The cloud-covered mountain tops of Sagada are a dream destination for many riders. Last November, it was the destination for the Suzuki Wheeltek V-Strom Sagada Ride.
Some 32 V-Strom riders and several guests took on the challenge, as part of Suzuki Philippines’ efforts to unite the various V-Strom clubs around Luzon and to highlight the V-Strom as one of the brand’s top-sellers and the perfect touring ride.
Suzuki Philippines had invited us to join. And while there weren’t any V-Strom’s to spare, Wheeltek Motorsales had generously provided a GSX-S1000F with which to easily keep pace and enjoy the twisty roads with.
For this ride, the group would navigate the scenic highways of the Mountain Province, via the route of Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province-Halsema-Marcos Highway adding up to 416kms total.
The ride gathered Suzuki V-Strom riders from all over Luzon early in morning of November 17 with those from the South and National Capital Region (NCR) meeting up at a gas station along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Just before daybreak, the group gathered for a introductions, a safety briefing and prayers before riding out.
As dawn broke, the group was already entering Nueva Vizcaya, stopping at Cabanatuan to meet with the other North Luzon riders.
Waiting at the meetup was a quick breakfast and gas up. From here, the group proceeded to Ifugao for lunch in Lagawe and a quick photo op at the Banaue Rice Terraces.
By late afternoon, the team had arrived in Sagada, with a quick joyride through town to enjoy the majestic panorama of the Mountain Province.
By the evening, the group gathered again at the Sagada Blue Maintain Cabins to celebrate the success of the ride. A sumptuous al fresco banquet and refreshments were prepared with an acoustic band playing in the background. Team Suzuki-Wheeltek was full force during this ride. Personally acknowledging the riders were Wheeltek Motor Sales Corporation executives led by President Reynaldo Odulio Sr. and Executive Vice President Teresita Odulio. Joing the ride were VP for Finance Raymond Odulio, VP for Operations Reynaldo Odulio Jr. and VP for Sales and Marketing Roscoe Odulio as well as Big Bikes General Manager Bobby Orbe and Suzuki, Regional Sales Manager Erick Fernandez.
Wheeltek’s founder, Reynaldo Odulio, took the opportunity to share a few words. He shared that Suzuki will always hold a special place in their heart as the business of Wheeltek started with 3 B120 Suzuki motorcycles.
The merry making continued with many of the riders getting acquainted and vowing to organize more V-Strom rides in the future.
The following morning, the team gathered again for their ride to Manila via Baguio which they would reach via the renowned Halsema Highway. Naturally, a quick stop for a photo op at the Philippine Highway's Highest Point in Atok, Benguet was needed.
It was only a short drive from there to Baguio for lunch at Forest House. This was the culmination feast for everyone before going their respective ways home afterwards.
Suzuki’s V-Strom ride may have been long and challenging, yet despite the hours behind the handlebars, spirits were always high and the riders were always alert. Not a single accident occurred during the entire ride, with just a few dropped bikes and minor scratches being the only incidents.
I have to thank Suzuki’s support team for tending to my flat tire in Sagada. When following the smooth riding V-Strom’s all day, it’s difficult to tell how deep a pothole is until you go over it yourself, in a bike that doesn’t have the superior suspension travel and hardy wheels for it.
Despite the power of a 1-liter four-cylinder between my legs, I couldn’t help but look on with envy at the V-Stroms I was following. Designed to conquer the steep mountains whether solo or with a pillion, the Suzuki V-Strom returns comfort and flexible power over bumpy roads and steep inclines.
Traversing the twisties and steep roads along the Caraballo Mountain Range (Cagayan Valley) and the Cordilleras (Ifugao-Mountain Province), the V-Strom did not disappoint, keeping pace just as easily as the GSX-S1000F.
The Suzuki V-Strom is available at all Suzuki Big Bikes Center Nationwide with an SRP of Php 539,000 (V-Strom 650XT) and Php 759,000 (V-Strom 1000XT).