Riding alone and with no actual itinerary but driven with the desire to hit the trails, I rode my bike on a Good Friday all the way to the rolling hills of Casiguran, my mother’s hometown in Aurora Province.

It turned out to be a travel adventure. I was time-warped in this aid-back, but scenic town.

It’s the traditional  “Penitensya”  -- or Penitence. This guy is on his way to the Ermita Church to have his back wounded with a blade first before slashing it again and again with chains. Bloody back.

It’s the traditional “Penitensya” — or Penitence. This guy is on his way to the Ermita Church to have his back wounded with a blade first before slashing it again and again with chains. Bloody back.


Sun as my guide, those hills are calling.

Sun as my guide, those hills are calling.


Getting nearer to the hills, I had to stop by some river views.

Getting nearer to the hills, I had to stop by some river views.


Bridging my way to the hills, otherwise it’s river crossing.

Bridging my way to the hills, otherwise it’s river crossing.


The great sun and the green fields.

The great sun and the green fields.


Greener and greener.

Greener and greener.


This one is also calling me too, so I had to stop and give him a shot.

This one is also calling me too, so I had to stop and give him a shot.

Closer.

Closer.

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But these white birds are camera shy.

But these white birds are camera shy.


The sky and the farm. Picture perfect!

The sky and the farm. Picture perfect!


I’m thinking of climbing the hill, but no signs of good trails. Back to the road.

I’m thinking of climbing the hill, but no signs of good trails. Back to the road.


Then I met Mang Martin. “Just follow the road and it will lead you to the beautiful beach of Dipasaleng,” he said. “The nearest barrio is Esperanza.” My grandmother owns a parcel of land there. Got to see it!

Then I met Mang Martin. “Just follow the road and it will lead you to the beautiful beach of Dipasaleng,” he said. “The nearest barrio is Esperanza.” My grandmother owns a parcel of land there. Got to see it!


Clear sky for a good ride.

Clear sky for a good ride.


Good thing, “Cocolisap” has not reached this place.

Good thing, “Cocolisap” has not reached this place.


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This is it: the rolling hills of Casiguran. I really love biking here with its gradual uphill and downhill. This one is perfect for beginners, smooth and fast ride for the experienced once. Mang Martin said, after two hours of biking, you will end up to the white sands of Dipasaleng.

This is it: the rolling hills of Casiguran. I really love biking here with its gradual uphill and downhill. This one is perfect for beginners, smooth and fast ride for the experienced once. Mang Martin said, after two hours of biking, you will end up to the white sands of Dipasaleng.

Casiguran17

Casiguran18


But I don’t have those two hours, so I have to detour and see the barrio of Esperanza. To get there, I have to cross this river. It appears deep, look at the carabao.

Luckily, I spotted this family showing me the shallow way to cross.

Luckily, I spotted this family showing me the shallow way to cross.

So I crossed the river, following their path.

 


Good thinking, I bought these shoes perfect for river crossing. But I lost one of my socks as I took photos while crossing the river. Better loose the socks, not my life while crossing the river.


Unpaved road leading to Esperanza.

Unpaved road leading to Esperanza.


Typical morning at Esperanza.

Typical morning at Esperanza.


Replenishment and a few chit chats with the locals.

Replenishment and a few chit chats with the locals.


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Time to go home, but I do not want to take the paved roads. So I headed back to the river and crossed it again.


It’s more fun pedaling through these rolling hills of nature than the paved roads of civilization.

It’s more fun pedaling through these rolling hills of nature than the paved roads of civilization.


Look what civilization is doing to nature.

Look what civilization is doing to nature.


Nature gives, civilization takes…

Nature gives, civilization takes…


On my way back home, thinking of another ride the next day. Thinking of biking all the way to the beach... Next time... Soon…

On my way back home, thinking of another ride the next day. Thinking of biking all the way to the beach… Next time… Soon…

Michael Villanueva