We were a large group of bikers. We were of different ages, and experiences, too, when it comes to biking. When we started our journey, not far from where we came from, our group decided to have a stop over to the nearest 7/11 store. Some decided to purchase foods, and drinks for nourishment. It’s already half past eight, and we’re still in Lucena eating Siopao Asado, and drinking C2. At least, we were making progress.
When we actually made some progress in our mileage, people were already crowding the highway we were biking on. Aside from the darkness of the streets that night, we had a hard time navigating against the sea of people walking along side us. The lights in our bikes were not enough for us to navigate with ease. People were just appearing out of nowhere, and we don’t want any kind of accident considering our biking was for a cause.
We made it to Tayabas with no problems encountered. We’re still complete. It’s a good thing there’s a water refilling station free for everyone to drink, and refill at courtesy of the Local Government of Tayabas situated in the Public Market just right next to the highway. We regrouped there, refilled, and decided to meet next after the steep climb in Nawawalang Paraiso.
We took our time climbing the steep slope because it’s very dark. There’s actually no street lights present in the vicinity. The slope itself is dark, and the only light you’ll see is at the very top after you finish your climb. It’s also not an easy climb because people kept crossing the highway so caution was pretty much observed by everyone.
After the climb, we took some time waiting for our fellow bikers at the top of the slope. Some bought foods, and drinks from food stalls at the side of the highway while some just took some rest. Since some are still waiting for the others, Greggy and I decided to go ahead, and just meet them up again at Kamay Ni Hesus Healing Church.
Biking from Brgy. Camaysa in Tayabas to Kamay Ni Hesus Healing Church in Lucban, proved to be a challenge, too. Aside from non – existent street lights, and crowds on both sides of the highway, narrow road network, and road widening projects were added to our problems. It took us longer than usual climbing the eight steep slopes starting from the Lucban Arch in Bgy. Manasa. We arrived at our meet – up point in front of Kamay Ni Hesus Healing Church at around eleven in the evening. It took us around three hours biking from Lucena to Lucban. Not bad considering all things considered. Since Kamay Ni Hesus was still packed with devotees who did Alay Lakad, our group decided to proceed to the Town Proper of Lucban to find something to eat.
At half past eleven, we were already at Rizal Park in the middle of the Town Proper having our pictures taken as a souvenir for our night ride of sacrifice. Food shops are closed because it’s already late in the evening but we found some on the road leading to Sampaloc, Quezon. Some of us decided to eat Silog while some ate Lugaw or Mami. After the needed sustenance, we rested for a bit, had some chitchat, and went back to Kamay Ni Hesus.
Some people were already sleeping in the grassy fields with their banigs acting as their shield against the cold earth, and kumots against the cold winds of Lucban. When we went inside the vicinity of Kamay Ni Hesus, we found out that there were others just like us who biked their way to Lucban. Some bikers are from the provinces of Laguna, and Rizal. Some are even from Metro Manila. There, after we found some suitable parking spots for our bikes, we laid down on the grass and rested our aching bodies to prepare us for our early morning ride to go back to Lucena.
At around two in the morning, we decided to go back to Lucena. As we were riding back, there still were people walking opposite our direction trying to climb to the slopes of Lucban. I was actually surprised with the dedication of these people as some of these walkers were already in their old age. We arrived at 7/11 in Tayabas at around half past two. We decided to stay there for a little bit to wait for the members who’re biking with us back to Lucena as some decided to stay in Lucban. As we’re waiting, we drank taho. The warm silky soy mixed with arnibal, and tapioca pearls really warms the rumbling stomach. It’s great that we found some taho peddlers early that morning. When we’re complete, some decided to stay and have another rest in the plaza of Tayabas while some decided to proceed with their journey of going back to Lucena. I decided to stay behind in Tayabas because I really want to have some needed rest. It’s a good thing there were a lot of benches in that plaza. All of those who decided to stay had a place to sleep in.
By four in the morning, after the much needed rest, we went home. As we were biking the Tayabas to Lucena road, still, there were some people who were walking towards the direction of Lucban. I guess they did not want to get overwhelmed walking with the crowd that night so they decided to go early in the morning instead. As for me, I got home at around five in the morning safe and sound.
This year’s Alay Padyak really is something to be proud of. It’s my first time sacrificing myself for my faith using the strength of my legs to power my bike so that I could cover twenty eight kilometers of roads, and I hope it’s not the last. All the hardships I encountered that night was a test of how faithful I am to God, and I really do hope that I passed it. And finally, I really hope this Alay Padyak becomes a tradition for our bike group where members could unite for one night for our faith.