BY RICKY MONTECILLO
September 5, 2016
Catanduanes is an island province in the southern Philippines. When people hear of Catanduanes, what immediately comes to mind are Typhoons. Whenever the country’s weather bureau announces in the news of approaching typhoons, this island is usually mentioned as a reference point. Fr. Raymond Aldave, assistant parish priest of the St. Lawrence Deacon and Martyr Parish in Baras, said that “Out of the 10 strongest typhoons that hit the country, 6 of them passed through Catanduanes.”
But the island is much more than just that. To our surprise and delight, we discovered how wonderful Catanduanes is. Our motorcycle group, THE LONG RIDERS, embarked on a 3 day 2 night ride-all- you- can adventure to Catanduanes and in such a short stay, we were treated to the wonders of the Island. I wish we had more time, but that’s the way for us workingmen, work hard and ride harder!
I will take you to the island through the pictures we took and hopefully I can capture for you our awesome adventure ride.
We took the work off last Friday, September 2 to meet up early morning at the Caltex gas station in the South Luzon Expressway. We rode all of 9 hours to Tabaco Albay in Bicol region. From Tabaco Port, we took the ferry to San Andres, Catanduanes.
The sun was scorching and we had no sleep when we blasted from Laguna all the way to Tabaco. We rushed to register our bikes and buy tickets for the ferry. Good thing Brando Goyena, a native of Tabaco, helped us facilitate our ferry arrangements. It’s always good to have friends to help us out.
The ferry had few passengers and the air conditioned section had a lot space. This made the 3-hour long trip comfortable and we were able to re-charge. When we arrived in San Andres Port at around 4 pm, we had a very late lunch in one of the eateries in the port. After our meal, we made our way to the nearby site, Mt. Cagmasoso.
Night time had fallen as we rode to Virac, Catanduanes. It is the center and capital municipality of the province and we checked in at the Rakdell Hotel. It is a stone’s throw from the Virac Cathedral and the Pier. Our home for 2 days. Clean rooms with strong water and air-conditioning. Food is also good and the staff are efficient and friendly. After freshening up, we changed into comfortable clothes and rode for 30 minutes to Baras. Our new friend Fr. Raymond Aldave hosted dinner at the convent of St. Lawrence Deacon and Martyr Parish, Baras, Catanduanes. We were served lobsters, pancit, chicken curry and Pugita (baby octopus), with fried rice!ent/uploads/2016/09/IMG_3471-1024×683.jpg” alt=”IMG_3471″ width=”1024″ height=”683″ millie and miguel locals riding in tandem. bagamanoc.>
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The unpaved roads and darkness prevented us from continuing the loop. We almost dared to proceed if not for the locals telling us otherwise. Before heading back to Virac we stopped over at San Vicente. We saw a small local store which had some fresh sea food for sale. How lucky can we get? Dead tired, dehydrated from the sweltering humidity but still in high spirits (riding does that), we bought some fresh lapu-lapu, pork bbq and rice.
The locals cooked the food for us and we had a sumptuous meal right there by the road side. It was getting late and we had yet to make the 3-hour ride back to our hotel in Virac! Talk about long riding, this takes the cake.
Recharged with good local food and drinks, we headed off back to Virac. It was getting late and we still had to ride through the mountains back to Rakdell Hotel.
irac.jpg” alt=”Night Ride to Virac” width=”960″ height=”540″ /> Night Ride to Virac
We finally reached the hotel close to midnight. But this didn’t stop the guys from having a last round of drinks to cap off the Catanduanes epic adventure. The lady bartender had to request them to leave so the staff can also rest at around 2:30 am.
Restie, Randy and I retired to sleep earlier than the guys and woke up to have breakfast. This also gave me an opportunity to walk to the nearby Cathedral and hear mass at 9am.
alt=”Diocese of Virac Cathedral” width=”1024″ height=”768″ /> Diocese of Virac Cathedral
We checked out at 11pm to ride back 30 mins to the San Andres Port where we had lunch and boarded on the 1pm ferry to Tabaco. This time the ferry had more load and the passenger section was full. However the trip was a bit faster and we arrived before 4pm in Tabaco Port.
We were warmly greeted by Brando Goyena again but this time he was all suited up in riding gear! He rode a black 650 cc Kawasaki Versys and he wanted to take us to a short side trip to the Mayon Rest House and the Kawa-kawa site in Ligao! So after all that riding in Catanduanes, there we were making more trips in Albay! There goes our promises to our families to be home by Sunday.
Kawa-kawa hill is a tourist destination in Ligao City. It is a religious attraction as it show cases the larger than life stations of the cross built around a 500 meter trek. At the peak, you can see the view of Ligao and Tabaco cities.
It was time to go home finally and it would take us 9 hours of night riding at high speeds back to our families. No worries cause they were all fast asleep by then. Another epic long adventure ride with The Long Riders! This blog hopes to immortalize the experience. I thank God for the safe, blessed and enjoyable adventure. Vvvrroooommm!