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R.O.X. Bike For A Cause - One Bicycle Can Make All The Difference

Back when I was in 1st year high school in Masbate, our way of transport from the house to our school about 4-kms away is mostly either by foot or bike. For some very seldom chance, a horse-back ride will do or when we have a spare coin for a one-way fare, we'd be very joyful already for a topload ride on a speeding jeepney together with some passengers' live goats destined for selling to the nearby market.

The bike I had before was bought from a local store selling grocery and various household items and merchandise. It was a small orange unbranded BMX that costs Php 1,500 way back in 1993. The money used to buy that bike was a gift to us (my Cousins) from our Uncle and Aunt whom we've been helping with the daily animal shepherding and weekend farm work for the past 2-years since I arrived in Masbate. I tell you, farm living is not as easy nor as profitable as it looks!

My travel to the school somehow was a "breeze" compared to when we are just walking the whole 4-kms, of which the same route will also be taken upon going home. Riding the bike became both fun and a hassle. Fun when the road is flat or going down; hassle when it is uphill, the rough and muddy road on rainy seasons is normal. That bike mostly carries me and 2 of my other classmates when I get to see them along the way where they hitch either at the frame or at the rear wheel's pillion.

A year after, I get to move back to Baguio to continue my high school studies while my younger cousin who was left behind continued to use that rusty bike going to the school until it broke down irreparably when he was in 3rd year. He stopped schooling after that!

Like me and my cousin, there are other kids, even up to this decade and moment who are also struggling and doing all they can to pursuit their schooling despite the lack of resources to do so. Their mode of transportation is one big thing to also consider (not just with school supplies) as we still have shortage of school buildings near where these kids live.

Thankfully for ROX, part of their yearly and currently ongoing Bike Fair is the Pedal for-a-cause to raise funds for bikes, bike gears, and bike racks of Concepcion Integrated School in San Simon, Pampanga. So if you want to help in any manner - in kind thru your used gears or bike, bike donation, or simply just by joining and registering for the Bike for-a-cause, a lot of Students will surely be very grateful for our generosity.

Here's the details about this event happening on the 14th of August 2016 at the CDC Parade Grounds, Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga:

R.O.X. Bike for a Cause
14 August 2016
Proceeds will go to the supply of bike racks for Concepcion Integrated School

Distance and Registration Fees:
  • 30K - Php 700.00
  • 50K - Php 800.00
Registration Sites:
  • ROX Bonifacio High Street
  • ROX Marquee Mall
Event Jersey and Cap Design

Route Map

You may visit the ROX Phils. Facebook Page for more details and event updates.

Press Release
What would you do if you had to wake up early in the morning just to walk to school 4-7 kilometers away? This is the story for many students in San Simon, Pampanga. They have to get up an hour earlier than usual, skip breakfast, and take the long trek to school in sometimes difficult terrain, regardless the weather, just to be in class on time. Some of them have to go back home for lunch. When school is over, they have to go back the same way, and do it all over again the next day.

This is one of the reasons that many youths drop out and never finish school. The team at R.O.X. (Recreational Outdoor eXchange) heard about the plight of these students and decided to be part of the change that will transform a generation’s future - one bicycle at a time.

R.O.X. has partnered with Bikes for the Philippines to supply bikes and bike racks to schools that need it the most. The Concepcion Integrated School in San Simon, Pampanga has been the recipient of Bikes for a Cause for the past 2 years and it has made a huge difference in the lives of the students and teachers there. This year, the school will again receive the bicycles and bike racks, and with it, training on bike safety and bike maintenance.

You can also be part of this initiative. R.O.X. is holding a month-long Bike Fair that anyone can be in on. This Bike Fair, held on July 15 to August 15, 2016, is every biker’s dream. There will be special promos and discounts on partner brands, as well as bike outs in certain areas in the Philippines. Aside from these activations, ROX is putting together a donation drive for old bicycle equipment like helmets, gloves, jerseys, and pads. These used gears will be given to the Concepcion Integrated School to further help the beneficiaries make the most out of their bicycling experience. The donation boxes will be set up in areas around your nearest R.O.X. stores. R.O.X. customers who don’t bike but want to help can buy bicycle equipment to donate specifically to the beneficiary school.

The culmination of the Bike Fair will be the Bike for A Cause. Registration for this much anticipated charity cycling event is Php 700.00 and Php 800.00 for the 30-km and 50-km rides respectively. It will be held at the CDC Parade Grounds in Clark, Pampanga. Participants will not only receive an event singlet, a race bib number, a cycling cap, snacks, and a raffle ticket for prizes, they will also be part in giving students of Concepcion Integrated School a better quality of life. The proceeds for this pedal with a purpose event will directly go to supplying bike racks to the school.

The R.O.X. Bike Fair 2016 and Bike for A Cause would not have been possible without its partner brands: Fox, Tern, Bickerton, Osprey, Spyder, Gatorade, 360 Degrees, C3Fit, Nathan, Official hydration partner Summit Natural Drinking Water, Clark Development Corporation as venue partner and media partners – The Standard, Mellow 94.7, Crossover 105.1, Endurance Magazine, WhenInManila.Com, Swimbikerun.PH, RunningAtom.Com.

We rise by helping other people rise up to their full potential. Be part of the change this country needs by joining Bike for A Cause. You can register at the ROX Bonifacio High Street and ROX Marquee Mall. You can also find out more about Bike for a Cause by going to and liking their page today and using the following hashtags: #ROXBikeFair2016 #ROXPhilippines.

This is gonna be greasy, easy, and fun!

ROX is owned and operated by the Primer Group of Companies, Asia’s next retail giant.
Hope to see you our generous cyclists and bike enthusiasts on August 14!
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Rolling Out The Good Vibes With R.O.X. Bike Fair 2016

Is it time for you to change your bike gears, finally buy your long-dreamed bike, or just grab a cycling gear to gift for that special someone? Then here's your chance to shop and score for great promos and discounts with the ongoing R.O.X bike fair. This activity is on its 5th year already and for 2016, there's a bike sale, bike out to various destinations, and a bike for-a-cause for the students of Concepcion Integrated School in Pampanga.

Here's a press release about this event:

Press Release
They say you can’t buy happiness, but you CAN buy a bike and that’s pretty close. This year, R.O.X. (Recreational Outdoor eXchange) is bringing a whole lot of happiness to the people by bringing back the hugely successful R.O.X. Bike Fair this July 15 to August 15!

What started as a small bike out attended by 200 people in 2012, has grown to be a well attended event, with a crowd of about 1,500 this year. Large bike organizations and outdoor enthusiasts are excited to be part of a comprehensive, fun and truly memorable bike event that will be talked about long after the last pedal has been pushed.

While many people love taking their bikes out in Manila, there are more and more groups in different regions in the Philippines who appreciate a good bike out. Nuvali, Baguio, Cagayan De Oro and Davao are the destinations to go to during the Bike Fair. The scenic routes are absolutely stunning and worth the trip to get there.

To get people ready for the bike rides ahead, your favorite outdoor brands in R.O.X. are rolling out discounts and promos for two weeks. Good gear is a good investment and for serious cyclists who want to maximize their performance as well as stay safe on the road, this is the perfect opportunity to stock up on essentials that they need for their hobby.

Of course when you get your new gear, you might not have room for your old ones. Aside from the ongoing bike sale, R.O.X. is also having a donation drive for used gear that you will not need. Old helmets, gloves, pads, jerseys, and other equipment are collected for the beneficiaries of the R.O.X. Bike for a Cause 2016 which will be held on August 14, 2016 at the CDC Parade Grounds in Clark, Pampanga. For those who don’t have old bike gear but still want to help out, you can buy bicycle equipment in the store and donate them instead.

Since 2013, the R.O.X. Bike for a Cause has been a major event that the team has worked on. In cooperation with Bikes for the Philippines, they have been able to give out bike racks and hundreds of bicycles to well deserving schools. Sometimes, the students in these schools walk for hours regardless of the weather condition just to get to class and it takes its toll on their studies and quality of life.

The Concepcion Integrated School in Pampanga has been the recipient of this initiative, and it has changed the lives of the students more than we can ever imagine. The chosen students are trained how to maintain their bicycles and how to be safe on the road. It is a responsibility and an honor to be a beneficiary, something that they will carry for the rest of their lives.

The R.O.X. Bike Fair 2016 and Bike for A Cause would not have been possible without its partner brands: Fox, Tern, Bickerton, Osprey, Spyder, Gatorade, 360 Degrees, C3Fit, Nathan, Official hydration partner Summit Natural Drinking Water, Clark Development Corporation as venue partner and media partners – The Standard, Mellow 94.7, Crossover 105.1, Endurance Magazine, WhenInManila.Com, Swimbikerun.PH, RunningAtom.Com.

We rise by helping other people rise up to their full potential. Be part of the change this country needs by joining Bike for A Cause. You can register at the ROX Bonifacio High Street and ROX Marquee Mall. You can also find out more about Bike for a Cause by going to and liking their page today and using the following hashtags: #ROXBikeFair2016 #ROXPhilippines.

ROX is owned and operated by the Primer Group of Companies, Asia’s next retail giant.
Registration for the Bike for-a-Cause is still ongoing. Check out the details from this link.

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Mary Joy Tabal Reinstated by PATAFA

Mary Joy Tabal, who previously beat the 2016 Olympics qualifying cut-off time by clocking 2-hours 43-minutes and 30-seconds at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, will now be on her way to Rio de Janeiro after being reinstated yesterday (June 14, 2016) as PATAFA National Team. She will be officially part of our contingent for the Women's Marathon event once the drug/doping test result is out after 10-calendar days.

Mary Joy Tabal at the 2015 SEA Games Victory Party

Official statements were released by PATAFA President, Dr. Philip Ella Juico during the previous days after discussions and meeting with Ms. Tabal and Cebu-based representatives from her major supporter.

Official Statement on Reinstatement of Mary Joy Tabal

We have long wanted to protect Mary Joy and we have questioned her racing schedule and its effects on her ability to sustain steady improvements over time. However, we also recognize she did qualify on her own. So we put our differences aside, we reinstated her, and we have allowed her to follow her own training program, despite our concerns. And we hope for the best in Rio for the nation.

Notwithstanding our reservations about Mary Joy's athletic activities and decisions, we strongly feel that it is to her best interest to follow the regimen and program she and her
personal coaches have since adopted when they started aiming for the Olympic qualifying standard all the way to the competition day at the Olympics.

Representation for technical and ministerial concerns, through the designated national coach who will accompany her, prior to and during competition will be the only instance where PATAFA commits to involve itself in her Rio Olympics participation. She and her sponsor will have the liberty to bring her personal coaches to Rio at their own expense.

Below is the official reinstatement letter from PATAFA, addressed to Ms. Mary Joy Tabal:

The whole world will be witnessing the prowess of national Athletes from the more than 200 nations joining the world's biggest sporting event - the 2016 Summer Olympics (Rio 2016), taking place at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 5-21, 2016. Let us all support our Philippine contingents who are all doing their part in bringing pride to the nation.
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Amspec's Crayola Run 2016

AmSpec's Crayola Run
11 June 2016 Saturday, 5:00 AM
Alabang Town Center

Bring in your love for colors and crayons to a whole new level by joining the Crayola Run happening on June 11 at Alabang Town Center. Onsite registration is ongoing until June 10, 2016.

This event is a fun run gathering for the whole family, beginner-friendly, and child-friendly with distances from 500-meters for 6-years old and below, 3K for 8-years old and below, and 5K for all ages of kids and kids at heart!

Assembly and Gun-Time:
  • 5K - 5:00 AM / 5:30 AM
  • 3K - 5:00 AM / 5:40 AM
  • 500m - 5:00 AM / 5:45 AM
Distance Category and *Registration Fees:
  • 500m - Php 500.00 - for 6-years old and below
  • 3K - Php 600.00 - for 8-years old and below
  • 5K - Php 600.00 - Open category
*Registration includes Bib, Singlet, Finisher Shirt, Finisher Medal, and Loot Bag

Registration Sites and Schedule:
  • In-Store Registration:
    1. Alabang Town Center - Customer Service Area

Event Jersey/Singlet Design
Finisher's Memorabilia/Token
Route Map

You may visit the Crayola Philippines' Facebook page for more details and further race updates or call 842-15-17 loc. 148 and look for Nathan.
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Be Part of The Amazing Race Asia Season 5

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks Asia is bringing back The Amazing Race Asia for a 5th season. Hosted by Allan Wu, The Amazing Race Asia Season 5 is looking for pairs (with pre-existing relationships) or couples who are ready to face different challenges as they race around the world.

Home to the previous four seasons with the most recent edition concluding in 2010, AXN will now air season five in late 2016. Ten teams will be chosen from across the Asia-Pacific region to compete for a chance at the winning crown and US$100,000 in cash.

The Amazing Race Asia Host - Mr. Allan Wu

Traveling to multiple countries in the shortest amount of time, each team will arrive at a new destination where they must compete in a series of physical, mental - and often emotional challenges. Only when the tasks are completed will the teams learn of their next exotic location. Teams who fall the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses.

Contestant Requirements:
  1. Aged 21 years old and above
  2. Must have valid passports
  3. Must be a Citizen or resident of Asia
  4. Physically and mentally fit
  5. Must be outgoing, adventurous and socially savvy
  6. at least one member must have a driver's license and can drive automatic and manual transmissions

If you and a partner are both socially savvy, fearless warriors from Asia, have the guts to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience traversing the globe, and a desire to prove your mettle on a quest to be crowned the all-out champion, then by all means submit your application now together with your 3-minute audition video online at:

For any questions or queries, please feel free to reach AXN Asia in Facebook.

Okay, so who wants to partner up with me? :)
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Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2016: Running the Path of Most Resistance

Limits were tested, boundaries were pushed as more than a thousand runners converged for one of the biggest trail running event of the season – the Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2016 – last April 9.

Over five years since its inception, the Salomon X-Trail Run continues to be the most anticipated trail running event throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. With competitions held in unique and exotic locations in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong and the Philippines, it is reputed for mounting the most challenging and scenic trail running races that feature a mixture of different terrain surfaces, including vertical ascents, long uphill climbs, with multi-surfaces of dirt, rocks, sand, and concrete paths.

In the Philippines, the Salomon X-Trail Run has been held for 5 consecutive years, in exclusive venues– ensuring that the race venues not only demonstrate the majestic beauty of nature but also, offer participants a stimulating and unique trail running experience. This year, Salomon decided to hold its 5th installment at the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales, where new trail routes were created exclusively for this year’s race.

Known for its thick forest areas with steep and technical descents, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone definitely served this year’s trail racers a grueling challenge as they dashed through its lush paths, long roads, hills, rivers, and valleys. However, the breathtaking view around Subic surely made the fiercely demanding track exhilarating, as it is delightful.

At the crack of dawn, trail runners of the 32km Mountain Run began to embark on their adrenaline-filled journey through a route that possesses a mixture of different terrains – from asphalt and sand, to rocks, river crossing, and technical ascents. The category simulated ascents of Skyrunning races – an arena wherein Salomon dominates. To add more to the pressure, a 7-hour cut-off time was imposed for the participants.

At 5:00am, gun start signaled the arduous adventure of the 24km Mountain Run trail racers. Meant for runners who wish to test their mettle, the category presented technical ascents and varying terrain that likewise simulated ascents of Skyrunning races. Getting through this track was definitely not an easy feat especially with a five-hour cut-off time.

Following suit at 7:00am and 7:30am were the 12km and 6km race categories, respectively. The 12km Road to Trail targeted runners with basic trail running experience with an equally basic yet technical terrain. On the other hand, outdoor enthusiasts were given a taste of trail running with the 6km Road to Trail category, which was mainly conceptualized for trail running rookies. Like the rest of the categories, cut-off times of two and a half hours for the 12km category and one and a half hours for the 6km category were similarly enforced.

Committed in ensuring that each race leaves as little to no harmful environmental consequences, the Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2016 remained strictly, a GREEN RUN. As such, no disposables were provided at the hydration stations, which required participants to bring their own provisions.

By noontime, the awarding ceremony commenced and this year’s roster of winners took home not only a range of exciting prizes but above all, a strong sense of fulfillment for pushing themselves to be the best that they can be – a philosophy echoed by Salomon. At the end of the day, no one went home empty handed as the Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2016 proved to be a memorable and extremely satisfying feat for all the participants, regardless of winning. Plus, Salomon also gave away items during a raffle portion alongside awesome products from sponsors – SBMA Tourism Office, R.O.X, Solar Sports, Gatorade, Otterbox, Honey Stinger, KleenAthlete, Sea to Summit, Dr.Cool, Cobra Erergy Drink, Summit Water, Stance, Nathan, C3fit, Fox Head Philippines, Manila Bulletin, Business Mirror, Best Western Hotel Subic, Subic Park Hotel, Subic Crossfit, Sunsilk, Rexona, Beer Below Zero (BBZ), & the Primer Group of Companies. Thanks also to our media partners Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business Mirror, Business World, Manila Bulletin, MB Sports Digest, Endurance Magazine, Speed Magazine, Wave 89.1 as our official radio partner and Solar Sports as our official TV partner.

At the core of each Salomon X-Trail Run event is to champion trail running and passion for the outdoors. This year, it has once again succeeded in inspiring each and every trail runner and outdoor enthusiast to realize their potential and inner strength with its zero-compromise race principle – ideally embodying Salomon’s slogan of being “#1 in trail running”. In the years to come, Salomon will continue to uplift the trail running discipline by constantly mounting no less than a premium event such as the Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2016!

For more information about the race, please visit
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Camp N - Nuvali's New Adventure Camp Destination

If you're looking for a thrill-based outdoor activity while developing your balance, mental focus, and self-confidence skills, and at the same time to connect with yourself, with the nature, with friends or with your family, then Camp N in Nuvali is your go-to place.

Last weekend, me and together with some blogger friends were able to experience this latest outdoor attraction of Camp N located at the eco-destination just 2-hours away from Metro Manila.

Arriving past 8 in the morning at the 6-hectare development, we were welcomed with a setup of the familiar obstacle courses and the not-so-familiar ropes and cables inter-connected to towering posts that can be seen from the road.

At first glance, Camp N does not look so big, but during the orientation before starting our activity, I came to know how grand the area and its facilities actually are. Our curiosity were further stimulated as Mr. Mon Jocson and Mr. John Estacio, Nuvali's General Manager welcomed us, sparked our excitement, and tickled our adventure fantasies not just for Camp N but for the whole Nuvali as well.

The orientation was concluded with safety introductions and briefing by Mr. Kerry Asuncion, a certified extreme adventure Facilitator, who gave us confidence about the latest standard and trend in safety technology of Camp N's facilities.

Camp N has an Archery facility for those with or without pulse for a bulls-eye; an Obstacle course for team-building that can cater from the basic, intermediate, to the advanced skill level; the Aerial walk - a series of varying difficulty of 3-level rope-based challenges set high up from the ground that involves balancing platforms, tightropes, and straight ziplines; and the Adventure tower which is set farther at the back which has 2-kinds of wall climbing, a free fall, rappelling facilities, and the most exciting and biggest roller-coaster zipline in Asia.

The archery was what I liked the most at first notice. But experiencing an adrenaline-rush at the aerial walk, it became my top-favorite at the end of the day. Although shivering, I felt so in control at every step and segment of the ropes and platforms of the aerial walk the whole time.

Using an Edelrid smart-belay -- a much and way better alternative than the usual carabiner system, all 3-difficulty levels of the Aerial walk may be completed by a participant without much supervision. In fact, we belayed ourselves through each course of the Aerial walk with the only worry of trusting our own ability, clipping ourselves from post-to-post and ziplining through the final stage with ease. The beauty of this system is, as long as you know how to properly use and utilize its features, you get to focus in building your self-confidence and capacity or skill instead of worrying about your equipment.

Where the Edelrid smart-belay will be your friendly equipment (photo by Dennis Ravanzo)

Camp N also boasts of its scenic trails that includes a 35-km. mountain biking area for kids and adults, but aside from the physical adventures, the lush sceneries such as the Greens and Patches that serves as a tree nursery, a demo organic farm, art and meditation center, and camping grounds offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the nearby Metro.

A week from now, on the 16th April 2016, Camp N will have its grand launch to the public and will also host the 1st leg of the “AXN Ultimate Thrill 2016”, a multi-stage adventure race similar to The Amazing Race. Adventurers will go through intense obstacle challenges in Camp N and the first 20 finishers will head to Boracay for the final round. Only 200 teams from Manila may join the AXN Ultimate Thrill 2016.

So before the summer season ends, let's take this opportunity to take further adventure with the kids, friends, and family. Take those finger games away, let the muscles of your whole body have a wonderful stress and build your skills while enjoying and camaraderie with the people nearest to you.

Enjoy viewing some of the photos of our adventure at Camp N:

Descending from the 3rd-level challenge of the Aerial walk by ziplining (photo by Dennis Ravanzo)
2nd-level high platform at the Aerial walk (photo by Dennis Ravanzo)
1st-level tight rope low-pole balance at the Aerial walk (photo by Dennis Ravanzo)
Wall climb at the Adventure tower (photo by Franc Ramon)
Testing my pulse inspired by too much watching of the Arrow TV series
Part of the obstacle course that were still close during our visit
Climbing the Cargo net

Latitude and Longitudinal location of Camp N via google map: 14.190104,121.057854.
Click the Directions on the map to get an updated travel instruction.

Activity packages of Camp N and other attractions within Nuvali

Read more about Camp N and Frequently Asked Questions.

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Bigger and Better R.O.X. Outdoor Festival 2016

Philippine Summer season has obviously started with the many beach and other outdoor photos scattering around the different social networks. Yet, a lot of you may still be holding on to that comfy chair in front of an HDTV watching your favorite movie or series shows streaming digitally! If your reason is you're out of budget, then fret not, get your calendar and block April 16 and 17 for an epic Outdoor activities with the whole family without spending and worrying about booking tickets as R.O.X. (Reacreational Outdoor eXchange) is bringing to us its Outdoor Festival 2016.

This is your chance to try the different activities designed for all level and age -- kids, kids at heart, newbies and even amateur outdoor enthusiasts. If you've missed last year's R.O.X. Outdoor Festival, then don't slack up and waste your summer season without enjoying the outdoor lifestyle with your friends and/or the whole family. Leave your gadgets and your fears behind, stretch those muscles and challenge your mind!

It’s In to be Out! Gone are the days where you stay in and veg out on your laptop, socializing with friends online. The outdoors is the new and better way to stay connected and have the best time doing it! On April 16-17, 2016, all roads lead to Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City for the much anticipated R.O.X. Outdoor Festival 2016!

Last year’s R.O.X. Outdoor Festival 2015 was a phenomenal success. The entire stretch of Bonifacio High Street was painted red for the event, bringing together dozens of premier outdoor brands that sponsored exciting games which tested one’s mental and physical endurance. There were performances by current artists and bands, booths, movies and fun activities for kids that made the Festival the most happening place to be for the weekend.

This year, it’s going to be even bigger as R.O.X. rolls out more exhilarating activations, and new brands bring out thrilling competitions for those brave enough to try them out. The R.O.X. Outdoor Festival 2016 is free and more than that will be giving away outdoor gear for those who register for the event. There’s a game tailor fit for anyone who wants to come, making it the perfect destination for the community to come together and share a truly awesome summer experience.

R.O.X. is building a 40-foot wall for the R.O.X. Zero Gravity: National Lead Climbing Competition for the R.O.X. Outdoor Festival 2016. Participants will have to leave fear on the ground as they attempt to summit the monster wall set out before them. If that’s not exciting enough, there’s going to be several outdoor crash courses that will be offered to those who love taking on the great outdoors. Stay a little bit towards the end of the day for the R.O.X. Outdoor Film Showing where you can watch blockbuster films while enjoying the outdoors.

And R.O.X. is not the only one who will be having all the fun. Some of the best international outdoor brands will be putting up challenges that will have the attendees push the limits on what they think they can do The North Face, Salomon, Fox, Mountain Hardware, Poler, and DC are just some of the brands that are preparing epic adventures and fun games that will surely make this weekend the best one you’ve had.

Aside from all the crazy-fun games and competitions, there will be activities, workshops, food stalls, picnic grounds and band performances that will be happening all throughout the event.

Do you need more reasons to get outside? Fling open those doors. Step out. Be part of the world of the outdoors where absolutely anything can happen. Find out more about the R.O.X. Outdoor Festival by liking the R.O.X. Philippines Facebook page or visit today.

Get a flashback preview of the 2015 R.O.X. Outdoor Festival by visiting this blog post, you may also check out last year's photos from this Facebook album.

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How to File a Refund From Your Real Property Developer

Having experienced a hard-time looking for resources and information on how to go about the proper process of filing a refund, and if such action merits my decision to do so, I decided to blog about it and put this un-related topic for reference of those who, like me, delved into a real property investment that turned unfavorable to your part or simply, due to circumstances brought about by the developer (take note of this).

As a backgrounder, me and my brother partnered together around November, 2011 to purchase in installment a combined unit at one of the upcoming high-rise Condominium in Quezon City, claimed as the first "Sports Condominium" in the Philippines. The developer has earned our trust for having completed already a number of low-cost projects. We were also convinced as it suited our location preference, payment option, living features, and turn-over period (May, 2015) enough for us to build up funds for the transfer/miscellaneous fees before our monthly equity begins.

After completing our reservation and documentary requirements, we've patiently waited and observed the construction progress... for 2-years... and it was very slow until it already seemed like the construction totally halted. Our agent became hard to reach also with our SMS getting no replies and calls un-answered. When he finally kept in touch with us, we only get frustrated with his excuses as to why he wasn't able to attend to our messages and calls (but was very much available when he was still trying to convince us). He gave us many excuses, until at the turn of 1st quarter of 2014, he finally admitted to us that the delay was because their contractors were made to swiftly finish the then on-going construction of a much bigger project in Bulacan -- Ciudad de Victoria -- thus favoring just a single project out of the other pending projects being paid by many of their clients in the Metro.

Looking at the situation, we are at a disadvantage and are no longer happy with this venture. Add to it that during this time, 3-years after closing our deal, the construction progress was still at the 3rd-floor. So thinking hard about it, we've finally decided to end our contract and ask for a total refund. This decision did not came easy as we've had a lot of fears and disinformation coming -- that we will not be able to get our hard-earned money back, or if luck comes with us, only up to a maximum 50% of our payments will be returned as stipulated under Republic Act 6552 (RA 6552) - Realty Installment Buyer Protective Act (26Aug1972) or much popular as the "Maceda Law".

That's what most of the real estate agents are telling us and to other misinformed people who had the same predicament as us. But that policy for me felt so unfair for buyers who have faithfully kept their part of the bargain and obligations on the contract. Luckily, by digging and scouring the internet with all the search keywords I can think of, I've chanced upon a "somewhat" lesser known rule of law under Presidential Decree 957 (PD 957) - Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective Decree (12July1976). You may read the specifics at section 23-24 under Title IV of the decree.

I have learned that the difference, and probably short explanation between these two policies is what kind of protection does a buyer get according to who's at fault or who failed from their obligation. Under RA6552, the buyer gets certain refund when they are no longer able to continue paying their installments (buyer is at fault); while in PD957, the buyer gets full refund when the developer failed to complete the development or deliver the project within the required period. You may read more about the differences of these two from this link.

Having our fears armed with that new found information, we proceeded with the refund process beginning with a series of calls, intent letter, another follow-up call, and finally a complaint to the office of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) in Diliman, Quezon City.

Okay, just for a disclaimer, I am not in any way claiming to be expert in any of these 2 laws or any other law governing the real estate rights of buyer or developer. All the information and steps posted here were all based on our own experience and that which applied to our situation. Study your own circumstances and the protective act that may apply to you and follow according to your understanding and discernment.

So to make it easy, below are the steps on how to file and request for payment refunds from a real property developer under P.D. 957. The steps we've taken were also guided and inspired by another buyer which you may find at this forum.

1. Request for your latest Statement of Account (SOA) from the accounting department of the developer's office. This SOA will be used to prove your total payments, outstanding balance, if there are penalties, and if your account is still active.

2. Request for a Certification from HLURB or copy of License to Sell (LTS) (if you don't have one yet) that will prove that a developer is current with its obligations with the government requirements. In our case, the developer was not issued with an LTS on the date of our document signing, nor even during the period of filing our request for refund. We paid Php 288.00 for this Certification.

3. Submit a Refund Letter request to the developer indicating your intent and reason of such action. Attach those pertinent documents in steps 1 and 2. Don't forget to get a receiving copy, and contact person to whom you can follow-up.

4. Give them 3- to 5-days after receipt of your letter to call you back. Follow-up every now and then by calling the person in-charge about the progress of your request.

5. Submit a Follow-up Letter to the developer if there's no valuable feedback yet. Indicate on your letter that you will be filing a complaint at HLURB when there's still no action from their part is taken. Attach your original refund request letter, the original copy of all the ORs, and photocopy of the Contract to Sell (CTS).

Okay, although these are the initial steps that we took, I think you may directly file your complaint to HLURB. I just decided to follow these steps for hopes that the request can be settled sooner with the developer without going thru the once I thought "hassle" steps in dealing under any government office. I was wrong though as our transactions with HLURB went smooth without any red tape. So if you choose not to follow the steps above, you may proceed below:

6. Submit a Complaint Letter to HLURB office in-charge in the area of the project. You may attach the letters you've previously submitted to the developer. Our complaint letter took 2-pages long as I've detailed our purchase history and it also entailed a paragraph of drama about our having a "dream property".

7. Fill-up the "Request for Assistance" form from HLURB. While writing on this form, I realized that you only need a single page complaint letter as this form from HLURB is where you will put most of the information and facts about your complaint.

Note: there was not any payments made or asked by the HLURB office from this process, nor from the succeeding processes.

8. Wait for notice of hearing/conference from HLURB. We received our notice 2-weeks after filing our complaint. The notice though was issued 7-days from the date of our complaint letter.

9. Appear at the hearing date and place stated from HLURB's notice. From hereon, all the succeeding steps will be based according to the results of your conciliation or settlement between you and the developer. The HLURB will act as the arbiter/mediator and will take note of the minutes of the conference.

10. Once all the series of hearing is done, claim your refund. It took us two conciliation meetings/hearings which were scheduled 1-month apart before we were able to agree on each of our terms.

Our term was to ask for full refund including the reservation fee and interests (which were not indicated as we don't know where to base the interest rate). The developer's lawyer told us that the reservation fee may not be refunded anymore if we wish to get the refund as soon as possible. Their soonest timeline for encashing of the cheques were scheduled 5-months after in three equally divided amount which are also dated 1-month apart each. While if we insist with refunding the reservation fee, the cheques may get re-scheduled for another month or two since they still have to defend and present that term to the board and other blah, blah!

We just agreed to the lawyer's term accepting the fact that we will no longer be able to get our reservation payments. A 3rd and last conference was scheduled a month after to receive the cheques. When we finally claimed our cheques, we were surprised that the first cheque was dated 1-month earlier than the previously agreed schedule. But instead of only three equally-amount cheques, there were 5 cheques already, with total amount now including the reservation fees. The result came out still amenable as we've received 100% refund of our amortization payments, except the earned interests and lost time (of course).

From the date of our first letter, it took 3-months before we were able to get the attention of the developer, additional 2-months before we got hold of the refund cheques, plus 2-months before the first schedule of cheque encashment, and final 5-months to complete the cheque encashments. All in all, it took 1-year to complete the refund process, or a total lost investment time of 4-years from the date of our contract.

Investing on a property is not that easy as it seems, there are laws and regulations that we have to know and be armed at. These information may not be readily available just by agreeing with your agent. I've learned that we also have to ask a lot of questions, even if you think that the agent may not be able to answer it. Leave those questions for them as their assignment to you. As a piece of advise, it is okay to trust some not-so-famous developers, just make sure that they have complied with the government requirements and that they are still able to deliver new projects. But for peace of mind, it is always best to trust those with good track of record already.

Sample Refund Request Letter
Sample Refund Request Follow-up Letter

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Lakbay2Love - A First Biking Feature Film

We don't normally see local movies that features an advocacy, much more about our environment from protection, preservation, to the nurturing, and to re-building those that have already lost its gem.

When I first heard the movie title Lakbay2Love around November last year, I wrongly judged it as another movie genre with a predictable ending of "...and they found each other and lived happily ever-afer..." story. My judgment didn't end there as when I saw the trailer, I dismissed it again as a movie revolving just about love but masked under the hood of biking with the same predictable ending.

Dennis Trillo, Solenn Heussaff, and the Firefly brigade members during Lakbay2Love's Outdoor premier at UP Diliman

I am not much of a movie-goer but I also admit that I seldom watch our local movies aside from those with social relevance such as Juana C the Movie and Erik Matti's OTJ.

Taking back my negative judgments of Lakbay2Love, it defied my stereotype judgment about our local movies. It still has the love story around it yet it is not filled with so much cheesiness and corny lines. The movie's storyline is actually simple, with pivoting love-triangle between Solenn Heussaff (Lianne, videographer), Dennis Trillo (Jay-R, biker/forester), and Kit Thompson (ex-BF/biker). Mind you though as the ending is not what you might expect where the other guy went heart-broken and the other one winning the girl's heart at last!

The whole story was balanced between the journey of love and the joy of biking with some comedic touch from Ms. Patricia Ismael (Monday, Lianne's friend). It will definitely attract the attention of the millennial generation and make them stay at the same time to become aware about what's facing us with the destruction of our forests.

I've watched the movie during its outdoor premier last January 29 at the Ampitheater of the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Bikers and other viewers at the Concert party before the movie premier

Spearheaded by UP bike share, the premier started with a bike ride around the academic oval led by Dennis Trillo and Solenn Heusaff together with the Firefly brigade members. Journalist Howie Severino who is still limping from his recent bike mishap was also present. The bike ride was followed by a concert from the UP Music Circle and other performers such as Joey Ayala, Gig Manila, ‘lil Noizy, The Ransom Collective, and Oh, Flamingo! Dennis and Solenn also serenaded us with their bike-version of the song "Overdrive" by Eraserheads.

Dennis Trillo and Solenn Heussaff singing their version of "Overdrive"

Different biking destinations in Luzon where also featured in this movie. The La Mesa Forest Reserve at Quirino Highway, in Quezon City; the blue zone and Roxas Loop at Timberland Heights, in San Mateo, Rizal; the Ten Commandments at Camp Sinai in Pintong Bukawe, also located at San Mateo, Rizal; Gungol Rock in Ampucao Ridge, Itogon, Benguet; Bzkleta Classic bikes in Parang, Marikina; the crowded streets in Quiapo, Manila; and several locations in Benguet featuring the Ifugao wooden scooters where our Forest-builder, environment advocate, Cordilleran-biker Mr. JP Alipio was also featured for a few seconds.

The most exciting part was the raffling of the three Trek bikes that were used in the movie by Solenn, Dennis, and Patricia. I think my luck was rubbed-off as I didn't win any of the three bikes, or any of the consolation raffle prizes that were drawn from the start until the end of the premier. The sadness though was augmented with a photo-op with Solenn Heussaff at the backstage.

Last photo-op with Solenn after raffling her Trek bike

Lakbay2Love catches both the attention of biking enthusiasts, the not-so-hopeful romantics, and environmentalists. While for people who are not into biking, or have grudge with bikers, I urge you to watch this movie and understand biking from this viewpoint.

Bikers don't just pedal their lives away because they don't have money to buy a 4-wheeled vehicle, but because of what it can do for the personal health and the zero-carbon footprint of biking. It is a movie where viewers will come to realize that the appreciation of nature must also come with the responsibility of taking care of our environment.

Director Ms. Ellen Marfil narrating what inspired her to do the film

Trip: Lakbay2Love as directed by Ms. Ellen Marfil under Erasto Films is considered the first biking-feature film in the Philippine Cinema, a first also in the "green-carpet" outdoor premier.

The movie will open in Cinemas tomorrow, February 3, 2016.

*Special thanks to Ms. Gay Domingo for the invitation.

Ifugao wooden scooter that were also used at the movie
1 of 10 pure metal Batavus delivery bikes around the Philippines w/rich features such as integrated rear-wheel lock, 3-speed internal hub, RFID security tag, and coaster-brake hubs
The UP bikes
Mr. Joey Ayala, whose bike was stolen long ago, sang his rendition of the Lupang Hinirang
Great young talents of The Ransom Collective - you should hear their piece along with Oh, Flamingo!, Gig Manila, and UP Music Circle

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