Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 2: Quirino to San Emilio (Ilocos Sur)

Date of bike ride: April 11, 2009

Day 2: Quirino to San Emilio (Ilocos Sur)

NOTE: I've got a long story to tell. So if you don't wanna read just scroll down at the pictures, but if you decide to read on it'll be worth it, promise.

The next day, when we woke up, the Marfil family prepared breakfast for us. What a treat! tsktsk we were already in debt to them the night before and still they kept on being generous. Manong Rene's parents (the Marvil seniors) visited their son and we had a bit of chitchat with them. 

We shared stories of our family and their family's history/background. We learned that their baranggay is "Madapoy". We are really grateful for the generosity they showed. To the Marfil family we owe you a lot! To our suprise they even provided us pabaon. tsk tsk thank God people in the province really have good hearts.
above: Some of the Marvils leaving to visit their relatives at another town.
below: Ate Mildred with Junio and Vei

After the pictorials me and Vei started pedalling. Barely a kilometer away from Madapoy is the Abra river. One word describes it- WOW! Man, all the uphills, flat tires and technical downhills we went thru truly was worth it! Speaking of flats, right after the arch sign of the nearby baranggay my front tire went poof* This time its easier to vulcanize since were near the rice fields' water system.

The Abra river is really really vast and wide, some portions were dried up but still it is one big kickass river. As we were biking along the side of the Abra river, we came across a sea of rocks, it was hard to bike on it coz it was a bit slippery but it was fun!

We couldn't tell where we need to cross, then we asked the local fisherman and saw this line on the river where the jeeps pass. After crossing, there was still this small town/baranggay where in we paid a visit to the local police. We asked for the vulcanizing shop and eatery. Vulcanizing shop was closed. After eating we asked around for directions going to Tirad pass. The police was very kind and even gave us directions and drew a map for us.

The Abra river and the Ilocos mountain range

A sea of rocks

Crossing the Abra river

above: Vei looking at another town in Quirino and the mountains we need to assault
Below: Quirino Municipal Hall

There were even locals who thought we were with Romy Garduce's show haha (but ey anything's possible). Then we came across this basketball court where there were 2 roads, one going left and the other, right. The house on the corner said that the both roads lead to Tirad pass but the right one is more bike friendly, the left is for trekkers only. We asked if they right road will lead to the Tirad Pass monument they said yes and that is also the way to "Skyline". 

It was already noon and boy was it hot. The Sagada-Besao cool breeze was gone. After a few pedals/uphill we were already sweating heavy. The 1st 2 mountains we biked was really hard because of the heat, though there were mostly shaded parts of the road. 
Vei's bike chain broke.

Then single-speed Vei's chain was pushed to its limits, it broke. Buti nalan, we kept a few of the links from the earlier derailler incident. Still the view still amazing. We could see the river where we came from and somehow told us that we were high above ground. It showed us the mountains we crossed.

When our water was already half empty, we saw this campsite and found this natural watersource the police was describing to us. It was time to refresh.Ü 
Vei freshening up at a natural water source.

Awesome view of the Abra river and the towns/mountains we've crossed.

Then there was this short downhill which again had lots of sharp rocks. I had my tires lose some air but was too soft for the rock garden we just passed. My rear tires's interior had 3 holes back to back, so I had to patch 6 holes total. Vei was kind enough to lend me all his remaining patches coz I only had 1 left.

We kept on biking till we saw this view of the Abra river and the towns we were at this morning, boy were we high! 

It was again getting dark, the view of the Abra river was getting a bit blurry and it was also getting cold, meaning were near the peak. So far no signs points to the Tirad Pass. Then we reached what Manong Rene Marvil was talking about: "Skyline", where you could see almost everything, Abra, Ilocos Sur sea and sadly we saw Tirad Pass which was 2 mountains away from us. We were a bit dissappointed because we wanted to reach Tirad Pass and see Gregorio Del Pilar's historical monument.
After pictorials, we rested for a bit and decided to pedal since it was already getting dark again and also cold. Again, the same as yesterday, we are still at the peak and we have no idea how far it is from the nearest town. This time there were less rocky downhills but portions were still very steep and a bit slippery. My bb7's were put to its maximum test, good thing we had good lights with us which made possible to nearly an hour of downhill to the nearest town which is San Emilio. 

We ordered sodas and ate the rice the Marvils gave us along with the Hunts Pork&Beans I brought with me. The girl who was at the store offered us kakanins. People in provinces really have good-natured hearts. The boy who gave us our 2nd order of coke, even guided us to the nearest town plaza, after we finished watching "Cast Away" at Studio 23. The boy named Emilio, rode his motorbike and assisted us to the nearest basketball court. We slept at the stage, which was just a few meters away from their church. 

Again it took us nearly 12 hours for this ride.
That's how dark it was on the mountain peak. 1hour downhill in pitch black.

Our campsite, San Emilio, Ilocos Sur town plaza on an Easter Sunday.

The next day we packed our things and took pictures around for the last time. Its already Sunday and its work day the next day. We have decided not to bike to Candon from San Emilio, due to the fact that the hours of travel will be long, it will be hard to catch a bus coz many will go back to Manila after the holidays and it will be traffic along the expressway. From San Emilio its just an hour travel to Candon, by jeep.
Packing up our bikes for the trip to Candon, Ilocos Sur.

Candon, Ilocos Sur

When we reached Candon, we went to Chowking. It what was we were daydreaming for the past few days. The Chowking Candon branch was the best tasting Chowking food I've had ever! Along the way I still took a few shots but we had to take an ordinary bus since it was already 11am and we were standing waiting for a bus to Manila for an hour already.

It was quite a trip. We'll be back in Tirad Pass that's for sure. Thank God for people like the Marvils, the Rogers, the local people who helped us without hesitation or knowledge of who we are, may God continue to bless them. Thanks again to Vei, my patient and fun riding bud. Thanks to those who ready my long effin' blog, it took me a lot of hours to recall our trip and upload these pics, I appreciate your patience. I hope you enjoyed viewing and/or reading my photoblog.
Vei: Man, this was just what we were daydreamin' days ago!

The best tasting halu-halo I've had!!!

Tofu and Fish in Tausi Sauce

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