I wanted to be with my family in Albay during Christmas so as early as the first week of November, I already made preparations. I replaced Dhona’s chain and sprocket and also converted the rear drum brake to a disc brake for better braking power. The motorcycle shop did a s#itty job and just days from Christmas Eve, I began having problems. I eventually got it temporarily fixed but my 450-km ride was pushed back on Christmas Day itself.
After spending Noche Buena with my girlfriend, I started packing and prepping Dhona for the long ride – Santa Claus style complete with my own stash of gifts!
It’s only 2AM and it gets really dark in most part of Quezon but this will be the third time I’m going to travel to Bicol so I was not worried. But I should’ve been worried because this time, it’s raining! Not a merry ride!
As soon as I hit the road, it began to drizzle a little. I was just starting to build momentum so I didn’t waiver, thinking the rain clouds would be intimidated and leave me alone. And they did …but not for long! It taunted me long enough that after 100 kms, I decided to don my rain jacket while I refuel Dhona as well.
Shortly afterwards, the rain goes all out on me making visibility even worse. The wind has also picked up significantly. My auxiliary light is also busted so I really can’t see a damn thing. To make matters worse, the road “improvements” in Pagbilao was at its peak. The road has a lot of surprises more than any Christmas tree can hold!
I had to deal with unlimited potholes, large mounds of earth, one-way lanes, abrupt end/start of a cemented portion, heavy equipment parked ON the road, rocks serving as a barricade to a newly cemented area, lack/absence of warning signs, gravel and sand washed away into the road, muddy sections, a bit of flood water hiding the actual depth of a pothole and all the while you have the darkness, rain and high wind gusts added to the mix. It was a combo even a motocross rider or even an off-road 4X4 jeep would hate! Thank you DPWH – Department of Public’s WORST Highways!
After 40 grueling minutes, I reached Quezon National Park which was just 20kms away from Lucena. I checked Dhona to make sure she is still good to go after all the punishment.
Ah, daylight! The winds has just gotten stronger though..
I refueled and ate a light breakfast in Calauag.
I had enough troubles with potholes in Pagbilao so no way I’m taking Andaya Highway. Off to Daet I go..
The weather in Daet has not been any better but that’s not stopping Christmas. There were hundreds of kids on the road and I soon realized what they were up to. When I was a kid, we would go around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve asking neighbors and relatives to put our socks under their tree so Santa could fill it up with goodies. I am so glad that Filipino tradition is very much alive here. I don’t want to run over a kid running all over the road on his new sneakers so I had to go real slow on the twisties. I refueled in Petron Daet and reached Naga City by 11:30AM.
I thought about having a CWC sticker on Dhona so I dropped by the Camarines Sur Water Complex in Pili. It wasn’t as exciting as I expected (but that’s just me).
I finally made it to Ligao City before 1:30PM and was welcomed my by niece and nephew ready with a dance number (else they won’t get their gifts =D)
I covered 458 kms in 10.5 hours averaging only 43.6 kph. I can usually do 55kph or more if it is not raining.I still enjoyed the ride even if I don’t like riding in the rain. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t ride when raining, cause as you can see, I just did. On Christmas Day at that! How did you spend your Christmas?