San Felipe, Zambales: 190 KMS To Liwliwa
It took 12 hours of saddle time, 197.7 kilometers of road, five 15-30 minute rest breaks, three 18-oz. cups of 7-Eleven’s Gulp, a bar of Cloud 9 Salted Caramel, and a tapsilog to reach San Felipe, Zambales. Liwliwa seemed so far – and it certainly is when you’re on a bicycle.
With San Felipe‘s proximity to Metro Manila, the modest fishing village slash awesome surf destination is not difficult to become an instant favorite. Liwliwa‘s surf, the vibrant sunsets, and its laidback atmosphere has brought in a wave of travelers who love the beach, the outdoors, and of course, surfing. Worry not about the places to crash, Liwa offers accommodations that fits all budgets. Visitors could even camp by the beach if you want to rough it up a bit. And if cycling, Liwa can be an ideal destination to relax after a half day’s ride.
To know more about Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales, click my previous posts, “San Felipe, Zambales: Island Rhythms by Indio I, 2013”, and “San Felipe, Zambales: Skimboarding in Liwliwa, 2012”
Travel time from Manila to Zambales via MacArthur Highway takes approximately twelve hours. About three quarters of saddle time are spent on long flat segments stretching from Caloocan, Bulacan, and Pampanga. Moderate climbs begin in Dinalupihan, Bataan all the way to Olongapo City followed by a series of hills from SBMA to Subic proper. From the busy town, a 20-kilometer flat lies in between you and the town of San Felipe. Just a final short run off the main highway through an unpaved road finally brings you to Liwliwa’s grey shores.
The route cuts across the vast plains of Central Luzon. Biking mid-day in these widely-exposed highways can be a constant battle with the heat and it can be punishing. Taking off early the previous night provides a good head start, thus, it is a race against the sun. That said, to be clearly visible at night is paramount. Speeding buses, trucks, and all sorts of vehicles use the same roads – be extra careful if traveling at night. Of all the roads, EDSA is probably the most dangerous part of this ride. Avoid the mayhem, if possible.
A year in cycling taught me that traveling by bicycle may not require supreme athleticism but demands good body conditioning, muscle endurance, and complete mental focus. Long distance cycling like this trip will test ones physical and mental capacities. External factors such as nature, other vehicles, and road obstacles just up the ante. The ride to San Felipe, Zambales is certainly challenging. Nevertheless, it was equally an amazing experience. A plethora of sights and scenery spans across the entire 197.7 kilometers – old churches, historical sights, and spectacular landscapes. Never hesitate to stop, rest, and absorb all the unraveling beauty. It’s not a test of strength and speed anyway. And for me, this is what bike touring is all about – at least how I see it.
Rizal Province to San Felipe, Zambales measured precisely 197.7 kilometers on Strava. This is, by far, the second farthest distance I’ve traveled on a bicycle in less than 24 hours.
1.Riding at night along MacArthur Highway to San Felipe is generally safe. Just be sure to watch out for other vehicles and pedestrian.
2.There are places without street lights especially San Fernando to Dinalupihan highway. Be seen!
3.San Marcellino to San Narciso Diversion Road is a few kilometers shorter than passing thru San Antonio. It’s a shortcut.
4.Lots of 7-Eleven’s, 24-hour fast food restaurants, and carinderia’s along the route.
5.When you reach San Felipe, look for Bobulon Elementary School – that’s the only landmark I remembered. Turn left there and head straight.
6.During this trip, I camped out at Mommy Phoebe‘s for P150/night – there’s a comfort room, a shower, washing area. They also have closed cottages available for 1,300 – 1,500 per night (good for 4-5 persons). You could also check out Kilabot Sir Ping, Board Culture, or The Circle Hostel.
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10. Ride Safe.