A popular motorcycle saying goes “four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul.”
For riders, hitting the open road, regardless of the destination, is an adventure in itself. This is especially true if you’re riding a bike over 400 cc that can go on the expressway. But for those who don’t own big bikes (or don’t even know how to ride), you can still get this taste of freedom of the open road with Ride Along Motorcycle Tours.
Operated by Travel Concierge, Ride Along Motorcycle Tours is the first tour operator of its kind in the Philippines offering a unique way to get to your destination. Instead of the usual car or van rental, you get to drive brat-style or cruiser motorcycle models like those from Harley Davidson, Vulcan and Royal Enfield. And for those who don’t know how to, you can still participate as a passenger behind experienced riders.
Here are five spots that you can ride to from Manila where you can enjoy the destination as well as the journey getting there.
Travel time from Manila: 1.5-2.5 hours
Tagaytay City in Cavite is one of the country’s most popular weekend destinations for road trips. With its refreshing scenery, cooler climate, and the number of restaurants serving farm fresh fare, Tagaytay offers a quick respite from city living. And because it’s only an hour and a half away from Manila, you can head there for a quick road trip when the mood strikes. Thus, it’s a favorite among riders for breakfast rides.
“Someone once said: ‘Never be afraid to try something new, because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know’ and that’s exactly what I did when I joined a motorcycle tour to Taal, Batangas. The ride itself was definitely an exhilarating experience and I can’t wait to ride again,” writes Czarina Mae Mariano of the blog The Travel Junkie.
Enjoy a filling breakfast or a hearty brunch of Tagaytay classics like bulalo and tawilis (freshwater sardines) at any of the restaurants overlooking the Taal Volcano in Batangas. If you have time to spare, ride up Casa Corazon Motorcycle Museum in Lemery, Batangas (about 30 minutes away via Diokno Highway) or visit Taal Heritage Village’s ancestral houses and churches.
Travel time from Manila: 3-4 hours
Known for its cluster of beach resorts, Laiya in San Juan, Batangas is a favorite quick getaway for beach bums and divers. While it’s better appreciated if you stay the night for a full weekend, it’s perfectly acceptable and enjoyable to go on a day trip. After a long drive, it’s always nice to just chill out by the beach.
“It’s really easy to get drunk with power on machines that are above 400cc with an open road in front of you. Formation riding is probably the best way to ride in a group because it’s safe. There is a spearhead, a marshall and a sweeper then the rest of the riders all support each other by protecting the lane that they are in,” says Marvin Geronimo of No Barriers Just Horizons.
Before the drive back, buy some of Batangas’ famous balisong (butterfly knives), enjoy a bowl of local lomi (egg noodles) or have a strong cup of kapeng barako to stay awake on the road.
Travel time from Manila: 3-4 hours
For those looking for a dose of sun, surf and greens for the weekend, Zambales is still relatively nearby. It can take as little as three hours to get there by motorcycle.
Located in Central Luzon, lying on the western shores facing the West Philippine Sea, many towns in Zambales have shorelines with rugged coasts, as well as coves and inlets. Crystal Beach Resort in San Narciso, which contains several hectares of sand and pine-like aguho trees, is one of the more popular beach destinations in the locale. With its laid-back vibe, it’s perfect for camping, surfing and bonfire weekends.
“We were speeding at 140kph and it felt like I was on free fall of Sky Dive—except that it didn’t take only 15 seconds—but minutes or an hour. I felt invincible and powerful and strong,” shares Ruth de la Cruz from her ride to Zambales.
Travel time from Manila: 4-5 hours
The ride going up to the Cordillera Region either via Kennon Road or Marcos Highway are both quite scenic. Although, if you pass Kennon, you get a view of the Lion’s Head, a famous landmark leading up to the city. Another cool spot is Biker’s Den, a restaurant and rider’s hangout in Tuba, right before reaching Baguio City.
After driving on the expressway and Baguio twisties, you can spend the rest of the weekend enjoying the cool weather, head to Session Road for good eats or second hand goods or have dinner at Baguio favorites like Cafe by the Ruins or Hill Station.
Having joined the tour to Baguio by big bike, I appreciated how smooth and paved the roads were and noticed several waterfalls flowing from the mountains. I felt the change in climate as we drove from town to town and breathed in the fresh air of Baguio as we drove through highways lined with pine trees.
Before heading home, take a side trip to La Trinidad, Benguet, to see the colorful houses at the (Stobosa Stone Hill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap) sitios Hillside community, inspired by the favelas of Brazil or buy fresh strawberries and coffee at the Hangar Market. Read more.
Travel time from Manila: 6-7 hours
Baler, the capital town of Aurora Province, is a haven for surfers. This laid-back coastal town in the North is known primarily as one of the most significant surf spots in the country. Numerous surf shops are situated along Sabang beach catering to novice and the seasoned surfers. Baler also has a lot of historical attractions, being the backdrop of the infamous Siege of Baler.
Getting here requires a long drive, but it passes through the famous Baler twisties and breathtaking views of Canili and Diayo Dams and Reservoirs.
“It’s great that once in a while we get to feel and embrace the breath of the country side. There are lots of rice fields and greens along the way which made the ride visually refreshing. The ride was very cool,” says Enzo Luna of Juan Manila Express about his Baler ride.
When you get to Baler, top things to do include learning how to surf, visiting historic museums, and paying a visit to the Millennium Tree.
Though these road trip destinations may seem familiar to most Pinoy tourists, it’s a different experience getting here by motorcycle compared to the usual bus or car route. It’s also a great option for foreigners, expats or balikbayans who want to explore the country.
Escorted riders are assigned cruiser motorcycles that they can competently handle and are required to pass the test rides before the actual date of the ride along itinerary. Beginner escorted riders that own 400cc or higher displacement motorcycles can also join a ride along tour using their motorcycles.
For more information, check out www.travelconcierge.com.ph.
Got riding experiences or tips to share? Post them in the comments!