Advocacy runner’s next trek: PH-Brazil


CAUSE-ORIENTED RUNNER Cenen Milan Jr.: I am not only running for myself but for the lives of others PHOTO TAKEN FROM PREP FACEBOOK PAGE

Not even a killer typhoon could hold him back.

Long-distance runner Cenen “Mac” Milan Jr. has toured the country several times by running in marathons, but he doesn’t just run.

“It has to be for something,” the Davao-based runner said. “As long as there’s a cause, I’m in.”

The idea of running for a cause was what spurred Milan in his 17-day, 1,500-kilometer trek from Davao City to Manila in December last year. It prompted him to launch a book-distribution campaign and a tree-planting program in the Davao area.

Milan was jogging in Compostela Valley when Typhoon “Pablo” struck, forcing him to stop, but only for a day. On resuming his run, he saw the massive devastation wrought by Pablo.

Now, he is aiming for a bigger dream—a longer run starting in Manila in September and ending in Brazil in July 2014 in time for international football’s World Cup.

His aim is to seek international support for 12 local foundations with various advocacies, ranging from caring for the environment to helping children afflicted with cancer.

Dream big

Stressing the importance of “dreaming big,” Milan wants to share with others the message of “breaking a certain mindset”—that of limiting oneself to modest goals.

It all started for Milan when he joined “fun runs with a cause.” It made him realize that he was not only “enjoying the run [but also] helping other people.”

“I saw myself running with more passion … that I am not only running for myself but for the lives of others,” he said.

Born in Nueva Ecija, the former seminarian said his stint as a campus minister facilitating outreach programs for students of De La Salle Zobel, as well as doing volunteer work for various causes, was instrumental in his decision to run for a cause.

Soon, he set up his own group—Pray, Read, Eat, Play Foundation (PREP).

PREP’s aim, according to Milan, is “to transform the lives of every Filipino family through education and environmental livelihood programs” by working with communities, organizations and the government.

Among its goals are to support the reading programs of public schools in Mindanao, put up a mobile book library, build a school for indigenous peoples, and care for the environment by planting millions of trees nationwide over 10 years.

Following his Davao-to-Manila trek last Dec. 1-18, Milan launched a book-distribution and tree-planting campaign in Davao del Norte.

On March 20, PREP distributed reference and story books to elementary and high-school students of Sto. Tomas Central School in Sto. Tomas town in Davao del Norte.

“No one believed me at first,” he said, recalling the reactions he got when he first pitched the idea of an advocacy run.

Milan initially received a pledge of 1,000 books from the nonprofit group Children International. He said the group was so “impressed” when he finished the run that it decided to increase its donation to 90,000 books.

For his tree-planting project, he has received pledges from individuals, private institutions and local government units.

“The trees will be planted all over Mindanao,” Milan said. “We are coordinating with schools all over the region.”

On top of that, PREP has distributed scholarships to 50 public school students. The scholars, mostly from Davao and Soccsksargen (Regions 11 and 12), will each get a P2,000 subsidy per month for the school year 2013-14.

Milan is a member of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners. His runs are documented by a support crew through photographs, social media updates and a global positioning system tracking device.

Running is not easy, he said. He has encountered many hardships but giving up was never an option.

During his Davao-Manila run, for instance, one particular stretch in Samar proved difficult. He was running for hours without seeing any living thing apart from trees. “I wanted to give up, but I went on,” he said.

Then came his encounter with Pablo.

Kindness of strangers

Milan said he could not have made it without the kindness of strangers. One thing he realized was that Filipinos were always willing to help.

“I saw their generosity,” he said. “Many of them offered us food, water, ice, a place to stay.”

Milan has finished such marathons as the 160-km Bataan Death March from Mariveles, Bataan, to Capas, Tarlac; the 200-km West Coast run from Subic to Pangasinan; a 350-km advocacy run from Davao to Cagayan de Oro; and almost all Milo marathons nationwide.

Milo, he says, has an advocacy of giving away shoes to the less fortunate.

PREP also offers running clinics in public schools for free and provides team building and leadership training services.

Sept. 7 kickoff

Now Milan is training for his Manila-to-Brazil run. He starts his day at 3 a.m. and does six hours of physical training—running 60-80 km a day and swimming twice a week. Apart from having a running mentor, he has a life coach who helps him prepare physically, mentally and spiritually.

Milan’s international run will kick off on Sept. 7 at Manila’s Rizal Park. He will run to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where he will depart for Japan for the first leg of his marathon.

Milan said he may be the first Filipino to accomplish such a feat—a cross-country trek through 161 countries in 10 months.

But he is still facing obstacles, such as lack of funds and doubts among some colleagues that he could do it, he said. He is unfazed, however. His passion to run is perhaps exceeded only by his passion to serve.

“To be able to do this, we need everyone’s support,” he said. Interested parties can contact him at 0906-2281428, prayreadeatplayinc@ or via PREP’s Facebook account

The groups Milan is supporting include Switch2Save, Educaid, Aral Pinoy, Wadah Foundation, Dynamic Teen Company, My Rights, Championing Children Community, Hero Foundation, Cancer Warrior Foundation, Natasha Goulbourn Foundation and PREP.

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  • Iggy Ramirez

    Manila-Brazil run could bring in more money from donations and this is what Cenen wants.

    He doesn’t care about the lives of others; that is a total lie. When donations pour in, all the proceeds go through him but for some unknown reason, they don’t get through.

    This guy is more sinister than what he looks. Just take a look at him. He looks like an ugly pig and his body is small and shriveled with a huge head on top of it.

    Anyone would be embarrassed to be seen with him not because he is ugly or small or ugly but because he is a big liar and a crook.

  • phantomofhope

    my goodness! find a girlfriend! :)

  • Elizabeth H. Siregar

    I know Mr. Cenen “Mac” Milan. His statement that “No one believed me at first,” he said, recalling the reactions he got when he first pitched the idea of an advocacy run.In fact, here in Ateneo de Davao University, we believed in him but what did he do? The beneficiaries of his so called advocacy, did not get anything but only promises. Try to ask the Philippine Catholic Lay Mission or PCLM here in Davao and the Daily Bread Program of Theology Dept in Ateneo de Davao Univ. Try to ask also our students and the Samahan Central Board what happened during the Blue Servathon (run for a cause), Try to ask also the School of Business and Governance, happens to enter partnership with him in his advocacy. Ask the students and janitors who worked with him and supposed to receive their dues. Ask the Human Resource Management Office of what did he do to Ateneo de Davao. He used the money for the run for his personal use. Sana po wala ng maloko dahil lang sa isang taong marunong at magaling magsalita at sa isang advocacy na di naman totoong for others…

  • Philip R. Santos

    I challenge the author of this article Rissa M. Camongol to investigate further into the subject of her article Mr. Cenen Milan. If you want the truth, you can visit the Human Resource Office or the Campus Ministry Office of Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, If you are not interested, more and more people will be deceived, Not only you.

  • patriotic_act

    pardon my ignorance.. but how can this “runnning for a cause” thing so they say can change anything? say how can his so called “cause” can turn into awareness? is he a “moving adverstisement”? is there a bunch of cameras around him whenever he runs?

    im a regular jogger myself, but I dont join “fun runs” as I really find them very trivial and is more like a social gathering for online media posting than health drive for me.. and I really hate it when people join this “events” just to talk/brag about it in facebook rather than for self-health and wellness reasons.

    please I hope I dont get clobbered by social runners here.. just want to know why the hype on this? a man running for something ok, then I heard about it sure.. so it makes his run for a cause effective because it caught my attention.. but does it change anything? he ran great distance and its a self-achievement.. does inserting a cause really that important to him? or just a way for his achievements to be advertised?

    hope one can sensibly explain to me this.

    • CmdrAdobo

      dont be so negative. social running is better than nothing. also, it can motivate people to improve and be like a good runner like you.

      • patriotic_act

        im not being negative, just asking since we can say that organizers of a fun run has genuine cause.. but “most” of those who join only do so because of the social bragging and kick they can get out of it.. and those people really frustrates me about it and kinda made my stoic impression on the event’s relevance.

      • CmdrAdobo

        id runner help this cause than criticize. I hope you can help people to run with you.

    • muddygoose

      There are big events and small events, but, yes, any event can help create awareness. And awareness can lead to change.

      • patriotic_act

        True, but awareness cannot simply turn into change alone specially when something becomes so trivial it loses its relevance.. I have nothing against organizers of fun runs who has “genuine intentions for awareness” what I dont like is the way this events became so exaggerated that the exaggeration became so greater than the results they opt o bring.

        Anyways its just me.

    • juanibarra

      the mere fact that you are reading this article and that you are reacting on it, isn’t that what you call awareness? the question here is your purpose…. you say you are running just for the heck of it but he, does it for other people. is it that hard to comprehend?

      • patriotic_act

        well because he was advertised, had the media didnt paid attention to him it might been a different story.. but dont get me wrong, as I dont have an inch of a problem to people who does what he does because of a genuine goal.. unlike the majority that I observed that does it just for the sake of posting and bragging it in social media.

  • Ernesto Aldea

    Your right…you’re running not only for yourself but for others…. I like it and support you.

    • gerbaja

      Don’t believe this guy. Nakadispalko yan ng pera sa isang Unibersidad sa Dabaw. Ingat kayo.

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