MGZ Visits, Part 3: Baguio

The third, and final, destination for Miranda’s SE Asia trip was Baguio. I booked a cabin owned by the U.S. in Camp John Hay. We packed up the car with lots of food for three days and our bags, and headed out.

The first part of the drive we got stuck in some traffic due to a bike accident, then it was smooth sailing. NLEX, a new highway, was wonderful.  It was smooth and traffic free.  We opted to take the “adventurous” older road after NLEX since it claimed to be 30 minutes faster.

As we were ascending a hill, the car began to lose acceleration power.  Just before some construction, it turned off.  We could not get it back on and had no idea what to do.  We had limited cell signal, and opted to just try and call the embassy.  They worked to get in touch with a towing company in Baguio to bring us up, but could not get a hold of them at first.  After about an hour, the car turned back on.  There was a light on, when the car turned on.  We looked in the manual and it said we could drive slowly with the light on, so we did.  Very, very slowly.  Then we hit a hill again and the car began smoking.  I turned it off an we quickly exited the car.

We were able to get in touch with the mechanic/towing company, they got our location and sent a private car and tow truck.  We were in the middle of the road, but thankfully in a position where we could be seen from a distance.  I got out of the car and pushed it a bit further off the road, I guess it helps to be fit.  An hour and a half later, we were sweaty and tired, but the private car found us.  The car was taken to a trusted mechanic, and we were taken to the cabin.  I was extremely thankful for all the help we got from the embassy, they even stayed in touch with the mechanic for the duration of our trip to ensure we would be able to return to Manila.

It wasn’t even too bad not having a car in Baguio.  We arrived a large “cabin” (house) in the middle of the forest.  For the first time since I arrived in the Philippines, I was in a place that felt peaceful.  The windows were open and a breeze blew through the cabin all day, the porch looked out on a forest and well kept garden, and each morning it was quiet.

Garden Outside the Cabin


View From the Porch


We ventured out to Baguio to see the most well known parks and Mansion, but we found that our time was best spent at the compound.  There were hiking trails, gardens, a historic house, and plenty of time for relaxation.  I will be back, hopefully often.

Wright Park in Baguio with the Mansion in the Background

The mechanic worked tirelessly on the car and got it fixed in just under three days.  He said  the radiator cap was not installed correctly, which caused the car to overheat.  Plus, he found a small crack in the radiator.  He was extremely helpful, they kept the parts to show the issues, and even called the check in on the drive home.  I have to say, it was the best experience I’ve ever had with a mechanic.


MGZ Visits, Part 2: Siem Reap

After Miranda and I spent a few days trying to get our tan on, we recovered with a quick workout at Primal Ape, then hopped on a plane to Siem Reap.  Mark joined for this trip and we met Miranda’s friend from med-school at the airport in Siem Reap.

Our hotel sent a tuk tuk to pick us up and opened the door to a huge room complete with a sitting area, queen bed, double sink, shower, full bath, and balcony.  Unfortunately, the A/C didn’t do a great job cooling the large room.  We went to sleep early so we could be ready for a full day exploring temples.

Day 1: Angkor Wat

We paid for an air conditioned car and set off to Angkor Wat, the most famous temple.  On our way in we met a guide who we decided to pay to tell us about the history.  He was helpful at the time, spoke English very well, but there were still a number of things that were unclear – I still have to look them up for clarification.  I think I’ll do that after this.

We had to wear pants past our knees and a shirt that covered our shoulders to climb to the top, so we put on the layers and headed up.  The stairs had been rebuilt for safety, but they were still steep.  It was close to 100 degrees, but the view from the top was worth it.  We got to look down on the ruins surrounded by a jungle.
After a quick lunch, we went to the Tomb Raider Temple, better known as Ta Prohm.  It was here that we learned you can take a vertical panoramic picture.  The ruins were engulfed in the roots of trees. We were able to get closer to the stone and felt more inside of the temple here.  It was pretty cool to look at, definitely one to stop by.

Visiting two temples in one session/day was plenty, so we headed back and took a nap.  We walked over to Pub Street for dinner.  It’s definitely a tourist trap, but we were able to get a good meal, cheap drinks, and good people watching.  I wish we had been a little less tired so we could stay out and see the party scene later in the night.

Day 2: Bayon

Miranda and her friend from med-school, Michelle, woke up early to catch the infamous sunrise over Siem Reap.  Mark and I opted to skip the 4:30am wake up call and crowds and slept in.  The sunrise that morning wasn’t as impressive as some of the pictures online, so, no regrets.

Since I qualified to regional, I needed to get a workout in.  We asked a tuk tuk driver to take us to a gym.  We were dropped off at Angkor Muscle Gym – the Angkor Body Building Association gym.  Needless to say, there were lots of guys flexing in the mirror right after sit ups to see if they magically got abs after that one exercise.  It was stinky, there was no real squat rack, only a smith machine, which I don’t even know how to use.  I was able to get pretty much everything done, though I felt very out of place wearing shoes and being a female.

We left the gym and found at tuk tuk driver to take us to Bayon.  I, personally, preferred this temple over Angkor Wat.  It felt more like ruins and we could walk through more of it than Angkor.  The stone was not as clean, so it felt more like we had just found it.  Something about it seemed cooler to me, I can’t explain why exactly.  Anyway, if you go to Siem Reap, make the time for Bayon.

That night, we got on a late plane and headed back to Manila. Two days was enough to see Temples and not get burnt out by it, any more than three and I think you’d have to leave the city and explore to find stuff to do.

I would post pictures, but I accidentally deleted all of the photos on my phone.

CrossFit Games Pacific Regional 2016

Before I continue my 3 part series about my trip with MGZ, I have a nice little update on my previous post, Playing The Leaderboard.  At the end of the five week online qualifier, the CrossFit Open, I finished in 8th place in the Asia Region.

My score was not solidified until I sent in the requested video.  I sat anxiously until I was told it was accepted and I received my invite to the CrossFit Games Pacific Regionals.  I will compete in Wollongong, Australia the weekend of May 13th.  In addition to my advancement to Regionals, I was also named the “Fittest Female in the Philippines.”  I will receive a certificate and shirt…well maybe, last year people just got a certificate, womp womp.

I am very excited to compete in Australia, unfortunately, athletes must pay for the travel, hotel, and entrance fee for the event, so I’ve started a Go Fund Me.  To my surprise, I was able to raise almost my entire goal in 24 hours, but haven’t had much movement since.  If I reach my goal, I plan on increasing it to raise money to fly a coach in with me.  It would be sad and lonely to be in the athletes area without a coach.

MGZ Visits, Part 1: Boracay

My friend from college had a month off between medschool and residency, so she booked a trip out to the Philippines. For the first part of our trip, we headed out to Boracay.  Boracay is known for its white sand beaches and is the most popular getaway in the Philippines. We booked a room in station 3 at my friend’s hotel for a discount. We had a large room with two double beds and amazing air conditioning.

Boracay is the perfect place for doing nothing and feeling totally ok about that. We spent the first day laying on the beach and attempting to get our tan on. It was hot though, so we absolutely needed to dip into the water. We got dinner and sunset drinks at Kasbah. After sunset we went to bed early, it had been a long day in the sun, plus a 5am wake up. 


On our second day, we got out on paddle boards in the morning, and laid in the sun for pretty much the entire rest of the day. We found an AMAZING breakfast spot that morning, too. 

For our third day, we checked out Puka Beach. The waters were clearer than White Beach and there were not as many obnoxious vendors. We got two lounge chairs, coconuts, and enjoyed the sun, view, and breeze for the afternoon. 


We finished off the trip at Spider House. This laid back, bamboo beach resort had great drinks, snacks, and view. You could jump off or climb down a ladder to cool off in the ocean. As a bonus, there were puppies. 

Overall, I enjoyed my lazy time in Boracay. To be fair, I did workout at CrossFit Boracay, where I did pull ups on bamboo bars, but overall it was lazy. I would stay in station 1 if I return though, less crowded and fewer vendors.