Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cordillera Again (beat the summer heat of 2015): Motorcycle Riding

Day 1: Taguig to Mt. Santo Tomas, Benguet
Date: March 28, 2015
Route Taken: Taguig – Angat – Candaba – Tarlac – Asin Road – Baguio – Mt. Santo Tomas

     Yearly, as much as I can, I am trying to visit Cordillera Region and exploring new route. It could be during the peak of the cold months or during the peak of the summer months. And this year, we choose to visit it on a summer month to at least escape the heat of the city even for a few days.
     It’s been a year since my Dad rode his bike due to ankle injury and now that he is ready, I rode with him again hitting the twisty road of the Cordillera Mountains.
     Part of the preparation is to seek approval of leave from work, but I got difficulty securing one and I had it confirmed and approved late. So we almost got no time to prepare the bike and plan the route. We plot our initial route and agreed that it would be flexible depending on situation and circumstances, so here it goes…

    I haven’t experienced to ride the back roads of Baliwag to Candaba to Tarlac, so we choose to use this route instead of the common Mac Arthur Highway route. The road via this route is too narrow for high speed but the good thing here is you have a good view of Mt. Arayat all the way along Pampanga area.

     Had a quick breakfast in Baliwag and continue riding heading Tarlac. Filled our gas tanks in Tarlac City and filled our hungry stomach in Carmen, Pangasinan for our lunch.

     After lunch, we’ve rested in Carmen for more than an hour before we hit the road again. And we got so lucky to hit the heavy traffic from Urdaneta, Pangasinan to La Union that made us a bit sleepy. So upon reaching Rosario, La Union, we stopped again for a while to shake our heads, take some energy drinks and rest our tired and sleepy eyes.

     Then continue riding going up to Baguio via Tubao – Asin Road again. If you can remember, this is the same route I’ve taken last year in going up to Mt. Santo Tomas.

     This is one of the tourist attractions here in Asin Road, the Asin Tunnels.

      It’s already dark when we reached Baguio. We first dropped by in the place of a co-rider and MCP forumer Argon who is already based in Baguio for some chats and wish for lucks for our 2015 version of Cordillera Exploration. It was already past 9 PM when we start rolling heading up the mountain of Santo Tomas. It’s very difficult for off-road bikes having weak lamp to manage the less lighted and foggy terrain going up the mountain, but crawling inch by inch, we safely arrive on our target destination to end this day which is in sitio La Presa. We paid the tent space fee of P250 each and we are already free to choose where to pitch our tents. Fixed our things and ourselves, had few bottles of beer and we ended the day.

== END OF DAY 1 ==

Day 2: Mt. Santo Tomas to Abatan, Benguet
Date: March 29, 2015
Route Taken: Mt. Santo Tomas / Mt. Cabuyao – Baguio – Halsema Highway – Abatan, Benguet

     It’s nice to wake-up again on a cold and foggy morning at the foot of Mt. Santo Tomas, and had our free brewed coffee and breakfast courtesy of the land lady.

     Prepared ourselves, prepared the bikes and photo opts with Sitio La Presa in the background. This place in Mt. Cabuyao is actually sitio Pungayan but became famous to be called sitio La Presa because of the TV program Forevermore that was shot in this place and they called it on the TV program as sitio La Presa.

     After the necessary preparations, we started moving up north to km 26 of Halsema Highway where we took our early lunch at Guerilla Saddle 66th Infantry Restaurant. This place was become famous to travelers specially to motorcycle riders as their rest stop going to Mountain Province or the nearby provinces. It was named as that because its place was the battleground of the 66th Infantry Battalion when they fought against Japanese Army during World War II.

     We had an hour of rest after our meal, and then we continued riding again, stopping at some landmarks and beautiful spots along Halsema Highway.

Cordillera Mountain Range as seen from Halsema Highway:

Halsema Highway Half Tunnel:

Highest Point of the Philippine Highway System with an elevation of 7400 feet above sea level:

    Before Highest Point, we have observed that my Dad’s bike is not in optimum performance anymore. We’ve tried to make some adjustments at Highest Point and planning to look for motorcycle mechanic on the next town, but the problem gets worst and worst up to the point that we are running at max speed of almost 10km/h. And the situation became more difficult when the heavy rain started to pour. Riding in slow pace on the twisty and rolling mountains with heavy fog that has almost zero visibility, we manage to reach the town of Abatan, Benguet safe. Looked for available mechanic but most of the establishments are already closed as it is Sunday today and we arrived in the town past 5pm. We then decided to end our day today and better to look for mechanic as our first itinerary the next morning.

     Had our dinner and few bottles of beer and we ended the day.

==End of Day 2==

You may also like:

Cordillera 2014 (day 1 and 2):                             Cordillera 2014 (day 3 and 4):


Monday, June 1, 2015

Cagbalete Island (with Pililla Windmill sidetrip): Motorcycle Riding

Day 1: Taguig to Tanay
Date: March 14, 2015
Route Taken: Taguig – Sampaloc Tanay – Pililla – Tanay

     This island was already on my bucket list years ago so I guess this summer is the perfect timing to cross this out.
     Coming from a graveyard shift, slept only for about 4 hours, prepared my things and depart at around 2PM. Prior to the ride, I have read from other blogs that the last trip going to Cagbalete Island is until 4PM only. So definitely I can’t make it to catch the 4PM boat ride today, so I just made a sidetrip to Pililla Windmill and planned to stay overnight somewhere in Tanay and leave early the next morning.

Pictures of Pililla Windmill:

     I exit in Pililla area just before the sun sets. Went back to Tanay to fill-up my gas tank and my empty stomach then looked for cheap hotel to stay overnight and planned to leave tomorrow morning at around 5AM.
== End of Day 1 ==

Day 2: Tanay to Cagbalete Island
Date: March 15, 2015
Route Taken: Tanay – Mauban – Cagbalete Island

   Five o’clock in the morning when I left Tanay heading Mauban. Dropby in Famy for my breakfast then continue riding after breakfast to catch the first boat ride to the island that usually depart from Mauban port at 10 in the morning.

Sampaloc to Mauban road:

     Almost 9 o’clock when I arrived in Mauban. Paid the registration fee at the Tourism office, looked for pay parking which is easy to find in the area. Then head up to the port area for boarding.

     We reach the island after 45minutes of boat ride. Upon approaching, you can already notice the white shoreline of the island and its clear water.

     From the wharf area, locals are very much willing to help and guide you on your way to your chosen resort. And I chose to stay in Villa Cleofas which is in the other side of the island so I need to trek around 1.5kms going to the resort.

     Unfortunately, no available ready to eat food in this resort so I went back to the wharf area to look for food then went back to the resort for a rest.
     Around 4PM when the heat of the sun was bit faded, I started walking and exploring the northern part of the island.

     Perfect timing on my way back as it is already low tide and the Bonsai Island is already accessible by walking.

     After Bonsai Island, the sun is already setting down. Time for me to look for food again and I got it again at the wharf area. Had my seafood dinner and a bottle of beer and I ended the day.

== End of Day 2 ==

Day 3: Cagbalete Island and back to Manila
Date: March 16, 2015
Route Taken: Cagbalete Island – Mauban – Taguig

     Stayed and relaxed in the island for half more day, then catch the last boat trip going back to the main land at 1PM.

More pictures at Mauban port.

    Few more pictures at the port area then went to the parking to prepare the bike and geared-up. Continue riding via the same route which is Mauban-Sampaloc road. I felt a bit a sleepy upon reaching the intersection of Sampaloc and Lucban so I took a shot of caffeine on the nearby store.

     Continue riding in going back to Manila via Manila East Road. Here are some pictures that I took along the way.

Pagsanjan Church:

Lumban Viewdeck:

Caliraya Hydro Power Plant:

Pililla Sunset:


That’s all for a great relaxing day-off. Thanks for viewing and until next time.

==End of Report==