Bicycle touring the Philippines: Mountain Province and into Ilocos Sur

Back in Banaue, the tourist center of Ifugao, Jeff and I took a forced rest day ’cause of the rain. We spent too much time watching weather forecasts — it appeared to be drier to the west, but I wanted to head east to see Batad, Bangaan, and Mayoyao. Jeff was less excited about the rice terraces and more concerned about spending miserable days riding in the rain and the clouds without being able to see anything.

I headed off east on my own and was pleased with the decision — I loved the bicycle touring in Ifugao, and the clouds were mostly high enough to not obstruct the views. As I approached the Ifugao-Mountain Province border, the area started to feel remote. In Jacmal, where there was not only a high school but also a university campus, I found a restaurant. Unfortunately it was Sunday — no students and no food. I bought some packaged junk food and pushed on (downhill).

There was nothing in Awayan, but it was still downhill to Butac (not to be confused with Butac near Natonin). I asked around in Butac — nope, no restaurant. I really needed to eat since I knew I had a climb ahead. Locals were helping a family with a car fix a flat tire. The family had apparently come from the direction where I was heading and had asked about a restaurant in the next village. There wasn’t one, but locals had given them a bag of food. Do you want it?, they offered me. Wonderful, thank you, I said, and found a place to sit in the shade. Fried fish heads and some boiled sweet potatoes.

Luckily there were a lot of fish heads ’cause the ride to Natonin ended up being harder than I expected. The roads in Ifugao had almost all been paved. Just a km after crossing the border to Mountain Province, I came to this:

Welcome to Mountain Province.  The roads in Ifugao had been surprisingly good.  The next ~14km were probably the poorest road of the trip, but they've started to improve it working down (east) from Natonin. by bryandkeith on flickr

Probably just a short bit of construction after a landslide, I assured myself. Nope, the dirt/mud/rocks continued almost all the way to Natonin.

Continue reading
Posted in Bicycle touring, Philippines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bicycle touring the Philippines: Ifugao Province

Ifugao Province — this why I wanted to come to the Philippines, and it did not disappoint! The headhunters are long gone. On the internet you can still find bicycle touring accounts of slippery, muddy roads, but those are mostly gone as well. When we did find a dirt road in the cordillera, it was usually being improved — concrete coming soon.

IMG_20240123_073353 by bryandkeith on flickr
Continue reading
Posted in Bicycle touring, Philippines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bicycle touring the Philippines: Tayug (Pangasinan) to Tabeyo Lake (Mt. Pulag)

Alternatively titled: Into the mountains and terraced fields of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet provinces. I was very excited to leave the flats and get into the northern Luzon cordillera. For years this is why I wanted to come ride in the Philippines!

For us the climbing started in San Nicolas with what could have been a fairly easy 1200m climb to Malico. However, the strong, squirrelly wind almost blew me off my bicycle a couple times, and some rain made it a bit cold at the top. We chatted with Binz from Angeles, the only fellow bicycle traveler we met during our month on Luzon.

IMG_20240116_070812 by bryandkeith on flickr
Continue reading
Posted in Bicycle touring, Philippines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bicycle touring the Philippines: Manila to Tayug (Pangasinan)

Jeff flew from Denver to Clark (Angeles) for about six weeks of bicycle touring in the Philippines. Even though I arrived in the Philippines about three weeks before he did, I ended up scrambling a bit to meet him in time. I put off buying my Cebu-Manila ticket till I had my passport back from immigration (for a visa extension), and then the two sailings I was hoping for were sold out. “I have space on the 45-hour trip via Nasipit on Mindanao,” the ticket seller offered. Sure.

It was probably the most comfortable ferry trip (out of about 13) I took in the Philippines

Bye-bye, Cebu.

IMG_20240109_172250 by bryandkeith on flickr

Morning in Nasipit:

Continue reading
Posted in Bicycle touring, Philippines | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Philippines first impressions: Cebu and Camotes islands

Philippines, a new country, how exciting! Flying from Taipei to Cebu was quick and easy. I had prepaid the bicycles with AirAsia (Z2), and check-in was simple and painless. Mac from Busan helped us get settled into comfortable digs in a “little Korea” (my name) neighborhood in Banilad Barangay. It’s literally one Korean restaurant after another.

Kim and Mac by bryandkeith on flickr
Kim, Mac, and Ferda
Continue reading
Posted in Bicycle touring, Philippines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment