Long before the green zone and blue zone in Maarat, the trails there were plentiful and challenging. Mountain bikers shared the trails with MotoCross riders and we just followed the foot paths and back roads around the sloping mountainside. Bikers had to remember the crossroads and the way out so we wouldn’t get lost in the jungle (there were no signboards!). We were getting frustrated because the MX riders destroyed the trails for they were digging it too much; making the rut deeper. The challenge is never to fall on the deep rut for that would mean you have to go back up again on the proper line.
It’s all about choosing the proper line for that is basically nature’s challenge for you. MamaNature carved the trails through the natural flow of water, so bikers had to follow the Taoist philosophy and just go with the flow.
Marv, Jeff, Mel and I decided to go retro by reminiscing the old trails of Maarat. We biked all the way, so we can traverse Maarat and land in Marikina without worrying about going back to the vehicle (‘coz that’s how we roll back then, padyak ol ‘d way). We climbed the wall, and talked about how the cemented road ended at the Guard house and the rough roads started already. There were no more steep climbs once you reach the guard house (unlike now… that last stretch of uphill is a killer!) and the next step would be the “Mangga”. From there, we would decide which trail to take: Roxas, Patiis, Ka Vergel, Yes or No, Nursery, etc.
Our little group took the Roxas downhill route, which intersected the green zone, crossed two creeks and finally ended at Basic. We turned left and entered the steep foot path going to Ka Vergel’s. It’s been a while since we last took this trail so we were weary if we were lost or not. We took the slow climb ascending one big hill and then bombed really fast downhill. When we saw the oasis of water in the middle of the mountain, we knew we were near Ka Vergel’s.
The familiar bahay kubo of Ka Vergel greeted our tired posse with much welcome. We chose our “dishes” and ordered corned beef, chicken mami with egg and rice. We patiently waited by the floating dining area, and relaxed. After much chitchat, our food finally arrived and we were treated to some good ol’ home cooking. We filled up our tummy and paid Ka Vergel, plus tip.
The trip home was anticipated already for we got ourselves ready to push our bikes up the makunat ascent. When we reached the peak, it was all downhill to AFP Housing. AFP downhill is a very long descent made up of loose gravel, concrete and soil. There was even a race before there dubbed as AFP: Ang Fast Papa!. The mountain ride finally ended when we hit Marikina, and it was there that we got lost. Thank God for the Philippine’s GPS, we asked the tricycle drivers and got out of the Marikina maze.