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December 11, 2013

Riding the Trails of Sta. Ines

The ride started with a favorable weather. Everything seems to be great and uneventful until we got to Kinabuan falls. It began to rain...hard. The river's water level turned the calm currents into raging torrents. Crossing rivers to get back to our vehicles became a difficult, if not impossible, task.

Needles to say, we got to the nearest Barangay after traversing dark, narrow, steep, mountainous and muddy tropical jungle carrying our mountain bikes at 7:00 p.m. The leeches, large ants and spiky foliage made it even more unforgettable.

The locals advised us to wait until the water subside and just spend the night at the Barangay Hall. The people there were very accommodating, they provided us with a bathroom with clean water and a place to sleep. They also assured us that our bikes are safe from thieves. We are still worried about not being able to inform our loved ones about our current status because of the non-existence of mobile phone signal.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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November 6, 2012

Solo Bike Ride from QC to Boracay

I'm not gonna let the long weekend pass by without doing some riding. I decided to go on a solo bike ride to Boracay... Actually, my initial plan was to go to Lubang Island. I'll tell you more about it later. I left our house in Novaliches exactly 6:45am. The plan was to leave at dawn but my alarm clock didn't seem to cooperate. I'm headed towards Batangas Port. The ride going to there was uneventful, bought something to eat when I feel like eating, take CR breaks at gas stations when I needed to go.. you know... :D I just loved every moment I was pedaling. Uphill, downhill, loose, soft, slushy, I loved it all. The cold wind on a sunny day was something I really enjoyed. I guess that's one of the beauty of riding solo. You ride at your own pace. Like they say, Riding with friends is good for the heart, riding solo is good for the soul.
... I got to Batangas port at around 4pm. I asked around where I can buy a boat ticket going to Lubang Island when my phone rang. It's my wife telling me not to proceed to Lubang island anymore. Her friend told her that the waves going there are pretty big this time of year. So i said ok, I'll just go somewhere else. My destination now depends on what ferry I'll be boarding. There's one going to Romblon, Calapan, Caticlan etc... Then I saw 2GO's offering; Batangas to Caticlan for only 750. Their boat leaves at 8pm then arrives at Caticlan port at 6am. Why not, Its getting dark already and I needed to take some rest after 135kms. I'll get my rest, my lodging for the night and my sea crossing all in one go. So I bought a ticket, they charged me an additional P250.00 for the bike.
Inside the ship, you'll be greeted by 2Go's staff like you're boarding a plane. They also have a demo on how to use the ship's safety equipment. Unlike a plane, there's no seat or rather bed number assigned to your ticket. I settled to a bed near the window so I can easily jump out in case the ship sinks. The ferry left Calapan around 8pm and expected to arrive at Caticlan port by 6am. I have 10 hours to kill. I took a shower, ate dinner (4 large banana I bought at 7-eleven) and updated my wife of my location then tried to get some sleep. As I was about to fall asleep, a family with 7 kids transferred near my bed. The kids was shouting, crying and producing all sorts of noise known to man. Other passengers were also annoyed with the noise and started throwing "shhhh" at them. I put on my earphones and cranked up the volume then tried to get some shut-eye. I was awaken by the ship's P.A. system announcing that we're nearing Caticlan port, that was 5am. By 6am, they announced that our arrival will be delayed. We arrived at Caticlan port at 7am.
Kids from hell...
...preparing to deploy.
At Caticlan port, I bought a ticket for another boat ride going to Boracay. Two tickets was issued to me, one for me and one for my bike. I paid the terminal fee (P100.00) & Environmental fee (P75.00) then boarded a small boat headed to Boracay. The porter helped me put the bike onto the boat's roof. I was worried about getting my bike thrown off but the boatman assured me that it won't fall off. Thank God It didn't. After that 15 minute boat ride, I'm finally biking in Boracay. I wanted to take more photos but my phone's battery got drained. I need to have it charged. I didn't bring a camera, just the camera phone, the Nokia C7. I looked for a place to have breakfast where I can also re-charge my phone. I saw this small "Lugawan" with a power outlet near the table. So I went in, had bbq and lugaw then re-charged my phone. Stayed for 45mins then off to explore the back side of the island.
I followed the map on my phone and just kept on riding till there's no more road.
...as I go further, the road started to get narrower.
...going, going, gone! It's the end of the road but the sea at the end of it was a worthy trade off. I carried my bike down to the beach. There were a few fisherman there gathering their catch. I tried walking my bike to see how far I can go around the coast line. Not very far it seems. So I took some photos then head back and tried another road.
The road going to the Bat Cave was more to my liking. Single tracks made of corals. Not a good place to go face planting. I saw some abandoned houses there. I wonder why they left their home. I continued pedaling till I get to the end of the track. I ended up on another side of the beach. The "other" side of Boracay, non-choking, less commercialization, less human, less fumes. I didn't see anyone there just some dogs.
...not a good place to go face planting.
I can't describe the feeling of being able to get to this marvelous place using my bicycle. I spent about an hour enjoying the place & taking pictures. I was getting hungry, I decided to head back to the main beach (White beach) to get something to eat. By this time, my arms and legs are starting to ache, not from too much pedaling but from sun burn. I don't like the feeling of having sun block on my skin. I also forgot to bring my arm warmers.
Having my lunch at White Beach, the congested side of Boracay. While having lunch at Deco, my wife called telling me to book my ferry ticket early. When I booked my ticket the other day, she told me to also buy a ticket going back. I didn't take her advise. I thought, this isn't like a plane where seats get sold out. I was so wrong.
After having lunch, I dropped by 2GO's ticketing office. It's just walking distance from White Beach. I told the guy at the front desk to book me on the ferry leaving tonight. The guy said, "Sorry Sir, fully booked na po pati bukas". I'm dead. My wife is going to castrate me for not taking her advise. I hurried back to Caticlan port to try my luck there.
At Caticlan port, I tried buying a ticket going back to either Batangas port or Roxas port but all tickets had been sold out already. People who went on vacation are already coming back. I can't spend 2 more days here since I have to be back at work by monday. I'm starting to feel hopeless when this old man called my attention and asked a couple of bus conductor if they could accomodate me and my bicycle as an extra passenger. 2 of the bus conductor he asked refused. They said they are jam packed already. The porter asked one more conductor, he didn't say yes but he just issued me a ticket. P850.00 for a bus trip going back to Cubao. I was so happy. I get to keep my balls.
The trip going back home was a bit more tiring. I have to travel by bus and go thru 2 ferry rides. The first boat ride was from Caticlan to Roxas port in Mindoro, travel time takes about 4 hours, followed by a 2-3 hours land travel to Calapan port then board the ferry again going to Batangas port (2 hours boat ride). The bus ride from Batangas port to Cubao takes about 3-4 hours. I was able to get to Cubao by 6:30am. I just pedaled from Cubao to Novaliches. I'm just glad I got home safe. Here is the list of all my expenses;
Click here to see the rest of the photos... All photos are from my Nokia C7