This has been my longest motorcycle trip to date--nearly 1,000 kilometers from Manila to Tacloban one-way. After exiting the Sto. Tomas exit along the Star Tollway, we traveled on mostly standard two-lane/two-way national roads through some beautiful scenery along forest parks and sea shores. We took only one roll-on, roll-off (RORO) boat ride to cross the San Bernardino Strait between the port towns of Matnog and Allen.
|At the RORO Port of Matnog before crossing the San Bernardino Strait|
Towards the end of our journey to Tacloban, we crossed Samar to Leyte via the picture-perfect San Juanico Brige--see below.
Many thanks to Kawasaki Leisure Bikes, which organized the road trip as the 1st National Kawasaki Leisure Bike Owners' Meet. Around 12 Kawasaki Leisure Bike owners (including myself) came from Manila/Luzon, 10 from Cebu/Visayas and 10 from Mindanao. Kawasaki sponsored our stay (two nights) at The Oriental Hotel Leyte, a relatively new and well-appointed hotel resort adjacent to the MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial. I was pleasantly surprised to find a hotel/resort of this quality in this part of the country--a real gem! To learn more about The Oriental Leyte, visit http://leyte.theorientalhotels.com/.
During the one day that all the Kawasaki Leisure Bike owners were in Tacloban, we rode mostly along the coastline of Leyte and Samar, stopping at a couple of beach resorts to have merienda and lunch. We returned to The Oriental in the afternoon to hang-out at the beautiful hotel resort. We capped-off the evening with a dinner party with live entertainment and a raffle that won me a motocross helmet. Folks, it doesn't get any better than this. Below are pictures of the beach resort in Samar where we had lunch. It's a small version of Vietnam's Halong Bay.
The return trip was more eventful than I would have liked. Somewhere between Catbalogan and Calbayog in Samar Island, my bike slipped and fell as I was banking right on one of the "twisties". Admittedly, I was getting comfortable executing the twists and curves of the road to the point that I pushed my bike to its performance threshold. My bike (now down on its right side, sliding along the asphalt road) hit a wooden cart, which, in turn, hit a bystander. Shortly after picking myself up from the fall, I was grateful for my minor injuries (the worst of which was a sprained left thumb) and was impressed with the patience and helpful support of my co-riders, who took care of attending to the injured individual and securing my damaged bike--maraming salamat guys! This allowed me to focus on bringing the injured individual to the hospital. The doctor at the Samar provincial hospital indicated that the injury was probably not serious but, to be sure, requested an x-ray. This was done the following day and the wife of the injured individual informed me later that, after reviewing the x-ray, the doctor gave her husband a clean bill of health. Thankfully, this accident had a good ending for everyone!
With my damaged bike loaded into the Kawasaki truck that accompanied the group from Manila, I spent the rest of the return trip to Manila inside an air-conditioned vehicle--also courtesy of Kawasaki intended to accommodate at any point in time any rider who may be unable to complete the rest of the road trip. In spite of my accident, I was probably more disappointed in my inability to complete the return trip to Manila. My consolation was the thought of the next Kawasaki sponsored road trip next year, which I have every intention of completing from start to finish.
The next task at hand was to assess the damage to my bike and to repair the same as soon as possible. During my next visit to the Krib a couple of days later, the list of parts that needed to be replaced was already prepared. After a 5 minute ocular review of the same with Obet, I approved and paid for the repairs. Two days later, my bike was like new. Kudos to Kawasaki for the impressive inventory and availability of spare parts. Of course, we all appreciate the prompt and reliable service of Kuya Obet!
Until our next road trip . . . keep on ridin'!