BY RICKY MONTECILLO
October 3, 2018
Calvin Hew is from Taiwan and his work brings him here in the Philippines. I’ve ridden with him a couple of times already with The Long Riders. He rides a tall KTM and like most of us, is also afflicted with the moto-adventure fever.
We were surprised when he admitted that it was his first time to see a waterfall up close and personal. Dipping in its cool waters and frolicking with the guys like school boys on a field trip. “Really?! Your first time!?”
It was also his first time to experience giving away toys and some goodies to the local children and folks in the sitio. He looked so amazed while he handed out some candies to the kids and coffee and canned goods to the adults. “We should do this again before Christmas” Calvin suggested. We told him, “We do this all the time.” It is The Long Riders’ way of giving back.
Alilem is the first town of Ilocos Sur, just after the boundary of Sudipen, La Union. We rode from Manila last Saturday, September 29, 2018. The ride is about 250 kilometers from Manila, but since we were a big group of more than twenty motorcycle riders, travel time took longer.
The route is rather simple. Drive North thru NLEX-SCTEX and all the way to last exit of TPLEX in Pozzorubio. With big bikes with very big engines, it won’t take one long to reach Sudipen, La Union, where we were to check-in a hotel.
Meet up was at the usual Caltex gas station in EDSA Balintawak at 5:30 am. Some of the riders had little sleep because of excitement. Believe it or not, even veteran riders get excited before the ride day and can’t get enough sleep. Unlike waking up for work, we get up even before the alarm sets-off.
It was a big group last Saturday and it felt like a reunion of sorts. Randy Ypon and Thiery Sbaiz both haven’t ridden with us for several months and it was good to see them back in the saddle as if nothing changed.
Randy with his BMW scrambler riding steady and consistent as leader of the pack and Thiery riding fast and wild like a tornado on wheels.
We also had some first timers to the group. Doc Gabriel on his Honda Africa Twin, Jim ___ on a Duke 390. Richie Lim, the son of Long rider Tom Rolly Lim, both riding their new Royal Enfield Himalayans.
It was nice to see Rolly and Ritchie riding as father and son. It was Rictchie’s first time to ride with big bikes and his dad guided him all throughout the ride.
All in all we took off with 23 big bikes such as KTMs, BMWs, Honda, Kawasakis, Himalayans! and a Ducati!
First stop was for brunch at the Soul Cafe in Rosario, La Union. We had a hearty brunch there and stuffed ourselves for energy for the long ride.
Unfortunately, some of the guys had some bike trouble and were running late. Some of the other bikes had no gas gauges and ran out of fuel in the expressway, while one other bike busted a fuel line.
We had to wait for them in Soul Cafe, which took some time so we divided the group into two. The first group headed on to set-up the place. They found a very nice hotel, El-Lita in Sudipen, Ilocos Sur. It is a mid-size resort, with a big swiming pool, clean rooms and good food. Perfect for riders like us.
We all got there before 4 pm and we checked in the rooms, freshened up and got ready for some good ole’ tunggaan. “Bottoms up!”
We drank and partied like frat men on an out of town session. We had lots booze and lots of storytelling which we cannot remember anymore.
The following morning, we ate early breakfast before getting ready to ride to Alilem to trek to the Anito Waterfalls. We wore helmets, shoes and gloves but with only jerseys and short pants. We rode thru barrio roads up the mountains. It took us only about 30 minutes to reach our jump off point.
Nothing like riding in the mountians, with the views of the mountain ranges, rice fields and lots of trees. The fresh air of the province is so refreshing and the wide clean river below is enchanting. We stopped over for some photo ops as we posed with our trusty big bikes with beautiful nature as backdrop. Unli selfies and group shots, 1-2-3!
First, we went up to this small isolated village in Bais. Barangay Anaao is a small community with not so many folks. It was a Sunday and some of the locals were hearing mass in their tiny chapel.
We gave away toys, candies and some goodies to the locals who couldn’t believe their good fortune. Sael Requierme also gaveway some pre-loved used but not abused clothes.
Here was a bunch of strangers on big motorcycles, approaching the people and being friendly. It is so heartwarming to see the looks on their faces, the curious stare of the oldies and the wondrous smiles of the littles ones.
Actually, it’s who we are as the Long Riders. This tradition of sharing and reaching out just to make others feel happy and special, in turn, makes us all feel really good inside. “Some things you do for the soul.” as an old friend once said.
The hike to the Baey Anito Water falls is friendly enough and takes only aout 20-30 minutes, depending on your hangover.
Finally, we reach the waterfalls. We jump into the cool fresh water! to wade and swim! We hang out and wade in the basin, simply experiencing the wonders of nature.
Just staring at the mighty water falls, with the powerful water pouring down is always a joy to experience. The sound of the falls and the gushing water is soothing.
We do this often. Ride, hike, share and bond. I guess Calvin Hew just got bitten with the The Long Riders’ bug and I think we’ll be seeing more of him in future adventure rides. Next time, he’ll just have to check on his gas tank more often.