Here I thought our dreaded Sierra Madre Experience was going to be our hardest ride for a long while- NOPE! Last week we headed out for our longest ride yet: a whopping 115km to Jala-jala and back!
Here’s the summary of our trip plotted in Google Maps:
- Start at Caltex, Sumulong Hi-way near Masinag
- Caltex to Teresa – 15km
- Teresa (J. Sumulong > Manila East Rd.) to Jala-jala – 35.2km
- Jala-jala to Taytay (via Manila East Rd.) – 48.9km
- Taytay (Ortigas Ext. > Imelda Ave.) to Marcos Hi-way – 11.4km
- Marcos Hiway to Sumulong Hi-way – 4.9km
- A total of 115km
Planned only a few days before, we first thought of it to be similar to an easy-going weekend bike ride as the description of the roads were all ‘flats.’ Flats, meaning there are no steep elevations like those we had in Sierra Madre, although there were still a few uphill roads since it’s still Antipolo, after all.
Who knew this would be much harder! There were no inclinations, but the distance made up for it.
Josh, Dennis and I met at Caltex, Sumulong Hi-way near Masinag around 7:30am to prep up. For breakfast, I had Nissin’s Spicy Seafood cup noodles along with a bottle of Sting and a bar of Dark Chocolate Choco Mucho. I was also pretty excited since it was my first time using my newly bought hydration bag!
Slight mishap: as I poured three bottles of Gatorade in the bladder, I noticed something dripping from the bag’s bottom. It turns out the bladder was defective, and the Gatorade leaked from the inside! Well, this was supposed to be okay as I could just have the bag replaced where I bought it after the ride, BUT it skinny-dipped my mobile phone and MP3 player in the process!
At this point in time my phone was still working so I paid it no mind. I went back home to get another bag, and off we go! I was surprised that scaling the hills of Antipolo weren’t all that hard anymore. In our previous rides, I remember we had to stop for about five times before reaching the church- we only stopped twice this time! I didn’t really think eating chocolates, as Josh suggested, would have that much of a difference in terms of how tired and energetic you’ll be in the ride. I even reasoned that it may have been just a placebo effect- I stand corrected!
My first memorable stop was the scary curves of the E. Rodriguez Ave. along the Antipolo-Teresa boundary. From there, the view is absolutely breathtaking! Just that, it’s equally scary! Elbow-sharp turns with no barricades or anything to protect you from these high cliffs, and it’s infested with speeding delivery trucks to boot! Please be extra careful when traversing this road. A few hours into the ride, we finally saw these road sign posts to Laguna and Jala-jala! Quite a bit of a motivation we had there as we are neared our destination!
Unlucky event number two: my rear tire got punctured by a glass shard. Until after this ride, I didn’t have a habit of bringing extra emergency tools should something like this happens- I guess I’ll try to change that from now on. Fortunately, there was a vulcanizing shop nearby where we stopped. I had my rear tire’s tube vulcanized for 30php.
We passed by dozens of towns and barangays, with the notable ones being Antipolo, Teresa, Morong, Baras, Tanay, Pillilia and then finally, Jala-jala. It was around 2pm we reached the town of Jala-jala with our non-stop biking since 8am! It was a total grind– the roads we traveled on felt endless, even if they were mostly flats.
We stopped by Angel’s Burger for a quick snack since hunger was already catching up to us- we haven’t even had lunch yet! We rested awhile, talked to the locals, and off we go again. A few more kilometers away from the town entrance of Jala-jala (right after the Malaya Thermal Power Plant), we were able to find a private alley connecting the main road to a wonderful view at the lake shores of Laguna de Bay. This just made the whole ride worthwhile- although it’s a bit sad to see that the place is quite thrashed and dirty.
We were already tired despite the fact that we were only at about half of the ride! After the selfies and whatnot, we hurried our way back to whence we came since nightfall was catching up. Instead of going back up to Teresa, we continued on Manila East Rd. via Cardona, Binangonan, Angono, Taytay and Cainta to avoid the very steep inclinations of the hills of Antipolo. The only setback was that it’s the longer way back.
Before anything, we ate a late lunch at Pisong Kape– a known foodie place in the area for bikers. Good food!
Carrying on: the journey through Manila East Rd. was grindiest of them all. Fatigue has taken over, our joints were screaming, butts on fire, and it was cold as hell when night came. To top it off, there were those inconsiderate asshole drivers and motorists on the main roads who live on doing traffic violations.
Anyway, Dennis was even considering to hire a trike so we could get back to Marcos Hiway right away. We didn’t, and withstood the trial! The moment we reached Masinag near my place, the feeling was all too fulfilling. This was one awesome ride indeed! Hopefully we’ll be able to do this again next time!