SCT Expressway

I had my first opportunity to try the newly opened Subic-Clark-Tarlac (SCT) Expressway yesterday, May 10.

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Together with Edmond (Deus) and Jason (Gungon) of Deblros, I drove to San Antonio, Zambales to attend the summer outing and team building of Delbros Waterfront Leasing Co., Inc. (DELWATER).

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I originally thought that I would have to exit NLEX in Dau, enter the Clark Ecozone, and from there enter the new expressway. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my trip from Balintawak to Subic is practically all on expressways.

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About two kilometers further north of Dau exit is the interchange going to and from SCT Expressway. From that point to Subic is 55 kilometers of blissful driving. Not only is the road wide and very nicely paved, there are very few other vehicles using it… at least for now I guess.

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The maximum speed limit is, of course, the standard 100 kilometers per hour (the minimum is 60). But it is almost impossible to maintain speeds of 100 kps or lower. I would say for the most part of my SCT expressway trip last Saturday my minimum (cruising speed) was 120kph. My average speed was approximately 140 kph. At one point I was so shocked ñ and scared ñ to realize that I was already doing 165 kph! I’ve not driven past 150 kph since I got married. My top speed has been 180 kph, with my first car Dungis, a Honda Civic Vti A/T. And it was only for a few seconds. That was like eight to ten years ago! I’ve never driven my current Ford Everest beyond 140 kph until yesterday.

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I am not mentioning all of these hair-raising speeds here in my blog just to brag. I am mentioning these to warn others who may be trying the new expressway soon. You may be tempted to test your car’s speed limit. Worse, like me, you may not notice at all that you are already dangerously over-speeding. The road is so clean and even that going from 120 kph to 165 kph is literally a breeze. I wasn’t like flooring my gas pedal. I was just applying even pressure. That’s why I got a sudden jolt in the gut when, from the corner of my eyes, I suddenly realized that I was already doing 165 kph. From my Physics classes in HS and college I recall that that is what is known as constant acceleration.

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I covered the whole Clark-to-Subic stretch a minute shy of half an hour. The toll fee is Php 112, which I didn’t mind at all considering the nice road, even nicer view, and the travel time cut by more than half.

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With five passengers on my trip back to Manila, I retraced the same route I took in the morning. For the return trip I left San Antonio, Zambales at close to 11 o’clock PM. I entered SCT Expressway in Subic at close to midnight on Saturday. Although I maintained my top speed at 140 kph, I still covered the Subic-to-Clark stretch in 30 minutes flat. It was an extraordinary experience driving at SCT Expressway in the middle of the night, when I was virtually alone. There was a heavy downpour a few hours ago so the road was still wet (but not slippery, thank goodness). The feeling can only be described as surreal. It was like driving a race car video game in Time Zone.

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The SCT Expressway is perfect for trips to Subic, Olongapo and any destination in Zambales. It would be a great alternative route for our frequent trip to Mariveles, Bataan also, for there is an exit in Dinalupihan, about 12 kilometers before the Subic terminal exit. Just the thought of bypassing the perennial gridlock traffic in Lubao, Pampanga is already enough reason to celebrate the new expressway.

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2 thoughts on “SCT Expressway”

  1. A couple of days prior to the opening of the SCTex, there was a bike race from Dau tollgate to Subic. Had I known about it, I would have joined. That would have been the longest, vehicle free cement road that any biker would have enjoyed pedalling through.

    I wish I could have travelled it.

  2. SCTex is one of the triumphs of this administration. Reaching Baguio from Manila is now only 3.5 hours away. If they can connect Aparri to Bicol through a similar expressway, both tourism and trade for Luzon will be a breeze.

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