Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth from Manila to my hometown Naga City in Camarines Sur. I’ve also gone on road trips with the family to nearby provinces of mainland Bicol: Camarines Norte, Albay and Sorsogon. The Manila to Bicol route passing the Asian Highway 26 (AH26) (also known as the Pan-Philippine Highway or Maharlika Highway) is a major road trip route on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. After traversing from Manila to Bicol, you can cross all the way to Visayas via the Roll-on Roll-Off Ferry from the Matnog Port in Sorsogon to reach Allen in Samar and head towards Mindanao.
I’ve been getting inquiries from people planning to drive this route whether by car or motorcycle (and even a few long-distance bikepackers), so I’ve decided to compile a suggested itinerary covering the essentials and some travel tips. Continue reading →
Everything looks better when the sun is out. The same roads and structures which I found scary the previous night look perfectly ordinary in the daylight. It’s like watching a horror movie with a particularly tense nail-biting scene set at night. Then the scene shifts to a sunny day and you breathe a sigh of relief because you feel the worst is over.
Desolate. The empty highway seems to stretch on for miles. Except for the occasional habal-habal or van going in the opposite direction, most of the main road in Northern Samar just feels so empty. There are hardly any establishments or houses on either side of the road. Just mountains on the horizon, coconut trees and fields.
While driving from Lavezares to Laoang Island, the only fairly large town I pass that has an actual mall and big gas stations is Catarman. After that, I only encounter small villages with their poblacions made up of a few streets punctuated by a handful of sari-sari stores selling gas in litro bottles. Then it’s back to deserted roads after driving for five minutes.Continue reading →
Ang laki pala ng Samar, I thought to myself as I drove along the highway on my way from Catbalogan City to Lavezares in Northern Samar. When I ride a van or a bus, I usually just sleep and wake up near my destination, so I don’t really feel how far I’ve gone. I get an inkling of distances when I plan my route on Googlemaps, but the kilometers on Samar island just felt longer than usual.
After my Basic Off-Road 101 Training Session in MX Messiah Fairgrounds in Rizal, Coach Mel of Mel Aquino’s Yamaha Off-Road Training Camp (MAYOTC) offered to show the students that day the KRB Off-Road Track in Antipolo City. The 36-hectare natural park offers a more technical course and controlled environment for training. It’s usually reserved for advanced classes where students have to ride through rolling terrain, do jumps, clear logs and rocks.
Atburan Rockies is a very raw and unknown site with caverns and towering limestone rock formations hidden in the mountainous region of General Nakar, Quezon. Aside from locals who call it “Kulungang Bato,” the site has only been explored by a handful of outdoor enthusiasts and mountaineers from the UP Outdoor Recreation Group (ORG). In fact, when I was researching about the place, I couldn’t find any existing write-up or background information about the area.
Whenever people ask me what the best destination I’ve been to in the Philippines is, it’s easy for me to say Batanes. In terms of raw landscapes, the northernmost province of the Philippines is really a dream destination. Though I love a lot of places I’ve been to around the country, Batanes is really special. It offers a unique blend of breathtaking scenery, natural attractions and well-preserved culture. Plus the locals here are just the most hospitable and kind people I’ve ever met. Everyone and everything here just feels so pure and good.
As a freelance writer and travel blogger, I usually write about destinations or other people. Last month, I was asked to go in front of the camera for a photo shoot for Going Places Magazine, the monthly travel magazine of Manila Bulletin Publishing. First published in 1999 as Cruising, this is one of the longest-running magazines in the Philippines. This time, the editors chose to put the spotlight on “People of Travel” sharing features on Filipino bloggers and digital influencers who are changing the travel scene.
If you’ve ever played an RPG, you know that sometimes you just have to go back to a place you’ve already visited because you missed something very important. Maybe your skill level wasn’t enough yet to handle the obstacles or maybe the time just wasn’t right to visit a certain destination. Or maybe you just like the place so much that you want to visit it again. That’s the case for me with Daraitan, the scenic village nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges between Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon.