Hi guys! It’s soooo good to be back! I noticed it’s been a month since I had this suberb adventure before I had the chance to post it. Summer time and school season preps grabbed so much of my preoccupation; that’s why it took me so long before I updated my site.
Ok, it was May 10, 2014 when Globe Cordillera Challenge 5 came into conclusion. It is the fifth annual big event for bikers to participate in helping to rebuild our forest in Cordillera in the Mountain Province. It is their way to raise awareness and profit to restore parts of the deforested mountains thru extensive tree planting. This I thought, was such a humane act by people from different walks of life to get themselves involved; considering it needs travel budget, time and effort getting there.
Anyway, the trip was a 6hr-long road trip from Manila going to the northernmost part of the Philippines. My company on this adventure were my office colleagues who are my occasional bike buddies as well. We set foot at Victory Liner terminal in Baguio City past 9pm.
I had weeks of anticipation as this was my first time coming to Baguio, too bad I was only there during the dark. We never had the chance to see the wonders of the “Philippine’s Summer Capital”. While we were there, we immediately checked-in at some hotel to rest. By the dawn, we took off to the town of Tublay in Benguet, some 45min taxi travel from Baguio City. After the event, we went back straight to the bus terminal..Bummer!
Going back, hundreds of bikers from different places in the Philippines gathered to participate. This is where I learned how these people give such meaning to this yearly event.
And check out this photo below, don’t you feel overwhelmed with how basic life can be if you live in that house in the middle of the woods? It kinda reminds me of a mini garden landscape with a toy house I did when I was in fourth grade, that’s exactly how it looked like. And also notice those bald parts of the mountain? This is why such event like this came to take part. These were really evident.
After some 10-15km of road biking (with treacherous elevations), we finally entered the trails.. there were even more magnificent views to ponder in the forest!
Also i didn’t know that rice terraces are also being done in this part of Benguet, (Popular rice terraces are known to be in Ifugao) so this was also one of the best picture taking spots for us, and it felt like it was the one in Ifugao.
Only downside against all the beautiful sceneries are the big evidence of landslides due to deforestation. Oh well, I don’t want to put drama in this post so let’s just look at the bright side because there are already so much effort to soon bring back our forests.
And no! The police didn’t take one of my buddies, Karyl. They checked on people if they were doing good and volunteered as fetchers. Karyl, being the only female in our group took this chance to rest. We just met her at the next station.
After those fun photo opportunities, it was a long pedal travel in the midst of the high and low points of the mountains. And it was a treacherous route, there were still 15-20km lung-squeezing ride till we reach the next station where jeepney sweepers are waiting for people who would want to stop. And we were lucky to find the last trip. It was a long decision-making process till we decide to just finish and take the jeep to go to the final event venue. We had so much fun, this wasn’t a race and there were no pressures intended. The event is made for a fun ride and to appreciate nature and Cordillera. I’ve also learned that out of the 679 bikers that day, there were 420 individuals who finished the entire track, LOL, we are one of the uncounted people.
But wait there’s more! LOL. Adventure never stop till we thought of experiencing the thing the locals call us “TOPLOADING”. It is where passengers are sitted at the top of the jeepney. Transportation in the heart of the mountain is scarce so it’s kinda practical for them to transport people this way as an everyday thing.
I would like to proudly show you this two part video of our entire adventure. I thought of splitting it because 3min or so might be too long for you before you see our “Topload” adventure.
First part is just a plain music video as we tackle the Benguet road and mountain trails.
And this one, our video documentary as we experience that TOPLOADING adventure I was telling you about. I provided English subtitles for my international readers.,,watch in HD fellas! 🙂