It has been said that straight roads do not make skilled drivers.
From a figurative standpoint, the maxim encourages readers to look beyond its literal connotation and delve deeper into its true context. In this regard, one can say that straight roads are usual and commonplace that would seldom produce adventurers. With that sentiment in mind, we can assume that the experience of taking and driving the roads less travelled would not only indulge the inner intrepid traveller in us but would refine us into seasoned adventurers as well. After all, from the wise words of American poet Robert Frost, taking the road less travelled makes all the difference.
Fortunately, it does not take a literary genius to figure out the benefits of taking the road less travelled. By now, most of us are aware of the kinds of roads we take on a daily basis. These roads are jam-packed with cars, peppered with traffic lights and other random hazards. Being constrained to drive through these common thoroughfares on a daily basis can feel limiting and restrictive. It would not be long before some of us would wish to escape to an open trail just to see your car’s potential and how far you can truly go.
Keep in mind that going off the beaten track is more than just a weekend activity. To some, this activity entails an experience unlike any other and truly pushes you to your limits. And if you do it right, you might be surprised to find that off-road driving can be an adventure for your body, mind, and soul.
THE BENEFITS OF OFF ROAD ADVENTURING AND EXCURSIONS
THE DRIVE TO ENDURE
Driving on off-road terrains is an entirely different experience from city driving. In this regard, it would also mean that off-road driving requires a completely different skill set that you will not develop and discover on city roads. While movement on demanding terrain is calculated, deliberate and much slower than on city roads, each turn and measure should have a goal. With this in mind, off-road drivers need to be adaptable and should be able to think quickly.
A BRAND NEW OUTLOOK
For most of us, our cars are nothing but mere means for transporting people to and from point area—a vehicle that serves only one use: conveyance. In essence, car usage is limited to stepping into the vehicle, getting people to their necessary destinations and then going back home. Repeat daily. If this is what your everyday routine looks like, it is inevitable for you to feel the side effects of an emotional rut. Even worse, traffic is an everyday occurrence than you have become so accustomed to it. In this regard, escaping into the open road once in a while can alleviate your anxiety and improve your overall well-being. In fact, it has been proven that modifications of environment and pace are successful tools for stress control. With all these considered, you might want to step on the pedal and venture open and off-beaten roads to eliminate stress and lift your spirits the next time traffic gets you bogged down.
THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK
Going off-road is not an experience for solo wanderers and adventurers. It is meant to be enjoyed as a group and it is highly recommended that you have at least another vehicle with you on each trip for security reasons. Your success outdoors and in off-road driving is measured by the development of your camaraderie and teamwork. Off-road driving is mostly about making the trip together as a group and unlike any other auto-related hobbies; your objective is not to outperform each other but to help each other out through the path. These developed skills can be helpful in increasing productivity and a greater quality of output in almost any job as if there is anything off-road driving will teach you, it is teamwork, perseverance, and patience.
A CHANCE TO HELP OTHERS
The Philippines is undoubtedly a disaster-prone country. Whether that may be typhoons, floods or earthquakes, the truth is, Filipinos live in a portion of the earth that is most susceptible to disaster and when the earth strikes back and individuals become stranded in remote areas, who do you turn to for help? This is where off-road driving comes in as the skills and techniques you learn and develop from the hobby are for more than just your weekend retreat. In fact, your off-road vehicle and you yourself can reach some of the hard-to-reach disaster-struck regions covered in rough terrain. With all these considered community outreach activities through off-road driving after disastrous calamities can be a way to turn your life skills into potentially life-saving ones.
PAMPANGA OFF-ROAD ADVENTURES
LAHAR LANDSCAPES—SAPANG BATO, ANGELES CITY (PAMPANGA)
Your off-road drive to Sapang Bato from Angeles City starts by making a commute from the city to the jump-off point. By the time you reach the jump-off point, you will then be taking off-road capable vehicles to your destination. Be sure to have yourselves equipped with cameras as you will soon see a myriad of picturesque and scenic views—especially when you start passing through lahar (volcanic mudflow) filled valleys. The beautiful landscapes and scenic views truly make for an arresting sight and will certainly come as a delightful surprise. On your way to the destination, you will pass by many indigenous people as well as a rocky river terrain. At some point, you will be led through a narrow crevice in the mountain while following the rocky river. After making your way through the narrow gorges, you will begin to see traces of extensive volcanic mudflows which would mean you will already have reached the foothills of Mount Pinatubo and near to the crater lake (which you can save for another 4X4 expedition).
PUNING HOT SPRINGS, ANGELES CITY (PAMPANGA)
The off-road drive to Puning Hot Springs pretty much starts much like how the off-road excursion to the lahar landscapes commences. You pass through various rocks and mountains and would be running over puddles of water with gorgeous views all over. In fact, you would be awestruck at how a place like this was formed only after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. In one way or another, it is symbolic of beauty after a tragedy and reminiscent of Nagsasa Cove and Anwangin Cove in Zambales which are also products of the same tragedy. All of the sceneries are camera-worthy insomuch that maintaining balance while taking photos can a tad bit difficult. As you make your way to the hot spring, you will notice a lot of Aetas in the area—you may even meet them in the resort as most of them work as employees (and helps with providing an alternative source of livelihood to their community). The off-road adventure in Puning Hot Springs lasts about 30 minutes but because you will be enraptured and amazed by the different sights, it might feel shorter.
MOTOTESTO X OFF GRID EVENTS
For overlanding enthusiasts and individuals who wish to try their hand out at overlanding, Mototesto in partnership with Offgrid Events (Mototesto X Offgrid Events) holds annual overland expos in the remote areas of Zambales. If you wish to participate, be on the lookout for updates on their respective social media pages.
While the off-road life is full of adventure of fun, keep in mind that it also teaches you valuable lessons and life skills that will prove to be useful not only to you but your community as well. These are the lessons you can take with you long after your excursion and stride are finished. So, if you feel like going on an alternative weekend activity, you might want to consider a weekend escape that is far from the usual and take the road less traveled. You might not know it, but it might just be the road that will make all the difference.