My friends and I have been planning to circumnavigate the lake through mountain passes, and national highways on a bike. After a few months of scheduling, map research, and hesitations, it came down to two brave souls who have decided to finally conquer one of the difficult bike rides in the South. The popular Laguna Loop.
We chose the longer but lesser elevated route. Ride along the C6 road and then straight to the towns of Rizal all the way south to the very tip of the Jalajala Peninsula, going back up to Laguna, and then straight to Paranque via National Highway and East Service road.
Preparations were made the day before but for some reason, I wasn’t able to get any sleep! (It may be insomnia or excitement, I do not know), but this didn’t hinder me from backing out from the much awaited long ride. (and it was just the two of us, If I backed out it would be a lonely solo ride for my sparring partner.)
The meetup was at 4:30am and start of the ride was 5:00am from Brittany Bay along East Service Road. We kicked off at the agreed time and headed northbound to Bicutan Interchange via East Service road. At the intersection, we took the route going down C6.
I drove towards the end of a bumpy C6 road last year and I was surprised when I got back. The road going to Taytay was now properly cemented. There are still some unpaved roads but it was more bearable now. The lamp posts also helped out as we shared the road with trucks and other vehicles.
We reached Taytay Rizal at around 6am, water lilies were scattered around the lake and we passed by the bridge where we saw how Pasig river and Laguna lake connect. We then continued to head straight to Angono.
It was a busy road along Angono as Jeepneys, Tricycles, and buses suddenly popped out at around 7am. We then passed this area to pedal our way to Binangonan.
We made our way to a steep, hilly suburban place which we were unfamiliar of. The elevation got us shifting to our granny gears but it was a good way to wake me up from my sleepy state.
We just followed the map going towards another unknown area and then made an unexpected turn. We were supposed to go to Morong but what surprised us was an off-road trail going somewhere. Good thing there were locals who told us to head straight and then turn right to get back to the highway.
The polluted, traffic congested highways from a few hours ago were replaced by vast, lush, green fields and steep downhill roads. This was one of the highlights of the morning as we enjoyed the fast ride going down while marveling at the views of rice fields everywhere! We took a quick stop just to appreciate the scenery. The Pililla Wind Farm can also be seen on the horizon.
It was in Baras where we decided to have a brunch when BJ noticed that his rear tire was flat. We took our time to get his interior patched up and re-inflated before heading to Pililla.
We continued to the road going to Pililla. The Bugarin windmills were already seen, towering above the hilly horizon, this reminded me of our cross-country ride along the wind farm earlier last year. We then reached the fork where the roads split to Bugarin on the left and Pililla straight ahead, we chose the pililla route to continue going to the Jala Jala peninsula.
The sleepless ride took its toll on my energy and I asked if we could have another stop over. Luckily, we passed along a waiting shed beside Shell and decided to lock our bikes to take a 30 minute nap.
This quick nap really helped a lot. Too bad I was half asleep because of the sounds of passing vehicles and be alert for our safety as well.
We groggily packed up and headed straight to Jala Jala, reaching the town at 12:30pm.
This was one of the longest sections of our ride, we headed waaay down south of the peninsula to reach the very tip. There was a slight drizzle along the way but it was replaced by the scorching noon time heat almost immediately. We stopped at the southernmost tip of the peninsula at 1pm, with the viewpoint jutting towards Laguna lake. It’s amazing to think that we live on the other side of the lake, and at that moment we rode all the way to the very tip of this town. We took a rest while we enjoyed the views of Talim island.
We then proceeded to hit the road going north to exit Jala Jala to enter Pakil, the first town of Laguna. The stunning views were ever changing as we rode along the lake, rice fields, and the grassy surface of Mt. Sembrano.
I can’t believe this quiet, lesser known, far-flung town of Rizal has so much to offer when it comes to beautiful sceneries.
We reached the northern part of the peninsula at around 2pm. My 3-liter water supply was almost out, good thing we found a store where we had some drinks and snacks.
After the 20 minute rest, we were on the road again as we marveled at the views on the other side of the lake: Mount Banahaw and the towns of Laguna where we were headed. It seemed too close but it took us another four hours to get to the other side.
We passed the Rizal/Laguna border at 3:10pm until we pedalled our way to Famy. We then reached the towns of Sinloan, Pangil, Paete, and Kalayaan. It was followed by a veeeery long stretch going to Lumban, passing by the Caliraya Hydroelectric Power Plant.
We pedaled our way up another twisty road going to Pagsanjan. It was almost Sundown and the place got busier at this point.
We reached Santa Cruz at 6pm where we decided to have dinner at a fast food joint. It took us 30 minutes to recuperate, and the staff were nice enough to refill our bottles. We packed up and installed our blinkers and flashlights.
It was a long, dark road going to Los Banos. Being on the road for 15 hours on a mountain bike is making us hit the wall. We were tempted to hop in a bus every time we see one bound to Alabang. In spite the fatigue, we decided to carry on since we were more than half way through.
Passing Calamba, we proceeded to go through the veeeeery long and traffic congested stretch. We went through Santa Rosa, Binan, San Pedro, and finally Muntinlupa at around 11pm!
We carried on until we reached Starmall Alabang. Just a few Kilometers more and we have finally circumnavigated the lake.
We could have crossed Sucat interchange going to Brittany Bay to finish the ride but my fatigue was replaced by curiosity and excitement. I suggested to turn right to Dr. A. Santos Ave going down Barangay Cupang until we reached the abandoned Sucat Power Plant at 11:30pm.
Sadly, this was when my action camera’s third and last battery died.
We headed left to the coastal area along Barangay Sucat and continued along the dark, quiet road until we found our way to the rear gate of Lakefront. We turned left to a dark area and then finally did a last uphill climb to where we started!
Finally, at exactly 12:01am. After 19 hours, 2 regions, and 32 towns. With tired eyes, aching body, and creaky mountain bikes. We have finally circumnavigated the 202km roads along Laguna Lake!
- The C6 road going to Taytay Rizal is finally paved compared to last 2015.
- You can take an alternate route going up the steep climb to Bugarin and skipping Jala Jala. It has a shorter distance of around 180kms but the steeper, more challenging climbs will make it equally difficult.
- Hydrate! 3 liters of water may seem heavy but you will definitely thank yourself for bringing extra bottles. It is also essential to pour some on your head or body to dissipate the heat.
- you may get smothered in smoke as you pedal along the highway from Binan to Muntinlupa. This route is very busy even at night! Jeepneys, trucks, and other public utility vehicles will whiz past you out of nowhere. There are several congestion and stoplights and smog was suffocating. It is recommended to wear a facemask or any form of garment to cover your face. Better if it’a a carbon filtered mask.
- Plan ahead. We still made several stopovers to review our maps especially when we encounter forks along the way.
- Invest on a gel padded saddle cover and a rear rack. I made a mistake of carrying a 30 liter backpack which was a burden throughout the ride.