Manila - Iloilo - Manila: 'the Oldies and not so Oldies Run', 8-10 March 2010

March 13th, 2010

                         
The much talked about run down south commenced at 0.30 am on 8 March 2010 at the Petron station on the SLEX.
Four participants: Romy Yao, Tony Alunan, Jun Veloso and Mike Bradley were accompanied by photographer Neil Garcia. A pictoral overview of the run can be found in the Photo Gallery.
 
Day 1 - 8 Mar: Manila - Batangas Port, 90 km
Travel to the ferry at Batangas was uneventful .The drive, on the almost empty Star Tollway's good surface, meant that we arrived in good time for the ferry.
 
Ro-Ro Batangas - Calapan, 2hrs

Safely on board of the ferry, the Porsches and back up Toyota Hilux tucked away between the trucks, we managed a little sleep. Upon waking, Jun treated us to a sumptuous breakfast of smoked salmon, cheese and bagettes from his 'bottomless' cold bag together with limitless cold drinks. The day had started well!
 
Calapan - Roxas Port, 130 km
Arrival was 0600hrs just as the sun was appearing. This allowed us to beat the traffic and average a good 70kmph on the much improved roads - made for Porsche driving! We covered the distance in just less than 2hrs.
 
Ro-Ro Roxas Port – Caticalan, 4hrs 30mins
We all slept and chatted on the covered deck - the remainder of the gourmet breakfast was consumed! The time passed quickly until the arrival at Caticalan where we were delayed in offloading. There was some frustration as we were all eager to set off on the longest part of the run south to Iloilo.
 
Caticalan-Iloilo, 260 km
Due to the disembarking delay we hit rush hour traffic. However, when through town we were able to take advantage of the great driving roads passing by rice paddy and banana plantations. The driving surface was not always smooth, but the roads are being improved. We encountered a total of approximately 2 to 3 km of works which needed diversion onto unmade parts and single flow. However, we had to take care as some places were unmarked. Generally though, the road surface was satisfactory enough to take advantage of the sweeps, bends and turns along the route!
After 3hrs 10mins drive we arrived in Iloilo for the night stop at the Del Rio Hotel. After
attending to the cars, we celebrated with a few San Migs and Cokes!
We met up with Romy's brother-in-law, John Ng, and his friend Edgar Sia who entertained us to a seafood banquet at the famous 'Breakthrough" restaurant, all washed down with more Coke and beer! A good sleep came quickly after a  day of nearly 500 km driving!
 
Day 2 - 9 Mar: Iloilo - City of Roxas, 140 km
Day two did not start well. Tony was standing by his car before the start off when one of his front tires deflated due to a failed valve. Luckily John being an Iloilo resident was able to get his mechanic to take the wheel to the shop and get it fixed. However, as we were all going to the same place to get the mud and salt spray washed from the cars, Tony decided to have the other valves checked. Just as well as two more were found defective.
At last we were back on the road. John had now joined us for the run back north; lucky for us, as soon his local knowledge would be called upon again.
Leaving the city, Mike noticed his alternator warning light on and the engine temperature heating up. The problem was a broken fan belt. By chance we were not far from a Petron station where we could replace the belt, a spare being carried in the tool kit. When things go wrong sometimes they tend to get worse. This time was no exception - the belt was the wrong size! John kindly offered to try and find one and set off with Jun whilst Tony stepped in to take charge with all the right tools to do the job!. Helping him was limited by having only 1 pair of gloves between us to work around the really hot engine. Some further difficulty was encountered in having to move the a/c compressor to remove that belt as well to enable the fan belt to be fitted. After two failed attempts John managed to find an old Chinese made belt of the correct size and this was duly fitted by Tony's expert hands, and 3hrs 30mins after arriving we were on our way again. Things got worse again when later we found that Romy's box of tools and spares had been left at the Petron station. Luckily they were found safe and will be returned, as the owner was the schoolmate of Romy's wife! - how lucky can you get! - and we needed some too!
There was some debate as to whether or not miss out our planned lunch stop at the City of Roxas and
head straight to Caticalan and Boracay for the nightstop. John's local knowledge made the decision for us. He knew of a fabulous hill climb stage that he wanted to take us through and also the restaurant waiting for us by the beach at the 'Seafood Capital of the Philippines, was one of the best anywhere. He was not wrong on either count! We all arrived at the restaurant with a smile on our faces. The drive was superb and the food, including the local delicacy, 'Angel Wings', was fresh and plentiful as were the oysters, scallops and crabs.
 
City of Roxas - Caticalan (via Kalibo), 200 km
By now it was dark. We drove cautiously keeping a good eye open for unlit 'moving obstacles' and dogs that seemed to think our convoy was some sort of threat.
Arriving at Caticalan we were met by a representative of the Tides Hotel in Boracay who arranged for secure parking, then we were on a banca for the crossing to Boracay.
Arriving at the hotel at 10pm we had a quick change and then relaxed over a pizza and noodle dinner on the beach at the Aria bar, again with the cold Cokes and San Migs.
 
Day 3 - 10 Mar: Ro-Ro Caticalan - Roxas, 4hrs
Up early for a good breakfast and an 8 am departure from the hotel, for which some of the group were glad, as they had no hot water! 
After a loading delay we were again under way. The ferry was slow and non a/c and with no covered deck, so we made ourselves as comfortable as possible sitting by an open door, passing the time with car talk and coffee!
 
Roxas - Calapan 130 km
The trip was the reverse of the southbound run. We arrived at the Philipiniana Hotel in Calapan for a break and early dinner before heading to the ferry at dusk for a 7 pm departure.
During the run it was noticed that the seal of Romy’s spoiler had come loose. In the line at the ferry the
reason was discovered - the spoiler was about to fall off! Only one bolt remained of the 3 attachments and that was just about to fall off too. That was retightened and the other side was secured with a plastic bag handle!
Tony also reported that there was some rattling of his rear vent fan bearing but no fix was made.
 
Ro-Ro Calapan – Batangas, 3hrs
Loading the ferry was delayed and the crossing was not so smooth as the outbound. Arrival was at 10 pm and once off the ferry we stopped to clean our screens of salt spray.
 
Batangas Port - Manila 90 km
A clear run on the Star Tollway to the SLEX and home! Arrival 1130 pm
 
 
The trip was just around 1,000 km road distance.
 
The participants:  Romy Yao    ---  1986 3.2 Carrera                   
                          Tony Alunan ---  1993 964 C2
                          Jun Veloso    ---  Toyota Hilux
                          Mike Bradley ---  1983 3.3 Turbo
                          Neil Garcia    ---  Photographer
                          John Ng        ---  1978 SC  (Iloilo-Manila only)
Maintenance
Issues:                Romy - loose spoiler
                          Tony   - tire valve problems
                          Jun     - none!
                          Mike   - broken fan belt
                          John   - intermittent ignition problems
 
Everyone on the trip arrived back safely. We all had a great time, enjoyed each other’s company and coped with the small maintenance issues on our old cars.
We are planning a north run soon. Why not join us, if we can do it so can you!
 
Our thanks to Neil Garcia, publisher and editor in chief of Image Photography, who was responsible for the photo account of our trip. 

             
                                                                         
  
Tony, Mike, Jun and Romy - the '4567 boys'!