Why you couldn’t run in Camp Aguinaldo in early 2016…

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(An updated blog on the situation in Camp Aguinaldo can be accessed through this link (https://runningadik.com/2017/02/13/sports-and-fitness-in-the-camp-a-guide-for-running-in-camp-aguinaldo/) Please take time to browse this as well. Thanks.)

So the rumors and quips are all true. You can’t run or bike (or swim?) at Camp Aguinaldo anymore. The Military Police (MP) have been making the rounds of the grounds, making sure any remnant of ‘public’ runners and bikers are all weeded out. It seems a bit petty having MPs do this deliberately, as if we were security risks. Why, Camp Aguinaldo? We may have run and rode your rolling hills and serene flats, for free for years, but we loved you back as much. We obeyed camp and traffic rules, we greeted and laughed with your soldiers, we stood gallantly with our right hand on chest during flag ceremony.  We only stayed for as long as our trainings required, careful to understand that the day-to-day camp business always comes first. That’s also the reason why we never questioned getting booted out of the Parade Grounds during the inaugurations, or worse, not getting access into the camp on red alert mode.

But to ban us all at the camp is a bit condescending, if not cruel. Especially since you now exclusively allow only soldiers and their dependents to run or bike. It’s almost like telling us that the camp is NOT for civilians (read: runners, bikers) but I beg to disagree, being a diligent taxpayer for 32 years, have I not a right to enter a government facility as a law-abiding citizen? How wrong could all the previous Chiefs of Staff have been that they have not seen runners and bikers as a security problem to deal with for so many years? What, pray tell, do we now do with all the signs in abundance at the camp asking motorists to go slow and give way to runners and bikers?

One MP claimed that the reason for this ban was that the camp is not a place for sports. I almost fell off my feet when he said this. If what he said would be followed to the hilt, they would need to close down the entire Camp Aguinaldo Golf Course, but of course, the generals who play there on a regular basis will not have this. After all, how much income goes into the camp from the golf course fees alone?

Let me stretch this argument one notch further.  People come and go at the camp, NOT just for military reasons or issues. There’s an Officers Club that makes money from function rooms, banquets, shows in the amphitheater, even catering and water delivery. In other words, why isolate the runners and the bikers as security risks when there are far more people entering the camp for a myriad of reasons?

This is definitely a losing battle to begin with, that’s why I preferred not to shut up. It’s funny that I overheard someone in the camp say, “Sir, senya na ho, hintayin na lang natin pag nagkaroon ng bagong Chief of Staff; they come and go naman.” Of course. Soldiers who follow instructions don’t need to understand or question.

As a consolation, we have been told to run ONLY at the Parade Grounds (the 600m square track beside the Grandstand). Thank you, but no thank you. Try to fit in more than 10 runners/joggers/walkers at any given time and you have chaos and people tripping over people.

And so I run somewhere else. I cannot be stopped. It’s just a pity why Camp Aguinaldo would close its doors on people who thought so highly of it.

ADDENDUM (May 5, 2016):

I apologize that it took awhile to do this update; it took more than three months, in fact, to communicate this to people who have followed the original post in early February 2016.

To those who knew me personally, I had formal access to the Camp via 2016 CarPass and I entered the premises on a daily basis to walk my dog Dakin, avoid the Boni Serrano congestion to EDSA and get some stuff at the Soldier’s Mall. I did these things with steely consistency, even if I could not run and just opted to obey the “rule”. Many times, I interviewed people who willfully violate the ban, that sometimes I wished I had the tenacity to do the same.

Shortly after the Camp played host to the EDSA Revolution Experiential Museum, more and more people started running and biking, at odd hours…Although that specific part of Crame Avenue where the Chief of Staff’s mansion stood now was almost permanently closed to vehicular traffic, even the Military Police stopped rounding off runners and bikers and simply stationed themselves at the Grandstand area.

Two months ago, I started running in the Camp again. It felt like coming home, especially when the peak of summer set in and the ripened indian mangoes started falling off the trees.

I stepped up my courtesy a notch by greeting every soldier as I run by. There are still just a handful of us, which means that the USUAL aguinaldo crowd have found other running playgrounds. But like everyone else who has started to enjoy the camp facilities once more, we hope and pray that the privilege of utilising this running/biking haven will not be taken away from us again.

 

 

40 thoughts on “Why you couldn’t run in Camp Aguinaldo in early 2016…

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  1. Hi fellow runner here. I understand the frustration but don’t forget that Camp Aguinaldo is a Military Facility. It is not enough to say you’ve been rubbing elbows or being friends with the armed personnel around the Aguinaldo and assume you’re already entitled to do fitness work in a facility that is supposed to be secured from public access. With the growing risks from international and local threats to peace and order i.e. terrorism, counter intelligence, disputes. It is our responsibility as private citizens to help our military do their work properly. Allowing civilians roaming around the area is exactly the worst thing to do if you want to secure facility and contain threats.

    The argument about golf courses does not address the argument about running or walking about the area. Remember, golf courses are containable facilities in cases of safety.

    It is not condescending in anyway, this is something bigger than just fitness. This is about doing the right thing to protect Filipinos the interest of safety, peace, and order of our country.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts vic. As i said we runners are open to a compromise but to fully ban us is not fair. Like i also said, despite where we stand on the issue, its their call. By the way I am being messaged by many soldiers sympathizing with our plight. We dont need to rub elbows with them to be understood.

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      1. Let’s just hope there will be a compromise, the parade grounds might not be enough for some number of runners alone and some distance runners might not like it too. But the fact remains it’s a military area. Hence on the otherhand Manila really needs better and healthier (and safer) space for runners alike.

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      2. agree Vic…i head off to UPD these past days, at least i have an option, what about those who don’t? frankly i prefer the quiet and greenery of Agui, i still go there every morning to walk my dog

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  2. The camp is a military facility and civilian access is allowed but is a privilege even to dependents of army personnel. A civilian who wants to run in a military facility would be better to join the army, whether as a regular or in the reserves.

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    1. thats sir Jovie (the bald runner and retired general) 🙂 im sure his sources are valid. im just thinking why we all have to suffer their issue, when most of those who run and bike are really very respectful and fond of the camp.

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  3. Im a Tri-athlete, and when i heard what happened, i was saddened. But i do respect the their decision since this is not a public park or site. We have to remember this is a military facility and its a priviledge for us to use it not their obligation to open it to the public. Its the same in any base that i have been to whether its Subic, when it was managed by the Americans, or US bases like Travis AFB in Fairfield and the Naval Weapons Station in Concord, California, in which you conform to their rules and regulation. Its their domain and they can impose rules that they seems fit to control and secure our base.
    Lets just hope that this issue would cool off some of the Generals head and allows us back in. I know its a hassle to go else where but rules are rules… ROADBIKEPILIPINAS

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    1. thanks for your input adrian. heard that the real reason for the ban is that a few weeks ago, some bikers yelled at an officer. we certainly dont condone such ungentlemanly behaviour but here we all are, having to bear the consequences. i hope somehow this will be resolved soon, as you said. Ive been running in the camp since 2009 hence its HOME for me than anything else. but, yes, we have to comply…thats life!

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  4. As a sometime runner and longtime cyclist, I have to question your familiarity with both populations, especially the hyper-entitled sport runner or cyclist. In fact, I broke my clavicle sometime last year because a runner running the wrong way on a bike lane crashed into me (after I tried to avoid him). So yeah, I got beef.

    Kalye Share and daily experience in UP Academic Oval abundantly proves that runners and sport cyclists are not courteous, not considerate, not law-abiding, and trash most facilities they are given the privilege to use. Military personnel can be controlled much more stringently through internal means. Civilians are less compliant to even polite requests. The Bike Lane in UP Academic Oval is frequently unusable even by slow commuter cyclists because pedestrians don’t know and can’t follow simple multi-use trail rules. It is that bad. The Ateneo basketball team once blocked the entire bike lane training on it. And it’s not like they’re the only offenders. It’s far, far rarer to see a runner running the right way on the right location for the right reasons.

    The only thing more I can say is that you need to open your eyes. We are not innocent.

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  5. Camp Aguinaldo is a military facility. it used to be a highly restricted facility but access was relaxed after EDSA 1. however, by it’s very nature, access is subject to the prerogative of the AFP. the AFP does not even have to explain any restrictions imposed on civilians, whether they pay taxes or not. it’s that simple.

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  6. Wag mo nang pagsiksikan ang sarili mo kung ayaw sayo….masasaktan ka lang……sa sinasabi mo dapat pala pwede rin mag jog o makitulog sa malacanyang palace or mag gala sa loob BSP or maki charge ng cell phone sa house of representatives , tutal binabayaran nmn nga tax natin sila……sabagay mga kano nga pwedeng mag ligalig sa white house, pentagon, area 51

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    1. hi michael, thanks for calling my attention. yes, the camp has been open to runners and bikers more than a month ago, something like after the EDSA revolution exhibit which was situated at the Grandstand. Also, Crame Ave (beside golf course) is closed to vehicles but open to runners and bikers too. Some roadworks along mainroads, but other than that, NORMAL na 🙂

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    1. Which gate is gate 6? Yun ba yung unang gate madadaanan mo if coming from Santolan? The gate na cars with decals only can enter? The other gate is fine except pag aalis na, di ka na maka left turn so kailangan right turn tapos maniobra ako somewhere.

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      1. Gate 1 tapat ng 15th ave and the Grandstand area, gate 6 yung nearer to white plains and can only turn right from inside the camp. All gates require car pass; if none, your id will be held

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      2. Ah so you can also enter thru gate 1? Tried to do that before and they told me to go thry gate 6 pero that was the first time I went to camp aguinaldo to bike. Don’t know if they changed their policy already.

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    1. hello marvs, wala naman pong restrictions ang kampo but it would be more comfortable to have your activity later than 4PM , para kulimlim na. However, bandang 5:30PM po, madilim na, medyo matipid ang kampo sa streetlights. happy jogging!

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    1. Hi tan, wala naman restrictions na sa time to run in the morning. Yung before 6am nga lang medyo madilim ang kampo. On mondays there is flag ceremony by 7:30am, everyone in the vicinity of the parade grounds are required to stand and stop whatever they are doing…from tues-sat, short flag raising at 5:55am few secs lang

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    2. hello tan, wala naman pong restrictions, except that 1) earlier than 6AM, medyo madilim pa so it would be best to stay within the parade grounds area for safety and some light 2) after 6PM, madilim na talaga po as the camp does not light all the streets especially Daza Road. Personally, I like starting 5:30AM and ending at 7AM so I dont have to deal with the heat! Watch out for my second blog on aguinaldo! 😉

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