I MUST have made a record of sorts for passing the Urdaneta Exit in TPLEX for free for 22 times before it formally opened. Not kidding. Normally, at this very same time of the year, every year a new exit is to be opened. A dry run, and free passage. Plus the same number of meetings too.
Just last week, on December 6 the new exit was opened and free for motorists to use. I happen to be one of the first to take that drive on it. I had to drive to make sure about it.
Many many times in the past and in my many many travels I have paused for it. I knew already exactly where it will end along the main highway. Unlike the Binalonan Exit, Juan may still have to travel and snake down to it. At night it is not lit and many accidents have happened.
In the Pozzorubio Tollgate, entry coming from Baguio is well placed. It is the exit going back to Baguio where Juan must pause before crossing it. Pass only when clear. Not a problem at night when vehicle lights are on and Juan sees it to pass. But quite difficult on the day time. Pass as fast as vehicles are also very fast.
The Pozzorubio exit is located in a long stretch of road coming from Manila to Baguio. The other side is just ok as it is right alongside a long curve. Plus an extra shoulder to take before entry. I'm glad I have not heard of any accidents yet. I guess not many pass by it yet.
Urdaneta and Binalonan from the main highway have had their fair share of unfortunate incidents with some loss of life. All needed for this was to pause and pass.
I have noticed quite a few signs some two kilometers before entry coming from Baguio until its entrance. It is the other side which I don't pass and where it is dangerous and I don't know if ample signs are visible to warn motorists of the crossing. Obviously as I won't be coming from that side ever, from now on.
Not to scare any Juan. This is a great passage. It has even cut my travel further by 15 minutes. I say this because it normally takes Juan, 30 minutes from either side to reach TPLEX, or upon exit reaching Sison Bridge. I might be wrong but it is an average of about 22 kilometers from Binalonan exit.
I have tried and timed myself in the past and would say that whether it is Binalonan or in the Urdaneta exit it is almost the same. Not one has an advantage in time. In distance too. For the Urdaneta exit Juan is immediately back in the main highway. But for Binalonan Juan may still have to travel 2 or more kilometers on dark and narrow roads with lots of tricycles and trucks.
This is my take on the new exit. It does wonders for time travel, literally. It is a 10 kilometer stretch of highway to and from Binalonan tollgate. But to me, it is the most practical to traverse. It has definitely cut travel time as it has also allowed passage where traffic volume is heavy along the main highway.
Upon exit as I mentioned, pause first and pass, more importantly check for the left and the right, cars from both lanes may be at speed. But when clear and when I have crossed already I would say that it is only 11 kilometers or less than 15 minutes before getting to the gas stations for that last stop for cheaper gas before heading up the mountains.
Fifteen minutes, I would say for me until Kennon tollgate. One Tuesday, I left Baguio after a meeting and left at 2 in the afternoon. I made it to my 6 o’clock meeting 15 minutes before. And to think that was already rush hour and heavy traffic along any metro road. I have to pass EDSA too.
On my return after a couple of meetings I left back for Baguio the next day. From EDSA I checked my watch purposely and saw 3 o clock I was exactly at the Timog exit to EDSA. I reached my home at 6 o clock. Just 3 hours. I did stop along NLEX to withdraw money from an ATM to add to the time, and another for gas. And still.
It works just fine. I would have to pay P235 pesos for TPLEX, I give P250 and the change of P15 is for Kennon Tollgate. Smart!
Trust me, I don't have any speeding tickets despite my almost every other day travel from Baguio to Manila. I guess Juan just knows where and when to speed up. Also, I have known parts of the highway where a shoulder may be used to overtake slower vehicles even when the opposite side is heavy. There are shoulders for both northbound and southbound.
Just yesterday, I had to drive back down to Manila for an important meeting. I did not hesitate to travel even if I had just returned. As you know I had just arrived from Japan. But still. I made it to my meetings despite a stopover for meals.
I will not overspeed in any expressway. Just a hassle to get caught. Expensive too. However I will now admit that with the knowledge I may have upon exit is another thing. Here I will speed up and drive exactly how I know the roads to be.
Even Kennon Road for that matter. Night or Day. I know exactly how and where to pass. Juan also has to mention that the time to travel does matter a lot. It will make time travel also faster if you plan it well. I always would want to traverse Kennon at night or dusk. With lights on, it is always easier to overtake. Sometimes a stop along the gas station until dark will help.
A stop at Chowking it is for me for early breakfast as it is open 24 hours and a meal of beef tapa with coffee everytime and free newspaper. For a different time, it will be beef mami for me. Soul Cafe is a favorite for pinapaitan and boneless bangus. A family fave.
For those not sure about Kennon, it is best to try and follow another vehicle you think knows. How? Just check the brake lights. The less you see of the brake lights the better the driver.
I will by the time have passed it many times for free, unluckily some things come to an end, and on my 13th trip, I was charged the full amount of P270. Yes that's what it is every Juan.
Just that. A pause and pass.