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mountain biking

BaguioMay 10, 2005 Tuesday

The Cordillera on a Mountain Bike - Baguio

Baguio Air
The bus trip to Baguio along the ridges of the country's highest peaks along the Halsema Highway took 6 hours but it felt like forever. The mountain air was cold, crisp and clean - colder than Sagada or Banaue.I knew I was close to Baguio by the degradation of the air. By the time I reached La Trinidad, the air was like Manila. Baguio was no better - people were actually covering their nose with their hands or hanky.

Back in the day, people would go to Baguio to getaway from Manila's heat and polluted air. Baguio was synonymous to clean mountain air. It was unthinkable then to imagine having to cover your nose in Baguio to escape pollution - now it's a stark reality. Diesel engines spew their black exhaust with impunity to an uncomplaining public. Traffic congestion can rival Manila.

Market
One of the must-do for me in any travel is to visit the public market and see what's up. Being partial to veggies and fruits, I helped myself to anything I could fit on my backpack - homemade peanut butter and jelly included. Roasted peppers for breakfast takes on a new high with local hot cocoa. With market purchase, decent meals can be had for less than P20

Alone Again
Traveling alone has its downside. Being half-sick and still coughing from my cold spell in Sagada, I often stayed in my room whiling away the time - unable to bike or hike and unable to mingle with people. At some point, I felt so isolated I texted nearly everyone on my phone list. Some recipients replied back in bewilderment, "is this for me?". That's when I realized I went overboard. Time to step back and regain perspective.

20/15 Vision
The place I stayed had a juice extractor. With veggies fresh and cheap (well, cheaper than Manila), juicing became a routine for me. I bought carrots by the kilos and juiced them all with ginger, garlic, brocolli and apples. Meals were accompanied by carrot juice.

A couple of years back, I went into juicing overdrive when I received a juicer for a present. I went for months drinking about 3 glasses of pure carrot juice everyday. I turned orange...no kidding! When it came time to see my optometrist for my annual checkup, she said I no longer have astigmatism, near sightedness nor have any trace of it. Furthermore, my eye grade was better than 20/20. I now had 20/15 from 120. I no longer required the use of reading glasses. I'm no doctor, but I can attribute that to my carrot juice overload.

Ending Thougts - Baguio
It's almost ideal - Baguio is big enough to promote diversity but small enough to keep everything within biking distance. The city has so much to offer - fresh fruits and veggies, breath-taking sceneries, lots of mountain hikes, cold climate, warm and friendly people, but no matter how great things are, this dark cloud (literally and figuratively) hovers above everything else: air pollution. It simply takes away from every good thing Baguio has to offer.

While the general people are aware of the problem (they cover their noses on the streets), there seems a sense of resignation that nothing will be done - nobody is crying foul! However, from the grassroots level, there is a swelling tide of sports advocates who take this seriously. They represent the silent minority but I hope their activism is supported by everyone. Pollution penalises everyone without exception.

--- TheLoneRider

    Wish List
  • CLEAN AIR !!!!!
  • a jeep route map of Baguio (which jeep goes to Tam-awan? what's the jeep route?)
  • encourage cyclists at John Hay and keep the cars out (and not the other way) - there is already a shuttle to transport people inside
  • make Baguio a model bike city. Create dedicated bike lanes, encourage bike use (not motor vehicles), put up bike parking in front of SM Mall, government buildings, etc.

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Baguio | MTB Race

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