The First Two (of Many) Gas Stops

On my quest to conquer the North Luzon Loop solo, I took the time off of work during my birthweek. This was just after the Holy Week and it was perfect because I don’t like crowded places and congested roads.

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The preparation of my motorcycle (Dhona) didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. Just a week before the ride, she wasn’t in her best condition particularly her rear brake and the rear tire is almost worn out. I replaced the brake caliper and converted into an aftermarket gear shifter to attain my desired braking power. I also couldn’t find a replacement tire just like the old one. I pushed back my schedule 1 day later. Then, it got pushed back 1 day again. Frustrated, I considered cancelling the ride.

I replaced my chain and sprocket including some other parts to ensure Dhona is in top condition.

I replaced my chain and sprocket including some other parts to ensure Dhona is in top condition.

Some of the modification threw me off my allotted budget..

Some of the modification threw me off my allotted budget..

On my birthday, I decided to leave the following day.  I packed my things, strapped them to Dhona, saddled up and headed north. I left Laguna at 1:20 AM and it was smooth riding all the way up to EDSA. Heavy traffic or not, EDSA is ALWAYS DANGEROUS. I was dodging speeding cars as they merged in and out of the Motorcycle Lane. Terrified but alive, I made my way out of the National Capital Region and into Central Luzon via McArthur Highway.

03:00 AM - Bulacan 03:17 AM - Pampanga

03:00 AM – Bulacan 
03:17 AM – Pampanga

04:00 AM After 140 kms, I stopped by a Petron gasoline station in Mabalacat just before crossing from Pampanga to Bamban, Tarlac.

04:00 AM After 140 kms, I stopped by a Petron gasoline station in Mabalacat just before crossing from Pampanga to Bamban, Tarlac.

Since this is just near Manila, I'm not making any stops on any tourist spot in this area. I wanted to cover as much ground as possible before sunrise.

Since this is just near Manila, I’m not making any stops on any tourist spot in this area. I wanted to cover as much ground as possible before sunrise.

Central Luzon is located north of NCR and borders Ilocos, CAR and Cagayan Valley regions. It is called the “Rice Granary of the Philippines” because it produces most of the country’s rice supply thanks to the vast plains in the region. It has 7 provinces: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. So far, I am enjoying McArthur Highway. There were no potholes, there’s minimal road works, it’s well-lit and no complex detours or shortcuts. It’s important to note though that, unlike in CALABARZON or Bicol, there were no SumVac (Summer Vacation) outposts along the way.

05:00 AM - Paniqui 05:23 AM - Pangasinan

05:00 AM – Paniqui 
05:23 AM – Pangasinan

05:35 AM I entered Urdaneta City at KM 178. Vigan is KM 395

05:35 AM I entered Urdaneta City at KM 178. Vigan is KM 395.

Pangasinan which means “place of salt-making” is a province of Region I. The last time I was here is when I was participating in SAFERUN 2012 where I placed 5th place (Read the story here). The province is famous for the Hundred Islands.

I never been to Manaoag Church so I took the extra 12kms one-way to pay a visit. Too bad, I can't find a parking place near the church. I'm back on my planned route at 06:20 AM

I never been to Manaoag Church so I took the extra 12kms one-way to pay a visit. Too bad, I can’t find a parking place near the church. I’m back on my planned route at 06:20 AM.

06:49 AM I crossed Bued Bridge out of Pangasinan and into La Union.

06:49 AM I crossed Bued Bridge out of Pangasinan and into La Union.

La Union means "The Union" because it was formed by merging the southern towns of Ilocos, nothern towns of Pangasinan and western towns of Benguet

La Union means “The Union” because it was formed by merging the southern towns of Ilocos, nothern towns of Pangasinan and western towns of Benguet.

I usually cruise at 60-80 kph, and doing 90-100 kph max as needed.

I usually cruise at 60-80 kph, and doing 90-100 kph max as needed.

07:00 AM Upon reaching Rosario, I refueled with 2.95 L covering 138 kms. That's 46 km/L.. not bad!

07:00 AM Upon reaching Rosario, I refueled with 2.95 L covering 138 kms. That’s 46 km/L.. not bad!

Some "on the road" pictures while making my way out of La Union.

Some “on the road” pictures while making my way out of La Union.

08:37 AM - Balaoan 08:47 AM - Bangar

08:37 AM – Balaoan 
08:47 AM – Bangar

Before 9 AM, I am at the boundary of La Union and Ilocos Sur. The town of Sudipen reminds me of Naruto

Before 9 AM, I am at the boundary of La Union and Ilocos Sur. The town of Sudipen reminds me of Naruto.

Do you know what bridge this is?

Do you know what bridge this is?

I finally made it to my first scheduled “stop” – Tagudin. It’s on the other side of that bridge. Get your pen and paper ready boys and girls because we are going to learn a little bit of history and geography while doing some math on the next post.

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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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2 Responses to The First Two (of Many) Gas Stops

  1. Skye_08 says:

    Hi Dom, I like your post particularly this part traversing Vigan. Just a query though, how long will the travel be should the starting point will be from Bulacan to Vigan, Ilocos Sur? My companion and I are planning to go to Vigan riding his Rouser NS200, this will be our first time to head Vigan.

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