Page 18

Zoom Zoom Magazine Issue 29

ourselves the luxury of taking some essential detours. Soon we’re heading away from the heat and dust of the Pan-Philippine Highway just beyond the small city of Santiago and onto the perilous Dalton Pass, which zig zags its way 5,000 feet upwards to the mountain dwelling of Banaue. We’re thankful to have Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control System onboard, helping us to effortlessly carve our way through the tight and relentless mountain switchbacks. Commonly referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, Banaue’s Rice Terraces were carved into the sides of the mountains, mostly by hand, more than 2,000 years ago by the indigenous Ifugao people and are still fed by an ancient irrigation system that trickles down from the lush rainforests above. It’s a majestic spectacle, with an eerie mist hovering over the distant Mountain Province. It is also the only point in our journey where we encounter mass tourism, characterised this cool evening by a throng of chattering Malaysians and their selfie sticks. Negotiating our way back down the mountain the next morning, we rejoin the Pan-Philippine road just short of Cordon City and continue north, scything through the Isabela province, past paddy fields and the second Cannonball checkpoint location in Ilagan, the provincial capital. Night falls as we journey through the Ilocos Norte province to the coastal region of Pagudpud, our final destination of the day. Sundry vehicles speed towards us, emerging lightlessly out of the darkness. I’m starting to adjust to Filipino roadcraft, even managing a smile when one tricycle buzzes out of the gloam, its driver holding up an illuminated mobile phone in lieu of a functioning headlight. Arriving in Pagudpud at midnight, we’re totally unprepared for what awaits us under cerulean skies the following morning. Namely, endless stretches of deserted beach, the turquoise waters of the South China 18 \ZOOM-ZOOM “ We arrive late in Pagudpud, unprepared for what awaits us under cerulean skies the following morning” Above: beautiful Saud Beach in Pagudpud boasts fine white sands and coconut trees, while the region’s roads (right) are framed by rich jungle flora. Top right: the Cannonball route


Zoom Zoom Magazine Issue 29
To see the actual publication please follow the link above