“Life is a great adventure or nothing,” goes the Instagram profile of jabeenturero, which probably explains why his group embarked on an adventure — one of the greatest adventure undertaken by mankind, we dare say — riding a habal-habal, a remarkable motorcycle ride that requires balance and coordination between the driver, the passengers, and whatever baggage they choose to strap on that hapless motorcycle. It looks like a suicide mission for outsiders, but it’s a normal mode of transportation for locals in some parts of Visayas and in many places in Mindanao. Habal-habal is from the root word “habal,” which means to mount. The habal-habal motorcycle is also called “skylab” in some places, reportedly based on that 70’s space station or a contraction of the phrase “sakay na, lab” (“ride on, love”). The habal-habal or skylab looks more like a plane than a motorcycle (giving full justice to the expression, “I’m not driving fast, I’m flying low”), with planks protruding from both sides and at the back of the motorcycle. It can carry more than TEN people (yes, you got that right, more than 10 people) AND their baggage. Fancy riding on the “wing” of the skylab? You guys should try it at least once. Photo courtesy of jabeenturero (check his Instagram account, @jabeenturero, for more photos). Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Fly High on the Wing of Skylab (Habal-Habal) Motorcycle: Photo of the Day
Pop quiz: What’s the tallest bridge in the Philippines? Nope, not the San Juanico Bridge. Just because the San Juanico bridge is featured here, doesn’t mean it’s the tallest bridge. That distinction belongs to another bridge in Southern Leyte, the Agas-Agas bridge. San Juanico bridge, on the other hand, holds the distinction of being the longest bridge in the Philippines, 2.16 kilometers in length, traversing the San Juanico Strait and connecting the big islands of Samar and Leyte. It’s part of the Pan-Philippine Highway (also known as the Maharlika Highway), the one you use to travel by RoRo (Roll-On, Roll-Off ships) from any point of Luzon to Mindanao, via Visayas. That’s a route that cuts across the entire Philippines. Photo courtesy of Jhe Rizada (check his Instragram acount, @jheography, for more photos). Click the photo to enlarge.
The Philippines is among the Top 5 countries with the longest coastline, not because it has a massive land area, but because the country is archipelagic, and we learned in school (yes, we were conscientious students) that an “archipelago” simply means an island group or island chain. With thousands of islands scattered in the typhoon-churning Pacific Ocean, it’s no surprise that ships are the primary mode of inter-island transport. Ferdinand Magellan, who found the Philippines for Spain hundreds of years ago, arrived in a galleon, a huge wooden sailing ship. Tourists move around by flying in through one of the three main islands — Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao, — then exploring the adjoining islands by boat, which comes in all sizes and materials. The one in this photo, courtesy of Noriel (check his Instagram account, @nrlbljrd for other cool photos), seems to have seen better days, probably during the reign of Jack Sparrow, but we take the maritime authority’s word that it’s seaworthy. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve been in those ships, and we’re still around, so not much to worry about, ok? Enjoy the islands! Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Ship Ahoy: Photo of the Day