Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Tour de Manila" on our two-wheel machines

So we have been discussing this for quite some time now. Since I've been bugging hubby that we should bike more often, he finally relented. Actually in hindsight, its probably just the case of right timing - us waking early enough to warrant a morning bike ride. But where to? Our old route was CCP-MOA; we'd drive to the area, park the car and unload our bikes (travel + loading and unloading took all of an hour) and what for, to bike for a measly 20-30 minute elliptical ride? If you ask me, it'd be worth the trouble if we at least had my favorite (FAVORITE!) Aristocrat Breakfast Tapa with Eggs and Hot Chocolate (salivating nowwww) but for him? he made a proposition. Why not bike all the way to where we want to go?

As an amateur biker/cyclist, the thought actually frightens me. Living downtown, there are already PUV's immediately outside our gate! But what scares me most was going through the Quiapo / Quezon Blvd. underpass..yikes!!! Jeepneys and buses stopping abruptly without much of a signal, heavy smog, dubious people, but most of all - I wasn't sure I had the guts to traverse the underpass itself - baka major 'semplang' moment! I was kind of rusty and still re-learning the gears and the proper braking and as hubby said, "gliding" gracefully as I prepared to descend the bike versus my normal screeching halt!

So off we went, making our way on the fly. The route became P. Noval near UST, Morayta, Recto, an obscure street leading to San Sebastian Church, another obscure street leading to Ayala Bridge, Finance Road, and then finally got to the walled city that is Intramuros. All the while calling to Jesus and Mother Mary to keep us safe, and to keep other motorists aware of us and especially safe from me! Not only were the wheels in motion, my nerves were also on major overdrive! How fun it was and yet, how dangerous! As a parent, I try my best to remove myself from very risky situations and it's only now that I fully realize how truly dangerous it could have been. There were times I almost fell off, when I couldn't stop as I was waiting for the motorists to give way (what a principina! lol!) - and hubby would say, "you really couldn't stop even for a bit?"

When we reached Intramuros, it was another very beautiful moment - like the ones straight out of a post card. We made a quick stop at the San Agustin Church, then made our way to the ruins and then around Muralla Street. Of course, of course, the obligatory Taho drink (yum!). Then we made our way to the fort nearby Bayleaf Hotel. We met a Kiwi with his wife. He complimented our bikes, especially hubby's. And how he enjoyed that feeling. We also saw a pedicab driver - tour guide, hopelessly trying to convince a foreigner to be taken around the area - to which she vehemently said no. And because we only brought his iPhone as camera, I will forever commit to memory the scene that almost takes me back to my childhood - days of freedom when I didn't have a care in the world. There before the newspaper office, five kids aged 4-7, riding their tattered bikes as if it's the most natural thing in the world, as if they have given their everything to that small race of theirs, the burst of energy was almost almost magical. Even now, it's just there in the corner of my mind, something I could replay over and over and would definitely make me smile :) 

Then we made our way back and decided to do a Binondo route. From the Mexico ferry station we took some more pictures but had to make a detour and a shortcut across a park because of the closed road. Counterflow on the bridge's side walk then we crossed to Escolta. Ahhh...another beautiful place evoking memories past. Just then, we saw Carlos Celdran also biking around in the area, but we were too shy to approach him for a picture. Again to the streets with furniture shops, then left to Sabino Padilla then right to a street by the new condo, right to Ongpin, left to Salazar and we found ourselves in Johnson's feng shui shop. We said our hello's. While hubby went inside, I just took in all that that Sunday morning had given us - while I tended to my "saddle sored" bum! Finally, Benavidez, right to Recto, left to Masangkay and off we went to the direction of our home.

So many things we have seen and learned and I guess the most important part, aside from exercise, aside from removing the dust that gathered on my bike - what I truly appreciated was us going back to our roots. Simple people who love the simple things. Take away the car, take away the fancy gadgets, take away the mall and you might as well take away Aristocrat too. What was left was a nice, bumpy, happy ride, the Old Manila feel, and us with taho in hand (hopefully? haha) feeling in love (the kilig love like when we started dating), feeling young, feeling happy, feeling content.

Yes, we live for moments like these :)

Merry Christmas everyone! :D


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