Friday, June 5, 2009

Manaoag, Pangasinan to Baguio via Kennon Road

The next day when we took pictures before leaving our house in Manaoag. My uncle who I discovered was into mountain biking joined us along with his friend. Wreachelle's bike which we thought was OK, was not OK pala and was starting to give us problems. It was my first time to reach La Union by bike so I had to take pictures. We met up with the other Pangasinan bikers, spearheaded by Chito aka Mangdugas/C5, at Caltex, Rosario La Union. To have met friends who you only exchanged ideas with online, also a fellow biker, is quite relieving and amazing at the same time. The hospitality of the people of the north is unparalleled as I've experienced over and over again. We were a bit behind schedule due to bike problems but Chito and the gang didn't complain, nor did they show off they were stronger or better equipped, the were just there to enjoy the bike ride with us.

Aside from Wifi's bike having problems, my gigicam also bonked out. :( I had no choice but to take shots using my cellphone, bummer!

Welcome to La Union!


Chito and Pangasinan bikers, Jon & Wifi

One biker left his bladder when were near the "Welcome to Benguet" arch. By the time he got back at Caltex, it was already gone tsk tsk. Two of the bikers bailed out, 1/4 of the way coz they still had appointments later this day. Chito and another biker accompanied us going to the Lion's head. 

For us mountain bikers, Kennon Road is a better alternative compared to Marcos hi-way as told by other bikers. First, its shorter, 2nd less bus pass take this route coz its narrower compared to Marcos Hi-way and lastly, half-way passed Lion's head its much steeper haha. Though some parts of Kennon are narrow, which keeps a lot of bus from passing here, there are still trucks and speeding vans/shuttles who speed their way up and down Kennon. 

Welcome to Benguet!


More of Kennon:



By the time we reached Lion's head it was mid afternoon already, Wreachelle's bike had major problems already. The group decided that Wifi take the jeep instead since its only 7-8 kms. uphill going to Baguio and also to prevent her bike from aggravating the problems. My uncle and his friend went up a bit passed Lion's head and later on went home back in Manaoag cause they also both had appointments. After 2-3 mins., just right after Wifi's jeep took off, came our biker friend from Baguio, Bakulaw (from on his van. Chito and Baks were insisting that we just ride the van. Jon and Me and Chito's friend were determined to bike to Baguio, Baks told us to take Loacan road instead of Kennon since the latter part of Kennon was congested due to construction which caused a major traffic jam. 

From Lion's head going to Baguio was pure uphill, and no recovery. Passing going to Loacan was much steeper but less vehicles pass it and half of the road was not passable due to road construction too. We even passed by the part of the downhill were Epoy Molina died. We reached Caltex Baguio (fronting Victory Liner) before dark and the Baguio bikers, Bakulaw & Eatsmudnrocks, welcomed us. Eatsmudnrocks aka Wrenolf even treated us for free Delmonte drinks, and paid for our first night at the Transient Inn, wow! Bakulaw treated us for dinner, and also food for the next 2 days.

At last! Lion's head!

Ashiong under the Lion's claw





More killer uphills at Loakan road.


Ashiong at Caltex Baguio, nice ride buddy!

Jon with Chito and Wrenolf (Eatsrocksnmud) at the back

We can't ask for more, the hospitality, friendship and generosity of the people up north are unparalleled. Baks, high-five pards! Wrenolf, thank you! Chito and company, salamat sir!

To our friends who asked on the status of our ride thank you guys! Tomorrow we will riding around Baguio. Whew!

Next: 2 days of Trail Riding at Baguio Semplang-University!

That's just our first night!





Jon knocked out by the Red Horse haha

Manila to Manaoag

Oblation aka Gene was the "promotor" of this ride. The original plan was to bike from QC to Manaoag. PMTB was planning a bike ride from Manila to Baguio, just like last year. Since Manaoag (Pangasinan), is just 67 kms. away from Baguio (approximately), I thought 'why not continue the ride to Baguio the next day. I also won't be able to join the Manila to Baguio bike ride scheduled on June 12-13, so I pushed thru with the ride to continue to Baguio. I also haven't biked around the trails in Baguio, the last time I biked in Burnham was when I was in 2nd grade. So there: visit relatives in Manaoag, meet biker friends in Pangasinan (who I've only met online) and bike with them going to Baguio, meet Baguio bikers and bike with them in and around Baguio.

I had the ride planned out and it was rescheduled twice. A few days before the scheduled ride, Gene bonked out and Mon was still tentative. I wasn't mad nor dissappointed, I was more of frustrated. So I posted the ride in pmtb and philmofo inviting anyone who could join me. Luckily, Jon and Wreachelle joined me. Bakulaw of philmofo ( invited us to Baguio and proposed that he be trailmaster if we ever decide to bike in Baguio, fortunately he also reserved our lodging in Baguio prior to our arrival. Happily we accepted the offer. Mangdugas/C5 aka Chito along with Pangasinan bikers also offered assistance in biking with us from Rosario, La Union to Baguio via Kennon Road.

So the plan was set, with 1 week notice only. I met Wifi (Wraych) near our house and Jon met us up in McDo MCU. We started pedalling around 5:30am, May 30, 2009. Again, I had no sleep the night before the ride (What's new? haha). We got lost around Guiguinto Bulacan and about 30 mins. was lost just so we could get back in McCarthur Malolos.

Calumpit Bulacan and Apalit Pampanga boundary

Chowking San Fernando, Pampanga

Still at San, Fernando

Capas Tarlac

It was cloudy most of the day, even before we met up with Jon it was already raining hard in Santolan corner Edsa. Then it rained hard again when we got to Capas and Concepcion Tarlac. We had lunch in Concepcion at Chowking Luisita Mall, had a break at Paniqui, Tarlac. The towns in Tarlac were quite looooooong! We biked via McArthur Hi-way and when you reach one town in Tarlac, let's say Moncada, after almost an hour of biking you can read the signs and you won't believe that you're still in Moncada. The roads also were getting narrow as we got near Pangasinan. The buses and other motorists have a hobby of overtaking in those areas and one beep means 'move aside'. We were obliged to bike on the side/shoulder.

Concepcion, Tarlac. Luisita Mall:


Pangasinan at last!

When we reached Urdaneta, it was raining hard again, we got lost and ended up in Mapandan. My uncle in Pangasinan said that we should have made a right fronting Urdaneta mall, but we instead went ahead and took Mapandan to Manaoag. We should have stopped and asked but we got too excited (or too hungry maybe), the rain got stronger when we were in Mapandan. Like my Polillo bike trip, we ended up biking at night again under the strong rain and dark roads of Pangasinan with scattered frogs (which Jon was trying to avoid haha). Wifi's bike was already having problems this time which also slowed us down.

We reached the Manaoag church around passed 7pm already and had no timed to take shots. We bought food and went straight to our house in Manaoag. My relatives in Pangasinan were surprised to see me visit them on bike and even got more surprised when I told them we came from Manila. The last time I had vacation in Manaoag was 2 years ago, I was very happy to see my lola, aunts, uncles and cousins.

To our friends who asked on the status of our ride thank you guys! Tomorrow we will be going to Baguio. 

Enjoying the Barbecue, Lechon Manok which we bought at Manaoag church

Relatives who thought I was doing Tour of Luzon haha.

Monday, May 25, 2009



The next day, had breakfast before we Island Hop. The rainbow was enough to tell us of the weather for that day. It was an amazing sight to be traveling on the boat seeing the islands around. The water was getting clearer as we arrive near our island destination, we could see the corals, it was an awesome sight. The small island is a paradise, we took pictures, ate a bit, swam and enjoyed the whole island. The crustaceans, corals, mangroves and sea urchins were a real eye candy. Click on the pictures to view the whole photo:
Start of the day, Island Hopping!

Coral reefs, bare naked.

Flowers/plants that grows on the sea bed.

Snake-like pathway, lowtide.

Clear, cold and refreshing sea water.

LSS: Pearly shells. From the ocean lolz

April and Allan (our gracious host).

Aquatic blue.

Island Paradise.

Our original plan was to stay there for 2 days and 1 night. Fortunately (or unfortunately for Gary haha), the boat which was suppose to take us back to the Real port this morning had some sort of trouble, which was what I (or most of us) exactly wanted! With this we can visit more islands today! Whooo!

Beach Bum Marlon

Malvin, wasted, restless sleep and major hang over haha

Blue eyed sea urchin.

Flowers on the mangroves.

Flower boy Marlon, bitch haha!

Big Corals seen during lowtide:

The 2nd island we visited is as amazing as the 1st, this time it had some locals, animals and houses. It was also were we had lunch. We even saw some tiger sharks, sad to say they were dead. We were very disappointed with the locals, because these creatures are tourists magnets and for them the poor animals are just food for the table. Maybe they need to be educated about more about marine mammals? Some of us (including me) took a nap for a while. An hour here felt like 3-4 hours, time seems slow and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Tiger sharks up-close.

Tiger sharks being held by Jon.

By lunch time, we were all starving, and boy did we love what we had. Lotsa fish, fried and with sabaw (soup). After that we tried visiting another island which had caves, but due to time constraints we just sailed close to it. Its really beautiful, the corals on the side of the island cave was the size of a boulder or even bigger. 

We then went to this final island we went at, which had a nipa hut where we again had rest (yeah beach bum life man!). The corals, mangroves, crustaceans, and the aqua blue sea was really amazing and awesome! If only I had brought enough battery for my digicam, I could take pictures every minute.

Crusty the crustacean

Roses among the thorns

Dried fish, one of the best food in the Philippines!

More corals beside the mangroves.

The rest house where we took a nap.

Group shot.

More beautiful islands we couldn't get enough of.

Gary looking for more souvenirs.

There was this white house which had a third floor, and on the roof top you could see a bird's eyeview of the surrounding islands. Man, we couldn't get enough of the beauty surrounding us. Thank God for places like this, for the beach, the trees, islands and the beautiful sunny skies.

Lastly, we went to this floating hut, but one wrong move/fall your dead. Why? Sea urchins lurk the aquatic blue beneath. After that my camera went dead, I had no more charged batteries.

Wallpaper anyone?

Bird's eye-view on one of the island's highest point:

Last stop, floating beach house:

One wrong move, you're dead meat.

Sea urchins lurk beneath.

We went home, rested and left the island around 2am. Upon seeing my bike being placed on top of the jeep with the stanchion hitting one bar of the roofrack, I asked the conductor to remove my bike. Me, Gary and Malvin decided to bike back going to the Anawan port. It was raining, dark, cold and muddy, hell what's new? we've ridden in these conditions before haha its just another adventure for us. The rest of the gang rode the jeep with their bikes on top. We were just 15 mins. behind them. Another 3 hour trip back to Real port and 3 hours more for the road trip back to our homes. Its one of the cheapest rides and beach trips I've ever had. We just spend more than 1,500 pesos.

Thanks to Allan for organizing this. Thanks to Gary for the hitch. To the rest of the gang, thanks for the great company, the fart moments and the unending laughter, sober or not. ;)