As we left Minglanilla it was initially a process of getting comfortable. Riding on the back of a motorcycle for this length of a journey I hadn’t done before. At the same time I had a backpack and a camera round my neck as well as trying to get to a position where I could keep a good grip of everything and the back of the motorcycle for emergency braking which had become a common thing but today was different as the early hours had thrown up the fact everyone was in bed!
The roads were empty, no videoke, no people wandering around pretty much we were left to the sound of the motorcycle and hearing birds once we got away from built up areas.
Riding through the darkness with little noise except for the sounds of the wilderness it just feels like the Philippines I want to discover and see, its the natural habitat and the unchanged way of life that over the next decades will no doubt disappear in many places but want to enjoy while we still can.
The temperature was perfect as well as it was neither warm or cold and no wind making it ideal for the journey, all these things worked in our favour giving us a fast travel time. As we hit Dalaguete Aga my driver for the trip (Jovie my sister in-laws boyfriend) was starting to feel the 3am start as he had worked late the night before to prepare his work for Monday. We pulled over at a Sari-Sari for him to rest for half an hour.Funny thing is its about 4.30am and an old woman who owned the store was awake and talking to Aga at which point he wasn’t comfortable lay down on the bench for a rest as he felt a bit uncomfortable with the ghost like figure of the old woman with her silvery white hair so a sharp exit was had.
It was shortly after crossing the next bridge we felt the wobble of the back tyre as we had just received a puncture and a short walk to the next town we managed to locate a Vulcaniser or a “tyre changer” as it would be said in English. A tyre changer is literally that as they don’t stock tyres or inner tubes just carry out repairs and tyre/wheel changes.
A quick “Ayo!” which in English is “knock knock” which I think suits the terms here as most people don’t have doorbells or door knockers a little old woman appeared from the vulcanising store half asleep before returning with her husband who was now complaining its too early (5am). Luckily enough you will find vulcanisers all over the Philippines that are 24hrs including this one although the guy was rather grumpy he was quick to carry out the repair once he had woken up a little.
There was a bit of an issue once we had found the puncture though as the vulcaniser couldn’t see the hole with his eyesight and asked Aga to find and mark it for him. After kicking him out of bed at 5am who are we to refuse helping..lol
The repair is similar to that of a push bike in which you add a rubber patch to the inner tube after finding it by inflating the tyre and pumping it up looking for the hole under water. Once the hole is found the patch is glued and pressure applied via a clamp as you can see in the photos above a heated clamp to make sure its got a good seal.
At this point its starting to get light as we have been here about 20 minutes and a guy came running across the road and sat down staring at me while I was taking photos of the bridge. Initially I thought he was waiting for something because of the way he was looking. At the same time you get used to people staring at you here but most of the time its followed with a smile, this guy was more a look as if he was waiting to go with you somewhere and just waiting for a signal. He then quickly got up and ran away again it was later on that Aga said “did I see the crazy guy?”.
Back on the road after the repair and a rest it was on to Santander and the ferry!