Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nostalgia: Habal-habal ride

Lake Kabalin-an @ mirandablue

My third trip to Dumaguete in September 2008 was a memorable visit. Not only because I met new-found relatives I never knew existed in Dumaguete, but because I had the ride of my life on board a habal-habal (a motorcycle that can carry up to 8 passengers) through the rain forest, on steep, twisting and rugged mountain road. The meeting with relatives was great as we traced our roots from our great-grandfather who came from Spain in the late 18th century.

But let me tell you about my death-defying ride to the lakes in the rain forests of Sibulan. 

To reach Sibulan, we took a 25-minute ride in a multicab (a modern version of jeepney) from Dumaguete. When we asked some townfolk how to reach the lakes, we were advised to rent a habal-habal because the road was only accessible to motorbikes and 4-wheel drive. There were 3 of us and nobody was willing to sit on the gas tank in front of the driver so we needed to rent 2 habal-habal. The motorbike drivers were charging P600 for each bike to bring us to the lakes and back to town. I used my rustic haggling ability and a bit of my charm until we all agreed at P800 for 2 bikes. 

Borrowed from http://ylai.tumblr.com

Getting to the lakes was an unforgettable experience. Sibulan is a coastal town and the tip of Cebu is seen across Tanon Strait. From the sea breezes at the start of the ride, the road to the lakes took us to the rain forest filled with scents of trees and sweet mountain air. But the steep, rugged road as well as the elevated slopes were scary at the same time exhilarating. My cousin, Franzia, covered her eyes when the slopes became too steep and our motorbikes seemed to have lost control, while April held on to their driver with both arms and legs. Their poor driver was almost mangled from their grasps. It was a hilarious sight! My driver, Edison, assured me that he’s been driving through these roads for the past 14 years---it still didn't reassure me.  At some point, I had to beg Edison to stop so I could walk because it was too bumpy and  scary.

Riding a motorbike is not my favorite thing. Motorbikes make me extremely nervous. And riding a habal-habal in a rugged terrain with no helmet, no protective clothing, you’d never believe the bloody scenes running through my mind. But I reasoned with myself that anticipating an accident was pointless, so I prayed harder and steered my mind to enjoy the lush mountain ranges, feasted my eyes at the unobstructed view of the sea, and inhaled the fresh air.  

After a 45-minute bone jarring ride (that felt like 3 hours), we finally reached Kabalin-an, a crater lake. It’s a scenic little lake, very calm and the water reflected the green mountains around it. At the center were trees that have sprouted from the bottom of the lake, giving it a mystical feel. Enchanting Lake Kabalin-an was a peaceful haven after our arduous bike ride...a perfect place to catch our breath.



13 comments:

Viola said...

WOW!!!! I have never senn or heard of such a motorbike! :) It would be a great journey I think, to sit on it and go to that beautiful beautiful green lake!! I would like to do it..!

Annie said...

My gosh! I've never heard of such a thing. Talk about necessity being the mother of invention. You were braver than I would ever be.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I never heard about habal-habal before. It won't be an easy think to balance the bike with many people on it. The lake look so tranquil.

inday_adin said...

Oh my goodness! Is that the real picture of the lake? That is so beautiful. I think it was worth all the heart-pounding ride on that habal2x... I remember how I'm nervous about riding in one of those. Goodness! :) Thanks for sharing and this is my first visit.

Adin B

Denise said...

What a great post, I really enjoyed reading this. And I have never heard or seen of such a bike. Very clever kind of transport making the most of the space. Your photo of the lake was fabulous, thank you for sharing your trip.

Clarissa said...

hahahahaa!OMG!!Parang ako yung nasa likod lol!Soo happy to read your post,para na rin akong nakasakay uli ng habal-habal!Riding a habal-habal is a normal sight for us sibulanos.The scenic view is worth it with those bumpy rides and all.I bet sumakit uli ang pwet nyo riding habal-habal back and forth lol!^_^

Luna Miranda said...

Clarissa, after the habal-habal ride to and from the lakes, para akong ginahasa! LOL

imriz said...

there's so many motorbikes and tricycles around our town, but never one like that! funny, but i love to drive a motorcycle, i even know how to drive a tricycle...it was fun! but, riding, er "hanging" on a two-wheel like that...might as well try it...coz if what i'll be seeing will be that beautiful and serene lake that...i'll dare the ride:)))

chubskulit said...

Hahahaha bloody scenes lol, kakaloka.. P{arang di ko yata kaya sumakay dyan sis. The driver must be extremely talented and have a strong sense of balance, ang hirap kaya ibalanse nyan wahhh.

y last motorcycle ride was with my dear brother whom we lost last year (in motorcycle accident) .. Naku naiiyak tuloy ako huhuhu..

Luna Miranda said...

nakakabilib nga mga drivers ng habal-habal---balancing act talaga. our family lost 2 uncles and a cousin to motorcycle accidents. it's dangerous especially when you don't wear a helmet and protective clothing.

yen said...

only in the Philippines ra na!
mine is up! happy nostalgia

Lulu said...

whoaaa it brings back memories for sure! Habal-habal is also very common in our bukid! I remember I used to ride in front of the driver since I was the skinniest of all my friends so when we go out I usually sit in front of the driver hahahaha

Inverness Daily Photo said...

The green tranquil lake seems the perfect respite after the harsh ride.