Ferald and I went on our first motorcycle road trip together when we were in the Philippines last July. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of trip. We were only supposed to visit his dad's grave in Taal Batangas but what I didn't know was he has other plans and that I was in for a road trip I've never done before.
Feralds brother is a seasoned rider in the Philippines. With the growing traffic in Metro Manila, he chose to ride their motorcycle on a daily basis rather than to commute and use the public transport. On weekends and free days, he used to go with big riding groups to places like Baguio, Cagayan, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and many other wonderful places.
This idea of traveling by motorcycle thrilled us both. Just in time, his sister got herself a brand new motorbike. A Yamaha Mio-Soul 125 CC. Ferald borrowed it and took it for some sort of test drive to Batangas with me as his back rider. I've never been to any far-flung places in the Philippines on a motorcycle. This was the first.
We kicked off from my in-law's house in Laguna past 8:00 am. From Cabuyao, Laguna, we rode via Tagaytay without stopping and reached Taal, Batangas roughly around 11:00 am. I only managed to take this photo of Taal Volcano whilst on a moving motorcycle. I promise to take you around Taal if you read on.
We went straight to the cemetery where my father-in-law was buried. Lighted some candles, say our prayers and waited till the cemetery caretaker cleared the weeds creeping in his tomb. We passed by Taal wet market for Tablea (raw cacao) for friends back in Dubai and Tapang Taal (cured beef) for my mom. We ate lunch in a humble cafeteria that's serves the best pinakbet I've eaten in a long time.
It was my second time in Taal Batangas, the first time was way back in 2011 and it was nice to be back.
The City of Taal is famous for its ancestral houses which I love a lot, balisong (pocket knife) and barong Tagalog (embroidered formal shirt made from pineapple leaf fibers and the national dress of the Philippines).
If only the walls of these centuries-old houses could speak. I wonder what secrets it can reveal.
Even the ones that remained to be restored give a hint of its old grandeur
While some affluent owners have kept theirs in tip top shape. Some probably with the help of the local government.
We were actually just passing through but since we are already in the area, we made a little snooping around.
We headed next to Basílica Menor de San Martín de Tours -Taals 400 hundred-year-old church, built in 1575. It is considered to be the largest church in the Philippines and in Asia.
Back to our motorcycles, we hit the road again. Rode towards Nasugbu Batangas - Ternate Cavite road first heading to Kaybiang Tunnel up in the mountains.
We passed by Nasugbu town proper, took some souvenir shots and visited the church.
We have a lot of beautiful old churches in the Philippines so make sure to pass by if you happen to see one
Even with overcast skies, we pushed through with the trip. After the town proper of Nasugbu, we zoomed our way up to Kaybiang Tunnel passing lush green mountains
spilling to the road down the hill
vast green open spaces
Hamilo Forest Park
before we start our ascent to the mountains
up until we reached our destination.
Welcome to Kaybiang Tunnel.
|Kaybiang Tunnel - Nasugbu Entry Point|
I don't remember what time it was when we reached the tunnel and for how many hours we've been riding. It seems that the time stopped. We were so consumed of the beauty of the surroundings, we lost track of time but never mind.
|Inside Kaybiang Tunnel|
|Light at the end of the tunnel :D|
|Kaybiang Tunnel Ternate Cavite Entry Point|
We were wet and cold so we stopped for some coffee. There was a small shack beside the tunnel that sells everything from snacks to small grocery items to some souvenirs. My BIL (Brother-in-Law) wants to take us up further, apparently, the view is great and there are so many monkeys that roam the road, something we must see.
Warmed up by the hot coffee, we road again to the almost deserted road, not one soul to find.
Occasionally the road gets covered lightly by fog and mist which really make it all the more amazing.
Further up is a dead end but with the grandest view of the Limbones Island
Limbones Island was the "eye" of the Philippines and American soldiers during the WWII. Due to its geographical location facing the South China Sea, it was easy to spot incoming ships. It endured multiple bombings by the Japanese forces during the height of the war but no one was permanently stationed in the Island, hence no casualties.
Unfortunately, we didn't find monkeys, there was just one which is probably checking out if we brought food.
We spent a good half an hour drinking in the view of this place before we start our descent after seeing that there was a drastic change in the weather.
On our way down, it started raining heavily and there was no place to take shelter. We were still soaking wet when we reached Nasugbu Town proper again. We searched for a good place where they served Loming Batangas to warmed us up. It was late in the afternoon when we reached Tagaytay and we lost our chance to take photos of Taal lake and Taal Volcano. Nonetheless, our eyes were full as well as our hearts.
It was a long scenic ride. If I counted it right, we probably crossed eight mountains and I'm not kidding but it was one hell of a ride. The next day, my body was aching badly that I needed to take some paracetamols but if you will ask me if I'll do it again, I definitely would!
See you soon Sagada!!!