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Polilio Biking & Island Tour


Blog: i am 3739.Trail Life // Blog

By Sandre Roque

It's my personal site; home to my blog, photo blog and event gallery. And it tells the world how great it is to be a Christian living in the Philippines. Being under the sun as a mountain biker helps me go to different places wherein most urbanite has yet to dare going. It really puts me into humble clothing and the sport has helped me become more dependent to God. At the same time, this has made me think differently that the Philippines can never be said poor. We just have to look for ourselves that we are still blessed by any means. I love to take pictures and this can be seen under my "Photoblog" page. The blog is my opinions over things under the sun. And the 'Event Gallery" is just a page where my friends could see and get a copy of my pictures.

I do hope you'll find my site inspiring at the same time put a spark of adventure into your spirit.

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It was that specific day last week when I decided that I really need a break. All the burden, all the weight of life was just within me, not letting it out, added to this is the disappointment, utter sorrow to my patient who just died.

I cannot completely recover from the time I heard the news. She was always smiling at me but then I was with no knowledge that she was going to expire in the last day of our rotation, I thought she's going to be fine. I dug the past, asking myself did I fail to pray? I thought I failed her. So really, I said to myself, a break is what I need. I need a time to be with God.

Just these past few weeks, my friends at PMTB (Allan and April) organized a ride to his birth place - Polilio Island. The first attempt was last May 8-9, 2009 but was canceled due to a strong typhoon planning to rage the country. That first schedule was also the Cell Leader's Conference so I didn't intend to join the ride. Blessing came, it was moved to May 22-24, 2009, this time I am free to go and since I had my finances set. I decided to pursue my love for adventure and since mountain biking for me is somewhat a spiritual thing, it would be best to take the same route but with a different expectation from God. Ika nga, Level-up na!

So the day before, I got everything ready. My bag with 1.5L hydration pack was filled with 2 day clothing, cycling shorts, tooth brushies, shampoo, soap... the usual stuff. I am also happy that I was able to bring Buddy the van for the trip. He was a great help with the budget accounting to only ~250PHP of gasoline per head for a round trip journey.

The meeting place was at Shell Julio Vargas. Six of us met at the said place because the other three were planning to bike from Manila to Real port, a total of 120 kilometers. We left Manila at 5:00 a.m., while it took us almost 3 hours to get there, my stress was easily relieved by our arrival at Real port which welcomed us with a beautiful scenery. I thought life isn’t complex here. Growing up in the province made me wish I want to live there again. While taking pictures at the people, I thought about how blessed I am. It struck me to know that God was asking me to raise my expectations of the two day vacation. That time I was beginning to feel breathless, exciting, and highly anticipating of what is yet daring to come.

To reach the Polilio Island, one must ride a boat for at least three hours. Although not large enough, these boats are capable of carrying a big bike, mini cement mixer, or probably a Chery QQ. The locals expressed that RORO was once in service with the Polilio people but then they prefer ‘cheaper’ vessel. Now as we reached the local port, I have observed Barangay Polillo to be a well-developed one. People were very hospitable, generous, and accommodating. There is this sense of security that all people have good intentions for their visitors. Food is quite cheap too! Got to order a cup of rice and two parts of fried chicken and paid only P35. After a good meal, we prepared for the next 30 kilometers of our bike ride.

Now biking from Polillo to Burdeos is nothing special since it felt a bit provincial. It consisted of 70% unpaved and 30% paved road. What sets it apart from any ‘provincial’ road is the numerous number of beautiful sights. Most of the time you get the feeling that you are biking between two hills. Look at your left through the trees and you’ll realize you are biking near the shore. The most challenging part for me was conquering a long stretch hill. Now I guess for some guys it is fairly easy but then I got more than 3 kilos on my back - let’s see; a tripod, a DSLR camera, 4 sets clothing, 1.5L of water, hygiene kit, etc. And oh yes, this was my first time carrying so big while riding my bike. So forgive me.

We reached Burdeos nearing 5 pm in the afternoon. By this time, I found myself really wanting for some water to freshen up and clean myself from all the mud I got into. But then there was no water in the house we were staying! Actually, almost the whole town had water problems as well since electricity was very limited. At Burdeos, it was my first time seeing a town run mostly by diesel generators! I was a bit cynical on the water issue, thankfully, I realized it later on that I was into an adventure cowboy style. Now since we had no water, we decided to eat and freshen up at Allan’s relatives across the other town. It was another blessing for us because the town was celebrating its fiesta. We had fun; Drew was asked to dance with a local. And he felt honored.

Now the next morning, it was an awesome time for me. I woke up at around 5:00 where I did a little bit of worship walk in front of the house. The weather was perfect; it’s cold but comfortable, the wind flows as it was dancing beside me. I felt God’s goodness again, feeling excited of the this new day. It was planned before that we were going to visit the beach near the Pacific ocean. I never thought that it was a very small island that could be walked around for less than 5 minutes. I loved the white sand, crystal clear water, and the weather. It started to make sense why God asked me to raise my expectations for this trip. I was fulfilling something that I never thought of before. This proves that God really knows better things. Bad news arose when Butoy, our guide, told us that we cannot head back home until tomorrow. He said that the boat leaving Polillo got broken and has to be repaired. At first, I thought it was just a joke but then later on I found it to be true. Two of us really got worried about this but then we were left no choice to force ourselves to go home. So we decided to travel to another beach. By then it was 10 am, and I was awfully hungry so Allan and April decided to buy some fresh fish for the group. It took them some time so the rest of the guys decided to sleep while I on the other hand stayed beside the bangka to swim. The day ended after visiting the third island/beach. I was having fun on my own, not with noise, but with utter serenity that my life is wishing to hear.

Polilio is undoubtedly one of my best escapes. Not that I have been to a lot of places but to say this “I biked for 30 kilometers, in an island for three days, swam beside three islands’ beaches; all that then God filled me.” is epic. I know I have been complaining on the first day but he made me realize that I was again on search for an adventure and he did give it to me marvelously. God has placed me into practicing a simple vacation, He knows what I need and because of that I felt transparent before Him. It feels like I have nothing else to think except to acknowledge the beauty of life and how He is. Visiting the three islands also made me think more about the importance of being dependent in my God. How is it to know that when you are living a simple life and you acknowledge God to be a vital part of your life. How much more if I leave all this and carry the weight of the fast-paced life again? I now know the things that I really need and who am I. God made me breathless all over again and by that, I am proud of my God.

To the organizers of this ride; Allan and April. And to those who biked with me. Thank you very much. Salamat dyud! God Bless you.

Below this is a home-made video I made for the trip. An explosive feeling of joy needs to be broadcasted to let it out. You know?!

PS. Now I have my own definition of an epic ride.



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