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.
I then decided to go somewhere different, and to a place where I’ve never been to before. I chose the Eastern part because it is one of the locations wherein I have had the least experience in terms of exploration. And besides, it would add more fun and excitement knowing that I have never been there. I was told by my rider friends from Team LS2 Philippines that if I wanted to eat fresh seafood, then it would be either Dinggalan, Aurora or Real, Quezon. I chose Real because I haven’t been there and although I haven’t been to Aurora the time I traveled, I wanted to reserve my Aurora trip for a Baler getaway, which I did after.
My weapon of choice was my Rouser 135 LS. It was the perfect bike for me at that time since it gives me an average of 50 km/l on long rides and I put in two kick-ass Givi E21 hard side bags to complement the top bag that I originally had. Luggage would certainly be not a problem at all. The trip would neither be long nor short but I knew it would be tiring as I would be passing through the dreadful Laguna National Highway passing through San Pedro, Binan, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba then taking the highway all the way to Pagsanjan before making a left turn towards Famy to Quezon Province. I used the word dreadful because even if you are like me that enjoys motorcycle riding any time of the day, the heavy traffic in Laguna will really test your patience and stamina. From San Pedro all the way to Los Banos expect heavy traffic in all the town or city propers so make sure to add an hour or two to your time allowance. The 170 kilometer trip took almost 5 hours. To add to my traveling woes, I bought a brand new helmet LS2 FF384 Asphalt the day before and since I have not tried using it on a long ride, I just wished I got a bigger sized helmet, so to speak. I had to stop like every 30 minutes as I felt it was crushing my head. It was not the helmet’s fault, it was just the wrong size for me. Lesson learned but I had no choice but to endure it as I was already halfway through when I realized I needed a bigger sized one. While riding I remembered one of the guidelines I was using before when I was still into road running – “nothing new on race day.” That quotation I learned would also be very much applicable in long distance riding as you need to have your gear broken in prior to the ride in order to avoid any mishappenings, and in my case it was the wrong size. Anyway, as they say, the show must go on, or rather, the ride must go on.
Even before I left home, I was already craving for some specially cooked fresh seafood that I will buy from the roadside market that Real is famous for but because of the aforementioned heavy traffic up to Calamba, I was already hungry so i had to stop over for a quick brunch in Burger King in Calamba. I find it very ironic that even if the goal of this Epic Ride was to eat healthy, I ended up having a full sized Whopper as my first meal of the day. It was pretty much a straight shot from Calamba and Los Banos all the way up to Pakil. From there, expect a dizzying zigzag road to Sinilioan up to Real. Reminiscent of the famous Marifanta twisties, this one’s not yet infiltrated by the suicide riders that Marilaque is famous for, so you could enjoy what you love to do – just you and your bike without worrying too much about riders wearing racing tsinelas and shorts while counterflowing on a sharp curve. This road is much safer, although the lack of vehicles passing through here might give you the creeps. I even though someone might just jump out of the bushes and try to steal my bike. But then, that is just me and my thoughts. The road from Famy to Real is very safe, and even the road condition is very inviting for a fun and enjoyable ride with freshly caught seafood waiting for you at the finish line.
Arriving in Real past noon already, I was in the mood for a proper lunch. Before going to the market, me and my pillion had to search for an accommodation since we figured it would be better to just spend the night there instead of being forced to do a night ride. Besides, we could very well use the few extra hours of rest for the ride back home. We rented a small resthouse with 2 rooms for only 600 pesos for one whole overnight stay. That’s very very cheap already as we are talking about a whole two story house and not just a room for rent. A safe parking space was also provided so that is a big plus for someone like me who is quite obsessive compulsive when it comes to my motorcycle’s safety.
The beach was okay too. It wasn’t quite the white sand beaches of Panglao, but for a quick respite just 2 to 3 hours outside of Manila, I’d take it. The locals did a good job in ensuring that even with the influx of weekend visitors, the beach would still have its own story to tell, so to speak. One can just enjoy the soothing calm of the relaxed waves of real, while at the same time enjoying the cool breeze of the clena air that surrounds this coastal town.
Although people would always say that it’s the journey and not the destination, sometimes it may be true but not all the time. What I enjoyed the most about this ride happened upon arriving in Real. I went to the roadside market to actually buy fresh seafood from the talipapa there. It was an exciting experience since I don’t even do that at home. Believe it or not, i had a good time scouting for the freshest tilapia, bangus, pusit, and the like. While doing my roadside marketing, I noticed there were a lot of people in the area. I asked one of the vendors there on why a seemingly distant roadside market could attract a lot of customers who obviously weren’t locals. The answer I got was that it was because the fresh seafood displayed came off as fresh catch from the Pacific Ocean so kaya naman pala dinadayo talaga ito. I even saw some riders who had a quick weekend meal there, and it seemed that they were not contented that is why yung iba sa kanila ay may baon pa pauwi at yung ibang mga pinamili ay nakatali pa sa motor.
Ate Wina and her husband Kuya Joms (the resthouse’s caretakers) graciously offered their services to cook the fresh seafood I brought. They didn’t even mention a price for that service so I just gave them a small tip as a sign of thanks and for the great hospitality that was provided. It was like a grill / barbecue kind of day so I made sure there was ensaladang talong as well, all bought fresh from the dry market.
Being a first timer in the eastern side of Quezon, I could say with certainty that I enjoyed the whole trip. The destinations wasn’t exactly near, but it wasn’t far either. Hopefully weekend warriors could also try to explore this side of Quezon as it truly has a lot more to offer, only if you would take the time to discover it. It was a time well worth it as it was definitely time well spent. And besides, having a beach side barbecue with your loved one puts some icing on the cake.
– 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