I’m off to a slow start for 2013. Apart from a wet, quickie ride on January 1st to Tagaytay, I haven’t wandered off far the past two weeks. This is mainly because Dhona is still exhausted from our Bicol ride and is undergoing a series of repairs and modifications to make her fit for longer rides once more. So…. meanwhile, join me as we look back on a 22-hour adventure ride I did March last year….
I joined a motorcycle event that concluded in Bagiuo City. My clubmates from Laguna Moto Club took off for Laguna the night after the awarding ceremony but I chose to stay behind. The following morning, I set off for Mountain Province. It’s time to get high!
First things first. I need to find my way out of Baguio City. After wandering off in the opposite direction, I finally found may way to the familiar roads of La Trinidad. Upon reaching Benguet Provincial Capitol, I made a right to Halsema Highway.
Halsema Highway is aptly also called as Mountain Trail and stretches about 140 kilometers from Baguio City to Bontoc. It was named Halsema in honor of the Mayor-Engineer Eusebius Halsema that “transformed Baguio from a sleepy village of 5,000 people connected to the lowlands only by one-way roads to a prosperous city of 25,000 with paved roads and an air link.” (Source: Halsema.org)
It is also named as one of the world’s dangerous roads. Well, that was probably when it was more of a dirt road than a highway. The terrain is mountainous but the road is surprisingly in good condition with most parts cemented. Of course, there’s the occasional landslide like the one that greeted me just a few kilometers into the trip.
The Natumpukan Half-tunnel is about 42 kilometers from La Trinidad along the highway. It was built in the early 1950’s after the road eroded due to soil erosion. Having no other alternative route, about 50 meters portion of the highway is carved from the face of a huge rock. (Source: benguet.gov.ph)
It’s already 7AM but it is still freezing cold and my hands are already numb. Whenever I stop, I would actually hold the engine for a few seconds several times just to feel warm again. The surgical gloves I usually carry around is missing. That would’ve helped a lot.
It is called the Philippine Pali because of its resemblance with Pali, Hawaii. The view deck offers a scenic view of the mountain ranges of Atok, Tublay, Bokod and Kabayan, including Mt. Pulag. I just don’t have any idea which one is which. :p
As I neared the Bontoc, something happened that will make my adventure in Halsema Highway very memorable. I came across a bird flying too low that it hit me squarely on the chest and it fell on my lap. I can feel it flapping its wings vigorously. I panicked and swerved dangerously on the road as I struggled to maintain control. I managed to stop safely on the side of the road. I then realized that the bird, as big as a dove, died on impact. The wings were “flapping” on its own because of the wind against it. I picked it up and laid it on a rock on the side of the road. I prayed the spirits forgive me as I hurriedly left because the other birds flying overhead were freaking me out.
Kapit Dhona, isaSAGADa ko na!!!
“Igorot on Board” is a three-part series of my 22-hour Inner Loop adventure ride in the Cordilleras on March 2012.