This month, I decided to join Bayani On Wheels team to help build houses for the Gawad Kalinga community in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. Our mission was to bike from Manila to Gabaldon in 2 days, covering 200kms of flat paved roads with some inclines. Day 1: Manila to Cabanatuan
From Quezon City, we passed through EDSA, then into the cities of Valenzuela, Marilao, Sta. Maria, Guiguinto, Plaridel, Pulilan, Baliuag, San Rafael, San Ildefonso, Gapan, Sta. Rosa, and finally, to Cabanatuan City. We left Quezon City at 6:30am and reached Cabanatuan City at 5:30pm just before dark. We stayed at the NFA staff house for the night.
Most roads to Cabanatuan looked like this – flat, paved, and had an emergency lane which we happily declared as a bike lane. Some parts were under construction so we were forced to share the road with speeding cars, buses, and trucks. Warning: Watch out for speeding trucks and buses. They do not slow down for anyone.
Bike touring wouldn’t be complete without having #CoffeeOutside. Whenever I go on a bike tour, I always make sure I bring my own beans and coffee kit. 3-in-1 just won’t do it for me.
Day 2: Cabanatuan to Gabaldon The road to Gabaldon was more pleasant. Less speeding cars, buses, and trucks, and more provincial vehicles like tricycles and small farm trucks. More trees too!
An empty buko juice stand served as a resting place. Oh how much we wish there were buko juice! Breaks were also the best time for fellow bikers to try out each other’s bikes and check out each other’s packing skills and gears!
Bridge to Gabaldon
A quick bath in the river to cool our bodies. The cold water was perfect for brushing teeth too!
That moment when you just want to stay a little longer.
Dupinga River in Gabaldon is frequented by visitors who swim in its crystal clear water. Nipa huts are available for rent. The river is also home to members of the Dumagat tribe. (source)
Finally, after 2 days on the road, we reached the Gawad Kalinga Gabaldon site. We were warmly welcomed by the families, especially by the children who eagerly shouted “Bike! Bike! Bike!”
A few meters from the GK site was Tita Lita’s restaurant where we ate lunch and were we planned to eat during our entire stay in Gabaldon. Upon hearing about our journey and our stories, Tita Lita warmly opened her place for us to use as “campsite”, free of charge. What a blessing!