Monday, August 8, 2011

Mini Bike Tour of Sta. Maria, Bulacan

Yesterday (Sunday, 7 August 2011), I joined TSP in a 50 kilometer bike tour of Bulacan, a province immediately north of Metro Manila.

I started the morning by meeting my friend Abel at Petron-Buendia. We left our cars there and biked 3.5 kms to the LRT Station in Buendia-Taft. We paid P15 each (around 35 cents) to take the train to 5th Ave. Station in Caloocan City.
Abel with his Dahon Vector about to board the train.
From the station we biked a few meters to get to Best Friends eatery where we met the bulk of the TSP contingent. I ate hot clear soup and siopao for breakfast.
Around 30 of us left Best Friends at about 7:15 in the morning and headed north to Macarthur Highway.
Group photo courtesy of Del Bahena.
That's me with the neon green front, behind TSP official photographer Al Castillo.
We stopped after 5 kilometers to check if everyone was okay. So far, so good.
Brommie Skywalker in his lonesome, while the rest of the group rest at the back.
From Caloocan we passed through Valenzuela City. As you can see, it was flooded in some sections of the highway, but we still proceeded anyway.

After Valenzuela, we went through Meycauayan and Marilao in the Province of Bulacan. There we met other tiklopers from the area and they guided us around.
We crossed NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) from west to east to get to Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
In Sta. Maria, we escaped the smokebelching buses and jeepneys to explore the greenery the province of Bulacan has to offer.
We passed by several rice pads. The seeds were planted last June and will be harvested this October. 
We had to pass through an overflowing stream (small river?) to get to the other side.
We stopped at this shed and bought ALL the kamote-que and banana-que available. We were tired and hungry!
Our group photo in the rice pads (and power lines) of Sta. Maria, Bulacan
After biking for more than 40 kms. we stopped at this restaurant in Sta. Maria and we thought it was THE famed restaurant of Valenciana chicken. Turns out it was the wrong restaurant. Unfortunately, I already ordered my lunch and was forced to eat the cold chicken and barbeque I ordered. YEEAAACHH!
The fake Bahay Valenciana
Folding bikes corraled outside the rest stop
The rest of the bikers transferred to the REAL Valenciana restaurant just a kilometer away. I followed them and had orange colored Tinolang Manok. : )
After eating and resting, the group split into two to go home. 20 bikers used the same route going back (via Macarthur Highway). While 10, including myself, proceeded 7 kms. south via Tungkong Manga Road to San Jose Del Monte, still in Bulacan.  From there, we biked 5 kms. more along Quirino Highway to Fairview in Quezon City.

When we got to SM Fairview, the 10 of us went on our separate ways. Some took an FX or bus to Philcoa. Others biked home to Commonwealth Ave. Abel and I hired a taxi to bring us back to Buendia in Makati.
Brompton and Vector at the back of the taxi
When we got back to Petron-Buendia, I said goodbye to Abel and transferred my bike to my car. Drove home at 3pm.

All in all, I biked 55 kilometers--more or less the same length as the Calamba Bike Tour. But this ride got me really tired. Probably because there were a lot of uphill climbs.

Already, I feel my muscles aching.

Must... take... pain reliever...

(special thanks to Al Castillo, Del Bahena and Ruth Rodriguez for some of the photos in this post)


  1. Hi Kris! I just recently discovered folding bikes while researching alternative modes of transportation to and from work. I work in Washington DC and your post about Capital Bikeshare turned up in one of my (many) Google searches. I am now lusting on and saving for a Brompton M6R.

    It's good to know that there is huge folding bike club in Manila! It's sad though that Brompton does not have a local distributor yet in the Philippines.

    That brings me to my question: where do you get your Brompton bike serviced in Manila and where do you get replacement parts? I know Brompton is a high quality bike and will run for thousands of miles but they need to be taken care of too.

    Thanks and I enjoy reading your posts. Keep 'em coming!

  2. Hi, Techieboy! You are correct, Brompton does not have a distributor/dealer here in the Philippines, the closest ones being in Taiwan (Lane & Trip), Hongkong (Flying Ball) and Singapore (Diginexx). So for parts, we have to order overseas.

    Regarding maintenance, the older owners help us new owners take care of our bromptons. I haven't had any problems yet with my brompton. It's still under warranty so if anything breaks I can send it back to Lane & Trip (where I bought it).

    Hope you get your M6R soon. Then may be we can invite you over here in Manila! Regards