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Monday, 29 September 2014

PHILIPPINES RIDE AND GETAWAY (February 2014)

I met some fans on the road and they complained that I didnt write as much these days. Adehhh... Okey....okey....okey....I know I had promised to write earlier, but I really didnt hv the time. Theres always a new ride before I even manage to write the previous ride's story. As a matter of fact, as time of writing, I just came back from my Indochina ride with DJ, my brand new Honda CB500X motorbike, thus making a total of 3 ride stories which I havent written yet. I'm sorry....I will try my best to publish them ASAP.


I did my Philippines ride (which I combined with a backpacking trip) during the previous Chinese New Year holidays in February. I was having some personal matters which involved in a BIG change in my life, so I need to break free from all the sadness and headaches. I chose Philippines as I had never visited this country before. I rented a kapchai for about RM30 per day from a bike rental company. During this combi trip, my route started from Manila – Batangas – Boracay – Kalibo – Angeles City – Alaminos – 100 Islands – Bauang – Baguio City (via Naguilan Rd) – Rosario (via Marcus Highway) – Alaminos – Angeles City – and finally finishing in Manila before flying home.

Manila Bay

Jeepney, a famous public transport in Manila
Local seller at Baclaran
Steamed corn is a must try in the Philippines....soooo sweet


Philippines definitely was a very beautiful country. Boracay Island for example was a tropical island surrounded by stunning white sand beaches that in my opinion, even the beaches in Thailand cant compete. The sands were so fine, the beach was so clean and the sea was so very blue. It was a good time lazing on the beach sipping my ice lemon tea while watching people and the boats sailing under the golden rays of the sunset.




Due to typhoon warning, I had to reroute my ferry ride to reach Boracay

A very nice hotel which I stayed in Boracay....but I forgot the name :)
Nice view of the ocean seen from Mt Luho view point

Puka Beach

Willy's Rock


The lovely White Beach....the water was crystal clear...I just cant get enuf of this beach!!





100 Islands, on the other hand,  was a lovely area on the coast north of Manila. As the name implies the region was dotted with numerous tiny islands. Boats can be caught at the "Lucap" wharf, which was 5 kilometres away from the city of Alaminos to look around. Some of the islands had beaches to which one can explore, laze or swim in the sea. Typically the boat will leave you for several hours on your own private beach, but in my case, I opted to camp at Governors Island, which was one out of the three islands permitted for tourist to camp.









Alhamdulillah...TQ Allah for the beautiful view



I had to climb a hill to get this view


The next morning, the boat came to fetch me and send me back to Lucap Wharf. I took my bike and rode via coastal road to Baguio City. As in Vietnam, riding in the Philippines were not for the faint hearted. Traffic rules were close to non existence. Drivers drove or rode as they pleased, switching lanes as they liked with little or no interest at all to warn other road users. There were few times that I almost hit a tuk tuk or a motorcyle due to this behavior even when I had practised caution at all times.



The scenery after Dagupan was nice as I was riding along the coast with the view of the blue South China Sea accompanying my ride. I passed lots of small villages, and I could see some boat houses or houses built on rafts. Once I reached Bauang, I turned right to Naguillan Rd heading to Baguio. The road narrowed and I had to be careful as there were quite a number of pot holes along this stretch. The view was  beautiful however with lots of greens and terraced hill for me to feast my eyes. 







Finally I reached Baguio and settled at a cute and nice guest house – the cheapest that I could find in the internet, yet comfy and very English.


The dining room
At night, I took the opportunity to visit Baguio's interesting night market.



The next day was filled with sightseeing at this mountain resort town. I first went to Tamawan village. It was quite difficult to locate this place as there were 3 similar villages as according to the google maps. Another difficulty was to pin the location in my GPS as the road names stated in the GPS and the google map were different. After enlarging my eye balls to the maximum, then only I manage to find the exact location and saved it in my GPS. The road to this place was quite steep. Thank god that I’m using a small bike, so it was not a big problem for me to handle the machine while sharing the road with other vehicles.

The name Tamawan was from an indigenous word meaning “vantage point.” The village was established by National Artist of the Philippines Benedicto Cabrera in order to promote the local art scene. The village consisted of authentic Ifuago and Kalingahuts on hilly terrain. Visitors to Tamawan may watch artists at work, attend art workshops, have their portraits done, view exhibits, watch cultural events, and purchase artworks.





The huts of Tamawan were authentic, made by traditional Cordillera methods using no nails. Each one was taken directly from the highlands and refurbished using authentic materials. The roofs were thatched with dried cogon grass. The Ifugao huts were made of hard wood. Perched on stilts on different hills, each of the huts had a ladder carved from 
a single tree trunk. Traditional tribal motives were carved on the structures and on some of the trees. There were traditional musical instruments too and I took the opportunity to take pics with the artiste.




After Tamawan, I headed to Camp John Hay which once used to be a recreational facility for the U.S. Armed Forces, but now is the site for one of the best golf courses in the country. The course was surrounded by gardens, picnic spots, parks, a skating circle and an amphitheater. Visitors can also explore the property by hiking through trails that wind around the hills and forestry.





Later I went for a short visit to Wright Park and ‘The Mansion’, and after to SM shopping mall to shop for souvenirs.




The best place to shop for cute lil souvenirs
I checked out early in the morning to avoid rush hour in Baguio. It was not difficult to navigate my way to exit this city. Instead of taking the same Naguillan Rd, I took Marcus Highway all the way to Rosario. The ride on the paved winding road was nice and was filled with beautiful view. I enjoyed green paddy fields and beautiful river at Rosario. After that, it was the same way to Dagupan and Alaminos, before I send back the bike to the rental place.









From Alaminos, I took a bus to Angeles City and then to Manila for flight home.

Another new experience gained riding in the Philippines. Theres plenty more to explore in this beautiful country.

I’ll be back. Thats a promise....


NASTIA

Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')