I belong to three different gyms in Dumaguete, but from time to time, I find myself craving a workout in the great outdoors with fresh air and blue skies. Ok, also, on Sundays every single gym here is closed (they take “Rest Day” very seriously!) so working outdoors is the only game in town. Either way, the Robert Macias sports complex is perfect.
Finding the Robert Macias Sports Complex
Tucked away behind Freedom Park and Negros Oriental University, it just looks like two monstrous white buildings from the outside. Go inside (and pay a 15 Peso – or 33 cents USD – admission) and you’ll find a huge arena and with a great red rubberized track. It’s definitely up to U.S. standards and great to run on for the knees and back, but I’m not sure if it’s set up the same as in the states – 4 times around is a mile. I have a feeling that it’s a little bigger.
Inside the track are several soccer fields, which aren’t as nice as the ground is bumpy and ill-mowed, but the locals still love it just the same. This stadium serves as the sporting complex for Negros U so you’ll see their track team, soccer team, and even archery team working out there all the time.
But it’s also a great place for the community to come work out and be healthy together, and early in the morning or especially late afternoon when it starts to cool down you’ll find hundreds of people there, young and old, fit athletes and people who just want to talk with neighbors. People walk around the track and chat while serious runners lap them, and younger guys test their meddle with pushups and pull ups. In the stands, a lot of high school or college kids come to hang out and chat with friends, as well as practice dance moves, raps, pretend to kung fu box each other, and the other joyful and silly stuff kids do.
When I go to the track, I bring a yoga matt or just a towel and do a circuit of exercises that includes pushups, pullups, jump ropes, a little running, mountain climbers, sit-ups, etc. I’ve also brought a friend there and held mitts for her as I put her through a boxing workout.
I love the vibe that everyone there is friendly and welcoming, and they even play (ok, they BLAST) music from the arena speakers every afternoon and evening.
In the open-air lobby area you first walk into, there’s plenty of activity, too, as kids congregate all over there because it’s cool and there’s free wi-fi, so they have phones and laptops open doing some studying. But it becomes raucous in the evenings when there is a mass Zumba class in that lobby. They also have a tiny snack bar for drinks and even sell potted plants.
Outside, you’ll find tennis courts, a volleyball and makeshift basketball court, and across the circle, an Olympic sized pool in building 2. However, I haven’t visited the pool because a local friend said that it’s super dirty so swim at your own risk!