On December 30, we left for Manila and I was behind the wheel. What supposed to be a 12-hour drive extended to 15 hours due to flash flood (in Daraga) and poor visibility when the rain poured. This is the same day that Sorsogon and Albay experienced flash flood on some areas of the said provinces.
I took liberty of documenting our trip:
12/30/2010, 1015H – Left SPPVS for Capuy to drop by my in-laws and to say our goodbye. On our way to Albay, the rain was getting worse. My average speed was 40kph even though there’s not much vehicles in the road.
While going down to Daraga proper, I realized that there’s portion of the town, before you turn left to Naga, that gets easily flooded. From my mom, that place is called Tagas. It’s flooded indeed, approx. 7 inches, but not enough to reach the car’s flooring. It will take another 10 minutes before we could clear the area.
12/30/2010, 1150H – now in Shell, Camalig, Albay for a bladder brake. My average speed improved to 60kph, but it may be because the road from Daraga to Camalig wasn’t busy. It’s starting to rain.
The group’s decision was to have lunch somewhere in Quirino Highway so that we get to leave the said highway before dark.
12/30/2010, 1300H – gassing up at Caltex, Pili, Camarines Sur. My mom asked my sister to buy her burger on the nearby Biggs fastfood. After paying the cashier, I realized that Biggs doesn’t consider itself a fastfood (there’s a small notice in front of the cashier’s place saying that they offer better food for a longer cooking time, or something like that).
12/30/2010, 1330H – bladder break at Shell, Milaor, Camarines Sur. This is the next town right after Naga City up North. Need to gas up again. My dad encouraged me to fill the tank but we were too heavy, beside it’s way more expensive here than in Southern Tagalog (around 5-6 pesos difference).
We also bought several packs of chichiriya since Quirino highway is still less than 1 hour away, at least its entry point.
Everyone was asleep on our way to Quirino Highway. Hard rain between Quirino’s entry point and San Fernando – visibility was approximately not more than 150m. I couldn’t overtake slow moving 10 wheelers; I tried once, but I almost hit an incoming car – not worth it.
The normal 45-minute drive from Naga City to Quirino Highyway’s entry point extended for 1 hour or so.
12/30/2010, 1600H – late lunch at Petron-Tagkawayan. We‘d have adobong atay (courtesy of my mom in-law) and fried pork chops. I guess everyone was starving at this time.
Frankly, I underestimated our lunch time. I thought this place is located somewhere in Ragay or Del Gallego – it’s in Tagkawayan, the furthest town going North, just before reaching Santa Elena, Camarines Norte!
I am hoping that we get to exit the highway right before sun down.
12/30/2010, 1620H – time to hit the road again. Lunch (or afternoon snack?) was simply excellent!
12/30/2010, 1800H – now at Caltex-Gumaca for a diaper change. My dad bought himself a cup of coffee, mom was inside the car sleeping, and there’s a free wi-fi service in the gas station – sadly, I was not in the mood to fire up the laptop. I just wanted to get home.
My next challenge was to ensure that I find that entry point to Quezon National Park in Atimonan, Quezon. This is my second time driving through the said area at night time.
12/30/2010, 1722H – Entered the Quezon National Park. Luckily, there’s a Pajero infront of me that I assumed will take the said route based from my observation on the way the driver drove.
As usual, the locales who are taking in donations were everywhere. There was no fog, so I felt more confident.
12/30/2010, 1932H – I am not sure if I had the right time, but 10 minutes for the whole stretch, I just couldn’t believe it! But then again, it was a straight drive and I didn’t have to stop on those 2 major turns. Now on my way to Lucena for dinner; my dad said there’s a Max’s resto along the way.
12/30/2010, 2018H – now in Max’s Restaurant, Lucena City. At least, it wasn’t raining in Southern Tagalog.
Assuming another hour for dinner, then another 3 hours to reach Paranaque, we will be in Rizal beyond 11pm.
The drive from Lucena to Paranaque was uneventful, though I missed that tollway in Sto. Tomas (sayang, libre pa naman). But the way to Calamba from Sto. Tomas was almost clear of vehicles, so it wasn’t that difficult.
We were in Paranaque at 1115PM then in our place at 1215AM. The longest, straight drive so far. It wasn’t easy, but I found it fun – I was with my family the whole time!