These are two different rides I did on the far side of Marcos Hi-way. Yes, its the Marcos hi-way that starts in Katipunan in QC. It now ends up in Infanta in Quezon (you can now do a Quezon to Quezon Ride). The first ride was from Tanay-Sampaloc to Infanta and the next one, about a year after- was a reverse ride, this time coming from Infanta and going back to Tanay-Sampaloc. I have already done 3 rides in this route but am only showing here two ways of doing it. Haven’t done a one continuous loop though, as I think it will really be difficult to do it in a day. A two day ride would be best, from Tanay to Infanta then spend the night in one of the resorts there; the next day go back to Tanay either through the same route or via the Real-Famy hi-way. This ride should have been classified under the road section as 90+% of the way is already paved. But even if there is only a small section off-road, it means that only MTB’s can currently do this trip so am putting it under off road (road bikes can also do it as I have seen one guy did it, but it is already out of sanity).
Tanay Sampaloc to Infanta
The first time we explored this place, it was me, Dindo Narciso and Robert “The Man” Arevalo. During that ride early in 2010, road condition was 80% paved, 20% off road. But concrete laying were continuous so we thought by year’s end, the Marikina to Infanta Road most probably would have been finished. But it was temporarily stopped due to the 2010 election season so the project was extended for 2011. The place is ideal for mountain biking and also for road bikes but only on the paved portions so road bikes
needs to turn around. For SAG- high clearance vehicle can already pass through the off road portions. Cars can only go up to the paved portions. 3 bridges were still under construction during that time but it was already finished when we did the second ride.
There are some small stores along the way but dont expect too much as items sold are the basic stuffs only. The climb was basically in a gradual incline but headwinds were often strong so riding was a bit difficult. Our initial impression was
that it’s more difficult to start from Infanta than from Tanay as Infanta is coming from sea level. But when we did the reverse, it seems it’s easier than the Tanay to Infanta.
The route passes by Rizal-Laguna and Quezon, 3 provinces in less than 5 hours; most probably 1 to 2 hours by car so this will definitely be a faster route to Infanta that may help promote
tourism on the outlying areas such as the Polilio group of islands. There are also trails that goes to Aurora from Gen Nakar. This is a future extreme and grand MTB exploration but security may be questionable on those areas. For the Marikina to Infanta, it seems it is already secured as there are several military detachments along the route.
In this ride, we started at Sampaloc, Tanay. You can start at Tanay town proper or Cogeo (but may take entire day as the climb to Sampaloc would warrant about 3 hours or more). If you don’t have SAG, and don’t wish to ride back either the same route or via the Real-Famy-Bugarin route, then you can take a bus back to Manila.
I initially thought that this would be easier compared to a Cogeo to Sierra Madre ride as starting point was already at high level (sampaloc). But midpoint into our ride, I was already huffing and puffing as the rolling hills was tantamount to a steep climb. I also used my wife’s bike which is a little bit smaller for me (I was thinking it would get really muddy so I spared my own bikes and sacrificed hers’). It was a bad decision though. Robert was riding with an improvised cam on his head to
document the ride. After reaching Infanta, we looked for a resort where we had our late lunch, then some few beers to cap the day off. Robert still had energy to do his other new sport- kite boarding which rose the interest of the locals. We left late at noon and returned to Manila by evening.
Sampaloc to Tanay
In this reverse route, I rode with Jack Narciso who was with us (Dindo, Deo and me) during our second ride from Sampaloc to about midpoint the same first route. Nobody else confirmed that day but we already decided earlier on that even if it will be the two of us, we will still continue the ride. We had SAG- a pick-up truck and it was able to pass through the entire route. The original plan was to do the “Sea to Sea Ride” (Pacific Ocean to Manila Bay). Traversing Luzon horizontally, cutting it by half; the shortest way to do it. But actual trip was cut short after reaching Tanay as Jack was already cramping. Total ride distance was about 60+km and we were still about 70-80+km from our supposed end point at MOA (Manila Bay side).
During our ride (1/2011) about less than 15% remains unpaved and works were continuous so the entire Marcos Hi-Way (Tanay to Infanta portion) may be completed within 6 months time. Once completed, this will be one of the best biking routes with wide paved roads, little vehicular traffic, nice temperature and enough challenges. The highest part is almost reaching the clouds.
Start of trip is a continuous climb from sea level to 800 MASL. The first part was pleasant though, a gradual incline with manageable grade where you can spin 10km/hr and grater. Since it was continuously raining during that time at that side of the
mountain, unpaved portion was really muddy so it required double our efforts to traverse the unpaved part. Those difficult portions haunted us later as we were already tired before reaching Sampaloc. Not sure if this was due to the January cold season; temperature was really cold and windy in the entire route and even when the sun is up. I actually got colds after the ride. We started the ride at 7:30 AM and reached Sampaloc Tanay at 2PM. We had our late lunch at one popular local restaurant in Tanay by the Laguna de Bay side.