I cheated a little bit.
I was supposed to leave on the morning of the 20th but instead I left home in the afternoon of the 19th. I figured since everything is in order and I have double checked all of my stuff, leaving now would give help me cover more ground. My first idea was to go to Real Quezon, camp there for the night to test some of the gear that I have with me and yes, I know what your’e thinking. There are some gear that I have with me that I have not tested yet. Then I checked google maps about to find out if taking this route would be a good idea, it turns out if I take this route I will be off by almost 150 kms.
So I decided to just go ahead and take a different route going south, to the edge of Luzon. It’s a mixed feeling, a lot of it is excitement with a little bit of anxiety. After 4 years of preparation I’m finally doing it, travelling the Philippines alone on a motorcycle. The “what if’s” that go through my head before a ride are mostly negative, that’s usually where the anxiety comes from. Then I have to get myself together, I just breath in and out then everything goes back to where it should always be, to focus on what’s in front of me.
It’s been raining every afternoon for the past couple of days, I always thought that by December the rain would ease giving me plenty of time to ride dry, only to experience the opposite. I have always welcomed the cool weather as it brings a cool breeze that is almost every time a pleasure to ride. But this is one of those exceptions, wet weather accompanied by a cool breeze is a challenge to ride in. Wind chill can cause problems, the faster you go, the colder it gets, the colder it gets, the closer you are to hypothermia.
The afternoon was cool as if the weather was cooperating with my desire to travel, I hoped that it would continue the rest of the day through the night so I can travel fast and gain a lot of ground after all I have around 400+ kms to travel to get to Bicol.
After 2 hours of riding I passed by a town that has a lot of activity going on, it turns out its their fiesta and they are going to have a boxing match in the middle of the plaza. I slightly hesitated to stop and check it out, then I had to remind myself “Isn’t this why I’m out travelling? To experience life away from my comfort zone and that I should not get fixated with the distance or the hours of travel as it will suck the fun out of what I’m doing. You are here, the event is unfolding before your eyes, stop, watch, take it all in. This is why you are here.
I went into the plaza and looked for a decent place to park my motorcycle as I was doing that I noticed that all eyes were on me. Covered with all black armour with a motorcycle filled with luggage and cameras sticking out my helmet, I was like a sore thumb. I just told myself that I should get used to it. I was just in time for the first match of the afternoon. Two young men not over 25 were called to the ring, not overly fit but their body built was acceptable for the event. I have seen cage fights before it’s easy to determine real fighters from those that are just trying it out. It is quite evident that these guys are not sure what they got into. The bell rang and the boxing started, well it was more like a brawl, but it was fun to watch, they might not have the skill but they definitely have the heart. The first round felt so fast due to the aggressiveness of both fighters, the second round was even faster as one of them got knocked out.
Back home I would really not enjoy this fight as it was a display of unskilled fighters getting into an activity that they clearly are not familiar with and that would cause me to loose attention as I feel like they never reached the standard that I have set when watching fights. But I didn’t feel that way, I stayed and watched another fight knowingly that most the men fighting are probably of the same caliber. There I realised something… if I’m going to be so quick to judge the people and experiences in this journey then I won’t learn anything, I will just end up becoming that pompous city guy who acts like he knows everything, so I just took things as they are and tried to open my mind. I’m barely starting my journey, having a closed mindset would ruin everything.
I had to leave after the second match as the night was closing in on me, fast. Had to take advantage of the daylight that I have left. When the sun was gone it started to rain and it went on through the night, one thing that I dislike about riding in the night was not being able to see the view and I felt like Cavinti has a lot to offer. At around 9 pm my feet was already drenched and I’m partially wet so I had to call it a night. Luckily I passed by an inn, it was pretty decent nothing fancy. I removed all my wet gear and tried to reflect how my day went and told myself.
Not bad for a first day… well half of a day.