Weekend Ride to Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel is the Philippines’ longest subterranean road tunnel. This tunnel links the towns of Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas through a hole under Mount Palay-Palay (aka Mt. Pico de Loro). It’s a very popular landmark for cyclists and riders based in Manila for weekend rides. This 300-meter tunnel is part of the 6-kilometer Tourism Road in Cavite that cuts travel time from Manila to Nasugbu and Calatagan, Batangas from the usual 4 hours via Tagaytay to just a little over one hour.


I’ve been wanting to ride to Kaybiang Tunnel for the longest time. But coming from Quezon City, the mountains in the East always seem like a better option. Just getting to the Pasay / Manila area already feels like a chore, so I’ve generally avoided riding to the South. I’m also not that familiar with the route for smaller displacement bikes (which are not allowed on the highway) passing through the side streets, which look very confusing to me on Googlemaps. I don’t mind driving alone in smaller islands and provinces, but the thought of driving through Southern Manila in areas like Alabang and Las Piñas really scares me.

One weekend last October, some rider friends posted an invite in our  #TrueWanderer FB group to ride and camp overnight in Nasugbu, Batangas. I decided to join up to Kaybiang Tunnel to familiarize myself with the route but had to double back solo to catch a family event in Binangonan, Rizal the same evening.

LOCATION:

Because of the unpredictable weather and since we would be driving through areas with heavy traffic, I decided to just take my scooter. Size-wise, Chocobo is really easier to use and maneuver and I can weave better through traffic, climb up sidewalks and save gas. His tires are really better for the road compared to the Fenrir’s chunky trail tires, which have caused me to skid several times and have a tendency to rake up mud all over me because of the fenders with the slightest bit of rain. The guys were bringing scooters too because they were carrying camping gear.

From Manila, if you look at the tunnel on the map, Kaybiang Tunnel is not very far. It’s only less than a hundred kilometers assuming you’re driving straight. But that’s not counting the heavy congestion and traffic in areas like Las Pinas, Imus, Bacoor and Dasmarinas. We also got a late start from our meet-up point in Macapagal Ave. I think it was almost 11 am by the time we left.

The road only opened up once we reached Trece Martires and the Nasugbu-Ternate Highway. There are some landmarks along the way that you can stop at if you’re interested, including the Trece Martires Shrine or the various welcome arches of the towns you pass, but mostly just malls and houses. The view and temperature only gets refreshing once you get to Mt. Palay Palay National Park. I didn’t even bother taking any photos before we reached that area.

We stopped for lunch at Mountain Brew Coffee Shop, which serves coffee (including civet coffee), cakes, sandwiches and refreshing cold drinks. Located just 3km up the hill from Ternate, just before you reach Puerto Azul, this is a good stop for riders. You can enjoy good meals and a nice view of the sea from here. Mountain Brew Coffee Shop is open 7 Days a Week (Mon-Fri: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm; Sat-Sun: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm).

From Mountain Brew Coffee Shop, the tunnel is not that far. We passed roads heading to Puerto Azul Gold & Country Club and Caylabne Bay Resort.

Kaybiang Tunnel was conceptualized in 1994 but was only completed on July 2013. Like I said, it’s a popular landmark for riders, cyclists and road-trippers. I guess aside from welcome arches, tunnels offer an interesting photo op or landmark shot that you can easily achieve along the highway. It’s hard to get good photos of a motorcycle right next to a waterfall or at the beach because of parking limitations, and tunnels always look more dramatic.

Expect to find a lot of motorists stopping here just to take selfies or jump shots. Visitors can also climb an uneven pathway for some photo-ops right over the the entrance. Just be patient and wait until no cars are passing to get your shots in the middle of the tunnel. There are some sari-sari stores right next to the tunnel where you buy refreshments and snacks.

When riding through tunnels, it’s kind of a tradition to honk your horn all throughout. I guess it’s sort of a superstition like holding your breath so you can make a wish. First of all, the tunnel is dark and you blow your horn to warn oncoming drivers who may not have their lights on to signal that you’re coming. Plus the sound of the echo in the tunnel is pretty cool.

After passing through, you can get a good overlooking view of the sea at Patungan Cove. Normally, riders opt to do a loop through Nasugbu in Batangas, then passing Tagaytay to get back to Silang and Dasmarinas, but I didn’t think I had enough time (considering the traffic in Tagaytay on a Saturday) so I decided to just double back the same route we passed.

Additional photos by Carlos Baldosa and EJ Quiroz

The guys proceeded to camp out at Munting Buhangin Beach Camp, while I backtracked, stopping briefly at a beach resort in Ternate before following the road until the intersection at Dasmarinas. I just passed Daang Hari to get to Alabang, then the service road up to Bicutan, right on Gen. Santos Avenue going to DOST and C-6 heading towards Binangonan, Rizal.

VIDEO:

Here’s a video shot on the SJCAM J6 Legend Action Camera from the Ride & Camp Trip to Batangas with Wrangler #TrueWanderer 2015 guys Carlos Baldosa and EJ Quiroz. Video footage plus taken by and edited by Carlos.

I assumed it was just going to be a quick ride because distance-wise, Kaybiang Tunnel doesn’t seem very far. But because of the heavy traffic in the metro and roadworks (especially on C6 and leading to the bridge in Taytay), plus the rain, the drive back felt really long and tiring. I left Kaybiang Tunnel past 3 pm and got to Binangonan, Rizal around 8 pm. The whole day ride took more than 9 hours on the road and over 200 km including stopovers because of the rain, to gas up and check if I was on the right track! Going there was ok, but I did not enjoy the solo ride back so much especially in the service road. What sucked is I forgot to bring a powerbank and my smartphone’s battery died, so I couldn’t check where I was on the GPS. Going back, I couldn’t help but think that the ratio of open roads and nice landscapes to the traffic did not seem worth it just to see the tunnel. It’s more of a side-trip or gateway to Batangas than a worthy destination. If ever I ride here again, I’d probably opt to stay somewhere in Batangas or Tagaytay overnight to make the ride more worthwhile.

WHERE TO STAY IN BATANGAS:

  • Canyon Cove Hotel and Spa. Far East Road, Piloto Wawa, Nasugbu
  • White Castle Resort &Hotel, Aplaya, Calatagan
  • Sunrise Cove Calatagan Beach. Bagong Silang, Calatagan
  • Brgy. Matabungkay, Lian, Batangas
  • Amara Residences, Batangay Natipuan, Nasugbu

ROUTE:

Quezon City – Manila – Macapagal Avenue – Muntinlupa – Bacoor – Imus – Dasmarinas – Trece Martires – Naic – Maragondon – Ternate – Nasugbu (Batangas) – Ternate – Maragondon – Naic – Trece Martires – Dasmarinas – Alabang – C6 / Laguna Lake Highway – Taytay – Binangonan – Taytay – Cainta – Marikina – Quezon City (239 km)

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