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The Peoples Park: Palace In The Sky! « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


The Peoples Park: Palace In The Sky!

Hey readers – now that im rolling into X-Terra Philippines on the first weekend of March, I thought I’d share my most favorite ride to do on a Mountain bike 8)

I was in fact a ‘mountain biker’ for about decade before I even sat on a skinny wheeled road bike! To me, mountain biking always represented freedom, skills and reaction! Most triathlete now-a-days can get very up-tight when the road is not smooth, flat and clean! Shifting gears is such an ‘inconvenience’ we now have electronic shifting, hydration systems that are hands free and of course and of course my favorite ‘sit-on-your-bike-experts’ because, ridding a bike should not be un-comfortable…Right?

Anyway, I went about 4 years without mountain biking until I moved to the Province Of Laguna where I was advised to buy an MTB and what do you know, my best triathlon season happened right after that! Of course, I ride my Cervelo on the trainer LIKE A BOSS & mix it with some off road ridding – it has made my handling skill’s sharper, gave me a better sense of pacing over modulating terrain and of course, spike the intensity of my training to a level I rarely hit on the road!

Still one of my greatest adventures - mountain biking around the Rift Valley in Kenya for almost 6 months in 2007!

Anyway, one of my favorite rides is going up to the Peoples Park: Palace in The Sky which is a ~10k partially congreted uphill road going up to the highest point on the Tagaytay ridge ~2100 feet above sea level – it encompasses all the basics for a great ride, its challenging, scenic and quiet!

Its actually a piece of Philippines History, just above the Canlubang Golf Course (the entrance) there is the old ‘weekend & guest house’ of disgraced former President: Ferdinand Marcos. In fact, this enormous mansion clearly wasn’t big enuff for all of his wife’s (Imelda Marcos) 2700 pairs of shoes and extravagant lifestyle; which earned her the nickname ‘shoe lady’.

They decided to build a house even higher up, on the highest point around, so they needed to build a road and then clear some land @ the very top!

Well, ole Marcos, who was in fact placed 2nd in the top 10 most corrupted leaders in a 2004 survey made by Transparency International. Unfortunately, The Philippines is the ONLY country to have 2 people in the top 10 and if this survey is re-done this year, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will probably sneak into the top 10 as well…

Now, during the 1986 peoples power revolution – Marcos was overthrown  and left The Philippines until his death…His new house, that was only a fraction built, well remains like that until today…You pay 50 pesos entry (~1.25 USD) to see a spectacular view with a rusted skeleton of a building with a bunch of antenna’s and 20 pesos hot dog’s for sale…

The Tagalog word for this is sayang which means what-a-waste…if not for the usual political B.S. this could be host to a prime hotel or restaurant that caters to tourists, foreign and domestic a like!

In my opinion, it represents a standing symbol that the Philippines Government has yet to make much progress in its transparency and integrity where private company’s spear-head the growth and development of this beautiful country with such hospitable people!

Anyway, here are some pics accompanied by comments – enjoy =)

A nice shot on a clear day!

Look left - the top of that mountain is where I'm heading!

Getting closer - the top is there in the middle of the picture!

Now the real climbing starts!

Canan dito - not everybody is allowed up this road...Often you gotta 'name drop' a member of the golf Club to enter the premise!

This is the old Marcos house overlooking the golf course - it still gets maintained regularly and has a STEEP climb to access it!

This is a painting on the side of the house - Marcos and his wife - clearly they had good intentions but couldn't walk their talk...

In the 1960′s The Philippines economy was apparently the 2nd best in Asia behind Japan…once Marcos took power in 1966, the foreign dept was bellow 1 billion dollars – when he fled Malacañang Palace in early 1986 (around the time I was born) the dept stood at a whopping 28 billion dollars, making The Philippines one of the most indebted countries in Asia!!!

Now, the Philippines tax payers look to pay off the Marcos dept until 2025 (if all goes well of course), 39 years after he was kicked out…

As I mentioned, its part road and part off road and been like this a while too!

My newly married buddy Colin setting the pace as we roll into another climb!

Matteo giving-er like a boss with metro Manila in the background!

Palm trees and Pine-apple plantations are a very common site on this road!

An abandoned 'house' with a priceless view!

The view is worth the effort!

Pwede umihi dito ;)

The final pitch gets very steep - I figure above 15% for at least a kilometer and thats after almost 30 minutes of climbing!

Me, the road and nature - LOVE IT!

Who's a little hill monster?

An edited version of the final bit of the main road - its actually nice and smooth asphalt!

An un-edited version...

We are NOT allowed to ride our bikes to the top of the hill…But, for some reason’s they allow loud, polluting and rude Jeepney’s to go up! I have offered up to 500 pesos (1000% of the entry fee) with no love…And I thought this place symbolized corruption?

An aerial view.

Has not been upgraded since I was born...

A view from the inside...

I drove my mother up when she came to visit - she enjoy the view!

A nice view of Taal Lake/Volcano!

My mommy with a big pine-apple! The Tagaytay area has some of the tastiest I have ever eaten!

A great view of Tagaytay Highlands!

Father leading - son following on the exilerating ride back down!

Maraming Salamat!

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