Words by Justin Parco, Activities & Events Officer Photos by John Parco
It was then a rainy Saturday morning, when the Pajero Club of the Philippines set off for an offroad trip to Tanay Rizal, the country’s offroading capital. Despite the short notice, Gab and Miguel agreed during our Weekly Hang Out night to push through with the Trail schedule while Alvin confirmed to me through text that he will be joining as well. This is by far the highest number of attendees from Pajero Club Philippines. We also invited friends from JdExtreme namely Eric Aguirre and Cjay Adao.
As part of our routine, we met up at Shell Marcos Highway at around 6:30 a.m., Miguel Lim, the early bird showed up with his Pajero Gen 1 equipped with a 3.0 v6 Gasoline engine, Alvin Chua, came after a few minutes with his Red Rally Gen 2 Pajero and Gab with his Euro Pajero Field Master, while Eric and Cjay arrived with a Toyota Land Cruiser 80series and an original 3.0 v6 Toyota 4Runner.
Shortly after the attendance was checked and breakfast was done, we immediately left shell at around 7:30 a.m. We passed through Antipolo and through the long winding roads of Sierra Madre where you can see the gigantic mountains of Sierra Madre towering over the clouds. After approximately 40 mins of highway driving, we then arrived at the entrance of the trail. It was a small barangay that probably housed more or less 100 people.
Then we began our descent into the trail. The first obstacle we had to overcome was the slippery downhill dirt roads, which slowly turned into mud and some loose sand. Finally we reached our first river crossing, traversing it slowly but surely. This is the first of 6-7 river crossings. The following river crossings were a lot more challenging and deeper. Some rivers had loose sand on the base making it a lot harder. Soon enough, the Toyota 4Runner got caught up in one of the river crossings when the loose gravel quickly ate up his rear wheels. To add up to this, his front wheels seem to disengage at times. After several tries and after the driver dug up the hole and filled it with stones, he finally got through. We then pushed further into the trail where the pathway became tighter and small to medium rocks started to appear on the way. We slowly made our way to the Sta. Ines Border. We then discussed briefly since we have to have a unanimous decision when we push further as we know that the terrain in Sta. Ines is a lot harder than where we have been through. After arriving to the conclusion that we will give it a shot, I then lead and started to drive into the rigid terrain, soon enough we came face to face with the rock garden, where we agreed that myself along with the 4runner will try to enter that portion first since that part is also around 400 meters with rocks as big as my tires, considering I am already running 35” mud tires. As I slowly traverse into the rock garden, I was very much concerned with the suspension and underchassis parts of the Pajero as I know that IFS does not mix well with rock crawling, but I still went further into the trail while I engaged 4-wheel drive low. I thought to myself that as long as I avoid hitting my torsion bars then it would be okay. At the end of therock garden was a very tranquil river with blue waters. I stayed there for a while until I realized that the 4runner was already taking to much time in the rocks. When I decided to go back, I saw that my other friend was already surrounding the 4runner and one told me that the 4runner’s transmission failed so the Landcruiser 80 had to pull the 4runner backwards as we were all caught in a bad spot. As soon as we got the 4runner to a broader pathway we repositioned the tow straps and the Landcruiser then towed the 4runner this time properly.
We convoyed to our picnic spot near a bridge into a shady creek, where there is a slow running creek and bamboo trees shading the side of the creek. Shortly after parking, Miguel discovered then that he had flat tire in front, good thing we were already parked and settled so it didn’t take too long for us to change to his spare tire. We then had fun, grilled all kinds of meat, and talked about a thousand things. I can still recall what Alvin told me,”before when our friends asked us, why did you buy the Pajero? it has the same engine as an adventure and its nearly twice as expensive, whats the difference? can you say that the Adventure cannot do what a Pajero can do? I was honestly silenced, but after bringing the Pajero here,I can now answer him straight in the eyes, Yes! It cannot do what a Pajero can do.” Wrapping up, despite all the recovery and tire changing, we still had tons of fun. We also realized that during these moments, we can really see how capable a Pajero really is.
Thanks to all the people who joined. Hope to see more of you guys in future trails!
Pajero Club PH Activities & Events Division Gab Mendoza, Director of Activities & Events (+63917-627-4061) Justin Parco, Activities & Events Officer (+639916-407-9139)