For some of us, long weekends means staying at home, recovering from all the stress we got from work and make some quality time with our family, but for others, it means exploring new places to shred. Itching for a bike-packing ride, our group decided to take a 3-day traverse trip to Zambales via Pangasinan on Manila Day.
It has been three months since we did this ride, but the entire experience has left a lasting mark on everyone. We had no idea on what to expect on this trip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. It started as if nothing would go wrong. Day one welcomed us with an amazing vista of the northwest mountains, fresh flowing river, and a hidden waterfalls that has been a bitch to hike to on bare feet, and nonetheless to locate. We continued to track the Pangasinan-Zambales until sundown, but we ended up staying the night at Brgy. Mapita as the rain started to pour, and also on the advise of the military men posted at the boundary.
The next day was the exact opposite. It was a pure, unadulterated sufferfest on two wheels and two feet. It started with a couple kilometers through barely 3-feet wide, hardly-passed trail with seven-feet bushes. After that was either descending through very rocky trails, or climbing through ankle-deep mud. Water source was also an issue, as we were tracking the mountain ridge. Bike malfunctions were inevitable, and the heavy downpour did not help one bit. We were short on food and water, and we were trailing the mountain at night with only blinkers and occasional lightnings flaring our way.
It was almost midnight on our last day when we reached the town of Sta. Cruz, Zambales, considering that we barely rode (and hiked) around 60 kilometers over two days. Every single one of us, even our bikes and equipment, were pushed to the edge. We played the cards we were dealt with, and overcame. Although exhausted physically and mentally, the trip is definitely worth the while. Everyone left the mountains with new learnings, and made us fall in love with bikepacking more.