Last Sunday, I really wanted to ride my motorcycle. But then I also really really wanted to ride my mountain bike. I was itching to ride my MTB in Tanay again and reacquaint myself with its beautiful watery trails. I was also aching to ride my motorcycle along the twisty mountain road known as Marilaque as I hadn’t done a proper ride in several weeks.
Since July, I had been riding my mountain bike and franken-roadbike during the pitifully few days that I was not clocking in at the office. I had been training for the Brusko race (because sometimes even slackers need to train so they don’t suck). After the race, I thought that I could finally have some quality time with my motorcycle, but the weather just wasn’t cooperating.
Just as I was dusting off my riding jacket, Kuya Kim comes on TV with an evil grin saying: “Teka lang bro. What’s that in the langit? Its… typhoon Isang/Jolina/Kiko! Ang buhay ay Weder-weder lang! Nyahahaha! (insert thunder sound effects here) hahahaha.”
But last Sunday, thanks to a confluence of cosmic factors, the sun was shining and I had some extra time for a day long ride. Motorcycle ride along the beautiful open road of Marilaque, or MTB ride in the awesome mountain trails of Tanay? Damn decisions! Thankfully, I could ride them both on the same day.
The custom bike rack for Falcor, my Royal Enfield, was really paying off. After less than half an hour of fiddling, I got my bike rack mounted on my motorcycle, and my mountain bike mounted on the rack. The process was actually a little easier than mounting a rear rack on our car (which we sold last year because me and Travel-Up figured that two-wheeled vehicles were all that we needed).
The day before, I actually biked from UP to Cabading and loathed almost every meter of the way through Masinag and Cogeo because of all the smoke belching jeepneys and trucks. At least with Falcor, I could zoom past the clouds of diesel fumes instead of sucking that abominable toxic air into my lungs.
When you’ve blast past Cabading, the road really opens up and you enter a kind of Zen while motorcycling.
Cruising at around 90kph with the engine breathing beneath you, the wind in your face, and the mountain vistas unfolding before your eyes, the experience just feels like religious enlightenment sending your once sinful soul into a state of grace. When some riders say the open road is their church, this is likely what they mean.
Unfortunately I was snapped out of this state of grace by some noob on a Fino who overshot a curve and nearly ran smack into me. These reckless riders pushing their machines beyond their riding skill level can do more than just ruin your day, they can also get you killed even if you’re being careful on the road. Madadamay ka pa.
After an hour or so of riding, I got to Martessem, which was going to be my base of operations for the day.
I rode out at 8:30 AM, and got there at around 9:30. By 10:00 AM, I was ready to go mountain biking to… I really didn’t know. I had no plan that day. I could go to Sta. Ines again, or maybe to Laiban Dam again, or check out this trail which supposedly led to Mt. Binutasan.
In the end I chose to just bike down to Laiban and take it from there. Mt. Binutasan would have to wait for another time as I didn’t want to do a solo ride up in an unfamiliar mountain as I still had to get home before nightfall or else my feline overlords would be much displeased.
So down to Laiban I biked. The fast downhill was as exciting as ever. However, since my dropper post was malfunctioning, I resisted the temptation to let go of the brakes and go balls to the wall.
On reaching the river I thought about visiting Laiban Dam again before doubling back and seeking the trail to Sta. Ines.
The current, however, was strong and the river deep. There was a trail on the side of the cliff, but it was barely enough for just one man, and I had to carry my bike along the way. It was like cliff-scrambling while carrying your bike–not a lot of fun when you have this phobia about drowning.
After a few hundred meters, I decided to turn back and just search for the trail to Sta. Ines. I asked around the community, and they told me that all I had to do was follow the dirt road.
“Diretsuhin mo lang,” they said. Seemed simple enough.
Until the road ended in singletrack and then practically disappeared. I encountered a few hikers who gave me tips on how to get to Sto. Niño (not Sta. Ines) and tried my best to fathom their directions. Apparently I had taken a wrong turn and wound up on the trail going to Maysawa waterfalls–which wasn’t that bad, but apparently Tanay charges you a fee for visiting that site, and you also need to pay for a guide.
I doubled back to a house I passed and asked for directions. Apparently there was a shallower part of the river which I could cross.
After this stream crossing, I did a few more dips in the water. But the directions were pretty straightforward at this point.
Less than an hour of biking and hiking later and I was in Sto. Niño. I could opt to bike further into Sta. Ines, but it was already 2:00 PM at this point. If I wanted to get back home by 5:00 PM (visa problems!) I need to start pedaling back to Martessem.
As anyone who has visited Kinabuan Falls in Sta. Ines knows, the ride back to the highway is anything but enjoyable, unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
Fortunately, despite the lay off from biking for the past days, I still had enough endurance in my legs and lungs for the ride back.
I got to Martessem at around 3:30PM, had a late lunch and mounted my bike back on the rack. After a late lunch, I was ready to go back to Metro Manila.
The motorcycle ride back to UP was blessed with a perfect sunset.