BY RICKY MONTECILLO
What happens when twenty middle aged men go on an adventure ride on big bikes? They become kids again! Such is The Long Riders’ character.
Our destination was in Brgy. Malico in Santa Fe Nueva Vizcaya. I know, nobody knows where this is. It was only recently when the paved roads reached this piece of heaven.
It is about 300 kilometers from Metro Manila and after 6 hours of riding you hit Santa Fe and from the junction turn left and travel for about 15 kilometers of mountain twisties.
It is a hidden gem. Think Sagada 20 years ago. Cool weather, pine trees, mountain views and gentle people.
When we arrived at about 1pm, we parked our big bikes and like high school boys we scramble for our respective spaces in the front yard of Malico Country Inn to pitch our tents. Those without tents had cots in the main house with clean sheets and blankets. It felt like those dormitories in the university belt back in day.
We stayed for 2 nights riding our trustee big toys for the boys, hiking to the sites, swimming by waterfalls and exploring nature like boy scouts.
There are 2 nearby falls. A small one, Hingi Falls, which is just a 5 minute walk from the road and another by one hour trek. The bigger one has seven layers and the current is strong. We also rode to where the Americans left a Sherman Tank during World War II. We also hiked uphill to the Salacsac Pass Monument where you can view Malico.
The monument is a memorial to honor the thousands of Japanese and American soldiers who died there during the war.
Of course we drank. At the Malico Country Inn, at the falls, and while trekking. Most of us woke up that first morning not remembering how the night ended. Some had more to drink but had to get up in the middle of the night to throw up. Another one couldn’t hold it and blew it all out on the other guy’s blanket.
Conversations were nonsense and there was just a lot of cheering and heckling. Barangay Malico became noisy that first night. The Long Riders were happily being young at heart once again.
Before we left for home, we gathered the children before they went to Sunday service and gave them toys.
Cool, quaint and immaculate. Malico is now on our riders’ map.