*This article was originally written and placed in draft in January 2019. A year before the Taal Volcano eruption of the century. The eruption did major damages in Tagaytay and as it was starting to rise up again, the COVID-19 crisis happened.

I’m not sure if Ligaya Drive is even passable now but if it is, let me help guide you maneuver this tricky road in Tagaytay.

If you’re planning on a road trip to Tagaytay (I’m not really sure if that is possible under general community quarantine), there are many things to consider, especially if you’re the designated driver of a M/T vehicle.

Before you leave home, check your tyres and the conditions under the hood to see if your ride is capable of a long hour drive.

For those who are traveling to Tagaytay, there are many places to visit – food places (like Josephine’s, RSM, Mahogany Market), malls, hotels, themed parks (Sky Ranch, People’s Park), and many more. And I hope these restaurants are open now. But even if they are, they might just be open for take-outs and delivery. As for the themed parks, may be they’re not open.

For the adventurous and outgoing people, a visit to Taal Lake and Taal Volcano is a must for tourists and travelers alike.

If you’re going to Taal Lake and Taal Volcano, you must be familiar with local resorts in Talisay, Batangas that offer boat rides and tour view of the majestic lake and volcano.

Well, to be honest, this adventure was pretty cool and exciting if we were to go back before January 12, 2020. Everybody knows what happened after January 12.

But of course, before you reach Talisay, you must drive all the way from Tagaytay Hi-way in one of the two roads, the one from the rotonda and 421 road, also known as Ligaya Drive.

Both roads are steep uphill and downhill routes leading to Talisay. The drive takes more or less 25 minutes (one way) long.

Both have zigzag curves with sharp turns in every corner but to be honest, it’s the Ligaya Drive that is more challenging to drive along.

The Tanauan-Tagaytay has less sharp curves and much easier to navigate going uphill climb compared to Ligaya Drive.

Driving downhill for both roads are not that difficult, it’s the other way around that you should be ready.

So here are some tips to remember if you’re taking these roads after your fun adventure in Taal Lake and Taal Volcano.

Check Your Gas Meter

You’ll be more confident taking these roads if you’ve got a full tank or above half of the gas meter. You never want to be running out of gas in these roads especially when you’re driving at night.

Turn Off Your A/C

It takes too much power for the engineto accelerate when you’re driving on steep slopes and curve roads. To have the much needed engine performance, turn off your car’s aircon. Roll down your windows for the air to flow inside and outside. Turning off the aircon will help your vehicle to accelerate the speed it needs through these tricky and sneaky uphill and downhill roads.

Shift Gear To The Lowest

To get that maximum performance, it’s a common practice to change and shift to the lowest or the 1st gear. You may use the 3rd or 4th gear when you are pacing for a steep climb but when you’re on a flat base change to the lowest down to the first gear to regain the momentum and it will be easy for the car’s engine to use power.

Check the RPM meter as basis when shifting gears.

Clutch, Brake, And Gas Pedals

When shifting gears, you must know where to properly place your feet. Press and depress the clutch pedal only as needed. Don’t overpress the clutch or you’ll end up burning it.

Use the brake as you go downhill while slightly stepping on the clutch. Step on the gas with your right foot as you manually shift to the lowest gear when you’re uphill/downhill while your left foot slightly pressing the clutch pedal.

Maintain the gear as you hear the revving engine sound of the 2000-3000 RPM.

Coasting

I was once guilty of coasting or to be more precise, shifting to neutral whenever I’m going downhill. I thought this practice could help save gas but it turns out that this habit only makes the engine more prone to damage.

Instead of coasting, use a lower gear so that it will not be difficult for you to change gears.

Speed And Distance

Maintain an average speed on these roads while keeping a one to two car distance from the vehicle in front of you. In that way, you’ll be able to calculate your next move when you’re behind.

Overtake

As a general rule, there should be no over-taking on these dangerous roads.

But if the car you are following is slowly moving and there’s no other vehicle approaching the opposite lane, overtake the vehicle in front of you with great precaution.

Turn on your signal light and overtake the other car with safety.

Read The Signs

There are road and arrow signs along the way to remind the driver the condition of the road. These signs practically help the driver what to expect from the incoming curves and direction of the road.

Drive Light

The lighter your vehicle, the manageable the driving will be on a steep uphill and downhill road. If the car is loaded, both tyres and engines will need to work hard and these could lead to immediate wear and tear and cranking.

To avoid these conditions to happen, unload unecessary things or follow the vehicle’s number of passengers capacity to make it easy for the car to drive along steep uphill and downhill road.

(Originally written on January 18, 2019)

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