Story by: Nelen D. Pelayo
Road Machine Riders kicked off from Lower Bicutan Taguig City to Baguio City with an ultimate goal to reach Atok Benguet. Composed of not less than 10 riders, equipped with Suzuki Skydrive, Yamaha FZ and Honda, this will be our first Baguio (estimated 300 km) and the longest drive so far. While distance from Baguio to Highest Point for around 46 km.
Preparation includes brainstorming about road signals and safety guidelines, motorcycle tune up rides (Jariel’s Peek, Real Quezon, Rosario Batangas and Cavite. This will allow riders to check for the condition of the motorcycles and to run-through with a safe travel.
Day 1 starts at 1AM of March 24, 2016 heading to Roxas Boulevard to avoid the heavy traffic of Edsa due to Holy Week Holiday rush. We passed by C3 road to 5th Avenue, Monumento then McArthur highway. First gas up in San Fernando Pampanga (3:30AM) then we stop at Victory Liner, San Roque Tarlac City for a coffee break (5:30AM). Next gas up at San Vicente Urdaneta around 7AM,noticed one of our rider seems missing then suddenly we saw a glance of her motorcycle bound towards Tarlac. Technology is of aid as we are able to contact her. Bulalohan house beside the Gas station is so inviting, time to load our tummies as breakfast is being served. Traffic congestion on both sides happened after Binalonan until the intersection of Marcos Highway and Kennon road, even motorcycles can’t pass through. We choose Kennon road for a shorter travel going up. There goes the Lion’s head, sign that we are finally in the City of Pines.
The transient house we rented at Guisad welcome us at exactly 12:30PM. Exhaustion came in after 12 hrs., however the cool weather was obvious, we felt more of excitement rather. After a couple of minutes, we went to SM Baguio for lunch then time to take a nap, re-charge for the night’s itinerary. No time to cook so we decided to have our dinner in “Night Market” a place where you can find variety of food, accessories, garments, shoes at a more reasonable prices. We stroll after at Burnham Park and call it a night at 2AM.
Day 2, gear up at 9AM from Guisad road Baguio City to Halsema Highway, a national highway in the Philippines (Bontoc, Mountain Province). Attested to what they say, the highway was considered one of the most dangerous highways in the world. Commuters, transporters, tourists, riders and residents coming from Baguio or Mt. Province drove this route, braving steep crags, narrow and sheer drop offs, some more than 1000 feet. But the road has now improved, and it’s a lovely trip by an asphalted road tracing a circuitous path, that crosses the massive Cordillera Central mountain range on the Island of Luzon though there were areas that don’t have a safety barrier yet. Almost two hours going up to the highest point seems a never ending ride for us but as we reached the top, the apprehensions switched into relief, excitement, moreover an achievement for the riders and its motorcycles. A pride indeed for the riders along with its road runners to be certified and on top of the highest altitude with 7,400 feet above sea level.
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As we go back to Baguio we did not missed to drop by the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad Benguet. They allowed tourists to pick fresh lettuce, strawberries, broccoli and many more. Though the price is higher than the market, still quiet one of a kind experience. In front of the Farm are several stalls for vegetables, fruits, foods and souvenir items to shop. Of course we went back to the house not empty handed. Dinner time starts at 9PM along the Night Market then more shopping until 1AM.
Day 3, our final destination before going home, Mines View Park, Botanical Garden, The Mansion and lastly Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. We started at 7AM until 11:30AM, can’t imagine the time pressure but we did it. Long stories untold visiting them but tourism really boosts because of these significant places. Our last stop is where we gave thanks for the breathtaking and secure travel. At exactly 12:30PM we leave the Cordillera Region with a smile on our faces saying until we meet again. Travelling home we took the same route, no traffic this time. So we choose Edsa then C5 going to where we started.
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It’s not a perfect ride as we have minor glitches along the way. Overall it’s a successful one to Road Machine Riders and its members. Until our next journey, we will see places with so much passion to motorcycles (our road runner).