The Lake Caliraya Run, 2 February 2011

February 4th, 2011

By 7.30 am the seven participating drivers had already arrived at the planned starting point at Shell Libis for an 8.00 am departure. All were eager to get on the road, but the start was held back until the scheduled time to allow for possible last minute joiners.
The plan for the day was to drive to Lake Caliraya for lunch , stopping on the way,  and then return to Manila from the South by mid-afternoon.

Initially the route took the group via Antipolo up to the Sierra Madre, the twisting highway giving the group a taste of the sort of road conditions that would be encountered throughout the day's drive.
An early coffee break was planned at the Sierra Madre Hotel. On a  trip 2 years previously, drinks couldn’t be served  there as there were no cups available, this time we were not surprised to find that the place was all but shut down with no staff in sight!. To enable the group to get the required morning coffee fix ( and Tony B his breakfast!), a substitute venue was urgently required. Within a few more kilometers a nice local cafe, perched up beside the road, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile the drivers were enthusing about the great driving conditions so far encountered - there was much more to come!

 In the cool blustery conditions, with Tony A. (and his GPS) in the lead, the group set off at a brisk pace. After a period of rapid progress along magnificent driving roads bordered by equally magnificent scenery, the group came back to reality when the road all but disappeared, having been washed out by recent rains. With speed down to a crawl and some of the lowered cars finding small rocks too large, the group wondered if it was wise to continue. However the 'press on spirit' prevailed and a few hundred meters further on the road re-appeared. And what a road it was!. Absolutely fabulous driving on a smooth surface, traffic free for kilometer after kilometer. After a while it was becoming apparent that we were getting no nearer to Lake Caliraya, so directions were sought from a lone person standing by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Sure enough the group should have turned off way before, proving that GPS is not yet up to full speed here!. The group couldn’t have cared as retracing the route meant doubling the driving pleasure!
Heading back in the right direction again and reaching Lake Caliraya it was decided not to stop over after all but to head down to St. Cruz for lunch.
 A spirited drive down through the hills required a "comfort” stop  at a gas station, where Tony  dispensed  refreshers from his cool box! 
Continuing, many Police and Army check points were negotiated. It was after being waved through and told to speed up, that, futher down the road, much to the groups amazement a police Toyota was in hot pursuit, lights on and siren blaring!. Not wishing to impede the law officers in their duty the group rapidly pulled away. Unknown to the front runners Noy, at the back, was flagged down. Having pulled over he was given a grilling and his car's documents were checked. Having found nothing to charge him with he was 'fined' for not immediately pulling over!
After being released Noy re-gained contact with the group and everyone set off toward the revised lunch stop at the Exotica Restaurant in St. Cruz. The place was aptly named as not only did it serve such delicacies as goat, wild boar and stingray but in the terraced grounds, there were snakes monkeys and exotic birds on display.
A long lunch ensued with many of the unusual items on the menu being tried as well as fish and chips for those not so inclined!

With the afternoon moving on it was decided to return to Manila around the south side of Laguna Lake via Los Banos and SLEX , hopefully missing the early evening rush hour.
It was on this last leg of the drive that the only mechanical incident of the trip occurred. Mike found that his 930 started pulling heavily to the right and soon after his brakes failed. It appeared that the front right brake had partly jammed on and overheated the fluid. After a very slow drive using the hand brake, the fluid cooled and partial braking was restored. Both Jay and Paul acted as 'shotgun' and the car was safely driven home.

During the general discussion over lunch it was evident that the whole group had enjoyed the driving experience and camaraderie and that Club members should endeavour to make this type of run a monthly outing.
On the mostly uncongested country roads the round trip covered just over 300 km, nothing for a marvellous drive in a Porsche!
Participants: Noy Yao           (early 911)
                   Tony Alunan      (964)
                   Tony Bautista    (993)
                   Jay Aldernese    (993)
                   Paul Mutac        (993)
                   Mark Taylor +1   (996)
                   Mike Bradley      (930)

Photos by Tony Alunan