By King Bernas
The road to Kaybiang Tunnel in Nasugbu is a relatively new route, but one destined to become a classic as cyclists and multisport athletes continue to look for longer and more challenging rides.
Going to the seaside town of Nasugbu, Batangas, or the further seaside spots and resorts like Punta Fuego or Pico de Loro, used to be a chore. Coming from Manila, you would have to pass through Tagaytay, or take smaller and often rough roads cutting through Cavite from Naic through Maragondon and General Aguinaldo. That changed in 2013 with the opening of the Nasugbu-Ternate Highway, which cut a path starting with the old road from Ternate to Caylabne Bay, through the Mount Palay-Palay National Park, to Hamilo Coast. We meant ‘cutting through’ in the literal sense, as the road itself passes through Kaybiang Tunnel — a 300-meter passage that blasted through the rock. It’s currently the longest tunnel in the Philippines, and took 4 years to build. That’s not a huge engineering feat in itself, but it does get the job done.
Starting from Naic, Kaybiang Tunnel is a less than 24 Kilometers, one way. The first 11 Km is mostly flat, from Naic to Maragondon, and through to Ternate. The road turns up after Ternate after around 11 kilometers, rising steadily along the ridge from sea level to around 150 meters to the gate of the old Puerto Azul resort. The road rises further to 343 meters as you go deeper into the lush forests of Mount Palay-Palay National Park, for a total elevation gain of over 400 meters in a little under 8 kilometers, with an average slope of about 5.5%, maxing out at 14.4%. The road tips down a bit for around 1.5 kilometers, before taking a sharp turn to the left (straight leads to Caylabne). This rolls again mostly downwards, with some steep switchbacks for another 3 kilometers until you reach the Kaybiang Tunnel where you can join the steady stream of day trippers and tourists taking selfies at the opening, before passing through to the Batangas side, or heading back to Cavite.
Cycling back the other way however, is not an easy return trip. The first 1 kilometer back out has some portions maxing out at close to 20%. It’s about 3.5 kilometers before there’s some respite, and a total of around 4.5 kilometers before the road points back down for good. While tough, it’s easier if you come prepared with climbing gear ratios on your bike, with a compact 50/34 crank, an 11-28 cassette, or both.
This road may get busier in the future as the route has opened up more development in the Nasugbu area. For now, it’s one of the best routes available, either from Naic itself, or from Daang Hari, which knocks up the distance to around 80 Kilometers, one way. Others have used the access road to make a +/-200 Kilometer loop from Daang Hari, up Amadeo to Tagaytay, down to Nasugbu and back through the tunnel, or vice versa. In any case, the route has opened up new frontiers and is destined to be a new classic.
Route: Naic-Kaybiang Tunnel-Naic
Starting Point: Naic
Finishing Point: Naic
Distance: +/- 47 Km
Average time: 3 to 4 hours
Total Elevation Gain: +/- 1,103 m
Highest Point: +/- 347 m