Wednesday, February 6, 2013


(This post below by Bryce)

     We found a nice place to stay on Saud beach, a picturesque crescent white sand beach dotted with hotels of various value. We de-booted, unpacked our bikes and went to the restaurant downstairs where we experienced the least impressive meal yet. That night we got on the bikes and cruised a road that parallels the beach in search of some socializing and cold beers. We found the latter, and learned that night life here is yet to be developed. As we pulled into our hotel area that night I met a local girl who wouldn't let me go without agreeing to hangout the next day. We made a plan to meet on the town basketball court at 4.

      The next morning there were beautiful head high waves curling into the  bay with a slight offshore breeze and not a single person out. Pumped up, I rather frantically searched for a board to rent or borrow at the hotel/restaurants along the beach. Much to my surprise, given the perfect waves, i was repeatedly informed that boards were not rented anywhere on Saud beach. So we ate some squid, pork and rice and watched the waves roll in.

      With the surf bug itching hard, CJ and I rode 20km north to Blue Lagoon where we were told there were boards for rent and  even better waves. When we got there the smaller bay was blown out with white caps all over and smaller choppy waves. We went out for an hour anyway and caught a few  mushy waves, but the setting was so pleasant it was still a joy. This South China Sea is by far the warmest I've experienced, there is not even the slightest of chills when getting in or out.

     Back in Saud beach Chris and CJ rode into some nearby mountains and I walked down the road to meet up with Gema, the girl who invited me to dinner the evening prior. She lives in a small dirt floor shack made of palm frauns, mud, wood scraps and some sheet metal. The kitchen, parent, and kids room are separated by hanging blankets. I spent some time there meeting aunts, uncles siblings and community members as she tried to translate with her limited english. It was a little awkward because it felt like she was showing me off, when I showed up on foot she made me go back and bring my motorcycle (which is a very nice machine for these parts) to park it in front of her house like a status symbol.

     She climbed on the back of the bike and we rode to see her best friend in the next town where we trecked around harvesting wild ferns, ginger and a fruit that i've never seen before high out of trees with a saw on a pole.

      We said our goodbyes, took some pictures and headed back to her house to eat. On the ride back I saw Chris and CJ come out of a trail head from their ride, right onto the road in front of us. I pulled up next to them and we had a good laugh about the coincidence.

     Back at the homestead, her mother had prepared a table for two with rice, seaweed, and some other unidentifiable greens. Mom watched over my shoulder as we ate, making comments that I didn't understand throughout. 

      Around this time I attempted to excuse myself to bed, motioning with my head in hands like a pillow but it was not happening. We rode into the town and got empanadas at her aunts street food stand that were delicious and ate them on the beach.
       After walking Gema back to her house, her mother insisted on walking me home with her big wood stick to beat off any dogs that bark or snap at me, it was comforting and a very sweet notion. Such kindness from the people here is what has impressed me more than anything in the Philippines. They are always looking to help however they can, often dropping their task at hand or changing their day to assist us. 

(This post below by Chris)

     While Bryce was off on his local experience CJ and I had our own little adventure. I had scouted some trails earlier that I wanted to check out so we headed for the hills. The trail which was just a cow path wound through a green grassy field that ended at the bottom of a very large and steep mountain. The top looked like a great place to watch the sunset so we tried to find a way up.

       I thought I could see a trail on the far side but there was defiantly no trail to get to it just a large overgrown patch of tall grass and shrubs. I think I can make it through so I pound it 1st gear through head high grass not being able to see where I'm going. As the bike goes over the very tall grass it lifts the front tire off the ground so you felt like you were in a wheelie the whole time. Went as far as the bike would go until it came to a dead stop and I fell over. CJ got a running start and plowed past me and made it through leaving me a trail to follow.

      Once out of that death trap we headed further through the field which was littered in large rocks hidden under the grass. CJ took a unlucky line and hit a rock head on which stop him dead in his tracks and he almost went over the front and fell sideways pinning his knee between a rock and his bike. I rushed over to help him get the bike off him and saw how bad it could of been. His knee was being hyper extended between the weight of the bike and rock, he was hurt but not bad.

     The mountain we were trying to get up kept getting worse and worse so we gave up on that plan and rode the trail towards the ocean where we found some awesome deserted beaches and great dirt trails and roads.

      We found a perfect exploration road that went through unreal lush green rice fields surrounded by palm trees and jungle mountains. With dusk approaching it was truly a magical serene scene complete with rainbows and wild animals running around. Was like something out of a national geographic nature show but even better in real life.The pictures don't do it justice.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vigan To Pagudpud (La Paz Sand Dunes)

     We had spent two days in Vigan and were ready to hit the beach again so off we went north along the coastal road. I had read about some massive sand dunes we would be passing through which was a must do for us. The directions were vauge at first but after a couple hours on the road we found them.
      As we pulled up over the hill where you could first see the ocean and seemingly endless dunes the wind started blowing at about 50mph and we were now in the middle of a full on sand storm. Large grains of sand pelted us in the face like little missiles but we did not care as we were just excited to be there and see this new landscape.

     We aired down our tires for better flotation and slipped and slid through the sand. We came to a large hill, Bryce hit it first trying to get enough speed. As he neared the top he went into a wheelie and then did a full 180 and was now facing back down the hill. It looked like he meant to do it but he most defiantly did not.

    Once at the top we were greeted with an amazing view of the ocean and surrounding dunes. The beach and dunes literally went as far as you could see.

    As we explored more I noticed I had got a flat front tire!  This is not a welcome sight way out here. Hopefully it is just a leak so I try to pump it back up.

   The tire seems to be holding air so back into the dunes we go, once you get away from the ocean the sand gets extremely soft and deep. Our poor bikes are kept at redline just trying to gain ground.

   You really need a more powerful bike for this kind of riding so we decide to head back and get the tires properly fixed before we are really stranded out here. Find a little vulcanizing shack back towards town and through semi successful body language get the tire off and the guy goes to work on the tube. What they do here for flats is melt another piece of rubber over the hole in the tube with pressure and a small oil fire over the tube in this strange contraption. I have never seen anything like this and was skeptical at first but it worked great!

    With the bikes back in business northward we went to Pagudpud. As we neared our destination the terrain changed drastically from arid desert to lush and tropical, I felt like I was in Hawaii again.

We arrived right at sunset and this beach is incredible! White sand, clear water and completely empty.