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:
- Santa Elena, Camarines Norte
- San Lorenzo Ruiz, Camarines Norte
- Daet, Camarines Norte
- Basud, Camarines Norte
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.
- 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.
- Driving from Manila to Sorsogon (Part 1 – Driving along Laguna-Quezon Area) (sorsogoncity.wordpress.com)
- Driving from Manila to Sorsogon (Part 3 – Driving along Quirino Highway) (sorsogoncity.wordpress.com)
- Driving from Manila to Sorsogon (Part 4 – Driving along Sorsogon Area) (sorsogoncity.wordpress.com)
- Driving from Manila to Sorsogon (DPWH Highway Markers) (sorsogoncity.wordpress.com)
- Beware of Parked Cars Along Maharlika Highway (sorsogoncity.wordpress.com)