Driving from Manila to Sorsogon (Part 2 – Driving along Quirino Highway)


Note: This is the second of the series, Driving from Manila to Sorsogon.

From Calauag City, one can decide if he wants to take the Bitukang Manok going to Naga City. From what the author gathered, the road is very smooth compared to the Quirino Highway. This might be because the vehicular traffic dropped considerably when Quirino (or Andaya nowadays) Highway was open to the public. The said highway cut the travel time by almost 2 hours. But if you enjoy the long drive, you can take the Maharlika Highway to Naga City via the following Camarines Norte towns:

Note: Between Daet and Basud, the Bicol National Park is located.

If one takes the Quirino highway – a 90-km relatively winding stretch, he will pass by the following towns:

  • Tagkawayan, Quezon- favorite stop, from the author’sobservation, of travellers since clean restrooms, a restaurants, and a small grocery is available in the Petron station. Tagkawayan is also popular for its prawn products, mostly exported to Japan and other Asian countries.

    Rustan's (not the Tantoco's) Restaurant in Tagkawayan, Quezon.

  • Del Gallego, Camarines Sur – if one is not checking the kilometer markers, you can miss this town. The only sign that you are in the center is the relatively large roads intersecting with the highway.
  • Ragay, Camarines Sur – this is also where one can have a meal stop, albeit on the public park along the highway. The highway is located above the town proper and, from the park, one can observe the Ragay Gulf. A nearby Total station is also located.
  • Sipocot, Camarines Sur

Depending on the season, there are short portions of rough roads on Andaya Highway. During the 2011 trips of the author, approx. 10 to 15 kms of road between towns of Sta. Elena and Tagkawayan are full of potholes that a car with 13″ tires would have a hard time going through at 50 km/hr. If one has a car with small-sized tires, the author suggest to avoid driving at night – he experienced a double-tire blow out (and damaged rims) on a single pothole that could also damage 17″ tires. Otherwise, the driver has to run not faster than 40 km/hr at night. If it’s any consolation, the residents know already how to assist you.

Author’s Note: When the highway was pretty new, approx. less than a year of operation, it would only take the author between 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes to cover the whole stretch. The author had fun then because he could sustain for several minutes a 90kph to 100kph running a 1.3L sedan with full load of passengers. Nowadays, 2 hours is a normal drive due to damaged portions, more than a couple of PNP/AFP checkpoints, walking pedestrians and slow moving trucks. But still, this is a shorter route than via Daet, Camarines Norte.

From Sipocot, to Sorsogon City offers a smoother drive compared to Quirino Highway.

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17 Responses to Driving from Manila to Sorsogon (Part 2 – Driving along Quirino Highway)

  1. Pingback: Driving from Manila to Sorsogon (Part 1 – Driving along Laguna-Quezon Area) | Sorsogon City

  2. Pingback: The Halcyon Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur | Stories of My Wandering Feet (& Mind)

  3. PJ elbi says:

    we also had rim damage on an L300 van via Tagkawayan route =(

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi PJ,

      One thing I learned, never drive the South Road in the dark! There was a time that I did simply because I would travel to Sorsogon more than 3x a year – I got to memorize where the large potholes were. But those were the days.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      SC

  4. WD Leader says:

    Hi, you have a very good & informative topic in this blog. I will be traveling with my family onboard our modest AUV on December (this year), it will be our 1st time to tour the Bicol Region with Guinobatan as our main hub. I was wondering if you can provide me an updated information regarding the road condition in Quirino Highway nowadays? Which route would you recommend, Maharlika or Quirino Highway? Looking forward to your kind response. Denis

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi WD Leader,

      Thank you for your interest on the blog site.

      Regarding your question, unfortunately, I haven’t been travelling to Bicol this year. The last time was on March so my info might be outdated. However, 2 months ago I got a feedback that there was still some construction on the Quezon area, but I didn’t get any info if rehab of the Quirino highway is ongoing.

      But if you want to consider going around Daet area, based on Google Map, you will traverse additional 100km+ to get to Sipocot (the same area where you exit Quirino highway). That’s equivalent to 2 to 3 hours worth of driving. HOwever, I did get a feedback that the road is better on that area; I guess because fewer vehicles are plying that route. I’ve been researching this since I want to go through this place for a change.

      By the way, if you are going to bring your AUV (is this the Crosswind type?), I am sure it’s going to breeze through the potholes. Mine is a Kia Pride-type of vehicle and survived the moon-like potholes of Quirino Highway.

      Ingat sa biyahe and enjoy!

      Sorsogon City

  5. WD Leader says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for the information. It will be a very useful guide for me. I am considering to include Sorsogon in our tour itinerary, I have read some good destinations and tips about Sorsogon Province. Maintain your informative blog, it’s very useful. I’ll be checking in more often. Best regards.

  6. noli alido says:

    I’m planning to go on a road trip this 2013 (march or april) to legazpi city with my family. Anyone knows the road conditions in the bicol area? Thanks!

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi Noli,

      I traveled early January this year and the road, except between Del Gallego, Quezon and Sta. Elena, Camarines Sur (or the whole stretch of Tagkawayan, Quezon along Andaya Highway area), is great. The road on Calauag to Atimonan have no constructions going on; this can change since most of the highway repairs are done during the dry season.

      My advise to save some fuel, ensure that your gas will take you up to Naga City area. Avoid getting gas from Lopez to Tagkawayan area – there’s approx. PHP3 to PHP4 difference from Manila price. Also, it would be best if you gas up full tank at Naga or Pili, because the the fuel in Legazpi is quite expensive.

  7. Dennis D says:

    Hi Sir! we are planning to go to Legazpi City next week. Your blog is one of the things I will be printing and bringing to our trip for the valuable tips and suggestions.
    Do you have any update on the road conditions? I am a first time traveller to this part of Luzon!

    Thanks and more power!

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi Dennis,

      I haven’t been to Bicol since December, but I expect that the Quezon section should be far better than last year, when most of the rehab happened (hopefully DPWH followed tuwid na daan).

      This goes with Andaya Highway as well. HOwever, the said highway has always road works happening, perhaps, fewer this year.

      The Sipocot/Pamplona section had some road constructions last year.

      With the government trying to spend all their remaining budgets, you will never know really.

      God speed!

      SC

  8. Dennis D says:

    Another question Sir. At the Quezon National Park, which is safer to take, the old zig zag road or the newer zigzag road? are there steep inclines? I’ll be driving a manual tranny Isuzu Crosswind. Thank you sir.

    • sorsogoncity says:

      The old zigzag road below the Quezon National Park has a good road, at least, according to my uncle who drives regularly. According to him (it’s been a decade since I tool the lower road section), there’s a slight time difference; but the risk of slower speed is due to most of the heavy vehicles are traversing the lower section.

      Your car should do fine (which is more appropriate in climbing hills/mountains) in the Quezon National Park. I drive an automatic with a smaller engine, it cleared the park without a hitch.

      Besides, taking via the park is a new experience, even if you drive to Baguio. And if you have kids, you can spend some time in the park up hill; take some pictures.

      Ingat kayo.

      SC

  9. Frank Fu says:

    Hi Sir,
    I am planning a self driving visit all the way from manila to sorsogon and so surprised and happy to see such a detailed introduction about the routes. As a foreigner and also first time to the bicol area, i will definately drive during day time. Do you have any idea how is the road conditions now esp after so many trucks travel this route after typhoon yolanda? And also for you, which route dou you think is more safer? I will drive a montero sport car. Tks.

    Frank

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The last time I drove was coming back to Manila late last month. It wasn’t that bad. Your Montero should be able to handle the potholes easy.

      Sorsogon City

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