PCP Run to the North, 15 - 18 November 2011

November 20th, 2011

If there was a motto for the run it should have read 'always expect the unexpected', because in the course of the 4 days that surely was the case.
Originally the run had been planned for earlier in the year, however, due to a typhoon it was cancelled at the last minute when it was learned that many of the roads to be travelled had been affected by landslips. So, determined to reinstate the plan, the group felt that by late November the weather should have settled, how wrong that turned out to be!

The first problem occurred after the Club's 20th Anniversary photo shoot, 2 days before departure. Tony's 964 decided to refuse to run leaving him stranded on C5 on the way home to pack for the trip. So all day Monday was taken up franticly searching for a replacement relay to get him on the road the next morning.
During Monday evening the weather turned for the worse, with the effect of a low pressure area off the east coast, bringing heavy overnight rain.
 
Day 1 - 15 Nov: Manila –Santa Ana, 730 km
 
The group assembled as arranged at 4 am at Shell on the NLEX.  Jun Tan was welcomed for his first trip with the '4567 boys' together with his immaculate 993 Turbo.
Setting off for Tarlac, the rain became heavier, but with little traffic progress was good.Approaching the end of the SCTEX the first unexpected incident saw Jun T nearly being forced into the crash barrier by a truck and Mike in his 930 coming to within a meter of colliding with Jun after also taking avoiding action. Luckily no damage was sustained.

After the 'dust' had settled a good pace in the ever increasing rain was set. The route to the Dalton Pass took the drivers through Cabanatuan and then North.
The 4 a.m. start was decided upon to try and beat the lorry traffic through the steep climb up the pass. This proved to be a good decision as the ascent was mainly clear of heavy traffic. Just after daybreak the descent was started in low cloud, wind, rain and fog. This proved to be very slow due mainly to the many road works and the amount of slippery mud on the road.
Further North and into Isabela Province, the going was slowed by heavy traffic and tricycle bikes all over the highway in both Santiago and later Ilagan.
Tuguegaroa in Cagayan was reached by mid-afternoon, although, luckily the main town was bypassed.

Finding that time was slipping away to be in Santa Ana by nightfall, the group only stopped for sandwich and rest breaks through the remaining part of the drive, reaching the Cagayan Sun City Resort, after a bit of searching, at 6.30 pm. Total driving time 14hours 15 min.
Arrival was greeted by torrential rain and increasing wind, not a time to be doing any more travelling! 
After dinner and liquid refreshment a relatively early night was on the cards.
The group was very grateful to Rene Nunez who donated the complimentary accommodation.
 
Day 2 - 16 Nov: Santa Ana – Currimao, 355 km
 
Morning saw the group gathered for breakfast at 8 am, looking forward to the tour of the auto import area at Port Irene.
Departing the hotel, the heavy rain continued, making the short drive to the Port facility a slow process.
Upon arrival, the group, after security checks, was shown into a vast warehouse. What awaited were line upon line of varied cars. All of which appeared to be in good or pristine condition. Of course, Porsches were of the upmost interest! Among these were a 930, 964 and 993 Turbo together with 5 or 6 nice Boxter S's and 964 Carrera's. There was even a lone Ferrari there too. Many BMWs and Mercs  as well as a wide selection of SUVs and vans.

By mid-morning it was time to leave for the drive to the overnight at the Playa Tropical Resort at Currimao, this being the hotel of preference after discounting the Ilocandia. On the way, passing Claveria and Pagudpug.
The heavy rain by now had increased to a torrent of biblical proportions, and it was not long before the roads were becoming awash. Pressing on, the group came face to face with a 150 meter 'lake' across the highway. Initially the water depth seemed quite manageable so at a high revving slow pace the crossing was commenced. All was going reasonably well until 50 meters or so from 'dry' land a bus and truck came charging from the opposite direction. The bow wave engulfed the cars totally but somehow the Porsche's engines kept running even though by now the water was half way up the doors and was finding its way into the car's interiors. Slowly finding firm footing again after this further 'unexpected' incident, the group pressed on with water sloshing around their cabins!

All was going well, when until passing through a small town near Claveria, Jun T pulled over with handling problems, only to find his right rear tyre was 'unexpectedly' flat. Luckily, unlike more recent models, his 993 carried an emergency spare.
So this was duly fitted and progress again resumed, well at least until the next fuel stop, where bailing of dirty water from the inside of the cars commenced. It was also becoming apparent that electrical circuits were affected, with Jun T's  and Noy's car horns sounding and Mike's 930 immobiliser malfunctioning.

Having missed lunch, it was decided to break on the way to the hotel and head to the Herencia Restaurant at Paoay, opposite the famous Spanish era church of Marcos fame. However, whilst passing through Laoag, Mike's 930 'unexpectedly' developed a loud exhaust noise- something akin to a very sick Jeepney! Still the car was still moving, so the dinner stop was reached and in the now dry evening a delicious meal was taken alfresco, with the lighted back drop of the Paoay church.
With time pressing on it was time to get to the Playa Tropical Hotel. Yet again, not altogether 'unexpected' after getting submerged, Mike's immobiliser refused to allow the car to be started. After frantic calls to Max in Manila for advice, the outcome was to leave the car and head for the hotel. By luck, the house next to the restaurant was owned by the Deputy Mayor, and she offered to keep the car overnight in her drive way under guard!

It was now after 10 pm and the hotel was worried we were not going to show up. So with Mike riding 'shotgun' with Jun V the group set off for the final 10km drive. It was not long later that, on the darkest stretch of road , Jun T felt his cars handling becoming 'unexpectedly' strange. Investigation showed his rear left tyre had shredded but with no spare of his own to call upon Tony offered his 964 emergency spare and, within 30 min, the group arrived battered and weary at the hotel and ready for a beer at nearly 11 pm.
 
Day 3 - 17 Nov: Currimao – Poro Point, 225 km
 
After a hectic day previously, a leisure breakfast was taken before heading off to get the cars fit for the next part of the journey.
During the night, Jun T's driver had driven from Manila with 2 spare rims and tyres for the 993. Upon examination of the first emergency wheel to be used, it turned out to be a good decision, as the tyre was about to disintegrate! Not only had the wheels been changed, but the cars all had been washed by the hotel staff. It was at this time Jun V discovered his front plate missing - probably ripped off in the previous days flood.
Upon returning to Paoay, Mike's car was also cleaned, and after drying out, started as well. Tony's a/c had failed so the group set off to find fixes for both Mike's exhaust and Tony's a/c.
The problem on Mike's 930 turned out to be a missing blanking plug in no. 3 cylinder head. With Max again in Manila contacted,  it was decided to plug the hole as a stop gap to get back home. Luckily, the local Petron station had a lift and an attached workshop where a brass plug was manufactured and fitted. However Tony wasn't so lucky as not only was he unable to get his a/c fixed, but his wet electric system had decided that he also needed full heat at floor level on his car!

With the morning now gone, the group returned to the Herencia at Paoay for a long lunch before hitting the road to Poro Point and the Thunderbird, that being the revised stopover as now Bagio had been dropped from the itinerary.
At the first refuelling stop on the way, Mike's immobiliser failed yet again, this time terminally, meaning that the car had to be ignominiously push started. No further 'unexpected' incidents occurred during the run South through Ilocos Sur to San Fernando where arrival at the hotel at 6 pm was the earliest so far on the trip.
The day finished with dinner alfresco overlooking the Luzon Sea.
 
Day 4 - 18 Nov: Poro Point – Manila, 325 km
 
After a good breakfast, the group departed for Manila, but on the way Tony needed to inspect his 964's under tray due to some unusual noise. As the shop did not open until after 9 am, Jun V, Jun T and Mike decided to press on to Manila as they were coded and needed to be back before 3 pm. The journey was slow due to the many road works, and the need to ask for help push starting Mike's car after it stalled!
 
This turned out to be an exciting but challenging trip. Noy came to the fore as the group technical guru and 'Mr Fixit', and throughout all of the problems encountered, the group supported and helped each other. It was a pleasure to have the company of Jun Tan and the '4567' boys hope that he will be able to come along on future runs.
 
Distance covered 1,635 km
 
Participants:
 
Noy Yao          Early 911
Tony Alunan    964 C2
Jun Veloso       997
Jun Tan           993 Turbo
Mike Bradley    930 Turbo