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Old 02-13-2011, 06:30 AM   #1
Rackemcrackem OP
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Location: Wherethewildthingsare, AK
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Thrilla in Manila!

This won't really be a ride report, just a thread to say hi from the Philippines!

I've travelled a little in developing countries in years past but this country is like no other in my eperience. My flight arrived Feb. 10th, sans checked luggage (thanks to China Airlines), but fortunately the Mall of Asia in Manila provided opportunities for a few replacement items.

I finally got on two wheels this morning and rode five or six hours through some interesting sights and mucho chaotic traffic. Fortunately, the rented Honda Dominator (NX 650) is from Angeles City, about 2 hours outside the complete and utter chaos of Manila.

The Honda has a few Km's on it, around 60,000, and has brakes and a slight thirst for oil like a KLR but it ran great for the 250 Km ride to Baguio City today.

The traffic in the Philippines follows no laws, other than several laws of physics and the principle that "might makes right". Somehow, though, it all seems to work, mainly due to drivers having very good situational awareness, compared to those in the brain dead USA. There are many, many bikes on the road , mostly under 200cc, as well as all manner of other wheeled contraptions.

Anyway, I'm having a blast! Temps are in the 70's to 90's, depending on altitude and time of day, the people have been great to me, and except in the malls, things are very inexpensive, especially anything involving human labor.

Plans are to ride for about 10 days, returning to Alaska on the 25th. It looks like I might be able to meet up with one or more local riders in a few days but for now, I'm digging the solo adventure.

I'll try to stay in touch when possible but will probably not try to post pics from here.


Terry

Rackemcrackem screwed with this post 02-17-2011 at 10:20 PM
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:19 AM   #2
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Most excellent!

Glad you're having a great time.

Thanks for the update.

Have fun, Mark H.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:31 AM   #3
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Well folks,

Baguio City has so many great people and local sites that I've barely been on the bike the past two days.

Plans are to leave tomorrow am, though, for a ride toward the mountain towns of Sagada, Bontoc and Banue to see the ancient rice terraces, burial caves and other historical cultural sites.

It will be great to get away from the traffic congestion of Baguio, as beautiful as this city is, with streets that follow serpentine routes up, down and around the numerous hillsides. Staying here at the Red Lion Inn and Pub the last couple of days has been fantastically fun, with live music and some great new friends.

Terry
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:57 AM   #4
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Very cool. Did you just get a wild hair or do you have some connection to the Philippines that led you to check it out? Definitely not the usual hotspot destination.

I'm guessing maybe friends connected to the fishing industry back home?
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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Hey Legion!

Thanks for asking. Yep, mostly a big ol' wild hair.
Decided to check out the Philippines before too many of my wild hairs turn gray!

I do have a couple of friends with family and friends on Luzon but no major connections, other than my driver in Manila. Its great to have a personal driver there, rather than to be on a bike, unless you have much larger huevos than mine.

I feel like a celebrity after getting to know a few people here in Baguio. Locals treat kind and thoughtful Americans with a huge amount of respect and admiration, once you are known by them. Even as a complete stranger to employees in the businesses, it's always a big smile and "how may I help you, sir", etc.

There are dangerous situations and bad guys but most people here appreciate the smallest favors or kindness and generally have big hearts in return.

Can you tell that I may never want to return home?

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Old 02-19-2011, 04:09 PM   #6
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Hi Rackemcrackem.

I am glad you are enjoying your stay here in the Phils.
Am glad to bump into you in Pantabangan during our ride from Baler in the province of Aurora.

Hope you enjoyed Lunch with the DPMC (Ducati Pilipinas Motorcycl Club) at Talavera in Nueva Ecija. Menu was as follows:

1. The African Hito (catfish) was delicious.
2. Papaitang Kambing (goat internals) soup was different.
3. Jackfruit with coconut milk (ginataang Langka) was new.
4. Dinugaan ( Pork meat cooked with pork blood)
5. Kalderatang Manok (Chicken cooked with tomato sauce w/ potato)

Looking forward to see you on the Post Baler ride celebration here at Manila. Venue will be at Ducati Manila South (Ducati Dealer).
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelbretts (from Phil Ducati Forums) View Post
On the way back home along the Sierra Madre roads, this guy on a Kawasaki KLR650 was keeping pace with and even overtaking us on the rough road portions. Turns out he's an American touring Northern Luzon on a rented motorcycle - Terry Bartley. He posts in advrider.com and knows Herc (but then again, who doesn't know him? ::) )





The guy couldn't believe he was seeing Ducati road bikes on those rough roads. :bigwink



He joined us all the way to Talavera where we treated him to a nice lunch of inihaw na hito (grilled catfish), papaitan (cow innards soup), ginataang langka (jackfruit stewed in coconut milk), etc., which he ate with gusto.

After that, he rode with Bennix northwards on his way to Baguio.
That's how we found a new friend. He'll be in Manila on the 23rd before flying back to Alaska. Hope we can show him more of our Filipino hospitality.
The above quote and pix were taken from the local "Pilipinas Ducati Online" forums. Courtesy of Joelbretts. Please visit the thread here...

http://ducati.com.ph/forum/index.php?topic=4640.0

In order to view it, kindly register too..

Thanks....
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Old 02-20-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
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Herc,

I might have had some second thoughts about the Papaitang Kambing if I had known what I was eating. My ignorance made everything quite delicious, though, so thanks for keeping me in the dark regarding the menu!

It was great meeting and riding with you guys. I've said it before but I think it's worth repeating...Riders from the Philippines are some of the most skilled anywhere in the world, from what I can see. You guys have to be, there's no choice here.

See you in Manila!

Terry
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rackemcrackem View Post
Herc,

I might have had some second thoughts about the Papaitang Kambing if I had known what I was eating. My ignorance made everything quite delicious, though, so thanks for keeping me in the dark regarding the menu!

It was great meeting and riding with you guys. I've said it before but I think it's worth repeating...Riders from the Philippines are some of the most skilled anywhere in the world, from what I can see. You guys have to be, there's no choice here.

See you in Manila!

Terry


Terry,

That's why all i told you is too eat and enjoy your sponsoered lunch that day.

It's always "may the best rider/driver win" attitude. If a rider goes neck and neck with other commuters, he will have a hard time out manuvering them. As good practice travelling slightly faster than the average commuters speed is a lot safer when riding in the Philippines.

We are preparing a Post-Baler Ride ET/DT (Eat Together / Drink Together) with you as our special guest!

Contact me when you get to Manila so I can try to visit you, wherever you are to have a few bottles together.

Cheers!!!

HERC
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:24 PM   #10
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Here is Rackemcrackem on a Suzuki "thumper" motorcycle in Batangas .....
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:55 AM   #11
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Thanks, Herc, for the pic of a Philippines "tricycle" taxi with an ATGATT rider. At 5'9'' (1.75 m), an average height for a U.S. male, I'm looking a little like a Great White Roadshark, hunched over under the canopy on a 175cc tricycle.

It has to be a tough existence for most tricycle operators, threading their vehicles through congested traffic and on frequently busy, fast roads while operating at typical speeds of 15 to 30 mph. Much larger trucks and buses and other vehicles are constantly passing with little room to spare and common tricycle fares are only in the U.S. 20-30 cents range.

I've seen tricycles loaded like a pickup truck with sacks of rice, baskets, or other goods stacked so high that the view to the operators right side must have been completely obstructed. It's also a common experience to see a group of six or more schoolkids getting a ride to/from school on a single tricycle with at least two riding on the roof.

Thanks again, Herc, for a great day trip to the beach near Tagaytay with your wonderful family. Today, I'm adjusting to life back home in freezing weather after a long weekend stopover in Anchorage. I won't be wearing the Philippines "ATGATT" outdoors in Alaska for a few more months!
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:58 AM   #12
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Thanks again, Herc, for a great day trip to Tagaytay with your wonderful family!

Yeah, we had a fun time at Tagaytay with the kids.....
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:11 AM   #13
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Thanks again, Herc, for a great day trip to the beach near Tagaytay with your wonderful family.

And off course, after the highlands in Tagaytay, we go down Batangas..... and hit the beach!...
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:19 AM   #14
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It was an impromtu trip to the beach.... thanks for teaching my youngest kid to fly a kite too.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:05 AM   #15
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Another shot at the beach....
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