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Road Trip to San Mateo Isabela

By that I am referring to San Mateo Isabela, Region 2, Philippines, Asia.


I could say that this is the longest road trip I’ve been to so far.  Before this it was Baguio.  When we passed by Nueva Ecija it dawned on me that it is farther than Nueva Vizcaya!  Hey! laugh at me if you wish!  I’m not a Google map lover! I’d rather read blogs than tire my eyes looking at maps.  And for me any place in the Philippines that has “Nueva” is one among the farthest (now lol at myself).

Well according to genius search sites, the actual distance of  San Mateo Isabela from Manila is 263 kilometers.  You can check more details about road trip to this province through search sites but I can share to you right now what I actually experienced.  Tag along with me as I share our exciting (and a bit scary) road trip.
  • The photos are taken on the way back to Manila.  I was not able to take photos on the way to Isabela because it was a night trip.  We left Manila by 3:00PM and we reached our destination at 2:00AM. 
  • All photos were taken while I’m aboard a speeding vehicle.  We don’t have time to wander around.  Our stop over are mostly for “nature call” and quick eats on past food and gasoline stations.
  • We were warned that it would be an eight hour drive but ours actually took eleven hours on the way to Isabela.  Maybe because we took the Bulacan route as we were instructed to do that.  The trip back is shorter by two hours because we took the Subic-Clark-Tarlac-Expressway (SCTEX).
  • the unwanted convoy
    the unwanted convoy
  • Most vehicles along the road are heavy trucks, huge vans, bus, tankers and the likes.  Since Isabela is an agricultural land, overloaded trucks carrying harvests and fertilizers are common along the highway.
no kiss
the road monsters
  • Traversing through this rough road with sharp curves along with these caterpillar-like vehicles is the real thriller.  One wrong turn and you’re off down the cliff and ravines.
  • A huge portion of the Maharlika Road is under construction. There was a point that one side of the traffic would wait alternately for the other side to pass by.  We were unfortunate to be on the waiting side both back and forth ways. The night trip was bit scary during the waiting time.  Imagine that we were inside our non-moving vehicle with all darkness around us except for the headlights of huge vehicles passing by the other side and a few construction people managing the traffic.  We are all unfamiliar with the place.
  • During the night travel also, we passed by a dead man on top of his motorcycle. We’re not sure if it was a vehicular accident or a murder incident.  The scene is very recent because the blood is still oozing from the man’s head as we passed by.  There were few people around but no one’s touching the body, they are probably waiting for the police.  I dared not take photos of the scene.
the extra challenge road
  • The only consolation about this long trip are the breath taking views of nature.  Mountains ranges, streams and fields are soothing both for the eyes and soul.
  • There were times that I wondered why my mobile phone is detecting wi-fi access while passing by between mountains.  Later I realized the wi-fi signal are coming from commercial buses servicing the area. LOL.
  • the breathtaking views
    the breathtaking views
  • There are quite a lot of beautifully built houses along the highway.  Far more beautiful than these two in the photo but I failed to catch them in my camera because we're travelling in maximum speed.
  • Most houses, even the ordinary-built ones  have satellite dish installed on their roofs, marked with Cignal TV.  I guess that is how they receive TV broadcast.
  • There are quite a number of Iglesia Ni Cristo and United Methodist churches built in every few hundred yards. I surmised these two are the dominant religion in these areas.
magnificent houses

And for the reason why we had this trip? Now this is the sad part.  The mother of one of my best friend died.  We went there to pay our last respect. 

my ever dearest BFF

And that is a far more sadder thing than me not finding a scarecrow.


  1. I thought this was a vacation trip.. sad! Extend my condolences to your bestfriend!

    Katakot nga yun mga dinaanan nyo.. Parang overloaded na yun mga truck, delikado kaya yun.. Dati may nadaanan yun sinasakyan kong jeep na patay sa hiway na puro dugu, at wala din gumagalaw sa kanya, nanginig talaga ko, parang nanghina yun tuhod ko sa takot :(

    Ang layo na ng Nueva Ecija para saken, kamusta naman pag sa Isabela pa ko nagpunta, mananakit na balakang ko lalo..At tamad din ako tumingin ng mapa, hehe

  2. THANK YOU Joanne I will surely send your condolences.

    Naku sa haba ng byahe hindi ako makatulog dahil sa mga truck. Pakiramdam ko lagi tatabigin nila kami at mahuhulog kami sa bangin lol. Eh lalo na yung gabi susmaryosep!

    This friend of mine dati sa boarding house pa kami magkasama twing uuwi sya dyan & yung relatives nya laging may bitbit na unan. Ngayon alam ko na kung bakit, Ang layo ha ha ha.

    THANKS again about the Liebster post. I'm really touched with your message :)

  3. My deepest condolence to the family of your bestfriend! Balak din naming mag road trip sa summer. Di pa sure kung saan.

    1. Thank you Anney.
      Kung sa summer I suggest siguro somewhere na malamig. Baguio or Tagaytay, but you might have been there... Vigan/Ilocos area is a good destination too kaya lang mainit.

  4. Condolence din sa family ng best friend mo. Naka experience din ko ng ganyan ride back and forth sa Bicol. I wad so afraid., at I promised na d na ko uulit .

    1. Thank you Joy.
      Oo nga Joy, sobrang pagod na medyo nakakatakot pa :(

  5. Condolence sa bestfriend mo. No wonder aabutin kayo ng eleven hours papunta dun e daming trucks and the likes na sinusundan nyo e kupad-pagong yun lalo sa dami nila at overloaded pa.. hays. Thumbs up kung si driver nyo e wala kayong narinig na hays at heys, grrr at uggghhh! LOL.

    1. Thank you Grace.
      Good thing our super bait na kumpare ang nag drive na mukang enjoy na enjoy sa road challenge (lol).

  6. condolence to the family of ur bestfriend

    1. Thank you Archieviner
      Thanks also for the GFC follow, I followed you back :) See yah around!

  7. that a tough road to drive in
    and whatta loads they have back there
    my condolences to your friends balut

    1. yes MEcoy super tough!
      ewan ko ba gust na yata nila isakay lahat lol
      thanks for the thoughts MEcoy

  8. sad about your best friend mother..I drive 150 km every second or third year to Northern Norway, where I was born and move to the south after the school.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts Roffe
      So you're no longer driving back there now?
      When I was in college, I used to travel (135 kms) by land 2 to 3 times a month from the city to my provincial home

  9. I thought it was all road tripping, I love road trips.

    Condolences to your friend's family!

    1. Yea "Marco Lakwatsero", oad trippin is fun except sometimes we need to do the trip on a not so happy reason.

      Thanks for the thoughts.

  10. Sincerest condolences. How sweet of you guys to do the long drive to pay your respects.

    1. Hey thanks for the thoughts
      and THANKS for "travelling" by my blog ;)

  11. pray the Chaplet of Mercy, Condolences to your friend madam...

    dito rin sa amin sa northern mindanao maraming mga under construction roads, at maraming mga heavy 10wheeler trucks carrying palkata log trees lalo na pag gabi at madaling araw... thanks for this entry...

    1. THANK YOU Mak
      oh my... mas nakakatakot pag mga log trees ang mga dala - mas delikado :(

  12. Scary ang eksena with the dead man on his motorcycle!And the truck overloaded with sacks too.

    Condolences to your friend.

  13. Naku Zai ka-horror talaga!
    thanks for the thoughts and for passing by my blog :)


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