy and potentially use electric vehicles (e-vehicles) for both public and private transportation is indeed interesting. It would be nice to see electric vehicles in the form of buses, jeepneys and vans be established for commuters to ride and move around the freeport. Think about the tourists, the shoppers and employees who need to move to their respective destinations around the freeport but don’t have their own private vehicles.
Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited to see the SBMA establish an electric transport system in the near future?
When I arrived in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) took place, I was very hungry as I left home very early without any breakfast and I was not able to stop at any of the gas stations (and their respective food joints) along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as we took the counter-flow going north.
After settling at a hotel in close proximity to the triathlon venue, I drove to the one restaurant located at the Argonaut Highway-Rizal Highway corner that I’ve been eager to revisit…Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here).
Coming from the parking area of the business establishment, I entered Gourmet Garage Subic through the rear door and immediately I felt this atmosphere of class with classical music being played as I walked on and recognized their fine interior. It was a very welcoming experience and already there were people enjoying their lunch.
As I was pretty hungry and somewhat worn down by the long drive from Metro Manila, I ordered myself a Caesar (their version of Caesar’s salad) to enjoy something fresh. From the restaurant’s Main Event section of the menu, I chose the Lamb Madras Curry.
While waiting for my orders to be served, I took the time relaxing, enjoying the aircon and the continuous music, looked at the products displayed and browsed the web with my smartphone via Wifi. And then just like that, the waitress served me the Caesar which was faster than I expected. Upon seeing the salad placed in front of me, I was impressed with the way it was presented. There was some food art to it visually.
The Caesar was prepared with really fresh romaine lettuce topped (on a key portion) with Gourmet Garage Subic’s very own dressing mixed with parmesan shavings and bits of bacon. Right from the first bite of the salad (note: I used the fork and knife to cut myself a portion) that had the lettuce and dressing together, I experienced this very flavorful and pleasing taste! It was very delicious, I went on to cut portions of the Caesar and slowly consumed it along with the bits. I really enjoyed the salad as it was prepared by the cook to be flavorful, fresh and very satisfying! Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar is easily the best fresh salad I’ve had in a long time!
Just a few minutes after I was done with the salad, the Lamb Madras Curry was served to me. Right from the start, I noticed it was very well presented and the subtle heat I felt from it showed the lamb was newly cooked. I also liked the pleasing smell of the meal.
The Lamb Madras Curry came with basmati rice on the bottom topped with the finely cooked lamb (itself topped with yogurt plus onion pieces and vegetables). On one side was a small tomato with a roasted onion and other onion pieces. The other side had more leaves. The meal was served with two sauces – garlic and chili.
As a first-timer of this particular meal – noted as a Chef’s Recommendation on Gourmet Garage’s menu – I decided to try out a small piece of the lamb without any yogurt on it and I found to be tasty on its own. There is no doubt that the lamb pieces were very finely cooked and the way it was prepared showed that special attention to details was done by the cook.
I tried another piece of lamb and dipped it on the garlic sauce. The flavor of the said piece was enhanced by the said sauce as I chewed. I can say also say the same about the lamb pieces with yogurt on them. As for the spice level, I can say it is tolerable (pretty mild to be precise) and I never had a problem moving from one bite to another, also consuming the rice (really fragrant) and the vegetables. Along the way, I managed to cut some pieces of lamb placed on the fork along with the vegetable for that meat-and-veggies taste.
Every bite I had with the Lamb Madras Curry really had great flavor and big satisfaction. It is so great, this is easily the best lamb meal I had in years! Whoever designed the Lamb Madras Curry knew exactly how to ensure great taste, solid satisfaction and freshness (in terms of vegetables prepared and the cooking of the meat)!
Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar and Lamb Madras Curry are both highly recommended to all of you who love food! Make sure you try either of them once you visit the restaurant.
Apart from serving meals, drinks and desserts for diners, Gourmet Garage Subic also has a nice selection of imported products for your home consumption. On display for sale were lots of bottles of fine wine, fruit juices, frozen meat, condiments, snacks, pastry and other good products to take home! They also sell fresh bread products.
As mentioned in my past article, Gourmet Garage Subic also caters. Through their website, customers can also order Gourmet-in-a-Box (meals by the tray) and Party Trays (varied types of food with parties in mind). There is something that will surely interest you when it comes to good food! That being said, I urge you to check out Gourmet Garage’s website as well as their presence on Instagram and Facebook.
The next time you visit Funtastic Subic Bay, I highly recommend you visit Gourmet Garage Subic at 1143 Argonaut Street (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there) for very good food with your family, friends or business associates. On my next visit to Subic Bay, I’ll definitely come back to try their other meals.
Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…
Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.
Ren Sato and Yuka Sato shone as champions with ease, catapulting Japan to regain her thrones in the 2022 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon–29th edition of the country’s longest-running triathlon event with international cast–at Subic Bay Freeport Zone Sunday.
Asia’s No. 3 and 56th in the world rankings Ren Sato and inaugural Youth Olympic Games triathlon gold medalist and Rio Olympics 2016 15th placer Yuka Sato (10th– Continental Ranking; 90th– World Ranking) clocked one hour 43 minutes and 11 seconds and 1:58:49 in living up to their billings as top seeds in the elite men and elite women divisions, respectively.
The other medalists in both divisions of the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40km bike and 10km grind organized by Triathlon Association of the Philippines in cooperation with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee pulled the rug from under the favorites.
Ryoya Tamazaki, ranked 14th in Asia and 201th in the world, made it 1-2 Japanese finish in the elite men, checking in 26 seconds adrift of Sato at 1:43:37; it was Tamazaki’s first podium finish in 13 starts. Another 11 seconds behind at 1:43:48 was Australia’s Oscar Dart (27th-CR; 189th– WR).
On the women’s side of the race sanctioned by World Triathlon and Asian Triathlon Confederation with Standard Insurance, Asian Center for Insulation Phil (ACIP), Pocari Sweat, Aurora Suites & Pavilion and FINIS as sponsors, Hong Kong’s Yan Yin Hilda Choi grabbed the silver in 2:00:37 and Slovakia’s Margarita Bicanova (2:01:02) the bronze.
The last time the Japan dominated SUBIT was in 2013 when it was staged in conjunction with the Asian Triathlon Championships (second time TRAP hosted it). Yuka Sato then finished runner-up to Mariko Adachi who had retired and Yoichi Hosada, who topped the 2021 JPN Triathlon National Championships was the men’s gold medalist.
Top 10 finishers included: men– 4th Tsz To Wong HKG (1:44:00); 5th Genta Uchida JPN (1:44:16); 6th Jason Tai Long Ng HKG (1:44:33); 7th Makoto Odakura JPN (1:44:56); 8th Kanta Ando JPN (1:45:21); 9th Koki Yamamoto JPN (1:45:46) and 10th James Tan HKG (1:45:52); women– 4th Brown Bailee HKG (2:02:14); 5th Yoshiko Eda JPN (2:02:35); 6th Charlotte Hall HKG (2:02:47); 7th Chia-chia Chang TPE (2:03:03); 8th Chi Wen Chang TPE (2:03:35); 9th Kotomi Anzai JPN (2:04:21) and 10th Cade Wright HKG (2:05:12).
Emerging as top performers among the locals were 32nd seed John Chicano (1:51:02) and 26th Andrew Remolino (1:52:11) who placed 22nd and 23rd, respectively, and 18th seed Raven Alcoseba who landed in 13th position as the country’s top woman triathlete Kim Mangrobang who recently returned from her training base in Portugal retired in the run phase.
Chicano’s and Remolino’s times were faster than the clocking of 1:53:26 of the former when he clinched the first gold medal for the PHI in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
The above information was sourced from an official press release issued by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. Some parts were modified for this website.
For related triathlon stories about the Subic Bay International Triathlon and the SEA Games this year, click here, here, here and here.
Japan served notice it is all out to regain her pre-eminence in the NTT Asia Cup SUBIT as she entered a powerhouse squad in the 29th edition of the country’s longest running triathlon event outside of the National Championships set at Subic Bay Freeport Zone this Sunday (May 1).
Asia’s No. 3 and 56th in the world rankings Ren Sato is installed as the No. 1 seed in the elite men category followed by Tsudoi Miyazaki, ranked 4th in Asia and 59th in the world.
In the elite women, inaugural Youth Olympic Games triathlon gold medalist and Rio Olympics 2016 15th placer Yuka Sato (10th– Continental Ranking; 90th– World Ranking) gets the top billing and Tsudoi Miyazaki (14th-CR; 145th– WR) the main supporting role.
Rounding out the top 5 men favorites are: Rio 2016 veteran Azerbaijan’s Rostislav Pevtsov (47th– CR, 76th-WR), Genta Uchida (8th– CR; 97th– WR) and the last SUBIT (2019) champion Hong Kong’s Oscar Coggins who finished 33rd in the Tokyo 2020 (10th– CR; 120th-WR).
Completing the pundits’ choices for a podium finish in the distaff side is Australia’s Jessica Ewart-mctigue (16th-CR; 153- WR).
The last time the Japanese ruled the elite men was in 2017 when they romped off with 1st,3rd and 5th positions with the Koreans inserting themselves in-between; and in the elite women in 2015 when they finished 1-2.
Partnering with organizing Triathlon Association of the Philippines in SUBIT are Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority under newly-installed Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee with Standard Insurance, Asian Center for Insulation Phil (ACIP), Pocari Sweat, Aurora Suites & Pavilion, and FINIS as sponsors.
Seeing action in SUBIT where top performers gain points for continental and world ranking are hopefuls from aside Japan, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, and Australia are Chinese-Taipei, India, Singapore, Slovakia and the Philippines.
Conspicuously absent are the Chinese, particularly Mengying Zhong, the back-to-back women’s champion of the last two editions of SUBIT.
The country’s bets to the 31st Hanoi SEA Games, namely, Kim Mangrobang, Raven Faith Alcoseba, Lauren Plaza, Andrew Kim Remolino, Fernando Casares and John Chicano banner the Team Philippines.
The above information was sourced from an official press release issued by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. Some parts were modified for this website.
For related triathlon stories about the Subic Bay International Triathlon and the SEA Games this year, click here, here, here and here.
If you are looking for nice place for vacation and you also want to watch a triathlon event live, then you should come to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone where the 2022 edition of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) will be held at on May 1, 2022 (for external references, click here, here, here and here).
For a quick look at who the Philippine Team triathletes are racing and what impact SUBIT had on Philippine triathlon in general, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin sports news report. Some parts in boldface…
The race is actually a tuneup for the PH team going to the biennial meet where it aims to maintain its 1-2 finish in the men’s and women’s division.
Racing in SUBIT are Fer Casares, Kim Remolino, John Chicano, Kim Mangrobang, Raven Alcoseba and Lauren Plaza.
“The SUBIT will be a good tuneup race for our SEAG-bound athletes, especially sa game strategy,” said Triathlon Association President Tom Carrasco.
“SUBIT has been at the forefront of development of Filipino triathletes. I’m proud to say that SUBIT has produced Southeast Asian Games champions and notable Asian Games performers.”
Among the SUBIT products were SEAG winners Chicano, Mangrobang, Nikko Huelgas and (Claire) Adorna, Youth Olympics qualifier Vicky Deldio, Columbia World Games qualifiers Carlo Pedregosa and Mirasol Abad, Birmingham World Games qualifier Casares, and 2018 Asian Games top 10 finisher Kim Kilgroe.
This year’s SUBIT – formally called the NTT AST Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) 2022 – will have race distances of 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run (Standard Distance), 750 M swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run (Sprint Distance) and 500 M – 13 Km bike – 2.5 Km run (Super Sprint Distance) which will cover lots of places in the freeport. With regards to schedules, posted below are the details sourced from the event page at RaceYaya.com
This year’s SUBIT is a joint project of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and I Love Fun-tastic Subic Bay supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Standard Insurance, FINIS Philippines, Gatorade, Subic Bay Travelers Hotel, POCARI Sweat, and Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines Inc.
Where to enjoy food and drinks in Subic Bay?
Apart from being a sports tourism hot spot, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone also has nice places where you and your family or group of friends can spend time at and enjoy good food and drinks together such as Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here) and Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here and here) to name a few. Personally, I enjoyed the two mentioned places a lot during my past visits. I would suggest you who read this to visit them on your next visit to Subic Bay.
Located at 1143 Argonaut Highway (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there), Gourmet Garage Subic is one very fine place to dine in with others and their cooks specialize preparing really tasty meals such as the Truffle BBQ Orange Baby Back Ribs, the Grilled Salmon Tamari Quinoa, Grilled Javier’s Burger, Sake-marinated Fish Fillet, the Lamb Madras Curry, Gourmet Garage’s Beef Tapa and their signature pasta the Luglug Spaghettini to name a few. Looking for drinks, snacks, cakes, condiments and bread? They have them too! Their venue also has a fine-looking design. If you have any catering needs, they are willing to serve you.
Over at 1 Dewey Avenue corner Sta. Rita Road in the freeport, Xtremely Xpresso is a café that offers customers really good coffee plus meals that families and friends can enjoy together. For the coffee lovers, they got the Jump-start Espresso, Vienna Coffee, White Mocha and Vietnamese Coffee plus their very own lineup of frappe’s such as the Shockwave, the Coffee Cradle and Ekimocha to name a few. For those looking for hearty meals, they have Baby Back Ribs, Korean Beef Ribs, Salisbury Steak, the Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich, pasta and their Big Ben pizza!
Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited to visit Subic Bay for the May 1 triathlon event and the local places to enjoy good food? When was the last time you visited Subic Bay?
While many sports enthusiasts around the Southeast Asian region are eagerly waiting for the delayed 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam to finally start, triathlon here in the Philippines is getting more active after being dormant under the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, triathlon interest among Filipinos is only getting stronger and the other day, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published an article highlighting 2019 SEA Games gold medalists John Chicano and Marion Kim Mangrobang as the favorites in two different multisport events in this year’s SEA Games.
To be specific, the Inquirer viewed Chicano (the 2019 SEA Games men’s triathlon gold medalist) as the Philippines’ best bet in the 31st SEA Games men’s duathlon event while Mangrobang (2019 SEA Games women’s triathlon gold medalist) remains the heavy favorite in the 31st SEA Games women’s triathlon event. But before going to Vietnam, Chicano and Mangrobang will be participating in the NTT AST Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) 2022 on May 1 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone!
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Inquirer sports article written by June Navarro. Some parts in boldface…
Kim Mangrobang remains as the heavy favorite in women’s triathlon of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam while John Chicano is the country’s strongest bet in duathlon.
Mangrobang, the back-to-back women’s SEA Games gold medalist, and the 2019 men’s champion Chicanowill headline the country’s jaunt in the Subic International Triathlon (SUBIT) on May 1, their last big hurdle before heading to the Vietnam Games to defend their titles.
They will be tested against 30 elite foreign triathletes from Australia, Japan, United States, Poland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, India and Azerbaijan bannered by Ukraine-born Olympian Rostyslav Pevtsov.
Joining Chicano and Mangrobang at Subit, now returning at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone after a two-year hiatus, are national team mainstays Raven Faith Alcoseba and 2019 SEAG men’s silver medalist Kim Remolino.
Alcoseba and Remolino belong to the Triathlon Association of the Philippines’ new crop of young triathletes to keep the nation’s gold-medal streak in the SEA Games going since 2015 in Singapore.
On its 29th year, Subit is the country’s longest running triathlon with newly installed Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman and Administrator Rolen Paulino serving as assistant race director during its inaugural edition.
“I’m proud to say that Subit has produced our SEA Games champions, Asian duathlon gold medalists and notable performers in both the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Palembang Asian Games,’’ said Trap president Tom Carrasco.
The first international-flavored triathlon event in the country since the onset of the pandemic, Carrasco said the Subit plays a major role for the preparation of Chicano and Mangrobang as well as their teammates to again rule the triathlon races in the SEA Games for the fourth consecutive edition.
If you want to know more about John Chicano and Kim Mangrobang, read my separate feature articles of them on this website. Also check out the videos below.
Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited for the duathlon and triathlon events of this year’s SEA Games? If you are here in the Philippines, would you be interested to visit Subic Bay to watch the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) in person and watch SEA Games gold medalists John Chicano and Kim Mangrobang race? Do you anticipate that Chicano and Mangrobang will both bring home the gold from Vietnam?
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from John Chicano by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
A Chat with 2019 SEA Games Gold Medalist and Southeast Asia’s Triathlon King – John Chicano
Since he first participated in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2017, John Leerams Chicano raked in notable honors for the Philippines and took his career in the multisport of triathlon (swim-bike-run) even higher.
Today, Chicano is one of the highest-ranking members of the National Team of triathlon and this past December, he won the gold medal in the men’s triathlon event of the 2019 SEA Games that was held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (so close to his native Olongapo City). With that big victory, he established himself as Southeast Asia’s newest triathlon king replacing Nikko Huelgas (2015 and 2017 SEA Games gold medalist). It was also the big reward for the long road (about a decade) he literally took engaging in multisport events like triathlon and duathlon.
Recently I met Chicano and had a nice chat with him.
For you, my readers, here is a look at 3-time SEA Games medalist John Chicano.
A quick look at his background
John Chicano has been engaging in triathlon for many years now and has been a member of the Philippine team along the way. He represented the country in many events of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), most notably the annual Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). He also raced in other triathlon events organized by Bike King Philippines and other race organizers. On livelihood, he previously worked as a bike mechanic as well as a janitor. He now has his own family to support.
When it comes to triathlon at the SEA Games, he made his debut in the 2017 edition of the games held in Malaysia and won the silver medal in the individual men’s triathlon event next to teammate Nikko Huelgas who won the gold medal back then (note: Huelgas first won the SEA Games gold in 2015). His achievement was recognized by the media and the national government which in turn rewarded him (along with all other medalists) with cash incentives in accordance to Republic Act Number 10699.
Winning the SEA Games gold medal at Subic Bay
On the early morning of December 1, 2019, the SEA Games men’s triathlon event started with Chicano and Cebu-based teammate Andrew Kim Remolino representing the nation. After going through the pressure and enduring the pain of the 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run event, Chicano won the gold medal in 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds. Remolino followed with 1:55:03 to win the silver medal, completing the 1-2 punch for the Philippines.
“We were confident in the sense that we prepared well for the SEA Games which includes three months of training at Clark,” Chicano said. “While I was confident to win, there were a few moments of uncertainty since the big competition (men’s triathlon) could turn out to be unpredictable.”
During the December 1 event, Chicano and Remolino raced together during the 40-kilometer bike leg and on the spot they came up with a new strategy to win gold and silver. At that particular stage, another foreign competitor biked near them. Earlier in the swim leg, Remolino was the first to emerge from the sea while Chicano was 4th (an Indonesian and a Singaporean were slightly ahead of him). During the 10-kilometer run leg, Chicano and Remolino built up their lead as a country and, ultimately, he gave it his all to win the gold, literally upgrading from silver (2017 SEA Games). The victory was witnessed by the top sports officials, the coaches, the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority officials, the spectators, corporate sponsors and, of course, Chicano’s family.
“It was a very happy moment for me to cross the finish line for the gold medal. I even felt like crying for happiness back then,” Chicano recalled the very moment he won the gold and became Southeast Asia’s best. “This was the big payback for almost ten years of effort racing in triathlon and growing to be stronger and more competitive. My triathlon effort and build-up started in 2010, preceded by biking in 2009. The feeling was so tremendous and happy.”
During the medal awarding ceremony, Chicano thought deeply about his SEA Games achievement and that he could bring further honors to the nation (plus his locality) in the years to come. The day after that, Chicano and teammates Remolino, Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe got tremendous spotlight together in the national newspapers which was expected considering their victorious achievements.
His SEA Games gold medal achievement not only raked in praise from many, financial rewards also came in from the national government (RA 10699), the City Government of Olongapo, corporate sponsors and other generous parties. Chicano even got to visit the Philippine Senate and met with Senator Richard Gordon.
As of this writing, Chicano is strongly focused on triathlon and he believes that what he achieved so far as a triathlete, and also as Southeast Asia’s best male triathlete, will be remembered for a long time and perhaps inspire the next generation of Filipinos to excel in sports.
When it comes to the near future, Chicano will go to Australia very soon to attend the Annual General Meeting and Awards Night of the FilOz Triathlon Club as their Guest Speaker. After that, he will undergo triathlon training for a few more weeks there in Australia.
From this point on, I recommend you all to take a close look at Chicano in triathlon events both local and overseas. He is, after all, Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon king.
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Kim Mangrobang by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
Meet Southeast Asia’s Reigning Triathlon Queen – Kim Mangrobang!
When triathlon (swim-bike-run) made its debut in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in late 2005 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone here in the Philippines, Marion Kim Mangrobang was still a teenager who witnessed the event as a spectator. Already a junior-level member of the Philippine triathlon team, she naturally cheered for her older teammates Ani De Leon and Sandra Araullo who represented the nation in the first-ever SEA Games triathlon event for women.
Fast forward to December 1, 2019, Mangrobang represented the Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event (her 3rd SEA Games since 2015) which was also held at Subic Bay and, more notably, won the gold medal in front of a large cheering crowd (with coach Ani De Leon – Brown, the other Philippine team coaches, officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, PHISGOC and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority plus other important personalities watching near the finish line) followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe who copped the silver.
As far as the SEA Games records go, Mangrobang won a total of four medals since her debut in 2015, specifically 3 gold medals (the first gold won in 2017) and 1 silver medal (won in 2015). In retrospect, her gold medal victory at Subic Bay was a successful defense of her gold medal achievement in the 2017 SEA Games which essentially established her as Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon queen.
That being said, I am very happy to present to you my feature interview of Kim Mangrobang which starts right now.
Kim Mangrobang’s background
Mangrobang was born in Sta. Mesa, Manila, in 1991 to parents Richard (an engineer) and Dine (a manpower firm executive). Since the age of four, her family has been living in Santa Rosa, Laguna which is now a progressing city south of Metro Manila.
Mangrobang got into the sport of swimming as a result of her parents’ encouragement for her when she was little. She found sports to be an enjoyable pastime.
“As with most other parents, my mom and dad encouraged me to get into sports during the summer season when I was young. So I joined a swim team and along the way I felt I was playing given the aquatic aspect of swimming,” she recalled. “My teammates and I had fun with swimming and later I realized that swimming would be a serious form of competition.”
At the age of nine, she started swimming and eventually it became a daily part of her life similar with her teammates. As an elementary student, she continued swimming and eventually she became a varsity swimmer in her high school days (with the goal of making it in the Palarong Pambansa) and participated in many swimming competitions (between local sports clubs).
Being a member of her school’s swim team and of a separate swim club, Mangrobang learned a lot about competitive swimming related to national sports and inter-club competition. Along the way, she had to deal with a certain disadvantage of hers – her height.
“I really was a short girl back then. When I was twelve, my swimming coach noticed my height disadvantage and he figured out that it would be more helpful if I would try out with the Philippine team of triathlon,” she said.
That coach turned out to be none other than Abelardo “Abet” Alon-Alon who was a former national champion in triathlon as well as a former national team coach in the said sport. Historically, Alon-Alon was a standout in Philippine triathlon’s early years back in the 1990s His suggestion to Mangrobang to get into triathlon and into Philippine multisport turned out to be a blessing for her and the nation.
She immediately took part in a tryout (for the Philippine triathlon team) which was composed of a 1.5 kilometer swim and 3-kilometer run. Her swim time was 27 minutes and 36 seconds while she timed around 12 minutes in the run. She qualified and her membership with the Philippine triathlon team started on the junior (youth) level.
“That was the start of my new journey in sports and I realized that there were better opportunities in triathlon,” she recalled.
Triathlon career and rise in prominence
Gradually Kim Mangrobang redeveloped herself athletically under the guidance of triathlon coaches like Raul Cuevas (now heading race organizer Bike King Philippines), Peter Gonzales and Abet Alon-Alon to name a few. As she maintained her swimming, she learned to bike and run gaining valuable skills and experience. Before participating in triathlon, she engaged in aquathlon (swim-run) events.
At age thirteen, she took part in a Fit-and-Tri event for youth finishing 6th overall in a short distance aquathlon race held in Ayala Alabang Village. She finished 2nd to the last back then as she was still getting oriented. She went on to join a lot more aquathlon events later.
Her first-ever triathlon performance happened in another Fit-and-Tri event some time later. In that race, she finished 6th place. In further triathlon events, she gradually made her way up until reaching 1st place.
“To the best of my memory, I finished at around 4th place overall during the first year of competing in the Fit-and-Tri series. In the following year, I reached 1st place overall. Emerging 1st became normal for me in the years that followed, until I reached the age of fifteen or sixteen,” she recalled.
In 2006, Mangrobang joined the Junior Elite race of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and finished 2nd. That event was her first time to compete with foreign triathletes her age and instead of feeling intimidated, she performed well and still enjoyed the experience. Her value as a member of the Philippine team grew more. That same year, she raced in the Asian Duathlon Championships held in Clark finishing 4th in the Junior Women contest.
At age seventeen, Mangrobang tested herself in a Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) event during the 2008 Subic Bay ASTC Long Distance Triathlon event and won the bronze. Ahead of her were LC Langit (gold) and Monica Torres (silver).
In May 2009, Mangrobang finished 10th in the Elite Women contest of that year’s SUBIT clocking 2 hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds (2:32:45). In the years that followed, she kept on representing the Philippines in the Elite Women contests of not only SUBIT but also in other triathlon events of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) that were held around the world. No matter how tough the field of competition was, the Santa Rosa triathlete kept focusing and persevering on doing her best and improving herself.
In the 2016 edition of SUBIT (2016 Subic Bay NTT ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup) held at Subic Bay, Mangrobang emerged as the Elite Women champion followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe and Hong Kong’s Kate Rutherford. She timed 2:10:40 and won several ITU qualifying points in return. For the Philippines, it was a rare gold medal victory in the history of SUBIT which has often been dominated by foreign triathletes. The said victory was also proof that Mangrobang’s overseas training (under the guidance of Portugal-based coach Sergio Santos) paid off nicely. To this day, her training in Portugal continues.
Mangrobang also achieved great honor for the nation in non-triathlon events. She emerged as the women’s champion in the Lisbon Meia-Maratona Dos Descombrimentos Half Marathon that was held on December 6, 2015 in Portugal. Her victorious performance saw her timing 1:22:40 outclassing 2nd placer Ceu Nunes (1:26:55) and 3rd placer Sofia Mateiro (1:27:34). That particular sports event was noted to be a programmed race to test the fitness of triathletes. It was also a rarity that Filipinos get to race in the said event, which made Mangrobang’s victory even more outstanding.
Triathlon at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games)
“I was still in high school back then. Me and my family left Santa Rosa at dawn to go to Subic Bay to watch the SEA Games triathlon. I had to take a leave of absence from school since that was a school day and I had to go back to school the very next day,” Mangrobang recalled. “When we arrived, there was already a huge crowd of spectators around the venue. The excitement was really high even before the race started.”
Mangrobang recalled that as a spectator, she felt nervous for the nation and what was at stake just as the individual participants were formally introduced during the pre-race ceremony. Like many others, she could only stand and watch the race unfold from behind the barricades (used for crowd control) and experience bouts of anxiety and nervousness. She cheered for her older teammates Sandra Araullo and Ani de Leon. Araullo went on to win the silver medal while De Leon (now a coach) finished 4th.
“I was really nervous back then as a spectator. Then I said to myself, ‘how much more nervous I would be if I was the one racing for the Philippines in the SEA Games,’” she stated. She added that she noticed the added pressure of participating and literally carrying the nation and the local people’s hope that victory would be achieved. She imagined herself in the future being in such a high-stakes situation.
After almost ten years later, Kim Mangrobang made her debut in the SEA Games (2015) in Singapore as a triathlete. Her teammate back then was Claire Adorna.
“Coaches of TRAP selected who were the best to represent our country in the SEA Games with results required,” Mangrobang recalled. “Based on the results of the time, they saw that me and Claire were the best and we were selected for the games. There were no qualifying races back then, which is different compared to today.”
In the 2015 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event, Claire Adorna and Mangrobang worked together with a strategy to help the former gain a lead early in the event. Adorna raced with a foot injury back then and the team’s focus was to help her (and the nation) build up a good lead in both the swim and bike legs of the race, and ensure victory even if her injury would slow her down in the 10-kilometer run leg. The strategy was a success for the Philippines as the injured Adorna won the gold medal and Mangrobang captured the silver medal. Their respective times were 2:13:08 and 2:14:26. The bronze medal went to Thailand’s Arunsiri Sanruthai who was more than seven minutes behind Mangrobang.
“During the build-up heading to the SEA Games of 2017, there was anxiety and pressure among us teammates mainly because expectations for us to repeat success were so high as a result of what we achieved in the previous SEA Games,” she stated.
To put things in perspective, the Philippines not only repeated its success in the 2015 SEA Games, they exceeded it by having twin gold-and-silver medal victories in both the individual men’s and individual women’s triathlon events in the 2017 edition of the games. On the men’s race, Nikko Huelgas won his 2nd consecutive gold medal while John Chicano added more punch to the victory by grabbing the silver medal. For Mangrobang, that particular event marked her first time to win the SEA Games gold medal.
“It was a very happy moment for me personally because all the efforts and training invested paid off in the best way possible,” Mangrobang recalled her feeling of winning her first gold medal. “A lot of relief followed as all the pressure and nervousness accumulated just vanished and got replaced with the thrill of victory. Naturally, I became very thankful.”
With regards to the 2019 SEA Games, Mangrobang spent a great deal of her time overseas. As she kept training in Portugal (plus a month of training in Mexico), she represented the country in many sports events that were held in other parts of the world for the first eleven months of 2019. As such, she did not spend much time in the Philippines.
Regardless, she won the gold medal of the individual women’s triathlon once more in the latest SEA Games marking her successful defense of her standing as Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen. Her time was 2:02:00. The December 1, 2019 victory at Subic Bay also marked the full turn of life for Mangrobang who went from spectator in the 2005 SEA Games triathlon into Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete fourteen years later at the same freeport.
After winning the two 2019 SEA Games gold medals (individual women and mixed team relay), Mangrobang and her medalist teammates were greeted by lots of local spectators who also expressed their gratitude to them.
“Getting praised and being thanked a lot in return for the victory is normal. It is also a very humbling feeling to see so many spectators rooting for us national athletes to win. Through that experience, I realized there is truth to the 2019 SEA Games tagline of ‘We Win As One,’” she stated.
Mangrobang and her winning teammates (John Chicano, Kim Kilgroe, Kim Remolino, Claire Adorna and Fer Casares) plus members of the coaching staff were nicely rewarded by the national government through Republic Act Number 10699. They formally received their cash incentives in a special ceremony held at Malacanang Palace in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The President jokingly said I resembled a certain past classmate of his from his days as a Grade 5 student,” Mangrobang said recalling her short chat with Duterte as she had her photo session with him at Malacanang. It was her 2nd time to be with the President.
The post-SEA Games buzz did not stop with Duterte. Apart from meeting corporate sponsors and having sessions with some members of the press, Mangrobang was acknowledged by the respective local government units (LGUs) of Santa Rosa in Laguna and Bauan in Batangas through social media.
Bauan claimed Mangrobang as their own since her mother is a native there. After accepting their invitation, she attended the flag raising ceremony at Bauan and was presented by the LGU officials to the locals. They gave her a certificate of recognition. Mangrobang also attended another flag raising ceremony with the Provincial Government of Batangas (headed by Governor DoDo Mandanas) held in Batangas City.
Aiming High for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
As of now, Kim Mangrobang is aiming to get qualified to represent the Philippines in the individual women’s triathlon event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. With the support of San Miguel Corporation, Nike, Specialized, Oakley, Garmin and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and the guidance of coach Sergio Santos, she is now in full training in Portugal and eventually she will be joining several triathlon events (recognized by the ITU) that serve as qualifying races for the Olympics.
According to Mangrobang, there will only be 55 slots for the Tokyo Olympic Games individual women’s triathlon event. The qualifying period will end this coming May and subsequently the final lineup of triathletes racing in the Olympics will be announced.
“I’m very focused now on getting into the Olympics and I’m using whatever energy I have for it,” Mangrobang declared.
Message to the Readers
“When I race, I realize that it is a big responsibility because I become an inspiration to other people and I hope that what I achieved will inspire others to engage in the active lifestyle as that is important. I also hope that once they get into triathlon, they will learn to work hard and train smart.”
Note: My special thanks to Akrotiri restaurant located at Commercenter, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City. Akrotiri really has a nice place (which was great for this feature interview) as well as a fine selection of food and beverages. Those of you who are reading this, I highly recommend Akrotiri.