Sagada is a little, peaceful and serene town in the Mountain Province — an ideal place for people who want to escape from the humid, busy and noisy environment of Metro Manila.
With these in mind, Wheeltek and Suzuki Philippines used the lure of Sagada as a perfect opportunity to put the V-Strom into a spin, gathering riders from different parts of Luzon and taking them on an exciting journey all the way to the exemplary beauty and culture of the Mountain Province.
Though the event was meant exclusively for the Suzuki V-Strom, the Sagada ride was joined by other riders aboard their Suzuki Burgman and GSX-R Series.
To kick off the Suzuki V-Strom Sagada event, the riders gathered at Shell NLEX Station in Bulacan and headed to Nueva Vizcaya for breakfast, pre-ride orientation and a morning prayer led by Bobby Orbe, general manager of big bikes division at Wheeltek.
With roughly a 230-kilometer trip ahead of them, the riders hurriedly eat, gassed up at Total and went their way to Banaue where they had their lunch.
With the riders putting the V-Storm at a high speed, the entourage arrived at the Gazebo Restaurant in Lagawe, Ifugao earlier than the ETA set by Suzuki Philippines and Wheeltek.
After taking our lunch, we headed to one of the viewpoints of the Banaue Rice Terraces where we had our photo opportunities with one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I was stunned by the rice terraces that were built out of the Igorots’ perseverance and hard work. The view was such a feast for everyone’s eyes, so pleasing that it took us a while before we left the viewpoint. But we needed to get back on the road in order to reach Sagada before the sun set down.
Going to Sagada, we took the endless twisty roads of Mayoyao, Alfonso Lista, Isabela Boundary Road and Talubin, Barlig, and Paracelis Road before we reached the town proper of Bontoc. I’ve been traveling to the North Luzon for quite some time, so I had a mindset that I can endure the twisty roads of Banaue, but I didn’t. Traversing those roads with a four-wheel car gave me a headache and had me wishing to have a helicopter take me to Sagada right away.
The headache I felt along the way eased for a while with the mesmerizing view of the mountain ranges, the clouds that touch the mountain peak, the trees seemingly reaching for the sky and the cool pine-scented air.
After 13 hours of traveling, we finally reached our destination, Sagada!
For a moment, I immersed myself with that calm feeling – cold air pressing on my skin, replacing the warmth of the sun– a sense of fulfillment after a patient journey.
To refresh ourselves from the long ride and drive, and thank all the riders and media for joining the first V-Strom ride, Suzuki and Wheeltek held a simple dinner and spent the night merrymaking at Sagada Blue Mountain Hotel.
After recharging ourselves and the machines our riders used, our team was now ready to for the final wave of twisty roads of the Mountain Province. Off and we rolled again!
We traversed the Halsema Highway, touted as one of the most dangerous roads in the Philippines, before stopping in the municipality of Atok, Benguet. There, we had a photo opportunity with the signage saying that it is the highest altitude highway in the Philippines. I also took a panoramic photo of the mountain range to serve as my souvenir from this trip.
With excellent guidance of the ride marshals provided by Suzuki Philippines and Wheeltek, the riders, and us, media team, were able to arrive safely at the Forest House Bed and Breakfast in Baguio City where we took our lunch before we headed back to Manila.
The first Wheeltek and Suzuki ride was successful one. Kudos to all the people who spent their time searching for a place where we can spend our weekend away from our busy and techie life.
After seeing the joy and sense of fulfillment on the faces of riders, Suzuki and Wheeltek are planning to set another riding event, probably next year. I hope by that time, I already know how to ride a big bike so that I can appreciate the thrill of riding on two wheels from the perspective of a rider – wind on my face, sun on my cheeks and a thrill in my heart – just like my Sagada experience.