As I’ve always been saying, safety is my top priority when riding. No matter how experienced of a rider you are, when an accident comes, you better be prepared. Thanks to Motoworld Philippines, I used one of their high end helmets for this trip – the LS2 FF393 convert. I’ve always had this thing for modular helmets since they are very convenient for the long distance traveler like me – I can easily lift up the visor if needed, or do with a full face helmet while moving. The thing I liked the most about FF393 is that it won’t be an added distraction to me in case I want to lift the visor up as it goes all the way to the back of the helmet, as compared to the others wherein it will only go up as far as the top most part of the helmet. Because of that, there is no risk of the lifted visor going down all of a sudden during the ride. I also wore a leather jacket to make sure I am covered completely. We all know the usual stuff we have to bring on a long ride – extra money, spark plug, tools, cellphone with load, etc. so I made sure not to skip those.
I took off a little after 8 am since the destination isn’t exactly near. The bike that I used would be one of Kymco Philippines’s latest offerings – the Kymco KTR 125. It is an underbone so this got me excited as I haven’t ridden a small bike in years! The last underbone I had was a Honda Wave 100 and I had that bike more than 6 years ago already.
It is also interesting to note that this would be my first time to ride an underbone that is seemingly built for both on and off road – a dual sport motorcycle. It will take some adjusting to use the knobby tires but knowing Kymco’s track record in providing quality motorcycles over the years (and my previous scooter was a Kymco Super 8), it was time to put some miles into this brand new motorcycle. I would also be reviewing the Kymco KTR 125 for Inside Racing and it will come out in one of the future issues very soon. Anyway, I’m sure it would be a fun experience being on a long ride on a small bike because for me it was never the type of being. I’m always for the experience of riding.
Amadeo – The Coffee Capital of the Philippines
Going to Amadeo
I’ve always passed by Amadeo on the way to Tagaytay. You guys might be thinking why I always take that route, and it is because that although it is a secondary road, the Amadeo highway is almost always free of traffic. This is partly due to it being almost a hidden road, as most people would take Aguinaldo Highway or via Sta. Rosa City then Silang. The route I took from my house in Paranaque was via Daang Hari all the way up to the end of it in Aguinaldo Highway. But instead of turning right to go via Dasmarinas, I crossed the road towards Open Canal Road going to Imus then General Trias. After reaching Governor’s Avenue in General Trias, it would be a right turn towards Manggahan, then that will signal the start of the Amadeo road.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for me as I took a wrong turn somewhere in Imus, and encountered a bit of an off-road going to a local ricefield. It wasn’t too bad as I fortunately brought a bike suited for that type of terrain. To add to the excitement, I mistakenly brought a thick leather jacket instead of a mesh jacket when it was very hot during that day. Definitely a no, no, so I just made sure to drink lots of fluid to avoid dehydration.
Just having fun.
On the way to my destination, I stopped by at a local karinderya in Cavite for lunch in order to make sure I keep the expenses in check, and so that I could eat some lutong-bahay which would definitely be better than those fast food joints. It was aptly named Kambingan. Their menu offers several kambing dishes like kalderetang kambing, adobong kambing, and kambing sa gata. I ended up ordering kalderetang kambing, and the owner said that they just killed that kambing a couple of hours earlier. I don’t know if I should be pleased with the freshness of my lunch or take pity on that poor animal. Anyway, it tasted good. Not bad for 65 pesos (It was 130 php actually as I had 2 servings, masarap kasi hehehe). The experience wasn’t too bad at all as I got to experience a somewhat exotic type of food for a very low price. A fine dish coupled with a bottle of ice cold softdrinks surely seemed like heaven for a weary traveler like me.
The temperature was already being uncomfortable to me as it was almost noon and unfortunately I was not able to carry a bottle of water in my bag. Due to this I had to make several unplanned stops just to grab a drink. It delayed my trip quite a bit. In spite of this, I was more than determined to be at my destination so I just shrugged it off and proceeded with my ride.
The route I took gave me a chance to explore somewhat sort of Cavite’s countryside as I noticed there were several farmlands and open spaces during my trip, and this is what I enjoy most when riding, giving me a chance to clear my head. Upon reaching the intersection of Governor’s Avenue and General Trias, I felt as if I was at a distant place already as there were hardly any vehicles on the road on a weekday. It did not take long for me to reach Amadeo because of the good roads. The first destination I went to would be Balite Falls. There was a long 2 kilometer stretch of rough road – and by that I mean not just a road with some pot holes, but it was muddy all over. Luckily for me, I brought the right type of bike for this – a dual purpose bike, and the knobby tires of the KTR 125 helped a lot in giving me the much needed traction for this off-roading. What a way to start my visit in Amadeo, and it only made me all the more excited!
No road, no problem.
Amadeo is a fourth class municipality in the province of Cavite. According to the latest census, it has a population of about 35,000 people.
It is probably one of the least popular towns in Cavite if compared to Dasmarinas, which is the largest city in Cavite in terms of population and land area, and Tagaytay, which is a very popular tourist destination, and also the closest thing to Baguio for Metro manila residents. Even though it is not as popular as the other Cavite towns or cities, there are a handful of nice spots to visit here. Besides, every city or town in the Philippines, whether small or big, has its own beauty to share. Upon entering the boundary near General Trias and Dasmarinas, a left turn in Manggahan will signal your entry into Amadeo.
The town of Amadeo is best known for their coffee. They have the annual Pahimis Festival, which showcases the town’s coffee industry. It is usually held on the last weekend of February. The festival includes a Float Parade in which different barangays dress up their floats in extravagant coffee themed displays. Mutya ng Pahimis is also a big attraction as the local beauties compete to be crowned that year’s best. More often than not, each barangay has to have at least one representative to this annual event. The main event is a trade fair wherein different types of Amadeo grown coffee are presented for the people to see. It is the Coffee Capital of the Philippines after all.
Balite Falls – Visiting Balite Falls is a treat. It is somewhat hidden as you might need to do a little bit of off-roading to get to the falls area but when you get there, you’ll begin to realize that it is a great place to hang out and possibly bring your family to. It is private property but it is also open to the public. Entrance to the falls is free, and you will have to pay 50 pesos only if you will be swimming or doing any activity in the area. There is also a small gallery inside that shows different photos depicting the everyday life of people in Cavite. The place is so spacious that it would be good for family bonding moments or team building activities.
Municipal Hall – around 5 kilometers from Balite Falls is the town proper which houses the Municipal Hall. Written on the wall fronting the highway is “Coffee Capital of the Philippines.” Since I arrived almost noon time, I didn’t notice any activity when I was there.
Amadeo Municipal Hall
Amadeo Park – this social place shows the laid back environment in this town. Kids playing, people just chatting. It shows how simple life is here even if it is close to the popular Tagaytay City.
St. Mary Magdalene Church – Established in 1889, this isn’t just an ordinary town church as it has a little bit of Philippine History in it. This structure used to be a Japanese garrison during World War II. It is also conveniently situated at the middle of the town proper.
Café Amadeo – located at the main highway, Cafe Amadeo is a speciality coffee shop that offers various coffee from espresso to blended to iced, sweets, and other pasalubongs. They also sell a wide range of local coffee beans coming from the country’s best producing coffee regions, tha Pahimis of Amadeo, Barako of Batangas, Alamid (the exotic Philippine Civet Coffee made from wild civet droppings) of Cordillera, and wide variety of pastries and cake. I went here wanting to try out the Amadeo Coffee that they serve and I was not disappointed. Make sure to try out their coffee black.
Proudly from the Philippines
Coffee Capital of the Philippines – People from this town take pride in its moniker, The Coffee Capital of the Philippines. As I mentioned earlier, the Pahimis festival is a very popular one, and they also incorporate their home grown coffee into their everyday lives.
Amadeo is a testament that since not all towns could be as popular as the regular tourist destinations that we have here (i.e. Baguio, Tagaytay, Cebu, etc.,; each and every one has their own beauty to share. With this in mind, this road trip makes me understand more that our beloved country truly has a whole lot more to offer, it is just a matter of exploring them and sharing them to other people. And that is one of the reasons why I do what I do – to show everyone how beautiful our country is.
As MV Augusta President Claudio Castiglioni once said that “Motorcycles are objects the make you dream”, I couldn’t relate to it any better. It doesn’t just make me dream, it makes me live my dream! That is why I feel so blessed to be able to do what I do, to travel, and to share to everyone my escapades, influencing and inspiring people. Being a biker is more than just riding a motorcycle and wearing leather. You feel it in your heart and soul. When people ask me why I ride a bike when I could just ride a car, I never try to explain it to them as they won’t understand anyway. And when they ask me further if motorcycling is dangerous, I just tell them yes it is, and that is why it’s not for everyone. And I am living my dream, with all the dangerous thrill and adventurous bliss in it, it is part of the package of being a rider. Indeed, motorcycling has been a dream for me, and I am living that dream.
– Erik Gatmaitan is the author of http://www.pinoyrider.com – Journeying the Philippines SOLO on a motorbike.
Follow his adventures on his website or through his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PinoyRider