Camperspoint Philippines

Manila to Subic - ride with a trick

Tuesday 4 October 2011, by Mounir Chaouche

The lights of Subic Bay. At last.

But rejoice not too early my fellow riders for it is another twenty kilometres to our infinitely comfortable beds at cosy Baloy Beach. Twenty, they say, another twenty after the 90 we have done already, up steep mountains, along the route of the infamous Death March of Bataan and through frightening forests!

My esteemed cycling cohort, I hear your concern, but have we not enjoyed magnificent views from those mountain tops and ridges? Their heights must be scaled first and in pursuit of this quest have we not taken pleasure in the Zenic serenity of our long stretches in first gear?

The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.

Lunch break in Bataan on the way to Subic

That’s how Christopher Morley (a well known American poet) put it, but my cycling buddies could not care less for my poor attempts at combining the two arts.

They are not listening; in fact they are not even there any more. One had taken flight in a Jeepney some 15 kilometres ago; the other two disappeared in a private car shortly thereafter. I feel guilty. Maybe I should not have lead them to a detour up Mount Samat (very steep, one extra hour of intense pedalling).

This tour clearly had its ups and downs, literally and figuratively. But it also showed again that the Philippines is a country of many options. Even in remoter areas you always find a solution (like the ubiquitous Jeepney) should bike or rider not make it.

I meet my bike buddies again at our hotel at Baloy beach. I prepare myself for some critique but there is none of that. They are happy. And with reason so.

Who would have thought that you can ride from Manila all the way to Subic along super scenic roads, smoothly paved, yet almost free of cars?

There is a trick of course and it’s the ferry from Manila to Port of Lamao in Bataan. It simply bypasses all the things you don’t want to see.

The ferry returns in the evening, so day trips along the coast in Bataan are another option.

Back on our bikes. Bye bye Corregidor

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