Moto-adventure Ride to Camarines Norte

October 27, 2020

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

Gauging by the heavy traffic at the South Luzon Expressway on the way back from Camarines Norte last Sunday, the people from Metro Manila have started to travel on road trips to getaway from their homes and quarantine restrictions.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, but the people feels the need to go out, travel and socialize or suffer from anxiety and depression. We are social animals afterall.

We just need to observe the basic protocols of avoiding crowded places, keep social distancing, wear masks and always washing our hands. This has become our new normal and is actually a small inconvenience rather than being locked down at home living a sedentary and lonesome life.

The Long Riders Motorcycle group or TLR secured the needed travel and health permits as we planned on a 3-day adventure ride to Camarines Norte. TLR founding member Jojel  Ecat, who has settled in Daet, Camarines Norte, was our local coordinator.

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Robert and our host Jojel Ecat with care Apuao island care taker

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Jojel on his BMW GS 800

He is a great host. Together with his childhood classmate and adventure tour group organizer, Nano, they arranged for our hassle free stay in Cam Norte. They booked us in the Palm Farm Resort in Cayucyucan town. For a very reasonable per head fee, we had two big rooms, dormitory-style with aircon, clean bunk beds and toilets and baths. Our accommodations were a big plus and made it convenient and comfortable for us.

Our tents stayed in our bikes.

Our package included all our meals, prepared bicolano style from dinner, fresh seafood, pulutans, breakfast and picnic lunches by the beach.

From Manila, it is about 350 kilometers to Daet. Riding on our elephant big bikes, it was enjoyable and fast.

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Carlo Escover on his KTM 990

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Sael Requierme on his BMW 1250 Exclusive

While we planned on this adventure more than a month ago, we didn’t foresee that Typhoon Pepito would pour heavy rains into Cam Norte on the days prior to our trip. Lopez town in Quezon was heavily flooded and two days before we took off, the highway was clogged by 6 kilometers both ways.

But we have guardian angels and the heavens smiled on us on the day of our departure on October 23. Pepito’s rains had gone and the floods in Lopez subsided considerably to allow us to pass. The waters were low enough for us to cross the flooded portion.

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Flood waters in Lopez, Quezon

Cris, who rides a Harley Davidson, was worried because his bike is low compared to the other adventure bikes. He rode thru the waters without hassle. All part of adventure riding.

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Cris Nulud’s Harley Davidson

Jojel and his rider friends from Daet met us at the military check-point as we entered into Calauag, Quezon. From there we rode to Daet, had lunch in a road side carinderia where we ate local food like laing, sinigang, and paksiw na baboy. The elderly couple owners were overwhelemed as we hungrily ate their food. Normally, they would serve by the saucers and just count them afterwards to be billed.

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Lunch break and some

We were so hungry that Restie, the leader of the pack, started to get the entire cooking Kalderos and served them to us. We had a hearty lunch, because we were so tired from the long ride from Manila.

And then the rains started to pour. Rain drops as big as coins fell and visibility became zero. We thought it was not stopping, but Jojel said that we just had to gear up and ride through it. He said that it was not raining in Daet anyway. And so we all suited up our rain gears and started to ride to Daet, which was still about 60 kilometers away.

Funny how fate plays tricks. In full rain gears from head to toe, no sooner had we got on the road, the rains stopped, making us all feel warm and suffocated. It’s like putting on your raincoats before going out of your of the house with rain boots. Then as you start walking, the rains stops and the sun shines. Again, such is adventure riding. You never know what comes ahead.

We arrived at the Palm Farm Resort just before dark. Jojel and Nano had prepared a welcome pica-pica spread for us, like VIP visitors. Dinner was also set-up consisting of fresh sea foods, and local delicacies. Nothings like fresh provicial food cooked local sytle.

They set-up a long table and chairs by the beach where we spent the night washing down our worries and city-stress over cold beer and high percentage alcoholic drinks. Enough to drown all seriousness away.

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TLR tradition. Kanpaiii!

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Cris Nulud with beer in hand.

In the morning, most of us were up early to catch the sun rise. The day was perfect for the much awaited island hopping boat rides. Cam Norte boasts of its Siete Picadas or seven islands in Mercedes town.

We rented several bancas, and luckily ours had all the cold beers on board. Sael Requierme, called our boat the “mahiwagang banca” and its occupants were like the students usually seated in the last row of classrooms, Roland, Ron, Ruel, Sael, Doc Glenn and myself. A cast of characters straight out of the movie “Hangover”.

We got to see two of the best islands beause we chose to stay long in the last stop, Malasugui island. First was the Apuao island. It is an islet with white sand beaches on both sides. The entire area is also filled with pine trees, making for a picture perfect scene.

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Apuao Island with pine trees

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Apuao Island dweller and caretaker

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Zach Renia

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Virgin and pristine Apuao

There is no resort there and it is being maintained by a private owner. Only the caretaker family lives there.

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Mike Yan yan and Restie

We also stopped by the nearby Barangay community, where the locals lived. We gathered all the young children in their multi-purpose basketball court to giveaway some toys, slippers, candies and some cash. Seeing their predicament, you can’t help but feel sad for them. So many poor children.

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Children of Barangay Apuao

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Rodel hands out cash gifts

We promised to return one day to conduct a medical and dental mission for their Barangay. We’ll just wait until all quarantine restrictions are lifted.

Malasugui was our second island. It is a sand bar with a small dwelling in the middle. Doc Von Evangelio had the bright idea of having our lunch fetched in the Palm Farm resort and brought to the island.

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Robert, Michael and Restie

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Mhar Isip and boodled feast

We enjoyed the clear blue water of the beach with white sands. While wading in the cool waters, we exchanged banter and laughter. Afterwhich, we had a sumptous lunch boodle style, while observing safety protocols.

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Doc Von Evangelio – Shot

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Doc Von

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Cris trying to recover from hangover

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Robert in Siesta mode

God was kind enough to grant us this one day of perfect weather, to enjoy nature, forget our woes and be away from our work and problems. Cam Norte is just the perfect place of moto-adventure riders like us to enjoy our bikes on the trip, discover the wonderous works of nature and relax. One day of fine weather was more than enough gift from heaven for us.

Before heading home, we went to see and ride along the Cory Aquino Boulevard in Bagasbas town. It is said to be “Longest Boulevard in the Philippines”, about 9 kilometers long. It is a scenic ride along the beaches of Bagasbas and connecting towns. Before the Pandemic, this is known as a popular surfing town. It might be a good idea to go back here once the surfing resorts and bars start to operate.

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Ruel on a BMW GSA in Cory Aquino Blvd

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Bagasbas “Longest Boulevard”

And as if making up for all the joy and good weather during our stay in Cam Norte, our trip back to Manila was as wet as can be. Typhoon Quinta had arrived and heavy rains accompanied us all the way from Camarines Norte to Metro Manila.

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Carlo Escover on a Super Moto

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Group prayer before heading home

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Heavy Rains from Typhoon Quinto

And just as we came nearer to home, the SLEX was jampacked with vehicles, making our ride home at night, amid pouring rains, quite challenging.

Still, all part of adventure riding.

Posted in #COVID-19 PANDEMIC, Experiences, Motoadventure, Motorcycle adventures, Places, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Morning Breeze in Sariaya, Quezon

September 24, 2020

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

With all the quarantine lockdowns for the past 6 months, people just need to get out, breathe and socialize a little. Otherwise, we go crazy.

Morning Breeze Beach Resort is not too far from Metro Manila. The drive would normally take only less than 2 hours when you pass thru SLEX onto to Star Toll and exit via Ibaan.

Morning Breeze Beach Resort

From there you pass the  Quezon Eco-Tourism Road which starts from Rosario Batangas to San Juan and to Candelaria. Morning Breeze Beach Resort is located along the Eco-Tourism Road in Sariaya town, Quezon. A short trip.

However, The Long Riders or TLR did not take the easy short ride to Morning Breeze. We took the longer route via Los Baños, Pagsanjan in Laguna onto to moutains of Cavinti and exited in Tayabas Quezon.

For motorcycle riders like us, it was a longer, better and more scenic route.

We had brunch at the Tita Dels restaurant in Pagsanjan and surprisingly the food was terrific and priced right.

Tita Dels Fiesta Cuisine

Rodel, Carlo, Restie, Randy, Ricky and Bong

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Crablettes

We had Crispy Pata, Kare-kare, Crispy Crablets and Balaw-balaw. The place has rustic castillian design. It didn’t take long for the food to be prepared and the service was efficient and friendly.

Pagsanjan is a traditional tourist spot, because of the famous Pagsanjan Falls and its shooting the rapids ride, and maybe it’s the reason why establishments are used to giving good service and best native foods. Hopefully, when our not-so-friendly-ghost Covid-19 leaves, tourism will return to Pagsanjan.

Our ride thru the Cavinti mountains was pleasant and was a much-needed breather. It’s been months since we have ridden long enough. The fresh air and rich vegetation of Cavinti gave us a feel of being motorcycle riders once again.

The roads to Morning Breeze Beach Resot was paved all the way until we turned right into the dirt road towards its entrance. It’s been raining the past days and the road was muddy and had some water-filled ruts.

Muddy Trails

Restie Renia, TLR’s guru, who surveyed the place a couple of weeks ago kept this muddy portion as his surprise. A ride won’t be complete without some tricky dirt roads and this was wet and wild. Sneaky.

And so we proceeded with our big elephant adventure bikes on a quick and dirty pass.

Morning Breeze Beach Resort is a small resort with some modest rooms and bahay kubos. After several months of quarantine and no business, it is only now that they are starting to accept visitors. Covid-19 is still infecting people and Sariaya is being careful.

Rodel Velasco

There weren’t many people in the resort and it was tranaquil and peaceful. Some of the guys pitched tents and some slept in the small aircon rooms while others just occupied the small huts by the beach.

We parked our bikes near our quarters and the place looked like a Touatech Addventure event.

Jake and his Vulcan

Hippie on a Harley – Cris

The owners Ate Rose and Kuya Eugene showed us good ole’ provincial hospitality. They made us feel welcome and ensured our comfort and safety during our stay. The gracious couple and their staff prepared our dinner, some snacks and breakfast.

Ate Rose

Coffee and Corn with Kuya Eugene

During the afternoon happy hour and into the night we had some brotherhood bonding, sharing stories and joking around.

The beach sand is color brown and without any artificial Dolomite white sand. The waters of Tayabas Bay was calm during our stay and clean. We took an afternoon dip to cool ourselves.

The community still manages to catch fish from the sea for livelihood and family consumption.

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The children of Morning Breeze community were also delighted in receiving the toys, new slippers and other goodies from us. Children are magic and their innocence is always inspiring.

Children receives goodies

Beneath the bad-boy-macho image of motorcycle riders, we do have soft spots especially for the less fortunate. This habit of giving goodies to poor children whenever we ride is signature TLR.

Waking up to the fresh air of Morning Breeze, we strolled by the beach. There were fisher folks pulling their nets towards the shore. The air was cool and there was some slight morning drizzle. Two rainbows appeared.

Morning Catch

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Ricky with the rainbow

Feeling relaxed and rejuvinated, now we can head back home to our families. Thanks for the short but enjoyable ride with The Long Riders!

Atty. Paul Yusi

Posted in Experiences, Motorcycle adventures, Places, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Hidden Baliti Dam in Arayat Pampanga

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

September 2, 2020

It was Araw ng mga Bayani or National Heroes Day last August 31, 2020, making it a 4-day weekend.

The National Capital Region is still under General Community Quarantine because of the game-changer COVID-19 pandemic. I haven’t been out riding my motorcyle for several months and it was the opportunity to breathe, even with a surgical mask, and get out in the open road again.

The Long Riders actually planned this trip earlier in August to celebrate the birthday of our veteran member Tito Peter Barrientos. He is well-known in the big bike commumnity and is well respected.

Tito Peter Barrientos and Jimmy Vidal

But towards the original date of the ride, the government reinstated the status of the NCR from GCQ back to the stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine. So we had to cancel.

And so the Team led by “Bahala-na-si Batman” Restie Renia reset the ride for August 31 to Porac, Pampanga. We also planned to share some relief goods and gift items to the local Aeta community up the mountain where we were camping. More than 25 riders and friends signed up and several came in SUVs and 4×4 pick-up trucks while 8 of us brought our motorcycles.

It’s good to be back riding!

At the meeting place, Restie announced to the group the sudden change of plans. Apparently, the Aeta community requested to postpone our camping trip because many of their residents were uncomfortable with visitors, for possible in infection from COVID-19. We had to respect that. There’s always a next time.

Atty. Paul Yusi who is from Pampanga then suggested and offered his piece of property up at the foot of Mt. Arayat. So we all agreed to go there, raring to enjoy the mountain, nature and a bit of relaxing.

Arayat is not so far from Manila. It’s only about 120 kilometers and not even a 2-hour ride.

Before heading off to Arayat, Paul brought us to his favorite kambingan in Angeles Pampanga where we had brunch of kaldereta, sinigang and of course papaitan soup.

Doc Von starts the warm-up

Doc Glenn Latorre and Carlo Escover Enter a caption

At the karinderia, Doc Von, and Jimmy Vidal started to warm up with scotch whiskey to prime the day.

Some of the SUVs and pick-up trucks went ahead of us to Mt. Arayat. We arrived shortly after and learned that the advance group missed the spot and drove further up.

Doc Ron, George and Roland at Paul Yusi’s farm

Doc Ron, Ricky and Carter ready to camp

The problem was one of them, Jake Yu and his kids, got stuck in mud. The rescue truck, a fully equipped Toyota 4×4 Hi-lux, also slid down a deep rut of mud.

Jake Yu, “I should’ve bought a 4×4”

We had to go up in Restie’s Ford Raptor to rescue them. We hopped on the Raptor’s bed with Tiger beers in hand.

Rescue Team

Rut and Mud

After a couple of hours, all the stranded vehicles were able to drive back down to Paul’s property. But when we arrived, the caretaker said that they had left and drove down to the JJTan Resort.

Whew! The resort was a relief.Rather than roughing it up in the mountains with limited facilities, with mud and rain, JJTan offered rooms, a clean camp site, food, service and swimming pools. Paul and Carlo Esvover talked to the owners to accommodate us.

Baliti Dam, Arayat Pampanga

When you ride with the The Long Riders, such twists of fate, of good fortune happens all the time. Who would have thought that we would end up there? JJTan resort is owned by John Tanchueco.

The place right beside the Baliti Dam, which is a water reservoir, and also used as the local tourist spot. It is closed at the moment because of the quarantine but normally it operates as a boating and fishing place. It helps the local government raise funds,too.

And so the ride, camp and socially distanced merry making began and seemed to never end. I thought alcohol made people relaxed and sleepy but I was wrong. Between the antics of Jimmy Vidal, Roland L, Jake Yu and the rest of the gang, the energy was just overwhelming. We just kept going and going.

Let the games begin

Tito Pete, Ricky, Ray De Lima and Rodel

All those days in quarantine and the anxiety the pandemic has brought upon us must have stored all those laughter and plain good vibes expload. After all, we are social animals.

Green Label

Robert and Tito Pete

The Baliti Dam is surrounded by thick forests and has the view of Mt. Arayat. We walked early in the morning around the dam and the fog in the mountains and green forest, with the dam made for a refreshing walk.

The Long Riders at Baliti Dam with Brgy. Capt. Julio Puno

Pay Time

We met with Barangay Captain Julio Puno after breakfast and had our group picutre taken. We talked about a possible medical and dental mission for his barangay.

With Barangay Captain Julio Puno

JJTan Resort and the Baliti Dam in Arayat was what we needed.  A fun-filled relaxing day by the mountains, with dear crazy friends. Happy birthday Tito Peter, Sael Requierme and me too.

Till the next Adventure!

 

Posted in Experiences, Motoadventure, Motorcycle adventures, Places, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Haay Covid-19, Sana Mawala Ka Na

July 23, 2020

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

God it’s half the year already and our not-so-friendly ghost COVID-19 is still very much with us. The numbers are staggering, with than 14 Million people worldwide infected and about 615 thousand deaths.

Here in the Philippines we have more than 72 thousand infected and almost 1600 deaths, if we are to believe the numbers. However, I suspect that there are much more infected than what is being reported.

People are dying by the thousands every single day. Friends, family, rich people, poor people, mothers, grandparents, fathers, sons and daughters, everyone. Nobody is safe.

My family is fortunate, so far so good. We are all healthy and we are being careful. My wife and I still have work and my adult children are all productive, safe and secure. God has been very kind to bless us.

Staying at Home during Quarantine

Pandemic Teaches Tina How to Cook

But I cannot help but fret and feel sad everyday, as I watch the news and read what’s happening around us, around the world. COVID-19 is really something else. What are you? Who are you? Are you the last of your kind? Where will this pandemic bring us?

The more I think about it the more I get distressed.

Driving along the Metro Manila streets, you see all those people walking under the sun wearing masks and going to work somewhere far without public transport. Notice the sudden increase of bicycles and the delivery motorbikes, too.

Try and look at people’s faces. You only see their eyes and they seem distraught and desperate. My heart goes out especially to the poor people. Life has already dealt them with inequality and a hard life. COVID-19 serves as a death blow.

You see our kababayans every morning lining up to the Palawan express, LBC or Western Union to get remittances from their OFW relatives to whom they rely on to survive. And then you hear of thousands of OFWs now stranded in foreign lands because they are being laid-off. Paano na?

Jeepney drivers are begging in the streets, while folks like me drive by in our SUVs. There is a news item about OFWs in Saudi Arabia selling blood to survive.

Covid 3

Like many, I also turn to our faith for solace and hope. I believe that things will improve because man is resilient and God is good.  Filipinos are survivors, too, able to smile and find something funny in every situation. Thank God for K-Drama, Netflix and Tik-Tok.

It also helps that the liquor bans are lifted.

My take away at this point, is for us to be grateful if we are okay. Jack Ma says that “To survive, is to win.” This rings true not just for business, but for lives as well.

The silver lining for me is being able to spend close quality time with my family. Because we are at home, we learned to cook, clean-up the house like never before and wash dishes after meals. I also believe the young generation, our children, who are experiencing this pandemic will come out of it as better persons.

Already, many young entrepreneurs are spouting on-line. There is a revolution happening among our youth. They are adapting fast to this new normal of social distancing and working from home. With not many jobs available, many are turning into creative business ventures starting with baked sweets, snacks, home-cooked food, culinary specialties to the many items for online shopping.

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The COVID-19 is bringing so much suffering, but those of us who survive, especially the younger generation will become strong independent minded persons who will make this world a better place in the future.

As for feeling sad in seeing other’s sufferings, let’s still be human and show our empathy and charity.

Haay COVID-19, sana mawala ka na.

Stay safe everyone!

Posted in #COVID-19 PANDEMIC, Experiences, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MOTO-SURVEY RIDE TO TIMBAC, BENGUET PROVINCE

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

Mt. Timbac, Atok, Benguet Province

Mt. Timbac is said to be the 3rd Highest mountain in Luzon, next to Mt. Pulag and Mt. Kabayan. The locals plant vegetables like broccoli, carrots and cabbage. For many generations, the Timbac locals carved the mountains into terraces for vegetable farming.

Lately, adventure seekers and nature lovers are starting to discover the beauty of Mt. Timbac. Rather than going to crowded Sagada, visitors are trickling in to this cool and quiet spot on earth.

It’s a fairly easy ride by big bike. Timbac is only about 300 km from Manila via Baguio. From Baguio it’s about a 2 hour ride.

The route takes you to the long and winding Halsema highway.

Unlike in the past, Halsema is now busy not only with the small trucks filled with vegetables on its way to the Trinidad market, but also has a lot of tourist vans and private cars going to Sagada.

Good thing Restie, Mhar and I rode our elephant BMW GS 1200s, and with Mhar spearheading like a police escort, our travel time was faster.

Riding in the mountains is always a joy. The scenery is breathtaking and the weather cooler.

Visitors of Mt. Timbac are advised to register first at the Atok Municipal hall Tourism office. There the office can inform you of the van rentals going up and also the several homestay places for accommodations.

We didn’t know that. We just went straight up.

We rode along the Halsema until we saw the sign on the right going up to Mt. Timbac.

There is a steep access road going up that takes you to the Mongoto Elementary School. The road is narrow and steep and it would be good to be alert for on coming vehicles.

When we reached the Mongoto School we stopped to inquire with the locals where we could stay. The school was holding a meeting that day and there were a number of people.

Luckily, we were approached by Joyce Camsel, a friendly lady who pointed us to the house on top of the mountain where we could stay and camp.

Joyce and her husband Salvador own the place and they host many visitors most weekends. Their nephew Wilfredo and niece Aileen are the ones who will take care of our needs.

Willy
Aileen

The narrow roads turn into tire paths and become rather tricky because of has some tight uphill turns. This may be challenging for big bike riders. But hey, what’s an adventure without challenge.

When we reached the place we parked our bikes by the road side, unpacked and brought our stuff up to the homestay. The house is newly built and it can house a lot of people. They charge 400 per person a night.

We chose to camp further up the mountain to experience the nature, marvel at the 360 degrees views and feel the 10 degree temperature or maybe even colder.

We pitched our tents on the small campsite. We bought some canned goods for food and 4×4 Ginebra Gin to keep us warm for the night and to extract some truth to our storytelling. Some things maybe forgotten the morning after but that just means we had fun.

Willy set up a bonfire for us and joined us at the campsite. The site is about 100 meters up and quite a hike for matured knees. Yup no toilets. You’ll have to hike back down to unload.

The Gin washed away our tiredness and lifted our spirits 80 proof. Willy told us about life in Mt. Timbac. Their existence is simple. The men tend to the vegetable farms the whole day while the women takes care of their children at home.

Mhar nag iisip

They are Igorots. The local dialect is Ibaloy but many speak Ilocano and tagalog. Willy has three young children, two are twins. He said that hopefully their spot will be discovered by more visitors and so they can earn more.

We sat by the campfire with old pine woods burning to keep us warm. The night was chilly but the conversations and the gin made for a great combination until it was time to sleep.

First shot

Restie woke us up before dusk for us the witness the sunrise.

That was the experience of Mt. Timbac. Standing there at the mountain top with 360 degree views of the Benguet and Cordilleras mountain ranges, with the chilly breeze of the morning, we watched, took pictures and thanked the good Lord for a wonderful morning.

But no matter how great Samsung phones capture the scenes, the site is really “for your eyes only”, which means that nothing beats being there and feeling it up close.

That same weekend, some photographers were also there because they photographed the Milkyway.

Makes for the best memories, of wanting more of nature and thanking the universe for its genius.

Friends, go to Mt. Timbac. It’s just off Baguio, escape the city life and feel the healing powers of nature. And you get to ride your motorcycle.

Posted in Experiences, Motoadventure, Motorcycle adventures, Places, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

BECOMING PART OF THE KALANGUYA TRIBE IN SALACSAC, PINE FOREST

December 12, 2019

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

We fell in love with Salacsac Pine Forest when we first saw it a couple of years ago. In our first visit, we ventured to the place by hiking as we weren’t sure if we could ride our big bikes all the way up there.

Salacsac Pine Forest

Salacsac Pine Forest is in Sta. Rosa, Malico, Nueva Vizacaya. To reach there, one can take the normal safe route via Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, or the newly opened Vista Verde Trail via San Nicolas, Pangasinan. Normally the trip from Manila would take about 6-7 hours and depending on road conditions, it is faster via San Nicolas.

We rode and camped there early in 2018 amidst the virgin pine forest and gentle local people. We camped up the mountain surrounded by pine trees, with spectacular views of Nueva Vizcaya and Pangasinan. The weather is Sagada-like. We just fell in love with the place. It felt like it was made for us, The Long Riders.

Restie Renia with Next generation of Long Riders

While already passable, he Vista Verde is still under construction, and most of the roads are still unpaved and muddy especially when it rains. Adventure bikes and 4X4 pick-up trucks are best suited for the travel going up to Salacsac, Malico. It takes more than one hour from San Nicolas all the way up to Salacsac, Malico.

For adventure riders like us, it’s the kind of rough roads we love to ride.

We were so enamored with Salacsac that we held a Dental and Charity Mission there last September. Our group has two generous dentists, Doc Von Evangelio and Doc Glenn Latorre who selflessly treated the locals’ dental needs. They must have performed tooth extractions to more than 100 locals.

It was then, during our night of merry making at the Malico Inn, that we forged our bond with Malico’s chief tribal leader Alfredo Segundo. He is also the uncle of our friend, Malico’s barangay kapitan Lorenzo Segundo. Over food and drinks, it was agreed that the Kalanguya Tribe Chief’s family was going to adopt the group, to be one with the tribe and to be one with their family.

Doc Von Evangelio

Last November 23-25, to celebrate the birthday of Tatay Alfredo Segundo, he invited us to a celebration and also to perform the Kalanguya ritual of our adoption. The Long Riders sponsored three live pigs as our token offering.

Segundo Family with Restie
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As adopted brothers and sisters of the tribe, we can now call the Salacsac Pine Forest as our Home. “Ang amin ay sa inyo na rin” declared Tatay Alfredo.

Tatay Alfredo’s Birthday

The local tribesmen cooked the pigs, roasted them “kawa-kawa” style. The entire community attended the celebrations and we were made to wear the traditional Kalanguya costume and join their tribal dance ritual.

It was then announced to the entire community, that the Segundo family of the Kalanguya tribe was adopting The Long Riders as one of their own. 

Malico Dance Group
The Long Riders Elders

There was a sense of connection. They all made us feel welcome and we were humbled by their hospitality. 

The “Malico Dance Group” also performed for us, as did the local men and women folks, while the elders played their native gongs and drums. 

Who would have thought that this would happen? We are just motorcycle riders out for fun and adventure and as fate would have it, we are now part of the tribe. Strangers before, but now brothers and sisters.

Kuya Bong De Leon said it well while we were strolling in the camp site, he said that “like the seeds of the pine trees around us, they were meant by God to grow there. Where the seeds are planted is where one grows and blossoms. It is meant to be.”

Our wandering has brought us all to Salacsac Pine Forest in Malico. Maybe we were meant to call this place home and its people our tribe.  

The Long Riders Marking its Home in Salacsac
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Cementing our Bond With the Salacsac/Malico Community

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

Sept 30,2019

Last September 27-29, The Long Riders held a Dental /Charity Mission for the Salacsac, Malico Community up in the mountains of Nueva Vizcaya.

Salacsac and Malico has lately been our camp and ride destination because of its unspoiled nature. The weather is always cool, there are no crowds and not much commercial activity save for the small roadside vendors of saluyot or Kamote.

We have grown attached to the Malico community ever since we first discovered this quaint place about 2 years ago.

Our leader, adventurist artist Restie Renia, has befriended the tribal leaders in Malico, and promised the community that we were going to hold a dental mission there.

Restie Renia and Ricky Montecillo

The Long Riders

The community is visibly poor and the people are very simple.

Restie with the village beauties

And when we trooped up there last weekend with two of our tireless and generous dentists, Von Evangelio and Glen Latorre, and the gang of riders on motorcycles and pick up trucks, the townsfolks gathered in the school grounds with the look of innocent wonder in their faces.

Doc Von Evangelio and Zach Renia

Doc. Glen Latorre

Tina, Menchie, Glenda, Llane and Carissa

We were surprised of the crowd that came. All expecting to bring home something. Getting free dental teeth extraction, free reading glasses and new pairs of rubber slippers. We also distributed basic Medicine packs for each family.

Next Gen Jason Gerona and Zach Renia

Roland Olan Tom Cruz

Chieftain Alfredo Segundo and Malico Chairman Lorenzo

It is always deeply heart warming to witness and be part of The Long Riders’ charitable events.

Here we are, fun loving macho men and glam women with some extra resources to share, giving out a part of ourselves and bonding with the wonderful people of Salacsac and Malico.

Albert Carag Jr. , Roland, Ruel and Mhar Isip

Joseph Tan

Many riders from other groups gamely supported the Mission too and it is gratifying to see that the riding community is quick to lend their time, talent and friendship to The Long Riders.

Some of our wives and children also joined the mission.

It made it more special to bond with the next generation whom we want to imbibe the lessons of what we do as motorcycle riders, as a tribe, as one big happy and intoxicated comrades.

Mhar Isip

We capped the mission the our traditional ritual of downing bottle upon bottle of alcohol. What a scene. With the cool and scenic nature as our venue, we drank the night away, laughing and hugging and telling old and new stories again and again.

This story seems to have already been told many times over, about our rides and the anecdotes and funny times. It’s funny but we never tire of living the dream and telling them over and over again, and still laughing like we’ve heard them for the first time.

Doc Glen, Sael and Roland

Tina, Menchie, Glenda, Llane and Carissa

The Long Riders Mission in Salacsac, Malico was a huge success and we made the people there feel special. I guess that is the essence of charity. It’s not so much of the toys and goodies that we giveaway.

Kalangayan Tribal Chief Alfredo Segundo

I guess it’s because we make them feel special. It’s getting to know their names, their stories and giving them hope.

In turn, we also value their acceptance to be part of their tribe. Part of their family.

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KAPARKAN FALLS IS MADE IN HEAVEN

August 26, 2019

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

How else can one describe such a wonderful creation of nature? God must’ve have had an inspired moment when he made Kaparkan Falls. Carved out by mountain spring water throughout hundreds of years and never touched by man until only recently.

I never would have thought I’d see such a hidden gem here in the country, so majestic, just like an image from a fantasy film by Pixar and Disney. Artists can take a tons of inspiration from Kaparkan.

Kaparkan Falls is God’s work of Art

Our group of motorcycle adventurers called The Long Riders are fortunate to go to unknown but beautiful places in the country. We’ve seen many hidden gems, including numerous waterfalls but Kaparkan Falls just raised the bar for us last weekend. It is by far the best I’ve seen and it will be hard to top this.

Coming from our more than 400 kilometer ride to Tayum town, 5 kilomteres from Bangued, Abra, we checked out the Blu Gas station, our meeting place for the next day’s tour to Kaparkan. We booked our tour with Abramazing tours.

Farm View Inn

Tayum is a laid back town and is said to be a 5th class municipality. We looked for a place to stay for the night and fortunately we discovered Farm View Inn. It is a very provincial local Inn owned by old timer Roger Elveña.

As we inquired about accommodations, Mang Roger chatted with us. Turns out that he used to be a Police provincial commander of Bangued, and eventually ended up being elected as Mayor of Tayum, his hometown, for three consecutive terms back in the 90s.

Rescue, Mang Roger Elveña and Bong

He is very hospitable and engaging, and he strikes me as a kind hearted person. How I wish all politicians are as humble and kind as Mang Roger.

Abra, as most of us know, has always been considered as a political hotspot, because of local partisanship and the communist insurgency. However, Mang Roger says it is safer nowadays. (Just don’t watch the news)

We had the place to ourselves. All 15 of us and had more than enough space to park our big bikes.

We had a couple (of bottles) of drinks to relax and be merry. The Karaoke blared all night and it became Beatles Night. Let it be!

Beatle’s night!

We were all excited when we got up early for the 6:30 call time. We were going to ride a 6×6 military-like truck, along with 25 other visitors. The humongous truck was filled with passengers on the right, left and middle of its bed.

From Tayum it takes about an hour to the take-off point before the rough roads. As moto riders, we said that we could have just brought our adventure bikes. We didn’t know then how rough the roads are. Halfway through the ride, we realized that we couldn’t have made the it to the falls had we brought our motorcycles.

The Long Riders

In fact, the driver and crew of our truck had to install big chains on the truck’s tires for the muddy ride. While it is only a 9 kilometer travel to the falls, it would take us almost 3 hours! The truck ride surprised even our veteran 4×4 drivers in the group. All of us never experienced such a wild, bumpy ride ever.

6×6 truck fitted with chains

The ruts were so deep the truck’s tires were almost sinking entirely. The climbs were steep and the downhills trickier. It was also raining most of the time, which made the mud more slippery. Sael Requierme a 4×4 driver himself said, if not for the chains, we would have surely slid off the tracks.

Gladfully, our driver is an expert. He used to drive big trucks for logging runs. As for us, we felt like clothes being turned and twisted inside a washing machine.

We had to walk for another 30 minutes to reach the Kaparkan Falls.

The sight, the beauty of Kaprakan Falls washed away all our weariness. This is really made in heaven. No matter how we tried, pictures cannot really capture its beauty. Kaparkan Falls is really something we never even dreamed of.

Wern and Cris

Albert, Restie and Ruel

Century old Balete tree

Bong, Von and Wern

Randy

The journey is difficult. Rough and scary. But I cannot help but recommend it to others. Visit Kaparkan Falls and experience the tough journey but get to see God’s work of art.

 

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Mapita Falls Adventure

BY RICKY MONTECILLO

August 01, 2019

Mapita Falls in Aguilar, Pangasinan can be reached via its newly built roads up in the mountains of Aguilar. However, not all the portions are already done and there are some dirt and muddy parts.

When we got to the foot of the hills of Aguilar, in Labrador Pangasinan, we rode the muddy portions at the start. It was already in the afternoon and the rains had started to pour. We were riding our big and heavy adventure bikes and some of the guys were hesitant to proceed.

Owing to prudence, and in consideration of the other riders, we decided to turn back and re-sked our ride to Mapita Falls for the following day.

We were already a bit tired and famished after riding from Manila which is more than 300 kilometers away.

Weeks before, The Long Riders head Restie Renia surveyed the area and found the Olana Bed and breakfast in Labrador, which is a seaside resort. Olana Bed and Breakfast is owned by Nelda D. Mari and her British husband, who bought the resort from its former foreigner owners.

They spruced it up and made some improvements. It’s a nice and quaint place to stay when in Labrador, Pangasinan. It has four rooms and it is clean and the staff are very friendly and helpful. We met Nelda herself and she is very accommodating and hospitable.

There were 11 of us who checked-in and we had a pleasant evening of booze and banter. Laughter is really the best medicine coupled with Black Label and cheap Alfonso I. The riders are Restie Renia, Randy Ypon, Brando Rosales, Wern Asprec, Glenn Peñafiel and his sons Miguel and Pax.  Capt. Tin Nolasco and Kuya Bong De Leon, and new comer Luis Morelos. Almost forgot, me, Ricky.

Glenn and his group left early morning the following day for Manila to catch a flight and so we were down to 6 riders.

The roads to Mapita Falls were better the following day. The sun was out and it looked friendlier. Actually the roads were friendly and not technical at all. It went up to the mountains of Aguilar and gave us spectacular views of the mountains and the bird’s eye view of Pangasinan and Mangatarem.

There is a view deck at the top of the roads, which we had to hike. But Brando Rosales outdid us all and expertly rode his brand-less 500 cc. GS look alike up to the top!

Before we trekked to the Mapita Falls, we went down to a small barrio to giveaway the toys and goodies for the children, something we always do when we ride. It’s The Long Riders’ signature gesture of goodwill to bring smiles to the little ones. Sometimes we also do Dental Missions.

We parked our bikes afterwards near the jump-off point to Mapita, in a small rest house of a friend.

The trekk to Mapita was not so hard, less than an hour actually. But the locals can easily do it in 20 minutes. The hike was also pleasant as the weather was a bit cloudy.

Upon reaching Mapita Falls, we were happy to have conquered once more a hidden treasure up in an off-the-beaten-path destination. It’s always a joy to experience the adventure of riding, trekking and finally witnessing the wonders of nature.

Mapita Falls has two layers and each layer offers a small lagoon for dipping and swimming. Sadly, the lagoon have become shallow and muddy due to erosion from nearby road construction. Hopefully, the local government will do something about this and restore its former beauty. Still, it is a good place to visit.

After the Mapita falls trip, we decided to stay another night in a pension, dormitory type hostel in Alaminos, Pangasinan. It is the jump-off point to the island-hopping trips to the famed 100 islands.

The following day, we rode some 35 kilometers to Anda, Pangasinan, near the more popular Bolinao.

I’ve been there several years ago and I knew Tondol Beach in Anda is a beautiful white sand beach cove. It is like a sandbar which connects to a smaller island. There are several resorts and even on a Sunday, it was not crowded. Visitors from Manila and nearby provinces go there and the children playing on its shallow waters, frolicking in the sun and sand was just a perfect sight to relax.

On our way back to Manila that Sunday, we found this small restaurant in Sual by the road side, Sual Salakot. The food is very good and the place has good ambience, overlooking Pangasinan. You’d be surprised what you discover on such adventure rides.

We were “home safe” before 9pm in time to rest and re-charge for Mondays work. I guess we all slept with big smiles on our faces that night after a weekend of good ole’ adventure riding!

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Antong Falls

Antong Falls in Sison, Pangasinan is only about 220 kilometers from Metro Manila and is really just a short ride for us. From the Maharlika highway in Sison, we took a right turn towards Barangay Inmalog, which is the jump off point to Antong Falls.

On the first day, we were unable to proceed to the falls because we arrived already late or after noon time. By then heavy rains poured and we had to postpone our trek for the next day.

Wet ride to Asin, Benguet

Heavy downpour postpones our Trek to Antong Falls

Arriving at Riverview Water Park, Asin Benguet

We just proceeded to check-in at the Riverview Water Park in Asin, Benguet.

The ride going to Asin is quite enjoyable even as the rains fell. With our rain gears on, we rode to Asin Road, which is all paved but a bit narrow. It is winding and tricky. But the weather and the mountainous view makes for an enjoyable moto ride.

The resort is surprisingly well built and its rooms are clean. We booked a dorm type room which was enough for all 18 of us. The resort has 4 big swimming pools and several small ones with hot springs. If you go further up, the Asin road takes you to Baguio City.

What else does a group of 18 riding men do in a mountain resort? Of course we celebrated our weekend hall pass and acted like juvenile delinquents.

By 8pm, we downed several bottles and Johnny couldn’t walk anymore.

We checked out after breakfast the following day and rode back to Sison to Antong Falls. We arrived before lunch and our food prepared by the locals, were ready. Adobo, Nilagang manok with dahon ng ampalaya and steamed rice.

After lunch, we headed out for Antong Falls which to our pleasant surprise was only about half an hour away.

The falls is a regular picnic venue for many young locals. The water is refreshing. It has several levels and we enjoyed climbing up, swimming and getting natural massages from the strong gushing river.

Upon returning to the barangay hall, we gathered the children and distributed some toys and other goodies. The children’s joy is always infectious and we feel even better giving gifts to them.

And then we spent another day in a beach resort in nearby San Fabian, Dagupan.

We headed back home early in the morning of Sunday, just in time to spend Father’s day with our loved ones.

You get to learn a thing or two when go on long rides with our group. When we stopped in an intersection somewhere in Sison, as we were on our way to Dagupan, Albert Carag went down from his bike to buy something from the store.

When he came back, he was holding a plastic bag which contained an empty gatorade bottle. Then he smashed the bottle and threw it away in the trash can. “Pamarisan” he said.

It was a belief that when you experience something bad during the ride, like busting a signal light, you perform the breaking of a bottle to counter act the bad luck.

One time, Albert said, his friend did not do this after a minor incident, and he suffered a worse accident. The breaking of the bottle ritual probably disrupts the bad omen.

I also met for the first time Rajiv Murjani and Art Harrow.

Rajiv Murjani

Raj is a nice young fellow who you wouldn’t think is an airline Captain. He looks like a small young boy who went out to join a ride without his parents’ permission.

Looks can really be deceiving cause he rides a good looking BMW R9T scrambler, complete with crisp new riding gears. He also flies an Airbus regularly and modulates his voice over the PA system to sound authoritative.

Raj fit in perfectly with The Long Riders Motorcycle group. He is friendly and also a good sport.

Art Harrow on the other hand looks more like a 747 commander. He is of British descent and is tall and hefty. He is really a friendly fellow and has years of experience as a rider. The surprise of all was when we discovered we were actually school mates in grade school.

Art Harrow

We know common people but never really knew each other. We must’ve hung out with totally different crowds and I think his crowd were the good students. Funny how people can exist for several years in one campus and yet not bump into one another.

I learned from Art the importance of taking pictures of important documents such as your drivers license. He lost his wallet somewhere in SCTEX and his cell phone pictures at least contain his identification.

Lastly, I learned to make sure your battery is well charged and not old for a long ride. Good thing I have a portable jump starter.

And that my friends was our Father’s day weekend!

Master Chef and Visayan tycoon Sael

The Long Riders

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