The Calaca side of the Batangas Province offers promising future mountain biking destinations. The terrain and condition is pretty much similar to the Sta. Rosa trails (plantation fields), albeit more challenging due to higher elevation thus offering difficult climbs. It is surely an alternative to the people of Cavite and Batangas especially that the older trails are rapidly being developed. This destination was opened up by the local government as part of its annual fiesta attraction- the inclusion of a mountain bike race.
The route is a good 35+km circuit. It’s ideal for beginners and will also interest advance riders at the same time. It has manageable climbs (but with short steep grades) and exhilarating long downhill cruise. The local government was gracious enough to accommodate us and even guided us by motorcycle escort when we visited the place. The first time I was actually there was during an ocular trip with King Bernas and the All Terra guys for the 2009 race. I went back with the MMS group last 2010 to show this route to our newbie riders. This mapped route was the actual route that was used for last year’s (2010) Calaca MTB Race (with an additional 20+km smaller loop to complete a 50+km race course). This passes through major portions of the 2009 route (but in reverse). Though Calaca is far from Manila, it’s a good trail worth the long drive.
Based on our ride, we all agreed that it is better to do this route in reverse. The climb is shorter at 9km and the downhill is longer at 20+km. Also the downhill route we did was mostly in paved road while the climb was mostly on off road tracks so doing the reverse will be better- climb the shorter paved portion and descend in the longer off road. So if you will be asking for guides or for directions, just mention this preference. Also if you will look at our route on the map, there is a small loop at the top of the circuit. That is the most challenging part of the trip, with the steepest portion so for beginners, you may want to stay away from that loop. That loop has an access to another route going down to the hi-way (route from 2009).
We have also thought of another way to do this ride. Rather than going to Calaca town proper, you can go to the top portion from an access road near Canyon Woods. Then you can descend and climb this same route but with a different starting point. So the exit is near Tagaytay, making travel time faster. But suggest doing this if you are already familiar with the route as you will not be able to get guides from this portion.
Another plan we had was to do the Payapa Circuit and include this off road circuit for a total of 140km+ riding time. This is something an advance rider can consider (we skipped it as we have newbie with our group). You can
refer to my other Trip here entitled the Tagaytay-Payapa Route.
It is strongly advised to contact the Municipal Officials of the town prior to going there. You can contact them through their official website.
Credits: Rode with Dindo Narciso, Mark Santos, Rodel Palisoc, Beth Policarpio, Deo Cas and Jun Medrano. Photos by Mark Santos.