Of Iron Virgins and More

A collaborative work by Baula, Carpena, Sebastian and Villanueva


This weekend our team Endure, along with dozen other teams and individuals, will congregate in Cebu to participate or partake of that human sports drama called Ironman 70.3, or half the full distance. Like many recent teams, our 2 year old team is one that is founded on the Ironman dream. So far, out of almost 40 members, one of us has done the full ironman distance, 5 have finished the Ironman 70.3, about half have done the Olympic distance, and almost everyone has done the sprint/mini-sprint distance.

This weekend Endure sends to Cebu a contingent of 12 solo triathletes,  4 teammates in 2 relay teams, and 2 youngsters in IronKids. These 20 athletes are lovingly supported by a contingent of about 20 family members, friends, relationship partners, and yes a well-loved yaya J  This is how Endure does multisport –  inclusive, purposeful, passionate and cheerful.

The team is very much excited for the 70.3 debut of 9 athletes – 5 from Endure Metro Manila, and 4 from Endure Cagayan de Oro.


Raffger Sese

A firm believer in slow-but-sure athletic progression, Raff raced through all the shorter tri distances to prepare himself for the half-ironman distance. A fan of hills and RPM, Raff is one biker who can smile through hill climbs. The truth is he is always smiling on race day, because he is simply enjoying the fruits of all the hard training. A product of Total Immersion swimming, Raff has generously shared his knowledge with his teammates.

Attacking the 70.3 distance with a shrewd mind, Raff prepared for his half-ironman debut like he was creating an algorithm. Possessing both brain and brawn for the distance, the humble H-Endure took his time before he signed up for Cobra Ironman 70.3 despite teases from his friends that the distance is a walk-in-the-park for him. Raff shrugged off these remarks and raced his own desired distances.

His debut triathlon was at SubIT 2010. Two years later and a couple of skin shades darker, Raff has finally set his mind on the 70.3. He is ready. No one had to tell him when. With his heart and mind set on the 70.3 finish line, the team is confident that this H-Endure shall once again race with a smile and pose at cameras while another triathlete winces in pain racing the same distance.

Sid Aaron Apolinario  joined the Endure continent in Camsur 70.3 in 2011 to watch and inspire himself to get back to physical fitness. The Ironman bug must have bitten him in Camsur for he became a raging bull of training enthusiasm. His passion was contagious, and he would cajole or whip most of us back to training. For that he earned the moniker of team drill sergeant.  He is also Mighty Sid, or Sisid, the guy who badgered our swim varsity teammates to teach him and train with him so he can be a faster swimmer. In his own words, “ I hope to finish the race strong together with my teammates who diligently trained for this event as early as November… I am doing this for all those people who believe I can do it despite how hard the challenge is



Jixee Allen Lagunda is one of the team’s resident heartthrobs. The guy has considerable following on Facebook until he changed his FB status to ‘In A Relationship’. But Jixee could not have found a better partner in Beth, for whom he dedicates his race.  Jixee took up running like fish to water, but typical of fast runners, he finds the swim leg most challenging. Competitive and diligent athlete that he is, he works patiently on his swim.  He also follows diligently his coaches program. Once Jixee comes out of the water, expect him to do a brisk, calculated  ride, and end the race on a fast sprint.  Expect him to race towards the finish line in search of his girlfriend Beth.

Darwin Bocalbos goes to Cebu to fulfil a promise. In his own words, “ This weekend, I need to redeem myself from my DNF last year that haunts me till today. I need to finish for my wife and son, my greatest inspirations. This will be the pinnacle of my months-worth of training, my celebration of life. I just look forward to racing with my teammates and friends and just have an awesome time. Also, I’ve never been to Cebu before 😀  It’d be great to have my pic taken with Chris Lieto and Belinda Granger.”


Carina Manansala, team board member, leads the team’s female contingent.  A veteran of Ironman 70.3 support groups (2010, 2011), this year is her time to shine. On top of her rigorous training, Carina is the organizational workhouse in the team – deftly handling logistics, itineraries, social media, among others. For someone who has contributed so much for the team, Carina deserves the best time of her multisport life in her half-ironman debut. She has paid her dues, has done enough time training, and has gotten herself a sleek bike. All things are going for her as the one of two pioneer female solo participants from Endure.

She wasn’t supposed to race Ironman 70.3, Cebu.  It wasn’t in her plans this year but she really wanted the SH-Endures to represent. Not just as support, but to be part of the thick of things and to make us realize how it can be done. Once she reaches that finish line, she not only has done her God and herself proud, but she would have inspired us more than ever that with a dedicated mind, consistent training, a light heart, and a determined spirit that it can be done.  Kudos and continue leading the way.


Izah Jane ‘Ice’ Sueno completes the pioneer female individual 70.3 contingent of Endure. Ice dove into the multisport scene with a big splash, bagging age group wins in almost all her forays into aquathlon, duathlon or triathlon. A product of the powerhouse La Salle swim team under the tutelage of Guy Concepcion, Ice will do her maiden 70.3 triathlon with her former coach as race director.



Joel Ramos (Drey), one of the founders of Endure, finally gets the chance to do his first Ironman 70.3. Drey signed up for the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Camsur in 2009, but had to back out of the race when his father died a few days before the race. Marriage and relocation to Cagayan de Oro prevented him from pursuing his Ironman dream sooner, but this year he picks up his dream and dedicates his race to his late father, wife and kids.  Drey is not only a passionate student of the sport devouring training articles and sports statistics; he is also a teacher who shares what he discovers. True to his nature of being a teacher and leader, Drey guided 3 aspiring triathletes in CDO toward their collective Ironman dream. In the process they founded Endure CDO.

Harvey Santiago, Allan Sasing, and Jon Sievert  Mendoza are the pioneers of Endure CDO. Together with Drey the de-facto coach, these boys form a block of athletic promise within the team. For starters, each one of them finished sub-3 hrs on their maiden Olympic distance triathlon. These professionals, 2 bankers and an entrepreneur, juggle career and family to pursue their multisport passion. On a weekend you will probably find them riding their bikes up the hilly Talakag road, building their strength one bike ride at a time. In a short span of time, they have come a long way in their journey towards fitness. Harvey for one lost at least 30 pounds.  Expect them to further drop weight and body fat as they strive to be stronger, higher, faster.  As Allan would put it, this is the fulfilment of a lifelong promise.


It will not be the first time for at least 5 members of the team. They come back to improve their time, clutch victory over the pressures of work, finish what they have started or simply try another race aspect.




Al Neri  is professionally called ‘Direk’, but when he changes into his triathlon gear, he changes and becomes ‘Coach Al’ . a humble and self-effacing guy, would rather let his race results do the talking. His sub-6 hrs finish in Camsur 70.3, his first try, is currently the second best time in the team. This former Ateneo varsity swimmer may have put on a few pounds through the years, but he never lost his inner athlete. He silently does his training, and come race day, sets a high standard for himself.  More often than not he ends up surprising himself and the rest of the team. For this Cebu edition of the IM 70.3, it is the team’s wish for Al that he continues to be this humble chap capable of extra-ordinary feats every now and then, and in the process inspire everyone.

Enrico Villanueva. What can we say about one of the fine men  who had the vision to create a team built on respect for each other, love of the sport, and all the while reminding us that we do this for God’s Glory?  First we say thank you for being a visionary, for growing the team, for being the compass we turn to when we’re in doubt.   Secondly we say we admire you for your persistent training amidst your unbelievable work load and schedule. 

Rico is joining Ironman 70.3 Philippines for the 3rd time. He had the time of his life on his maiden try. On his second try, he spent considerable hours in the midday sun to better his time, but fate played a trick on him this time. Unexpected heavy rains and gusts clouded his vision and sent him literally shivering for half the bike ride. He finished the ride 5 minutes beyond cut-off time. In view of work pressure, this third try started as ‘I would just be happy to join the swim start and maybe make it to the bike’. However, in the light of recent, small victories in the continuing saga of work-life balance, the race goal is shaping towards ‘ I may actually finish it’.  With the grace of God and cheers of teammates and friends, he may actually look forward to bringing home a Kenneth Cobonpue-designed finisher’s medal.



Ellen Encinares. With various running and multisport podium finishes under her belt, Ellen continues to inspire the team as she teams up with two other Endure beauties at this year’s relay competition.
Training has not been a breeze for the team’s resident telecoms engineer. For the past months, this SH-Endure had to regularly flee the country for meetings and bring with her a pair of running shoes to squeeze in training while on business trips.

This weekend, Ellen will fly to Cebu to run the half marathon for the Endure Belles relay team. A strong swimmer, a brave cyclist, a swift runner and an excellent team player, Kelcy–as she is fondly called–competes at Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines for the first time to show her support to the team as well as her passion for the sport, for life and for her God.

In Kelcy’s own words,  “… I come in celebration of life and good health, and to support my cherished friends and teammates on their 70.3 dream. The thing I most look forward to is eating those mouth-watering dishes, and of course, dried green mangoes.  I am doing this for the “bestest” team…Endure J  Gusto ko magpa-picture sa mga idol friends kong mga pinoy and sa mga crushie foreign triathletes.”

Noelle ‘kikayrunner’ de Guzman. You’ve been awed by her grace and speed in running, but Noelle will compete at HIM sans her running shoes. This weekend, Noelle will don her helmet, brave 90km with Loki, her road bike, and give her best–as she always does–as a cyclist.

While her powerful legs will propel her to T2, Noelle has the heart and mind focused on the goal to finish strong for her relay team, for Endure and for the people dear to her. This Sh-Endure is not idling in her comfort zone of running as she takes on the half-ironman’s challenge to do the bike leg. And as she takes on new challenges, her team has her back. May this journey be the beginning for more 70.3s for the Kikay Runner.


Hanna Sanchez. She was initially spotted  as that girl with the bonnet, together with her matching oversized singlet and super short shorts, no one knew how fast Hanna really is as a runner. Not a lot of people know that she was part of the Rogin-E last man standing, where she eventually was declared one of the eventual winners. People do not often consider her much of a threat as a result of her ever-present smile,  but when she started making waves in multisport scene, we knew that this girl has a lot in store.  Her successive wins at 2011 ateneo aquathlon, and even during the Endure- Blackberry Aquathlon made her famous with other budding teams, but luckily she joined Endure, and is considered one of the strongest members there is. Despite all her strong swim team background, she still considers endurance/ long distance running as her main weapon. With her superb swim skills, vastly improving cycling prowess, and her consistently strong run, Hanna is set to make bigger waves in the multisport scene. After conquering and taking podium finishes at subit and animo tri, Hanna focused her attention as the swimmer for sh-endure’s relay team to test out the water, and hopefully next year she’d do the 70.3 solo.

Michael Sarandona. Mikes is away from Manila most of the time therefore rarely gets to train with the team at the Army Pool, Daang Hari or at the Bonifacio High Street.  But as part of our All-Male Relay Team  manning the swim leg, we’re sure Mikes will have a great time out there.  We await the time when he does it solo, though.

He has had a couple of challenges in this first half of the year but this man’s faith is steadfast.  There is nothing he cant conquer.

For this Ironman 70.3, Cebu, we say a big prayer and a hug for our big guy.

Joy Vargas. Joy teams up with friends to form a relay team for Cobra Ironman 70.3 this year. No injury or discomfort can stop the strong-willed Sh-Endure from training and pursuing her goal to complete the bike leg in Cebu.

Joy returns to the saddle aiming for a strong half-ironman finish with her relay team from last year. Vengeance belongs to God and not to us, as we were told. Indeed, Joy aims to conquer the distance, redeem their team’s DNF (or DNQ) last year, and offer their victory to God.

Philippides ‘Pyds’ Cayetano  is the team’s resident jokester but as passionate as anyone on the team when it comes to the game.  A biker at heart, he eats double centuries  for breakfast….lunch..uhm….and dinner J .  But he has since fallen in love with swimming and will proudly show you his famous dolphin kick when you ask him to.  Ahhh…the run. His wife Arzen runs faster than he does but that does not make our Pyds fret for the love of his live is now carrying his baby boy and both couldn’t be happier.

For Pyds,  “The thing I most look forward to is to finish my first IM 70.3 relay with  a decent sub 6hrs time and make my lovely wife, family, teammates and friends proud of me. I am doing this for my wife and future son, and for myself . Gusto ko magpa-picture with the relay team of differently-abled individuals (yun na feature sa Jessica Soho) and Chris Lieto (sabi nila maglalaro siya eh).





Sophia Gabrielle ‘Abby’  Vizcarra. Our baby Abby is at it once again, doing Ironkids.  She was last year’s champion in Camsur and we couldn’t be any more proud of our little girl.  She has the built of an athlete and the discipline of one too.  This one needs no prodding when waking up early in  the morning  to train.  She cycles with the best of them and keeps up with the adults training.

Her titos and titas, kuyas and ates at Endure have to change every lap just to keep up with her in our swim trainings.  Her run is the same…we have to ‘sub’ every loop just so we can keep up with her pace.

Our team is so proud of our lil one.  Not only is she a little monster on the field but she also does well in her academics – a direct correlation to the discipline she has instilled in herself in her sport.

So go get ‘em again this year, Abby.


Nico Neri represents the family of Jun Neri in Cebu through the Ironkids.  His father Jun raced Camsur 70.3 last year. This year the son dons the athletic suit with proud father capturing the moments in megabytes. True to Endure’s value of family first, the Team welcomes with enthusiasm the third Neri in its growing multisport family.


Endure would also like to express  cheers and best wishes to the Valelo brothers Brent and Dale, Alaska models and Ironkids participants. These brothers are a model of both athletic and academic excellence, winning awards and reaping honors in school and in races. Endure is both honoured and proud that the two youngsters started their multisport adventure in Endure’s BlackBerry Aquathlon.

To our teammates and friends in the multisport community, this weekend is our annual chance to be extra-ordinary. May we all shine like diamonds and reflect all the glory back to Him.

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