Mindoro is one of the most accessible islands from Luzon where you can have fun, trip out and get some sun. If you are up for some adventure, Mindoro is probably one of the friendliest Tagalog speaking islands with a lot to offer. Looking for something new? This island’s got a lot to offer. All you need to do is ask… and you shall find.
Our happy little group had so much fun last year with Mindorock n Roll that when the memories in Facebook popped up in our feed, the guys started to ask each other when shall we do it again. We saw the opportunity of the long weekend landing on Nov30-Dec2 so we set our ride on the said dates. Preparations and planning were made and proper arrangements had to be done (bike maintenance, our supporters, our sponsors, our spouse visa, etc.). When everything was set, we had a short pre-ride meeting for logistics and we were off.
We prefer leaving our point of origin during night so we can save on travel time. We usually want to arrive at our destination in the morning so we can have more pedal time during the day. Thus, we left Metro Manila around 1-2am so we arrived at the Batangas pier (after eating breakfast along the highway) around 5am. We did our usual boarding procedure in Batangas pier of disassembling our front wheel so that the bike is considered luggage and not a vehicle (so as not to pay for extra fees). We waited for our 6am RORO going to Calapan (250 Php per head). Once we boarded our boat, we slept on the ship, reserving our energy for the long bike trip ahead of us.
We reached Calapan after a two hour plus boat ride. The RORO we got was a slow one, we learned after we arrived. The Fastcat should be renamed Slowcat, we joked. But it was all good; we got energized from our morning siesta and we were ready for our cross country trip. Our local trail master, Jonathan met us and we had breakfast in my cousin’s house in Calapan. He served us fish with soup, fried fish, bananas and grapes. After a hearty meal, we said our farewells and we started our ride towards Puerto Galera.
We were joined by another Calapan local, Nico who used to be Manila based, but now living in Calapan. He was a fixed rider back in the days and now he is into mountain biking. Since he was the local rider in the pack, he set the pace of the group. For the first 30 mins, it was a fast paced peloton, never breaking away due to the strong headwind. We were all pedaling behind Nico, slipstreaming. Then we realized: why are we pedaling so fast? We couldn’t last the whole day if we maintained this pace. So one biker broke away from the lead biker and the rest of the group decreased their velocity as well. The group then enjoyed the sights and scenery of Mindoro on a mountain bike.
We reached Tamaraw falls, took some pictures and then ate at the local restaurant overlooking Puerto Galera. After that pleasant lunch, we made our way towards the house of Mikki, our guide’s Italian friend.
Climbing towards Mikki’s mountain top property was no joke. The gradient was 30 degrees and it was impossible to climb it if you were a mere mortal. We tried to climb the steep ascent but it was better to just push the bike up and reserve our strength for the trails to come. Once we reached the top of the mountain, we saw Mikki’s house and rested there.
We wanted to traverse that mountain where Mikki lived but the foot path going down was way too slippery. The soil condition was impossible to ride downhill so we bailed out on that path. We just chose to go back where we climbed and had a blast going down super fast. Props to my Shimano XT brakes with 203mm Ice tech rotors, descending that treacherous road was a breeze. Modulated front and back braking (pulling on the lever like Anti Lock Braking system) and with a proper stance going down, what took us an hour going up lasted only for 5 minutes. That was the highlight of our day.
We continued our way going to White Beach and found accommodations. We were lucky enough to get adjacent rooms fronting the beach and we were satisfied with our first riding day. We freshened up, ate a filling dinner on the beach and called it a night. It was indeed a good day for everyone.
Day 2 Puerto Galera
The biker gang ate breakfast overlooking the beach and loaded up for the bike ride ahead of us. We plan to go to Abra de Ilog from Puerto Galera but the road was not yet finished. The road was still under construction and we had to go through rough terrain and unknown territories in order to reach our destination. We pedaled our way and when we reached a part where it was all jungle, our trail master went on foot and surveyed our path. We were disheartened when one of the boys crashed on a pile of marble rocks and had a deep wound on his arm. Good thing he didn’t go down the cliff, so we were lucky the rocks saved him. Our trip’s title: Mindorocks2018 became relevant due to this nasty crash.
We decided to bail out on our exploratory ride and just ride the local Puerto Galera trails. We ate lunch in a local Italian Pizza parlor, owned by Claudio. Arcobaleno was a legit pizza house and the pie that they served was world class. The beach view plus the ambiance of the Pizza parlor made us order beer and call it a good riding day. We just relaxed by the beach, swam a little and drank in the local bar. Now this is what you call a BIKE VACAY!
We explored the nearby trails and saw some unusual sights around Puerto Galera. We had a blast going around the town in our mountain bikes. The locals were always smiling and very accommodating with our questions. It was a fun ride and needless to say, Mindorocks 2018 was a blast.
We got to enjoy some live music at the local Jam House bar along the beach. There was reggae, local folk and acoustic music for everyone. The beach weather was fine until it rained around 12 midnight. It was cue to go home and rest.
Our Sunday was uneventful but we still got to ride going to the pier. In the port, we met some local bikers from Mamburao. They were waiting for the boat going to Abra de Ilog because the path was still impassable. We talked and told them that we were riding the boat from Galera straight to Batangas City pier.
The boat was overloaded with people and they were all looking forward to go back to Metro Manila. It was the end of a very fruitful and fun bike vacay. New memories were made and new stories formed. The whole essence of mountain biking in an island was achieved and we are looking forward to our next adventure ride. Nice ride, Boys!