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April 3, 2008

Motorbike Riding Around Busuanga Island
(and the quest for Marian Rivera)

Me? Motorbike?
We met Erich Hausmann, the amiable owner of Princess of Coron, an Austrian resort and lodging house in Coron town. He's been around Coron for the longest time and knows the place like the back of his hand. He was kind enough to offer us an all day tour of Busuanga Island's outback...on motorbikes! Cool! Except that I don't know how to ride a motorcycle. Erich gave me a crash course on motorbike riding...where the clutch is, how to shift gears, etc. I didn't let on, but I was nervous. All these guys - Greg, Dennis and Claus were veteran motorbike riders, and we'd be riding not just dirt roads but single-tracks as well. I kept telling myself, "Hey, I ride Sagada's technical single-tracks on a mountain bike...where I'm the engine...this one should be easier, coz a combustion engine is doing all the work for me".

The Ride
They were all patient with me as I struggled in the first few hours. However, after acclimatizing with the bike, I was already squeezing the throttle with confidence. Busuanga Island is huge. We could have been riding for 3 days and not take the same road. Erich took us to a hidden stream, local towns, narrow trails, up and down hills, river crossings, etc. We were kicking up a lot of dust which proved painful on the eyes at the end of the day.

Coron Currency
We stopped at the island edge where smaller islands could be seen. In the fashion of a tour guide, Erich pointed out an island he purchased and developed. He also pointed out the other islands owned by Palawan's elite. This show-and-tell is similar with the owner of the house we were staying at - the owner casually talked about his islands. They talk about gifting islands! They're so laid back about mentioning this, you would think they're just talking about the number of pigs they own. I guess, in Palawan (or perhaps just in Coron), you haven't arrived yet unless you own an island.

Bolt It Down
When Erich bought his island, he spared no cost acquiring fine furniture for the house he built there. He hired a caretaker to look after the place while he was gone. Days later, when he came back, all the furniture was gone. Anything not bolted down was taken. The house was virtually empty. Of course, his caretaker was nowhere to be found. Learning from the experience, he got smart and made everything in concrete - concrete table, concrete kitchen....ha! try stealing that! He hired another caretaker to look after the house. Next time he came back, the house was in shambles...the concrete was smashed to rubble and the steel reinforcements were gone!

Marian Rivera (aka: my Marimar)
As good fortune would have it, the production crew and star of Dyesebel, Marian Rivera (my one-and-only, out of so many), were there to shoot. And they were staying at Erich's place, Princess of! Earlier, the entire town flooded outside Princess of Coron just to catch a glimpse of Marian. They trampled on the garden and by the time they left, Erich's front yard looked like tornado alley. Again on another occasion, when Marian went dining at Bruno's, the masses stormed the place. Police had to be called in. Not to be identified with the maddened crowd, I casually showed up one morning at Erich's resort. Without any preamble, he cut through the chase. "She's still sleeping", he remarked. Darn! Was I that transparent? I stayed for coffee...and another cup...and another. Sigh! When is she going to wake up? Distraught, I left feeling sorry for Marian. She missed her golden chance. Now, she has to go through life without me.

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

( May 6, 2008) Palawan's a really great place :) I want to visit Coron as well- but of course Sagada comes first ;) Will you still be coming back to Manila?

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