The Manila-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon Highway, or simply Marilaque, has been considered the Mecca of riders for years now. Rider pilgrimages of all motorcycle sizes and brands are made to Marilaque’s sacred twisties every weekend. It is only 30 minutes away from the Edsa-Ortigas intersection that stretches from Marikina all the way to Quezon province through the enchanted mountains of Sierra Madre.
The immaculate twisties surrounded by untouched nature makes it the perfect rider’s destination. There is even a micro economy fueled by the riders that visit Marilaque every weekend. In fact, most sari-sari stores there have gasoline for sale, available in all grades. Bulalo stalls are always filled with riders sipping soup, with loud laughters and jeers, while others are busy taking selfies while inhaling the aroma of natures’ freshness. Truly, a bikers paradise.
But lately, Marilaque has been plagued with accidents involving the riders themselves and sometimes these result in fatalities. What is happening to our rider’s paradise?
The accidents in Marilaque happen when selfishness and ego combine. This happens when riders push themselves way beyond their individual riding skills and limits.
There are also a lot of riders in full racing leather suit but have incorrectly modified bikes, with some of them not knowing what they are doing, lightening their bikes too much, looking more like a quarter-mile drag motorcyle, thus compromising traction and handling for speed. This type of set-up is wrong for Marilaque since it is 99 percent turns and 1 percent straights.
Ego-fueled racing in these sacred twisties is the No. 1 cause of fatal accidents because these riders will use a blind corner as passing points. Grudge races often started on Facebook sometimes result in violence. Unskilled and uneducated riders often overshoot turns and go head-on with oncoming vehicles, resulting in avoidable accidents.
It is also a fact that almost all accidents involve small bikes or underbones with reckless and irresponsible riders who use Marilaque as their own racetrack. Very seldom would you see accidents involving motorcycles with engines having 400 cc and above.
Respect the motorcycle
So all riders should respect the motorcycle, which is a powerful machine no matter what size it is, and learn and develop proper riding skills. There’s a big difference between being able to “operate” than being able to “ride” a motorcycle.
It is not too late to preserve the safety of our riding Mecca. Riders and drivers should observe road courtesy. The Marilaque highway is for everyone, so we should learn to respect and share the road.
More important, Marilaque is not a race track, it is a destination.
So to the all wannabe pseudo racers, there are the Clark International Raceway and the Batangas Racing Circuit to test your skills.
And let us remember the following:
1. We are not Valentino Rossi or Marc Marquez;
2. We ride to enjoy not, to win;
3. We ride on the streets, not on a race track;
4. We ride at our own pace and not theirs;
5. We dress for the fall, not for the ride;
6. We ride safe, but we ride smart first.
After all at the end of the day, we are all Filipinos searching for that perfect ride, in Marilaque.