You know that book Choose your own adventure, which gives you some command in telling what will happen next, by letting you jump to page xx if you want to, say, hide in a closet as men with tanker arms approach to assault you, or to page x to somersault out of the window, and you end up trying all options anyway just because you want to know the consequences of each of your decisions?
One can take this choosing one’s adventure to heart, like during life-changing decision-making moments. Of course, I can draw a metaphor to link it to Life, but this post is literally about a road trip.
Last month, friends and I, who are cursed/blessed with itchy feet, thought of driving out of our comfort zones to go either north or south of Manila. Jay has driven us once to the south–to a beach in Quezon and old houses in Laguna–and we almost fell on a cliff in Liliw and the van’s engine gave up on us halfway through an uphill on our way to Caliraya.
So this time, Mike was captain, and I (or iPhone GPS) the navigator. My suggestion was Bataan because–up north, I’ve done lakwatcha in Bulacan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Ilocos, Baler, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, and never had I seen the beaches of Bataan (but I’ve seen World War 2’s remnants in Corregidor on a field trip).
It was meant to be a one-day road trip, but it extended to two, then three, then almost four days (Friday to Monday morning).
Friday, Connet and I were in a Japanese surplus shop and bookstore while waiting for Jay and his van (Mike was fiddling with his iPhone because he’s not tough enough to walk and shop for hours). When Jay arrived, Mike took the wheels and off we went to Rizal, where we would pick up Kate, who shared with us her P2,000-GC for groceries. As Jay’s father recommended, we took the C6 (which nobody believed existed at first, because all we knew is C5), then went straight to Robinson’s to buy food for dinner and snacks for the early morning trip–we all decided to stay at Kate’s place for the night so not to exhaust our official driver and for Connet and I to experience Kate’s fantastic nail art talent.
Connet cooked a creamy chicken pastel that pleases the tongue and warms the heart. Especially when partnered with her mango yogurt mix. Kate prepared two dishes but I like her Korean-style-noodle-name-of-which-ungrateful-me-forgot.
Before the nail art session, Kate mixed us some spirits of Kahlua and flavors.
As soon as the sun peaked through Metro Manila’s spiderweb wires and crisscross overpasses, we were already squeezing our way out of Aurora Boulevard’s traffic, then Cubao, then North Luzon expressway.
While C, J, and K were having fun talks behind us, Mike and I had our eyes on the road because it’s all our first time driving to Bataan. After the San Fernando exit, the national road to SCTEX was longer than we expected; Mike was starting to doubt my navigation skills and I was punching him nonstop, telling him to trust me.
Turned out, we were on the right track. As usual, SCTEX is other world.
After the long relaxing drive through SCTEX, we stopped at Subic’s airport for photoshoot.
As soon as we reached Bataan, after strips of breath-taking scenery (sorry for the over-used travelogue adjective, but the cliffs and the winding roads of the forests really took our breaths away), we drove back to Subic because we forgot to withdraw some cash and there’s no ATM in Bataan.
Anecdote: Jay was behind the wheels on our way to Subic when an officer stopped us and asked for his license because he didn’t stop properly at a checkpoint (because he was talking and laughing with Mike, they didn’t notice it, and I was sleeping at the back so I was clueless, too). While the officer went away for a sec, I asked Kate to give me her media ID, gave it to Jay, asked him to hang it on the rear view mirror. When Mr Officer went back, he saw the MEDIA ID, reminded us to stop next time, and let us go.
Back to the road trip, since we’re in Subic already, we thought of buying fish and meat and drinks and more snacks and even bikini (talk about spontaneity) for our beach getaway. When we saw a fishing bay on our way back, we stopped to watch and stretch out.
Back in the town of Morong, we found the best bargain along the road of resorts by the beach (and Connet did a good job of haggling). The beach? Waves are crazy, you could almost surf on them! Sand’s fine, and the sand bar about a meter away from our resort was lovely because there’s an island of sand separating the waters of the sea and the water that runs to the river.
After a long day on the road:
Maria Makiling’s babies
These were our adventure options and we chose–all of them.