Discussion in 'Philippines Road Trip Reports' started by Goran Phuket, Apr 29, 2015.
Ride report coming up...stay tuned.
Looking forward to hear your story...:-o
First of all let me introduce PAR Motorrad motorcycle touring agency.
It was started by Philippe Saubier, French national, heart attack survivor. After completion of multiple bypass surgeries he decided to radically change his lifestyle and started riding motorcycles. Soon, idea of establishing overland motorcycle touring agency was born and I noticed his ads on Facebook. Curious, asked him what kind of deal I can get, he promptly responded and we worked out 5 day touring adventure across North Luzon. Mind you, it is not cheap.....but have to take into account price covers airport transfers, excellent hotels accommodation, breakfast, bike rentals and fuel. Also there was a support van with mechanics team.
My 13 year old son wanted to join me so I took him along. Prior to this he rode with me as a pillion only locally at Phuket island, never even crossed the bridge into Phang Nga. And this time we are going to Halsema Hwy, at one time considered one of top 10 most dangerous roads in the world.
So here we are, SEDA HOTEL in Bonifacio Global City, financial center of Manila. For a moment I thought I am in San Diego, California. Amazing resemblance, especially wide streets and parking lots as seen near San Diego's Gas Lamp district.
Nice and clean area, locals enjoying saturday afternoon.
Junior wanted the pizza so here we are. Actually Philippe and his wife treated us for lunch.
Later in the evening my old friends from BOSS BMW Philippines treated us for dinner. Very grateful for their hospitality indeed.
Sunday morning and we are about to move on towards Clark air-base. Junior all geared up and ready to rock'n roll.
Keith from Malaysia, Versys rider, first time on Sertao and little bit confused.
Toto, one of the local riders getting ready
Leaving hotel car park
9 am local time, Sunday morning....holy day for this predominantly Christian country. City of 20 million people, hardly anyone around.
Here we are at Clark base, Hugh my Scottish pal from Burma touring days waiting for us. He arrived 2 days earlier to check the night scene ;-)
Quick ice latte before proceeding. Keith monkeying around as usual.
And we are on highway. Everyone observes speed limit, speed trap cameras are all over the place.
Stopped at McArthur Highway toll plaza for a sec....my GSA experiencing some minor glitches but all sorted out quickly
Scenery begins to change dramatically as we moving up towards Cordilleras.
Philippe's assistant April and local rider Toto.
So many interesting places to stop...I am taking my sweet time.
Here pictured Ambuklao Dam and reservoir. Built by Americans back in the day
Crossing into another province
For this trip I was allocated R1200GSA, one of conditions I gave to organizer. I like riding and feel quite comfortable on bigger bikes. I believe it was 2010 model. No problems but tires not up to my liking. Heidenau, almost worn out.... At certain stages I was fishtailing like crazy on wet concrete road. It really scared the hell out of me. Rest of the guys were riding Sertao 650 and Philippe on his 800GS.
This is Alan, an American living in Manila many years. This guy is encyclopaedia of jokes, never serious lol....very skillful rider too.
Loved chasing after him :smile1:
Passing thru villages
Slowing down, some sort of restaurant at the left side of the road.
Funny sign and even funnier reaction by Philippe and Alan
Arrived to Baguio and straight to the restaurant. Very fresh here, feels like European continental climate. Air temperature 18 degree celsius.
Tomorrow is the real deal; riding Halsema proper and straight to highest motorrable road in country, Bontoc.
Snap!!! Something cracked in my lower back...I can't walk straight, terrible pain. At the breakfast everybody is looking at me worryingly. I am walking like Quasimodo the hutchback and it ain't funny. Really worried how to continue this ride. Sitting is fine, so hopefully there should be no problem riding.
Morning in front of our hotel, Baguio Burnham Suites. I might look fine but pain in my lower back is killing me.
Time to refuel.
Trying to cheer myself up but in reality seeing million stars
Hugh and Alan ready to roll
Trying to beat morning rush hour in Baguio
how about that :shock:
Shanti towns on the way out city, reminds me of Tijuana
Highway toll gate on our way to (in)famous Halsema Highway. Here we go baby
Fantastic scenery. We stop quite often to enjoy the view and snap photos.
Taking pics with friendly locals
We are going to ride across those mountains now
Highest paved road point in entire country: at 7,400 feet above sea level.
Love the jeepneys...so colorful. Hugh however not impressed :mrgreen:
People who rode both Halsema Hwy and Mae Hong Son, were left wondering what is so special about MHS? After riding here I had a same question. MHS is very nice but this road in my opinion is much more challenging. There must be over 1000 curves for sure, amazing scenery. Thais are smart, they know how to promote their tourist attractions....unlike Philippinos. If this road was in Thailand it would have been promoted as holy grail for riders. Pics don't do justice, you need to come here and see for yourself.
At the gates of Mountain Province
Crossing Tambigan bridge
Riding for hundreds of kilometers in one go at road like this. Just when you think it is the all the way down, new mountain pass comes along, keep climbing and so on and on and on....constantly at altitude of over 1500 meters
Approaching Bessang Pass, venue of important WW2 battle. Waving to Hugh who is behind, few kms down the road
WW2 Memorial at Bessang Pass
In the clouds....
With soldiers guarding memorial site
Certain road sections destroyed by recent landslides
Short break before proceeding to renowned Sagada.
Interesting rest rooms
Philippe, our host and ride leader
Local sundry shops
Junior is having great time
Arrived to our overnight joint in Sagada, very cold out here.
Support team making sure all in proper order
Well known Yoghurt house restaurant in Sagada.
Hanging coffins of Sagada.
The coffins are said to be carved by the elderly before they die. If an elderly person is too weak or ill to do so, his/her son, or a relative would do it for him/her. When the person dies, he/she is placed in the coffin in a foetal position. This is due to the belief that a person should exit the world in the same position that he/she entered it. After being wrapped up in blankets and tied with rattan leaves, the corpse is carried to a cliff in a procession.
At the entrance to hanging coffins cave
Latest burial ceremony in these caves took place on 1980's. Government have been discouraging this type of ceremonial ever since.
Following day we moved down towards San Fernando. Skies opened up and heavy thunderstorm followed us all the way to hotel.
Nice view from the room
Back to Clark again, visiting Philippe's friend - Jimmy. Vietnam war vet, pilot. These days he organizes short flyover tours over Mt Pinatubo volcano. Price was very attractive so we decided to use his services.
Jimmy owns this beauty:
1949 single engine, 4 seater, 240 horse power bird manufactured in Arizona.
Jimmy's fully restored bad ass army Jeep
Mt Pinatubo crater
Safe landing and end of our Philippines adventure. I'll be back one day, next time want to ride into deep south. It is a fairly large country with lots of amazing places to see, riders paradise.
Till next time, ride safe.
Thanks for the report & pics. It looks like a good place to go & ride.
What a wonderful trip, I can only admire.And again, thank you for sharing.
Just adding old little video related to this report. We did flyover in single engine 4 seat plane, built in Arizona in 1949. Property of our pilot Jimmy, the Vietnam War Veteran: