Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kaybiang Tunnel: The Philippines' Longest Subterranean Road Tunnel

On my way to Pico de Loro, a relatively painless road trip that took roughly 2 hours from Manila, I got to pass through mountainous terrain sprinkled with verdant greens. Thirty minutes before arrival at the resort, I finally saw the Kaybiang Tunnel, the Philippines' longest subterranean road tunnel, which links Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas. Technology blasted a hole, a tunnel if you will, through Mount Palay-Palay (aka Mt. Pico de Loro). This isn't a minor hill, mind you. Just check out the lush forested land above the tunnel. You can climb an uneven pathway for some photo-op over the mouth of the entrance, though I doubt if it's anything worth gloating about. Leftward is a statue of the Virgin Mary.

The tunnel is the focal scepter of the 1.5 kilometer access road that cuts Manila-Batangas travel time from 4 hours to 1.5 hours. From experience, the way back took less than an hour.

It isn't any wonder then that real estate valuation in the coastal areas have skyrocketed. But how long is this tunnel? Hold your breath - it's just 300 meters long.

The 300-meter tunnel specifically located in Marigondon  took 4 years to complete which is tantamount to saying, if this consortium did Vietnam's Hai Van Tunnel, Southeast Asia's longest at 6.28 kilometers, it would take them 20 long years to finish. By that time, I'd have had 20 different versions of iPhone and probably a slew of grandchildren. ;)

Moreover, a few factors irritate during a visit. Motor bikers would populate this area to make their joy rides and rev up their bikes, repeatedly make that awful noise while jetting in and out of the tunnel. The pleasure is still a mystery to me. Noise is never listed in my exhaustively long checklist of pleasures.

One other observation? It's morbidly dark inside. For comparison, check out the lighting of the Hai Van Tunnel (below) when I took the "shuttle bus" (well, it was a cramped coaster really) between Da Nang and Hue in Central Vietnam? Why can't a country with a robust economy such as ours afford lights in a 300-meter tunnel while Vietnam could afford THAT much number of lights in their tunnel? You wonder.

Heavily-guarded Hai Van Tunnel reduces travel time between Da Nang and Hue by almost an hour and shortens the distance by 20 kilometers. Pedestrians, motorcycles, carts and bicycles are not allowed in the tunnel, thus shuttle transport is available 24 hours a day. Since I hired an Easyrider's service, I had to get offloaded to a bus to get to the other end of the tunnel - my driver and his bike had to ride a separate truck! There was a minimal fee for my bus seat, as well as the motorcycle, but it wasn't really much.

Back in Kaybiang: Once I got through the tunnel, an inspiring scenery of the blue ocean greets you. There are a couple of lookout points where you could park your car to enjoy the scenic coast. I was already enjoying the adventure even before it officially started.

I couldn't help but think of the Boni Avenue-Pioneer Street Tunnel (Mandaluyong City) that feels longer than Kaybiang, but in reality it isn't. The tunnel is just 280-meter long. Does it really follow the "subterranean" (underground) criteria? They dug a hole, but half of it is on raised land. So probably it doesn't.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Kaybiang Tunnel

Look at all the lights at Hai Van Tunnel in Central Vietnam. I took the front seat beside the driver. Flash photography not allowed.

The eastern coast has scenic views. Is that Limbones Island?

Someone is selling ice cream in one of the remotest places along the highway.

Visit Pico de Loro

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is kabiang tunnel passable for Bus or transit?