Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Baluti Island: Motorcycle Riding

Location: Baluti Island, Real, Quezon
Date: May 13, 2015
Route Taken: Taguig – Marilaque – Infanta – Real – Baluti Island – Famy – Pililla – Binangonan – Taguig

     Actually, the team’s initial plan is to hike Pico de Loro this day and have an overnight swimming at the nearby beach. But due to budget constraint, we cancelled it and I just planned this free day for a quickie ride. Upon my friends ReyM and Albert knowing it, they immediately advised me that they want to come since they have already made themselves free as well on this day.

     So here we go. Meet-up at Mc Donalds C-5, had our breakfast then start riding heading Marilaque via Marcos Highway. We pulled-over at Shell Marcos Highway to fill our tanks before hitting the twisty road of Marilaque.

     Then we continued riding, and after 2 hours of cornering left and right, we’ve reached the famous stop over and destination of the riders traveling and plying this area, the “Jariel’s Peak”.

     Had some pictures around the area, and on one of the picture below, it can clearly say that this place is a biker friendly place.
     Though it’s still too early for lunch, we’ve decided to have our early meal here so not to miss the restaurant’s best seller, the “Sizzling Giant Snail”.

     More or less 1 hour of stay and rest on this restaurant, then we continued riding again towards the east side of Quezon province where towns of Infanta and Real are situated.

     After another hour of twisty ride, we’ve reach this Infanta marker. Going left is to the town proper of Infanta and General Nakar. And to the right is going to Real and going back to Manila via Famy, Laguna. We choose the right side since our target destination is in Baluti Island which is located somewhere in Real proper.

     We went straight to Real port and looked for available boatman and boat for rent that can send us to the target island. But as per initial plan, I would like to incorporate some open water swim training in going to the island so we looked for a boatman that will agree to be my convoy and guide while I do swimming going to the island. And a kind boatman whom I forgot the name agreed to assist for a price of P400. Then we go, I did the swimming and my friends ReyM and Albert enjoyed their boat ride while became my instant photographer and crew.
photo courtesy of ReyM
photo courtesy of ReyM
photo courtesy of ReyM
photo courtesy of ReyM

     After 42mins, I’ve safely reached the shore of the island. Had a short rest, ate our packed lunch, and took some photos of Baluti Island and the town proper of Real at the opposite side. My friends made their selves wet as well and had some laps of swim parallel to the shoreline.

     Past 2PM when we leave the island then went back to the main land using the rented motor boat. Our boatman offered his house where we took our shower, fixed ourselves and prepared in going back to Manila.
     My last shot in the area from my camera before departing with Baluti Island in the background.

     We took the other route in going back to Manila to make a loop which is via Real – Famy road. We had another stopover in Famy to rest our sleepy eyes, fill our stomach again, and fill our gas tanks as well.

     Then continued riding again via Manila East Road and made a quick stop and picture at a giant fan in Pililla, Rizal.

     And it is a perfect timing as well to witness the sunset in Bugarin, also in Pililla.

     Just some few shots and we continued riding again through the darkness of Cardona and Binangonan, Rizal. We arrived home safe past 9PM I think.
   Another tiring quickie adventure but is also a memorable one as this is my first time to do an open water swim with the distance of 1.5kms.

That’s all for now guys. Thank you for viewing and until next time.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cordillera again, beat the summer heat of 2015 (day 3, 4 and 5): Motorcycle Riding

Day 3: Abatan, Benguet to Banaue, Ifugao
Date: March 30, 2015
Route Taken: bike repair at Abatan – Abatan, Benguet – Bontoc – Banaue

     Good morning Abatan…..

    As per planned, after breakfast, we looked first for a trusted mechanic who can help us troubleshooting and fixing the problem on Dad’s bike. As recommended by the locals, and as also confirmed by a co-rider and MCP forumer Ithcyfortravel, we found a Honda Authorized Shop just in the center of the busy Poblacion of Abatan.

     Since we dedicate the half of this day for motorbike maintenance, I also took the chance to have my bike checked because I am having minor problem with my bike’s breaklight. It’s around lunch time when bike repairs got completed. Took our lunch and prepared ourselves then started rolling again aiming to at least reach the town of Bontoc for the other half of the day. Very few stops and one of them is in Benguet - Mountain Province boundary.

     More pictures along Halsema Highway heading Bontoc:

     This is the famous mini-tunnel in Halsema Highway before reaching the town of Bontoc. Years ago, sometime in 2006 when I first passby on this area of Halsema, the road is not cemented yet and the concrete road on the right side of the tunnel is not yet constructed. All vehicles are passing inside the tunnel one-way at a time as 2-way traffic is not possible.

     The original plan is to go to Bangued, Abra from Bontoc via Tinglayan, but due to time constraint, we decided not to push through and instead, diverted the plan going to Kabayan, Benguet via Banaue-Kiangan-Tinoc. Around 3:30PM when we arrived in Bontoc. The sun is still high and Banaue is approximately 60kms only from Bontoc, so we continued riding because we’ve estimated that we can arrive in Banaue before dark which could be around 6PM.

     This road intersection is the road going to Barlig and Natonin. Last year when I pass through this road, it is still rough road. Construction is really fast that it looks like fully completed to date. Few more years and it can be another biker’s haven enjoying the twisties of Cordillera going to Paracelis.

     Bay-Yo Rice Terraces:

     More views along Bontoc – Banaue Road…..

     Banaue Rice Terraces:

     We arrived in Banaue before the sun sets. Exact time as our estimated time of arrival which is at 6PM. Looked for place to stay, had our dinner, taste the locally brewed wine (rice wine) and we ended the day.

== END OF DAY 3 ==

Day 4: Banaue, Ifugao to Kabayan, Benguet
Date: March 31, 2015
Route Taken: Banaue – Kiangan – Tinoc – Bugias – Kabayan

     Good morning Banaue!!!...
     Prepared ourselves and our bikes, took our breakfast and we left the hotel at around 9AM.

     Continue travelling towards Lagawe and to Kiangan as our first stop for the day.

     We’ve visited the most famous tourist destination here in Kiangan, Ifugao which is the Kiangan Shrine. This is like a smaller version of the Shrine of Valor in Bataan where it shows the braveness of the Filipino soldiers during World War II. This became a famous landmark because it was said to be the place where the Japanese highest Commander, General Tomoyuki Yamashita surrendered to the Filipino and American forces.

     One of the good spot here for picture taking is on the top of the Memorial Tower where you can see the panoramic view of Lagawe Valley.

     Also located inside the compound is the Ifugao Museum which clearly describes the culture of the Cordillera people and how they live independently without the need of help of the more advance technology from advance countries or nearby cities. Inside the museum, they showcase their old tools for daily household chores, farming, hunting, carpentry and many others. Camera is not allowed inside so we just did our souvenir photographs in front of the museum.

     Few more shots and we bade goodbye to the caretaker and security. Had some hydration at the nearby store and we started traversing the bumpy road heading Tinoc, Ifugao. From Kiangan, road concreting is on-going with only approximately 2 kilometers completed. Then after that, all rough road terrain all the way to Tinoc.

     Upon reaching Tinoc, more beautiful vegetable plantations and terraces can be seen left and right. I was amazed how these Cordillera natives able to curve these very steep cliff and mountains to cultivate these kinds of land to be their source of foods.

     Past 3PM when we arrive at the town proper of Tinoc where we took our late lunch.

     Initial plan is to spend our night in this town but since it is only 3PM, we decided to keep moving heading Kabayan, Benguet. So after taking our lunch and few minutes of rest, we again geared up and started rolling across the mountainous terrain and more steeper, bumpy and rocky road heading Buguias to Kabayan, Benguet.

     Only few pictures on this segment of the ride because we are on a hurry to reach the town of Kabayan before dark, because it will be difficult to manage some part of the terrain which is almost technical when we get caught by darkness in the middle of the mountain. We moved fast as much as we can and we arrived in Kabayan town proper at past 7PM.

     The lodge owner was kind enough to cook for our dinner. Had our dinner, few bottles of beer and we ended this long and tiring day.

== END OF DAY 4 ==

Day 5: Kabayan, Benguet to Taguig
Date: April 01, 2015
Route Taken: Kabayan, Benguet – Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya – Nueva Ecija – Bulacan – Quezon City – Taguig

     Today, since I need to go back to work the next morning, I will go back to Manila ahead of my Dad as he still want to stay longer in Kabayan to explore the town and some tourist spots. So around 7:30AM, I left Kabayan on a solo ride going back to Manila via Aritao and Nueva Ecija.

     Very few shots on my way back to Manila because I’m on hurry to be home early avoiding riding at night because my headlamp got faulty again. So here are some shots, mostly on the boundaries of each province.

     Kabayan – Bokod Boundary:

     Benguet – Nueva Vizcaya Boundary:

     Nueva Vizcaya – Nueva Ecija Boundary: 

     Lunch and gas stop at San Jose, Nueva Ecija:

     Some “pasalubong” shopping in San Miguel, Bulacan:

     Then continued riding and arrived home safe before it gets dark. No long stories and sharing of road experiences and very few pictures on this last day as it’s purely motorcycle riding going back home.

     So thank you for visiting my page again, until here and until next time…..


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