'The Oldies and not so Oldies' run to Northern Luzon: Poro Point-Vigan-Baguio-Subic, 20-23 May 2010

June 11th, 2010

              The second of Porsche Club Philippines runs in 2010 for the "Oldies and not so Oldies" brought the particpants to beaches in Poro Point, San Fernando, the old Spanish town of Vigan with its cobble stone streets, the summer capital of the Philippines Baguio City, the hydropower Ambuklao dam high up in the Cordillera mountains, and finally to the bustling port of Subic. A pictoral overview of the run can be found in the Photo Gallery.
   
                        
Day 1 - 20 May: Manila - Poro Point, 320 km
              The plan was for the 5 participants to meet at 0530 hrs at the Shell station on the NLEX for an early morning start to be ahead of the traffic build up. However, breakfast somehow got in the way and departure was around 0700-ish "Philippine Time".
A non eventful drive as far as the NLEX/SCTEX split where some confusion surfaced about the directions of the GPS, splitting the group up! However, it was soon resolved and a meeting further up the route was accomplished. (Tony having used the old road, while Mike et al passed through the SCTEX - meeting up at Max's Luisita. Each group reaching Max's at exactly the same time!) Traffic at Tarlac and Urdaneta slowed the progress slightly, but worse was to come at Sison where work on the collapsed bridge meant having to transfer from the highway and drive on to the river bed. A sedate pace saw all cars safely across.
The first stopover point was at the "Thunderbird" at Poro Point, San Fernando. After checking in and having lunch we set out for the afternoon trip to Vigan.
 
Poro Point-Vigan - Poro Point, 290 km
              Although the after lunch start was later than planned, it was decided to continue with the drive even though the group had agreed that no night driving would be on the programme. A "spirited" drive via the scenic coastal route of La Union and Ilocos Sur allowed enough time to visit the old Spanish area of Vigan and have merienda, tasting the local Vigan speciality at Irene's Empanada. After a little exercise admiring the old buildings and architecture, departure was hampered by the evening rush hour so the trip back via the same route, although enjoyable, had to be finished after dark.
The long day was completed with a cold beer or two on the hotel patio overlooking the ocean, and a late (forgettable!) meal.
 
Day 2 - 21 May: Poro Point - Baguio, 95 km
              After fuelling up, we set out on the Naguilan mountain route to Baguio. On the way, Tony started having intermittent brake problems, so the drive through some amazing scenery was at a "restrained" pace! Arrival at the Manor House at Camp John Hay and the scent of the pine trees was refreshing after the traffic fumes in the City.
       
Bagio-Ambuklao - Baguio, 60 km
              Lunch completed, just 4 cars left for the afternoon trip to the Ambuklao dam. Tony decided to ride "shotgun" with Mike due to being unsure of his car's brake system. Jun led the way in his 997 (having left the truck at home this time!), and set a steady pace on the well surfaced mountain roads, recently made slippery by the afternoon thundershowers. Some areas had to be driven cautiously as huge land slips had occurred, and the group had also to safely navigate through an axle high flooded section. By the time the dam was reached the sun had appeared and a brilliant photo shoot opportunity was presented. The return journey was completed on now empty dry roads, so the superb potential of the 911's handling capabilities became apparent!
Evening was enjoyed at the "Brad Pitt" owned by Tony's cousin who provided the group with a sumptuous meal of fresh local produce. 
    
Day 3 - 22 May: Baguio - Subic (via Zambales coastal route), 385 km

To cover the planned distance and be in Subic for lunch to meet with Gaby, breakfast was planned for 0600 hrs. Stopping for gas, Tony found his GPS had failed, so it was decided just to continue and  hope for the best!. After getting under way and out of Baguio City, the group had to backtrack a few times due to taking the wrong roads. However, later when this happened, and a 60 km "detour" ensued, the whole team was delighted as those 60 km were some of the best driving roads in the Philippines. Not only was the road surface smooth but hardly any other traffic was in evidence. The down side though was later, having to pass through Dagupan, Binmaley and Lingayen where traffic was brought to an almost complete standstill by motorcycle and pedal cabs. Once into Pangasinan and Zambales the pace was able to be regained and after a 6 hour trip the group arrived in Subic and eventually met up with Gaby for a late brunch.

Jun, Noy, John and Gaby then departed for Manila. A final problem was encountered by John, finding his filler cap jammed whilst being almost out of gas on the Manila bound NLEX. Luckily, Gaby was able to save the situation by prizing the cap off!

 Mike and Tony stayed in Subic and joined with Toto for an evening at the "Lighthouse"  then enjoying the comforts of "Chateaux Cruz" for a well earned rest.
  
Day 4 - 23 May: Subic - Manila, 200 km 
Toto, Mike and Tony took an early morning drive around the winding roads of SBMA and then on to the "Lighthouse" for breakfast to join with members driving up from Manila, however, only Mark was able to make it. Before departure a photo call was made with the cars present before Mike and Tony departed for Manila.
 
Compared with the run down South in March, this trip involved a great deal more driving. Distance covered, including the morning run, was over 1400 km. Taking this into consideration, the only problems which surfaced with the old cars (and older drivers!!) was the intermittent brake situation which affected Tony's 964, the aircon failure on Mike's 930, and John almost running out of gas!. It was very good to see Jun driving his 997 this time around.
As before on the "South" run, everybody enjoyed the camaraderie and their cars. We were especially happy to have John, (Noy's brother in law) with us again, he came specially from Iloilo. We drove on, some of the best roads in the country and saw some wonderful scenery, unique to the Philippines. All in all, it was a very successful trip.
Following on from this, the "4567" boys are considering a further "South" run in November. Preliminary thoughts on the routing will take in Bohol and Cebu, hopefully joining with our fellow Porsche enthusiasts in their region. 
 
Participants: Noy-Noy Yao  - 1986 3.2 Carrera
                        John Ng         - 1978 SC
                        Jun Veloso     - 2006 997 Carrera 4S
                        Tony Alunan   - 1993 964 C2
                         Mike Bradley  - 1983  930 Turbo