March 3, 2021
BY RICKY MONTECILLO
Last February 27, we had brunch at the popular Father’s Nook in Ibaan Batangas. It is a cozy and rustic restaurant cafe owned by Don Luansing.
They serve delicious Filipino cuisine and Don himself manages the place. He said that they’ve been operating for more than 40 years already. It’s a pretty decent place, decorated Filipiniana style with old wooden furniture and capiz window accents.
They serve the famous maliputo, Lechon kawali and other pinoy specialties. Too bad they didn’t have kapeng barako at the time.
It isn’t a long ride going to our camp destination, Mt. Banoy. It is in Batangas near the City. We passed via Ibaan and the roads near the Fortune cement factory.
I like passing thru Barangay roads. It gives you a feel of the provincial life where the vegetation is thick and the air is fresh.
We rode thru small barrio roads going up Mt. Banoy and as we went further up, the roads became narrower and steep.
And then the pavements became dirt and then as we neared the summit, the road became steep, rocky and rut-filled. And for big adventure bikes, it was difficult and challenging.
The more experienced riders Resty, Sael, Ruel, Mhar and myself twisted on the throttle and allowed the intelligent BMW GS do it work. Man these bikes swallowed those ruts and bigs rocks like small enduros.
As soon as we parked are bikes at the Camp site, we hiked going back to assist the others. When I turned the first bend, there were 2 bikes down. And some waiting.
When this ride was posted on The Long Riders group in Facebook, they said it was “GS friendly”. If friends were this difficult, who needs enemies. But no, the big adventure bikes did make it up but not after many bloopers and bike drops. Luckily, nobody got hurt and it was all we talked about all night.
Speaking of friendly, we meta local who rides a Bristol 500 and who, like us, is also an adventure rider. This local is an all American white dude who stood bigger than his bike.
“A ready smile goes a long way” Erick Flickinger says. And despite his bulky size and towering height, he is quite friendly and he immediately connected with the group.
A 20-year US marine veteran, he lives nearby. He retired from service and is enjoying life in Batangas together with his wife who is a dentist.
“I’m tall and my bike is low. Perfect for any terrain.” Erick always says. This is why we like adventure riding, you meet all sorts of folks in the most unexpected places. Imagine meeting a local who is a foreigner.
Bernard Soriano and his gracious wife Rosalinda was our contact to Mt. Banoy. They know the owners of the tracts of land there. They’ve lived all their lives there.
Bernard runs a small carinderia down by the main road and he cooks a mean adobo. He took care of our needs. He prepared our food, brought lots of drinking water and tables and chairs.
Bernard made our camp comfortable and fed us well. He also sports a ready smile and is very hospitable.
It is amazing that just a few kilometers from the city is a mountain top, a perfect campsite that offers a 360 degree view of Balayan bay, the whole of Batangas City and farther you can see Mt. Maculot, Mt. Malarayat and also Mt. Banahaw.
The weather is cool in the afternoon even with the sun out. It gets chilly at night and the winds keep blowing.
We parked our bikes and set up camp. We marveled at the place. Mt. Banoy is not so high but high enough to get us a feel of being on a mountain top, with the fog and clouds floating around us.
And as the sun was setting it gave us a spectacular show of the golden hour. The orange sun set on the west side and almost at the same time the full moon started to rise. Magical.
It was exhilarating. A spectacular show of nature so beautiful.
Mt. Banoy may soon become accessible to more visitors as the roads get completed. Bernard says that it will connect to Lobo.
There are three towers near the campsite serving as antennas for radio, tv and telecom signals. That’s where the bath and toilets are. Bernard knows the caretakers who are kind enough to let us use the restrooms.
Erick liked The Long Riders group. He said “I like what I see. You guys are impressive. You ride well and I feel the camaraderie.” Guess we will see more of Erick.
Mt. Banoy is only a short ride. But with the scenery, the tough climb and downhill ride, the cold night and cold beer, it was like we rode faraway.
You have time for an overnight adventure? Mt. Banoy is it.