I have told you stories of ethnic tribes, boat rides and Filipino hospitality. I think it’s about time that I tell you about the story of the road, because if not for it I won’t be able to go anywhere.
I had to leave early. After having breakfast with the very hospitable family I started packing my things, this time I had to make sure they’re really tight and secure as the roads ahead will be a challenge. The road going to Bordeos, the last town in the island of Polilio, goes from bad to worse depending on the weather. Wet, you will encounter a lot of sticky mud, dry and you will ride through loose sand. And if trouble occurs it would take a while to get help, as houses here are very far apart.
Before leaving “Tatay” advised me that I should keep a low profile as much as I can. It got me curious so I asked him why he gave me that advice. That was when he told me a story of a traveller similar to myself, the only difference was he was travelling because of work. He spent the night at their place just like me, then come morning he went on to travel to Bordeos taking the same path that I’m going.
Then they heard about him again two weeks after he left their house. But it was a grim news, his body was found buried somewhere the road going to Bordeos. They think it was a case of mistaken identity, this part of the island is similar to a no mans land. People who have committed crimes and are fleeing the authorities usually reside in these places as not a lot of people go here. “Tatay” told me that most likely he was mistaken to be an asset of the authorities and that was enough reason to put him down. He also told me that not too long ago there were some rebels in this area, but the military presence in the area somehow lessened their presence.
This is the scenery the ocean to your right and coconut trees to your left. This is the bayside route, apparently there are three routes going to Bordeos, this the first one but also the farthest. It was pretty sunny, which is good as it’s a sign that I will most likely not encounter muddy terrain. The bad part is, the sand is dry and loose and I have a track record of dropping my bike on these kinds of terrains. Low and behold, I did not disappoint myself.
Mind the gap. This route is connected by wooden bridges similar to this one, it’s a good idea check it before crossing. You might encounter a nasty surprise if you don’t… my boots for scale, I’m a size 9.
Just before entering the really difficult part of the route, you encounter this. “Bato” Beach a famous for picnic grounds for locals. The natural rock formations are amazing, although I’m not sure of the history of these big stone structures, come to think of it I should have asked.
About half way through the route it rained. Good thing I was near a small community when it happened so I had some form of shelter, I decided to take a break. A halo-halo stand was just nearby so I went on to have one even though it’s raining, it’s also a good way to interact with the locals. “Ate” asked me where I was going as obviously not from there. I told her that I’m going to Bordeos, she told me that not too long ago a group of cyclist took the route that I’m taking. I then asked if motorcyclist do the same, she said “No”.
You will be passing two hanging bridges, yes you heard it right, a “hanging bridge”. The first one is pretty small, it feels like a warm up the longer wobbly one. One thing you have to remember when going to places like this, take note on how locals tackle the terrain as it will give you a very good idea on how handle it as well.
If you notice on the photo the bridge is supported by steel cables with wide gaps. A reckon a small motorcycle or even my the one I’m would easily fit into these gaps, sliver lining is, it’s not that high. I then decided to commit and go through it, at first I thought I can ride through it without my feet touching the bridge but that just last for like a couple of seconds it was so slippery that I decided to just literally to crawl the bike to the end.
Getting to the other side was a big relief. But its not over yet, the rain was a big help when going through sand but it’s entirely a different story when your’e going through mud. A portion of this route is covered by mud and rocks, you have to muscle your way through it, there’s just no other way to do it.
The mud was so bad it was sticking everywhere my tires were not having any traction anymore which caused me to drop my bike a couple of times. It’s just the reality of travels like this. After the ordeal I had to stop to check the bike, there was a point wherein I thought my clutch wasn’t working anymore, but I know this bike we have been through a lot worse before and I’m pretty sure that she would just shrug this one off.
Mud, sweat and cheers. A challenging ride as always. Got to Bordeos in one piece and the bike intact. Time for us to both take our rests.
There will be no riding on Day 04 why? Stick around to find out.