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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.