Some of you might be thinking why bring a very small scooter on a long ride but don’t let the small gas tank fool you though. In spite of the small 4.4 liter capacity, the Zoomer X will bring you a long way, as what I experienced during my most recent gastronomic trip to Angeles, Pampanga. Manila to Angeles via Mc Arthur Highway is about 110 kilometers one way, and believe it or not, I only had to gas up once in this long ride. It seemed like the scooter isn’t consuming any gas at all as the fuel gauge appeared to be stuck at times, only it wasn’t.
The handling of the scooter proved to be the best part of my riding experience as in spite of the different road conditions I experienced, the bike never wavered a bit.
I will be taking you guys to the coastal town of Brgy. Tignaoan, Real, Quezon. Instead of just riding around on a weekend, I decided to go on a food trip ride. I was already getting tired of eating the usual fastfood meals that I have everyday and I wanted to give my body a break as well so I decided to try something else on a weekend. Previously, If I wanted to just go out on a relaxing ride to a not so far away place from the Metro, my 2-wheeled companion would either take me to Tagaytay or to Marilaque in Rizal. That’s alright with me as I definitely enjoy riding whether it’s near or far however, I would almost always end up eating bulalo at Mang Vic’s in Antipolo or in Mahogany Market in Tagaytay. Although not fastfood, it is still not at all healthy for me, as bulalo would be your best source of cholesterol and fat, with all the sebo you want included hehe.
Solo Ride to Negros Occidental – The Bacolod and DSB Experience
The second part of my Negros island journey brings me to Negros Occidental.
By this time, I am already tired, not just due to the number of kilometers I have traveled but also because of the unforgiving weather. I could feel the sun and rain alternating, with the sky supposedly having an identity crisis of sorts, seemingly now knowing what kind of weather to give for this trip of mine. Not only will it affect the way I ride, and the length of time needed to cover my route, but it also is taking a toll on my body already. If you have been following my regular column here in Inside Racing Magazine, you would know that I came from Manila, then toured Cebu then took the coastal highway to reach the southernmost tip of Cebu, which is the small town of Santander. From there, I had to board a Roro via Maayo Shipping in order to reach Sibulan, Negros Oriental. Last issue featured my Epic Ride to Dumaguete wherein I toured the place dubbed as “Motorcycle Capital of the Philippines.” Dumaguete is located at the southern part of Negros Island, and as part of my Negros tour, I will now have to travel at least another 200 kilometers or so in order to reach the other province in Negros, this time Negros Occidental.
One of the items in my checklist is to ride and experience the twisties of Don Salvador Benedicto – Western Visayas’ own version of Marilaque. Since it was basically the same distance going to Bacolod, I still chose to stay in Bacolod, for obvious reasons – it’s at the center of all the other popular spots, and it will be easier for me to take care of my accommodation. Also, I wanted to try authentic Chicken Bacolod so for me it was an easy choice anyway.
As some of you might know, I consider Cebu as my second home so I wanted to do a long ride that is outside of Cebu. The first thing that came into my mind was the island next door – Negros. Personally, I felt I still had some unfinished business with Negros because the only time I was there before, I stayed for a total of four hours only. Yes that is correct, four hours only. It really sounds ridiculous for me not to explore the 2 provinces there as I used that time to cross to Cebu 2 years ago. From the Dumangas Port in Iloilo, I arrived in BREDCO port in Bacolod City. During that time, I would have missed the 3:30 PM cut-off at San Carlos City Port so I proceeded all the way to Escalante City in Negros Occidental so I could take the ferry and arrive in Tabuelan, Cebu. That is the unfinished business I was talking about. I made sure to spend more time on this trip, as Negros deserves more time so I could explore its beauty and share it to everyone so here it goes.
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.
Being a person that value Philippine History a lot, I recognize the importance of important historic events and places that we have. One of those that symbolize it and is a bitter mark in Philippine history is none other than The Shrine of Valor, or Dambana ng Kagitingan. Located in Pilar, Bataan, Mt. Samat hosts this popular historic site. Situated on top of the mountain, the huge cross that can be seen from miles away represents the valor shown by our World War II heroes, as they defended our country from foreign oppressors. I have been there several times so let me share with you how beautiful and historical that place is. It is highly recommended for everyone, including children, for them to know the sacrifices of our forefathers for them to enjoy the freedom that they have today.
The Shrine of Valor in Mt. Samat, Bataan is considered to be one of the most significant spots in the northern part of the country. Locals and tourists visit here to learn about the fallen Filipino and American heroes who fought for freedom during the Second World War.
This shrine was made to honor and give tribute to the heroic struggles and sacrifices of World War II heroes who fought and died in that historic stronghold of freedom. The soldiers died fighting and protecting the country against the Japanese invasion. They gave up their lives in war so that the next generations (that’s us) would have a country to call their own.
I am very much amazed by the sheer number of old-churches the Philippines has. I have been to many, and as a matter of fact, I make sure that whenever I go to any road trip that I get to visit at least one of them at my destination. Of the hundreds of old-style churches that we have here, only four of them are recognized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization: an agency of the United Nations that promotes education and communication and the arts) as World Heritage Sites.
Located in the sleepy town of Paoay in Ilocos Norte, the San Agustin church boasts of high and thick walls serving as its fortress. With a beautiful structure to die for, visiting this one is a must. Your trip to Ilocos wouldn’t be complete without visiting the marvelous Paoay Church.
I’ve been to the Northern part of Luzon a couple of times in the past – one during my 2009 Northern Luzon Loop, and another one on a booked van tour 8 years ago. I did enjoy both trips although I felt there was something missing and they were somewhat rushed. Maybe the missing thing is visiting one of the most beautiful churches we have here in the Philippines. And that is the Paoay Church – officially named The Church of Saint Augustine. I have always been fascinated by old churches but visiting a church that is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site makes it even more special, as we only have four in the Philippines.
Being a long-time motorcycle rider who is into long-distance touring, I am constantly in search of enhancing my motorcycling experience. After a meeting at the Motoworld office, I came across this nifty gadget that they say could make my long distance riding an even more worthwhile experience – the Sena SHM 10 Bluetooth helmet.
I passed by this side of the island on my way to doing my Negros tour wherein I toured both Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.
Although Cebu City is still the most popular destination for Cebu tourists, one should not miss out the beautiful southern section of Cebu Province. Indeed, this is a testament to the sheer beauty of our country – even those places that do not receive as much fanfare as the more popular ones have a great potential of becoming an attraction, in case they aren’t yet. From Sibonga all the way to Santander, let me share with you some of the beautiful and interesting sights I saw.
Epic Ride: The MiraculousShrine of Simala in Sibonga, Cebu
By The Pinoy Rider
While being based in Cebu, I experienced two of the most devastating natural calamities in recent memory to happen in The Philippines – Typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked Central Visayas. Although our countrymen from Eastern and Central Visayas were affected badly, I am alive and survived both of them in one piece. I and my family are fine, and that is definitely something to be thankful for.
I have not lived in Cebu long enough to be able to experience and see the beautiful hidden treasures outside the city so I was very eager to explore once I had the opportunity. Although I have not been there long, I wanted to give thanks. I have been hearing about this enigmatic monastery that looks like a Medieval Castle somewhere in the southern part of the province.
If there is one thing I long for, but at the same time try to avoid in doing my epic rides, it would be to put myself in difficult situations. You might be actually saying how weird that statement is, but the fact of the matter is sometimes we all tend to do boring, routing stuff so a little adventure once in a while might actually be good. But oh boy, what adventure I got in this Epic Ride.
For those who have been following my journey, you should know that I’ve been to all 30 provinces in the island of Luzon, save for one – Aurora. From Matnog, Sorsogon all the way to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Countless trips going up north, doing the Northern Luzon Loop several times – there is always one destination missing and the only one I haven’t crossed out in my Luzon island bucket list – and that is the province of Aurora. I always seem to sort of skip one particular province for one reason or another. But now that I have a chance, I made sure I would conquer Aurora.
One boring Sunday afternoon, and that’s what I thought. I didn’t know that a routine ride would be a trip of a lifetime for me.
You might be wondering why I am still in Cebu after 2 months. Well, as I’ve mentioned a couple of issues back, I wanted this Epic Ride to be different. I wanted it to be something that I would look back in the future and describe it as a once in a lifetime experience. I didn’t want to just make it a usual roadtrip, and conquer the place – but one of my goals was to actually immerse myself in the culture – not just by visiting famous tourist sites, eating their food – but by actually living in Visayas, full time. As they say, be careful what you wish for – because it is exactly what I got, and not in an easy kind of way. Read on to know why.
Two major calamities in 2 months. Wow, what more can I ask for? I said I was looking for a new experience so yes there it is, I got what I wanted. Although it is not the most positive of experiences, I am pretty sure that Central Visayas has given me more than what I’ve bargained for in terms of adventure. As most of you have read in last month’s issue of Epic Ride, on my first couple of weeks here in Mandaue City in Cebu, the motorcycle Gods already made sure that this adventure would be one of my most memorable ones – a 7.2 magnitude earthquake at 8 am in the morning!