Pasko 2011: Post-Noche Buena Ride

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.

0300H Petron Lucena

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!

This was taken during summer. Imagine this on the rainy season. That’s what I had to put up with.

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.

It’s almost 6AM but it is still very dark.

Ah, daylight! The winds has just gotten stronger though..

The splashes of the waves can reach the highway.

I refueled and ate a light breakfast in Calauag.

My riding pants is not waterproof so yes, it’s wet down there.. :p

I had enough troubles with potholes in Pagbilao so no way I’m taking Andaya Highway. Off to Daet I go..

This was no waterfall last time I was here.

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.

8.5 hours on the road..

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’m so soaked in the rain that I can go wakeboarding right away.

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)

Tsamina mina eh eh! Waka Waka eh eh…

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?

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About Dom de la Torre

The rider is a 20-something Filipino that rides a Honda Wave 125cc underbone. He knows little about motorcycles yet loves the experience going places on two wheels. Rider Ako is a motorcycle-slash-travel blog. The rider not only shares to you travel destinations and what to see there but also the experience of getting there. You will read about the thrills and adventure when he rides solo, the romance of riding in tandem, the camaraderie riding with a group, the excitement participating in events, and anything that he thinks you might find interesting.When he's broke and the fuel's empty, he will share stories about motorcycling how he sees it through his helmet visor.
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