Category Archives: My Favorite People

A Fast Journey To Love

The Better Half
February 19, 2012, 3:38am
As a couple, Dan and Ani share the same wavelength in love and triathlon. Photo by RUDY LIWANAG
As a couple, Dan and Ani share the same wavelength in love and triathlon. Photo by RUDY LIWANAG


MANILA, Philippines — Destiny strikes when you least expect it. For triathlon coaches Dan and Ani Brown, true love hit them at an unexpected time, quickly forming into a strong bond forged by a shared love for triathlon and success.

Ani (nee De Leon) first met Dan in Subic, where the latter resided then. It was on November 5, 2010 when they got acquainted through a common friend: Senator Pia Cayetano.

“Ani arranged to do a bike ride in Subic Bay with some of the people she coached, including [Senator Cayetano,]” recalls Dan. “At that time, I was also coaching some [members of the Philippine Triathlon Team] and [Senator Cayetano] invited us to join them.”

The following day, Dan and Ani met at a triathlon event in Olongapo, where they were both coaching their respective teams. While the race was going on, Dan invited Ani to go for a swim across to a nearby island from the race venue during their spare time. Ani obliged, and Dan thought, “This girl’s okay.”

The next morning, Ani participated in a Milo 21k run in Zambales. Afterwards, Dan asked Ani to have breakfast with him. And they started to hit it off. Clearly, the chemistry between them was hard to ignore.

“I thought that Ani has a strong character,” says Dan on his first impression about his wife. “She’s very confident and she has a very kind personality. She’s nice to everyone around her and she looks amazing.”

On Ani’s part, she liked Dan immediately. “He’s friendly but he’s not overly friendly,” she shares. “He’s quite serious. He’s intense about his passion for his work and for triathlon. I liked that about him. And since he’s Australian, he also knows how to relax and have fun. He’s a professional athlete but he’s not so rigid about it. He can have a beer every now and then. I’m just relaxed around him.”

It also helped that both of them are sports coaches who share the same principles and ideas about triathlon. “We share the same wavelength for coaching,” says Dan.

While they were dating, the Manila-based Ani would visit Dan and vise-versa. “We were engaged a month after we met, on December 11, 2010,” shares Ani.

Yes, it was that fast. For this couple, it was a matter of having a strong gut feeling that his/her partner was “The One,” something that they had not felt before.

“I just knew straight away that it’s going to work,” relates Dan. “Otherwise, if I had a doubt in my mind about it, I wouldn’t go for it to begin with.” Ditto for Ani. “You just know when this kind of thing happens,” she adds.

Their engagement was romantic but not dramatic. It was just an ordinary night, a dinner complemented by wine. when Dan popped the question after their meal. The two had previously talked about getting engaged, but for Ani, it was still a special moment when Dan asked her to marry him.

Interestingly, Ani met Dan when she wasn’t keen on dating anyone. “I had just broken up with somebody a month before I met Dan,” she discloses. “I said to myself that I’m going to take a rest from dating, lie low for a while, and just enjoy being single.”

Ani had her support group, “The Screening Committee,” a group of male triathlete friends who made a bunch of ‘rules’ that any future date or suitor must pass. The rules included the following: He has to be a competitive biker (the moment he is not able to keep up with the bike race, he’s out); and he has to be able to drink a lot of alcoholic beverages such as beer.

“One night, I told my friends that I’ll be bringing Dan over,” says Ani. “Even though I didn’t think that I needed their approval, I still wanted them to meet Dan.” In a nutshell, Dan “passed” the tests and won the respect and friendship of Ani’s friends. “To be honest, they really accepted me and I also liked them. Ani’s close friends have become my close friends as well,” remarks Dan, who credits them for learning more about local etiquette in the Philippines.

On March 5, 2011, Dan and Ani flew to Sydney, Australia. It was Ani’s first time to meet Dan’s family and relatives. “He’s from a really nice family,” says Ani. “They’re very close to each other.” According to Dan, “My family loved Ani. They thought she was good for me.”

The couple hosted a party for Dan’s family in Sydney. In a way, it was their pre-wedding celebration before they tied the knot in the Philippines.

Dan and Ani got married in a simple wedding ceremony in a small Catholic church in Subic on April 16, 2011.

Just as they were embracing newlywed bliss, the couple discovered that they were expecting their first child. As Ani recalls, “It was funny because we were talking about having a baby around January 2011 and we were like, ‘Maybe we’ll have it around the end of the year.’”

The pregnancy came earlier than expected, and Ani suddenly had to turn down some triathlon race commitments, such as a slot for the Timex Global Team. Fortunately, her peers and sponsors understood her situation. “Personally, I also registered for these triathlon events and invested my own money in them,” says Ani, “but it’s a blessing when we found out that I was pregnant. Of course it happened sooner than we expected, but we were still happy.”

The couple welcomed their first born, a baby boy named Dash, on November 29, 2011.

Apart from being newly-minted parents, Dan and Ani are also working together as the newest Sports & Recreation (S&R) Consultants of Pico de Loro Cove, a leisure haven located in Hamilo Coast, SM Land’s “premier coastal development” area in Nasugbu, Batangas.

As S&R Consultants, Dan and Ani are in charge of developing fitness and wellness programs for Pico de Loro’s residents, members and guests. The couple has marathon and triathlon events in the pipeline, as well as regular training sessions for running, among others. They plan to promote Pico de Loro as an ideal destination for sports camps and activities.

As professionals, Dan and Ani feel that they “work well together.” While they always discuss ideas together, Dan and Ani have defined their individual roles when it comes to training people and athletes. Ani will handle trainees from the kids to beginners range, whereas Dan will aid people who qualify for the levels of intermediate and professional.

For couples who work professionally together, Ani says that one has to have a lot of respect for his/her partner. “You cannot always expect to agree with each other,” she says. “Even if we say that Dan and I are very compatible and that we are on the same wavelength most of the time, we have a lot of disagreements as well. Thus, you have to respect your partner’s opinion and consider him/her too.”

It’s the basic rule of give-and-take, with patience on the side. And, as their day jobs can be physically taxing, getting lots of sleep may also help avoid unnecessary stress-induced arguments.

Shot on location at Pico de Loro Cove, Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, Batangas. Hamilo Coast is under Costa del Hamilo, Inc. (CdHI), a subsidiary of SM Land. For more information, visit or call (02) 858-03-33.


He said:

Ani and I complement each other in a lot of ways. She completes me. She gave me more focus and a more positive outlook in life.


She said:

I told Dan and his family that he’s the best thing that happened to me, along with our son Dash. I always tell Dan that one. Dan made my life better.

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Filed under Family, Selected Features

Dash’s First Week: Mommy and Daddy Made It Out Alive, Phew!

Dash is more than a week old now and am happy to report that Mom and Dad survived the maddening 1st week! To say that parenting is a serious job is a gross understatement… let’s start with my delivery, which I believe should be a separate blog entry in itself –but then a new mom only has so much time in her hands!

I had an epidural-free water birth at home, an option I felt most comfortable with. It was a decision that I had to stick with, even in my last hour of labour, which took a total of 25hours. Yes, that long, partly because Dash came out a whopping 9lbs!!! It was pain beyond my imagination, but believe me when I say I did not even entertain getting anesthesia, as I wanted to be really involved in the process, no matter how excruciatingly hard it turned out to be…no race on earth could ever compare to that. TRUST ME. If you don’t, ask my husband, who has done the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii, which consists of a 10k swim, 421k bike, and 84k run (he placed 8th). To this day he is still in shock about the whole birthing ordeal, haha. He was my rock till the very end though, even when he almost passed out after he saw Dash’s big head come out from underwater. When Deborah, our American midwife, asked if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, he could not even move his mouth to form any words!

After that it is a big blur of waking up in the middle of the night a couple of times, breastfeeding (ouch. OUCH!!!), changing diapers, bathing, morning strolls, burping, rocking, singing, lots of crying and lots of smiles and laughter.  And here we are.

I write this blog in a hurry while Dash is having his afternoon nap, and it took me umm, 3 hours to make him fall asleep. Obviously we are still trying to get the hang of parenting, but we are fully committed. How can we not be? We are totally smitten with our boy, and am praying that we will be able to raise him well.

Here are pictures of Dash’s first week, and some of our visitors…. thank you for your love always!


Filed under Family, Mommy-hood, Newbie Mommy, Random Thoughts

Waiting To Exhale…

I am just about ready to pop, so to speak, but I have a feeling my baby boy will take his sweet time.  That’s okay…this early we want to give him the freedom to decide on the important things in his life.  He might as well start with choosing his birthday!

I have spent the past few years just rushing through things, but this year was different.  I met my husband, got married, and now we are starting a family. Hmm…alright, maybe that too sounds a bit rushed, but I promise it did not feel like that at all!  I guess my husband and I both live life at hyperspeed anyway.

Seriously though, I have been slowing down the past couple of weeks in anticipation of Dash’s arrival, as true to his name, we already know we will be chasing him around!  But we are happy to do so.  In time we hope he outruns us in every way and in the most positive sense of the word.

Still, I have to admit that I am a bit nervous for my most challenging endurance event yet, even though I know that in turn, it will also be a million times more rewarding.

Thankfully, I have a great support group of women who are there for me, and I hang on to every piece of advice (and maternity, and baby items) they voluntarily throw my way.  I just want to thank all of these women who have been so helpful in this special time before things start becoming hectic again:

1. I hardly needed to buy any clothes for my growing body since Mona, Belle, and Tonichi gave me their maternity wear.

2. I did not realize that the literature on mommy-hood would be so overwhelming and diverse.  Everything from the basic “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” to  “Bestfeeding” to “Baby Signing…” thanks to Maricel, Deborah, Candy, Maui, Tonichi, and Pia for pointing me to the right direction. Now let’s hope my brain internalizes most of the stuff!

3. My forever fabulous women friends, those whose names are already mentioned above, plus: Tessa, Doray, Rizzo, Leana, Lara, Leah, Mariela, Honey, Yvonne, Chesca, Vernice, Sandra, Tricia, Chris, Cris, Celda, Ginny, Waya, Oona, Lala, VP, Princess, Gemma, Tita Anthea, Tayo.  Thank you for giving me all kinds of support–like simple “how are you doing” messages, nursery items, and throwing me a lovely baby shower.

4. The women in my family– my mom, my mother-in-law, Amar, my sister Sinag, my sisters-in-law Mae, Anna, and Melissa. Lola Mama, who passed away around the time Dash was conceived this year, has made her presence felt in various forms. I am very blessed to have you all in my life.


Filed under Family, Friends, Mommy-hood, Random Thoughts

Mona Lisa Ristorante… my favorite resto hands down!

Mona Lisa Ristorante is owned by our good friends, triathletes Mike and Belle Grandinetti, and it is by far the best restaurant in the Philippines.  Belle cooks up the yummiest, most salivating dishes…every time I visit I promise to control my portions but end up throwing that plan out the window once I take my first bite.  Here are some of their menu items which I keep coming back for… check out the dessert platter with the to-die-for Tiramisu!

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Filed under Art and Culture, Friends, My Favorite People

XTerra Putik Pare Race: Fun in the Mud

The Xterra Putik Pare Event held yesterday in Nuvali, Sta Rosa Laguna was something I had been looking forward to watching all year as I joined the race last year and had heaps of fun…dirty fun, as the name connotes, but good fun nonetheless. Participants of Putik Pare basically have to come in pairs- one does a bike+run, while the other does a run+bike, all off-road, after which they run to the finish together.

Pia and Belle, my girlfriends who came fresh from their XTerra World Champs Maui experience were joining the race and I thought it would be cool to cheer for them in the mud pit- a trademark of the Putik Pare race.

My husband Dan whom I found out does not really have a clue about mountain biking (sorry baby, just an observation) decided to join at the last minute too after deplaning from his Taiwan 70.3 just a week before.  Good thing Neil Catiil from the RP Tri Team agreed to be his teammate, and thanks to the loaner Elsworth MTB from Tyrone Regaliza and sponsored entry from TIMEX they were all set!

On race morning I donned one of my remaining stretchy Adidas Climacool shirts which still fit my bulging belly so I was prepared to support/ heckle all the racers. I thought it was very nice to go to an event wherein triathletes are not so pressured about their performance/ PRs…just out to have a good time with buddies!

I was happy to see Polo Tri teens Marc Altura and Javi Ocampo, whom I have seen blossom into the formidable athletes they are now from coaching them in the SuperTriKids and IronKids squads, looking game and raring to get down and dirty for something different than their normal sprint distance races.

I ended up spectating with good friends Alex Bok of  TBB, David Almendral and Ton Gatmaitan of Gatorade.  They had also decided to set up shop by the mud pit and cheer for friends. The mud pit design this year was more watery than that of last year–but longer.  It was a good place to watch as this was the last leg they had to do before heading to the finish line.

One by one the pairs came in, and it was interesting to see how they maneuvered the brown waters–marching, trudging, sloshing–some even swam, using different strokes at that. I conclude that backstroke is most effective as demonstrated by Noel Salvador!

The eventual overall winners for the 3 categories were:

Congratulations to XTerra Phil/ Sunrise Events Inc led by Fred Uytengsu, Guy Concepcion, Princess Galura, and the Technical Crew of Neville Manaois and Jeremy Go for a very well organized race.  Hope I can get my feet dirty again for next year’s event!

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Filed under Adidas, Athletes, Friends, Race Report, Timex

Happy for Dan!

Special mention to my husband Dan Brown in IM 70.3 Taiwan article, so happy that he is on his way back to recovery and racing decently again 🙂 Congratulations to the winners Chris Mc Cormack and Michelle Wu, and hats off to the organizers!


Filed under Athletes, Family

Name These Pinoy Triathletes: Photography by Redg Plopinio

What a nice set of photographs of Filipino Triathletes by Redg Plopinio! Thanks Joyette Jopson for sharing this with me 🙂 Enjoy guys!


Filed under Coaching and Training, Friends, Photos

Making Children’s Lives Better, year 9

Every September, Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping children facing various challenges in life, holds a 12-Hour Multi Sport Event to raise funds for its cause (  As always we planned a whirlwind of activities for our participants and supporters, including a swim-a-thon, bike-a-thon, adventure race for kids, aquathlon and triathlon for kids, run races, soccer and martial arts demos, and a small expo area.

A lot of people showed up to help including The Younghusband Football Academy, Triathlon Association of the Philippines, P.A.V.I.C.Philippines, Hyundai, and local age group teams and triathletes like Arland Macasieb, Nonoy and Joyette Jopson, Maiqui Dayrit, Willy Chiongbian, and Hans Kristian Juan. Kristian biked for 12hours straight, his 5th year of doing so, and Maiqui, who does an Ironman during the event every single year, actually qualified for Kona this October and will bring the cause of Gabriel’s Symphony all the way to the World Championships!

My favorite parts of the day of course, were the kids races.  I am so proud of the participants for wanting to help their fellow children in need. (to read more, please click this link: )

To view album, please click:

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Filed under Challenged Athletes, Events, Friends, Pinay In Action

Some Photos from our Wedding…

Don’t ask me why I’m only posting these now after all these months, but better late than never!  Just wanted to show you guys a few of our wedding pictures.  A very lovely day for us and even more so because we were able to share it with the people whom we cared for the most 🙂

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Filed under Events, Family, Friends

Off Season for a Good Reason

As I write this, I am using my pen and paper as there is a nationwide power outage and I am trying to conserve my laptop battery. I am also munching slowly on my breakfast and savouring my cup of hot chocolate. A lingering morning meal is certainly one of life’s simple pleasures.

My husband, on the other hand, is out doing his long run. On any other given Sunday, I would most likely have done the same, but for the next few months I am drastically reducing my run and bike mileage and concentrating more on swimming. No, I am not injured. As a matter of fact, the explanation for my low training volume is quite happy news-we are expecting a baby!  …. to read more,

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Filed under Family, Mommy-hood, Random Thoughts, Timex