Gear up your mt. bike downhill skills with the pros

Photo by Batibols Bikers

Parabanne Mendoza and Arjuna Saulo, the best coaches in the country’s MTB scene, will be in Laoag on February 8, 2014, to conduct a bike clinic to help you reach your race goals and riding skills. The one-day course will take place on the lofty trails of Lagui-Sail.

Registration fee is P500. For inquiries, contact the Batibols Bikers (Jackie de la Cruz or Edzel Bargas) here.

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Batibols Bikers joins the MayDay MTB DH Race – Part 2

ParesPinikpikan aka "killing me softly"Cook/Waiterpinikpikan aka "killing me softly" up close

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, the old saying goes. For lunch, the Batibols Bikers had a taste of the indigenous Cordilleran culture — pinikpikan done soft and slow. There’s such a thing as indigenous peoples rights as well as animal welfare laws, so I hope no one has committed a crime. If you haven’t heard about it, you might as well google how pinikpikan is prepared to find out why it generates debates.

sari-sari storeThree MenNested

These days, extreme downhill mountain biking attracts adrenalin junkies of  all ages. It’s a rigorous sport that entails a reliable bike, skills, precision, focus, a great deal of training and above all,  guts.

Jeric FarrFocusall eyes downdownhillTwoGo, Ryan!All eyes...fearlessCrashing Moment

An impromptu awarding ceremony capped the day.

An air of triumph… the organizers, participants and winners of the different categories all wore confident smiles. No major crashes, thank God!

Jeric Farr topped the Pro Category. Joey Rogers came in second and Aky Nolasco, third.

In the Expert Category (expert means a notch higher than pro, or a more senior pro). Eboy Farr outdid Batibols Bikers very own Jackie de la Cruz.

The Mini Batibols made a good showing. In their class, 9 year-old Lucius Cunanan was second to Sagada’s 10 year-old Pekwa Busas while Dylan Cunanan made it to the top three. Lucius got the Youngest Rider award and a nice, new bike seat.

Brandon Tan and Dylan Cunanan got the 7th and 8th spots, respectively, in the 18 and below level.

Winners-19 and below categorytriumphantWinning

Photographed by Blauearth and Edsel. Bottom 2 photos via Aky Nolasco.
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Biking around Ilocos Norte

With its unique natural and cultural heritage destinations, Ilocos Norte in the extreme northern Philippines is one damn fine destination for the gutsy traveler on a bike.

Ready to hop on your bike? Let’s meet at the newly landscaped Aurora Park in Laoag (my hometown), a flourishing city where the calesa is still a means of getting around. Before getting ourselves all covered in sweat, let’s visit the old Spanish Tabacalera, now the Museo Ilocos Norte — a showcase of the Ilocano culture, with dioramas (depicting old local customs and traditions), artifacts from the past and a replica of an old Ilocano abode.

Let’s pedal to the western end of Laoag and marvel at the sand dunes of La Paz. If we’re lucky enough to chance upon sandboarders, we can have a little “sand”wich for another awesome kind of thrill. Or you might want to temporarily swap your hardtails for LEAD Movement’s beach cruisers?

Cruising along Barangay La Paz.

a recent visitor at the La Paz sand dunes.

Next, south, east or north, it’s your call.

To the southeast is old town Paoay, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Paoay Church, also known as St. Augustine Church, a most-photographed church with striking Earthquake-Baroque and Oriental design dating back to 1704. Coffee brews at the Herencia Café right across the church. What about a slice of the original pinakbet pizza?

Let’s go a little north to the 381.5-hectare Paoay Lake National Park, a northerly lake for migratory birds. A place of peace and tranquility, the  protected area is suitable for eco-friendly boating, kayaking and paddle boarding, afterwhich we revisit a part of history at the adjacent Malacañang of the North, the former Ilocos Norte residence of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

If you dare venture into the eastern towns, spread on the rolling terrain of Ilocos Norte, a charming countryside view with numerous points of interest such as a farmer’s daily grind makes the travel more engaging. Community immersion is another possibility.

Unleash your wild side and get your adrenalin all pumped up — hook up with extreme mountain biking groups, like the Batibols Bikers,  and go off the beaten track in Lagui and Bugnay, San Nicolas.

Up north are gorgeous must-sees. Beyond biking, a food trip will surely rejuvenate the bike explorer. Up on the list — freshly baked biscochos at the roadside Pasuquin Bakery!

The imposing Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is a  fine vantage point overlooking the South China Sea. Also in Burgos are excellent bike/hike trails leading to nature areas like Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Kaangrian Waterfall and Tanap-Avis Watershed Forest Reserve. Spelunking and rock climbing can be arranged with the Burgos tourism office.The neighboring town of Bangui is location to the first windmill farm in Southeast Asia. A coffee shop named KangKang by the windmills serves good coffee and refreshments.

Further in the north is Pagudpud, where a  strip of tropical resorts line the white-sand Saud Beach Cove. Ask around for diving equipment, surfboard, paddle board and skimboard rentals. The north coast gets surfers all stoked with Mairaira Point’s good waves. Closeby, breathtaking Blue Lagoon is a chill-out haven.If you get starved in Pagudpud, there are good eating places. Discover bagnet or kilawen with a German twist at Bergblick Deutsches Restaurant, organic greens at Kapuluan Vista Resort or savor freshly-caught seafood at Manang Yolly’s Mekeni’s Palutuan by the Blue Lagoon. Cruising the Patapat Viaduct offers a remarkable sea and mountain scape.

From Pansian, Pagudpud, a 45-minute uphill cycling to the town of Adams, within the northeastern end of the Cordillera Mountain Range, is a prerequisite for the daring visitor in Ilocos. Stunning high biodiversity primary forests are ideal for hardcore trekking and biking. The rustic town has four DOT-accredited homestays. Natural and cultural attractions include ancient hanging bridges, the pellucid Bulu River, numerous waterfalls, a flourishing wine-making industry, exotic food and a fascinating amalgam of  indigenous cultures.

Cryptic Ilocos Norte demystified! Hope to see you unravel more… happy biking!

Photo credits: LEAD Movement, Ilocos Sand Boarding, Batibol Bikers and BlauEarth

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012