Cycle tour from Mawab, Compostela Valley to Mati, Davao Oriental (April 6 – 8, 2013). This was the plan for another epic bike packing adventure. We planned it for weeks, always in secret because we prefer limiting the number of riders for better accountability. Also during the planning phase of this bike packing adventure we preferred the ones that could last riding hard trails, uphill climbs, and endure riding under different weathers. Rain is a big factor but I guess that’s what real mountain biking is. When you’re riding a trail or if you’re up in the mountains you are going to be open to any kind of environment. But really though I somehow like riding under the rain. It makes the ride more exciting. Well that’s just me. There were supposed to be already eight riders who were willing to join the adventure but the final count was only five. The others got held because of work and personal reasons.
Day 1. We decided to skip the Davao to Mawab trail so we rode a bus to Mawab, our jump off spot, and had breakfast there to fill our stomachs. Then we pedaled to our first destination, Paloc. We made several stops along the way as we had to refill our canteens. We also passed by several known spots: Mainit hot spring, Lake Leonard, etc. The trail was so-so. It had easy and hard spots. Not to mention we climbed a 1000 meter ascent to reach Paloc. But as always, there’s always a rewarding view that awaits after an uphill climb. We reached our first destination around 4pm.
We stayed at the rest house of John’s uncle. It was really one of a kind. Just by seeing the entrance I knew it was a paradise. The position of the house was so perfect. It gives you access to a 360 degree view of nature. It’s good to see how the place has already regenerated from the wrath of Pablo. It was socials time, and time to unpack. We relaxed, we ate and then we went out to watch the starry sky. Watching the sky from the city is far too different from watching it from a high remove place. The guys decided to drink. I didn’t. I was eager to get some sleep and recharge my body. I have to admit that I was kinda’ weak during the first day ride because I just recovered from sickness. I had to take a two-day sick leave just to make sure I’m already well before the ride. I knew I had to be part of this adventure. I really didn’t want to let it pass. Then we slept.
Day 2. The next day we had the chance to see the sunrise from the backyard. It wasn’t too foggy so it was a good chance to take photos. We had a yummy breakfast too, courtesy of John’s uncle. I didn’t each much though because I know we were gonna have to pedal a long trail, again. After some prep and some chit-chat, we rode off. The next destination was Maragusan, John Buno’s home. The trail from Paloc to Maragusan was sort of a give and take situation. However I’d say that most of the trail was downhill so it was exciting. We climbed a 1000 meter elevation on the first day, now we claim the prize. We went from 1000 meters to 60 meters (I think).
It was still a long way to Maragusan. We made our first stop at a nearby store. As usual we took soft drinks. We were lucky there was ice available. And the music on the radio.. Ahh it was Sunday alright. There were a couple of uphills going to Maragusan. The problem is that the road there was the main passage way so all sorts of vehicles passed there. It was so dusty. Talk of free make up. Haha. We stopped by a hot spring (I forgot the name) but we didn’t stay long. Instead we pedaled again to another spring but this time it was cold, Aguakan Cold Spring Resort. We stayed there for a while just to cool down.. Maragusan was just a few kilometers away.
After some socials and picture-taking we were off to John’s home. There we had our lunch. I also had the chance to freshen up by taking a bath. I just wonder why is it that their water is so damn cold. Same old same old. After that we went on. I was really thinking that the trail from Maragusan to Mati was gonna be a not so tough one but when I saw the trail I already knew what I’m gonna go through. It was another 1000+ meters ascent and like 60+ kilometers from Maragausan to Mati. I thought I was gonna give up. I didn’t like the trail at first because of the loose gravel terrain. It drains your power when pushing up a hill. Then luckily there was rain. I didn’t mind getting wet as long as it’s not too hot when climbing. We passed by many barrios/puroks and all I could hear was “naay babae oh”. They were referring to Presy because she was the only female who rode along with us.
I mean from the first day up to the third day I heard that phrase. Actually there were other phrases that I repeatedly heard during the ride. Like, “bikers oh”, “lumba oh”, “disc brake oh”. Haha It was funny. When we reached the summit of the hill the rain stopped. Then came the fog. It was my first time to experience riding in the fog. And it was a downhill trail.. Again. But this time with fog. “Entering the fog” as I would call it.
It was a bit nerve-wracking because the trail was already wet. It was time to put the new tires to the test. I’ve been reading reviews about the tires I recently put on, Continental MountainKing. I really wanted tires that don’t slip on wet terrain. And it served it’s purpose.. Rode to the wet terrain like a boss. I’d do it again. Haha! After the downhill trail, it was rolling all the way. There were still some killer uphill but at least they’re not much compared to the previous ones. We made a stop on a store in Araibo just to get re-hydrated. Then we went on again. This time, the next stop is the real destination, Mati, Amihan sa Dahican.
After one or two hours of riding we reached our destination. I could already feel the warm breeze from the beach. There we rendezvoused with our fellow riders, Julius and Jason, who wasn’t able to join the ride but still brought their folding bikes with them. They had already reserved a spot for our camp site. It was a fun night after we had settled there.. I think the highlights were the beach, the big waves, Bikini Abre!, and the prank (I don’t like to remember).
Day 3. The next day we woke up early. I was already expecting Jason geared up to capture another time-lapse of the sunrise with his goPro. The waves were already pretty big. Unluckily we saw two boats crashed on the shore line while taking the time-lapse. The waves were too strong that it smashed the boats and destroyed it. Moving on.. We had our light breakfast plus coffee then we just relaxed there.. Jason, Julius and John took the chance to learn skim-boarding. I just ate there and watched them. Later on I just wanted to experience the big waves. It was good, it was good. Though not too got for the feet as the stones/wood would get smashed at your feet with the waves.. Not too good for non-swimmers I think.. The under current is too strong.
After there we tidied up and rode to the city. There we had our lunch at Jollibee and took some time to rest.. We didn’t stay long though because we knew it was gonna rain. We made it to the bus terminal just when the rain started to pour.. Then we disassembled our bikes, which was a hassle for me. I have this bad combination for a mountain biker. OC and mountain biking don’t fit well, they say. Oh well, I didn’t have any choice.. I disassembled Lime, placed ‘her’ as safe as I could on the running board of the bus and yeah… We were on our way home.
Here are photos that we took along the way. Other photos are from John Buno and screen shots from John’s film, Ride the Forgotten Path.