Philippines Adventure Rides

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Wild_Man, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. Allaces

    Allaces Clowns to left of me

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    Hey guys, been visiting and working here for about 12yrs. Looking to move to the Visayas in the next year.
    I am looking for any advice on places to off road/enduro ride on Cebu, Bohol, D'guete, Camotes....
    Have been in country for about a month. Now that the holidays are almost over, I want to get out and explore. I have a bike that i can borrow and all my gear. Just looking for some expertise to show me around or point me in the right direction.

    Also, if anyone has bikes for sale let me know....or if there is a good page on here or FB that list bikes and equipment, let me know that as well.

    Thanks in advance
  2. veetwo _tls

    veetwo _tls RENOVATIO:

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    Can't help much with off road riding as inlaws all don't ride much but they all live in Tagbilaran City , near base chocolate hills (were i stay when over there cooler weather) & at Carmon while in Bohol worth riding up to chocolate hills lookout having a look also a mini town near carmon for children but found it interesting too see was different. Also got family in far east of leyte in Tabango i go too as well about it i usually just hang out with family when there relax.

    Not sure how roads are as were just hit with couple Typhoon's in last 2 weeks know lot bridges out & land slides from family reports.
    Allaces likes this.
  3. Allaces

    Allaces Clowns to left of me

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    Thanks Veetwo!!! appreciate the reply. hopefully others will have some insight on other places as well.
  4. tshelver

    tshelver Been here awhile

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    Philippines in the provinces is really full of riding. Just pick any small road and there are usually motorcycle friendly trails leading off into more remote villages in the hills.

    There is really far too much good offroad riding to describe it in any detail here. Several years back I picked up a book on mountain and road bike rides and tours in Cebu bookshop done by a Cebu-based organization and written by a few Scandinavian guys and friends. IIRC it had around a hundred offroad and road trips all around the Viasayas and some of northern Mindanao that were well suited for small / offroad motorcycles. One ride they had was central Cebu mountains north to south, all dirt.
    Most cities have MTB or offroad riding clubs and groups with regular meetings if you ask around the various dealersips who are usually happy to help out with information.

    One island to cut your teeth on for (relatively mild) offroad riding is Siquijor. When I was last there (2013), lots of small roads all over the island, and also trails used by locals on their motors to get to villages and so on. Have a look at http://www.openstreetmap.org for a start.
    Another place worth spending time is southern Negros. The hills to the west of Dumaguete / Valencia / Sibulan have many short and longer rides with some 4x4 trails and also some dirt roads way into the hills or else clear across the province. From Dumaguete you can do trips to Twin Lakes, the Japanese / American / Philippines Amity shrine, Casaroro Falls, Pulangbato Falls and more are all good rides. Mostly paved but twisty and some dirt.

    The southern Negros loop from Dumaguete to Sipalay and on up to Kabankalan, while not offroad, is very scenic, and you can include side roads like the one from west of Zamboanguita to Tambobo bay (the yachting and boat building centre) and then on past the naval reserve to Siaton where you rejoin the main road is very interesting riding and viewing. Even the main road back to Dumaguete from Kabankalan has it's moments.
    Other Negros rides are Bacolad to San Carlos City both north and south of Mt Kanlaon, and then riding in the foothills around Kanlaon. Again more twisty paved road, but many roads around Mt Kanlaon are unpaved.

    Some 5 years ago we did a stunning trip from Valencia, Bukidnon (Mindanao), across 3 mountain ranges over to Tagum city on what was then part dirt, part roadbed in the making, and part buffalo and MC access trails. But, given the political situation, you want to go with a local who knows the area, and you you want to keep going and not stop too much until you hit the other side. We did it just after a major typhoon, so the NPA et al were keeping a low profile and accepting aid. A few months later i did a coastal trip from Surigao south west down to the west of Lake Mainit, which was also a pretty good ride with several river crossings (presumed bridges were washed away in storms). Sections of that road seemed to be motorcycle-accessible only even though it was paved in parts.

    Another area that is also great is in the Cordilleras north of Baguio through to Bontoc, Banaue, Sagada and Tobuk. Lots of side trails, although the main road from Baguio to Bontoc and Banaue that was challenging dirt back then is now mostly paved. But still tons of riding in the area.

    Too many other areas that are good riding to mention....
    78er, Pelle, remzamora and 1 other person like this.
  5. Allaces

    Allaces Clowns to left of me

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    tshelver.... awesome info!!!! This will keep me busy for a while. It for sure solidifies my question on buying a bike for sure. Now to find me a KTM/Husky and get out there and explore.
  6. tshelver

    tshelver Been here awhile

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    Actually for much of this riding, you don't need anything as 'capable' as a Husky/KTM. I was riding a Husky TE610E (as well as a few other bigger bikes) back in the USA until 2012, and would have loved to have my Husky in the Philippines.

    But... I am glad I didn't import it.
    First problem is spares and service. If you break something outside of Manila and maybe Cebu, local mechanics won't have a clue, or even the tools. Simple things like tires, sprockets, chains are likely going to have to be shipped in.
    Second, locals expect MC speeds on the roads in rural areas to be under 80 km/h. They make traffic judgements based on that, warning and traffic signs are based on that, so running at the speeds a bigger bike is capable of gets 'interesting'.
    Thirdly, I don't know where or how you are going to ride, but it will cost you a lot more. Fuel, tires, service, spares, even simple things like ferry charges. On the ferry to Camiguin, I was charged double for a YBR125G 'big bike' compared to the 'uinderbone' charges.
    Third, it's just easier manhandling a smaller bike on and off ferries (including down gangplanks to bancas if you go to smaller islands), parking in cities if you tour, or over / around obstacles on some of the trails. I watched a porter loading my Motorstar 200 on a banca between Surigao and Dinagat Island, using a 2.5 ft gangplank with a rail on one side only, and then strapping it directly to the rail, where it got thoroughly drenched by waves and spray on the way over. No way I wanted anything bigger and more complex to do that trip :).
    Fourth, most of the 'offroad' riding is on roads and trails used by locals to get to and between more remote villages and farms. They use the typical underbones and 150cc habal habals and buffalos to carry people and goods on those trails, so you don't really need more.
    Fifth, many of the KTMs and other 250cc and up bikes you will find for sale are 'grey market' That is, they either don't have papers, or someone has paid a bribe to get what looks like legal papers. But down the road, often at registration renewal, or when you transfer to a different jurisdiction, issues can arise.

    Also, if you really want a 'proper' offroad bike, some very experienced local and expat riders highly recommend getting older steel framed bikes, as those can be repaired and straightened using local skills and tools. There are also far more spares around for bikes like the Yammie WRX series offroaders. I have never seen a Husky outside Manila, and the only KTMs I have seen are the bigger adventure-styled twins, and then only on main roads and in the cities, never out on the trails.

    I know somone who bought a plane, and everything went smoothly until he went to renew the radio registration. The authorities picked up that the plane had never been properly imported. Cost him a ton of money to sort out.

    Much of the riding I did in Philippines in the beginning on roads and trails was on rented bikes. In most centers, that is typically underbones or if you are lucky, something like a Yammie YBR125. We did several 1000km plus trips two up on bikes like that, through rivers, very rough dirt roads, across rivers and more.
    It's a quick and cheap way to getting into riding in the Phils and accustoms you to local riding conditions before splashing out. Places like Dumaguete, Siquijor, Tagbilaran (Bohol, where I rented an XR200 Honda) and other tourist oriented spots have rentals available. Pick the bike with the best tires and overall condition, as some are barely roadworthy.

    Later on I bought a YBR125G and then a Motorstar 200 dual sport (which was excellent fun per dollar), and put on nearly 40K km in a few years on those bikes, often two up and often with luggage, on all sorts of terrain.
    Just have to take a bit more time and care in rough conditions.

    Just a thought on different ways to get started.

    And a few final thoughts.... Again depends on how and where you travel. I have traveled many of the areas specifically cautioned against by the embassies, in Philippines and in several other countries. In many of the more interesting areas like the remote Cordilleras, central / eastern / western Mindanao, eastern Samar and more, there can be a significant NPA or other 'insurgent' presence.

    A foreigner can be a target in many areas. A foreigner dressed in expensive gear, riding an expensive vehicle, is that much more of a target.

    OTOH, I know a German who spends 3 to 5 months a year riding hsi bicycle in the Philppines. He has covered many of te so-called hottest of hotspots, even the muslim areas in southern Mindanao. He dresses down, travels really light, carries no expensive gear outside of a basic cell phone, not even a tent
    Sleeps in the bus shelters, hospitals, even police stations, locals' houses. Gets a hotel once a week or so.

    Never had a problem, IMHO due to blending in.
    Allaces, Pelle and remzamora like this.
  7. Pelle

    Pelle n00b

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    Very wise words. I have not yet made any longer trips in the Philippines, but when the time comes a local "underbone" bike will be my first choise.
    Allaces likes this.
  8. Allaces

    Allaces Clowns to left of me

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    tshelver, great inputs again. Thank you for all the time and advice. I will be leaning on you again for advice.

    I will address some of the items above.
    For the normal riding i totally agree that an underbone is the way to go and I will have an XRM most likely. However, the type of riding that I enjoy the most is Enduro/hare scramble type riding. I understand that those types of trails may not exist (yet), but i do intend on finding or creating a few. I am very rough on a bike, not from skill but probably more from LACK of skill :muutt I need a bike that is light, nimble and has more than enuf power for the hill climbs that do exist here. The motostar is a capable bike, but it is a bit more on the heavy side weighing around 40-65lbs heavier than the ktm 300.
    I will not be importing!!! That advice has been given by multiple sources here. (local, expat, dealership owners...) and rightly so with the amount of "import tax and other fees". Anyone is better off just buying a new bike.
    The ktm/husky is my top pick for a few reasons, I can do the work on the bike myself, i have many of the specialty tools needed even for the cases. The KTM shop in Cebu now is actually very nice. They have a good service department and the guys that own it are riders also (big bike). I will most likely use them to purchase the bike so it will be legal. Dont want any problems with the LTO. The KTM/Husky offroad bikes are starting to show up more down here....limited still, but way more than 10yrs ago when there was NONE.
    Spares are of course an issue due to availability and shipping. I have already started bringing over the most common parts and storing them here. Tires are the most used/replaced parts and you do have to pay a lot more for those.
    The areas that i intend on riding are the Visayas and North. Had enuf of the south areas for work. That German can have it all to himself :D
    looking forward to riding and seeing if i can find the places you mentioned.

    Thanks again. I like it when ppl on here pass on the knowledge!!!
  9. tshelver

    tshelver Been here awhile

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    OK I understand a bit better what you are looking for. My riding was mostly focused towards longer distance, multi-day 'adventure' trips in the more remote areas, so support and backup was a bit more important for me.
    Personally, I somewhat detest the underbones. They are physically too small for me (6'2) especially with luggage and maybe passenger, and after several hundred thousand km on 'normal' gearshift / clutch bikes, I never really got on well with the reverse gearshift 4-speed pattern and 'clutchless' operation, especially in tight off-road conditions. They are fine if that is the only thing you have ridden before.
    The YBR125 was a better bike for me than just about any underbone. Much longer tank range (3 or 4 times further), more comfortable, better suspension than most underbones. Other bikes I liked for Phils usage in more remote areas were the XT125, XR200 and the Motorstar, as you could find some level of support in most small towns. The Yammie XT225 / Serow was just too cramped for me.

    For your purposes, I would strongly recommend hooking up with some local riders with similar (or close to similar) bikes and interests. I was peripherally involved with some guys in Misamis Oriental who did a lot of local offroad similar to what you are looking at, although there again they were using Yammie WRX, Honda XR200, modified chinabikes and so on.
    A few of them were also hooked up with a group of mostly foreign riders from around the country who did more ambitious offroad tours and rides mostly on 250 and 450 enduro type bikes. They organized group tours to the Cordilleras (amazing riding opportunities), back country Visayas and more.
    Very likely your KTM shop can put you in contact with similar groups, and I may still have contacts who are connected if you are interested.

    The big thing is that these guys know where you can ride, and provide a support group if you are stuck in the back of beyond. Most of the 'offroad' in the Philippines is populated by pedestrians, buffalo, habal habals and folks going about their daily business, so you always have to ride with that in the back of your mind.

    Enjoy!
    remzamora likes this.
  10. Allaces

    Allaces Clowns to left of me

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    Yes, I would love to get in contact with anyone that you know of that is into similar riding that i am looking for!! You can PM with the info or i can give you my number. I use Whatsapp mostly but viber as a backup and of course local txt if ur here in the PI now.

    thanks again!!
  11. DuaKembara

    DuaKembara Adventurer

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    hi there... greetings from Indonesia.

    i'm planning a weekend roadtrip around Philippines , maybe 3-4days ( due to my job, I just have weekend to go ride ). We will fly into Manila from Jakarta. let me know if there any recomended motorcycle/scooter rentals at manila or somewhere near with affordable price & recomendation route plan to know more about the city, culture & nature. I'm 170cm & 90kg ( wide midget ekekek :imaposer) I will considering yamaha nmax 155, x max 250, suzuki burgman 200 or something comfy to ride with my wife. ups ya, Can I use my indonesia driving license to ride on there? ( Indonesia & Philippines are member of ASEAN )

    suggestion & advice are very welcome. please PM me or just email at theorandaru@yahoo(dot)com. i'll be soooo happy to meet fellow Philippines ADVrider to have chit chat and some caffeine. pardon my english, thankyou & God bless you


    warm regards, Theo
  12. tshelver

    tshelver Been here awhile

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    Not sure if you really want to ride around Manila as a place to start, and not sure how many M/C rentals are in the city, as most tend to be based at tourist destinations.

    Around Manila, I enjoy Intramuros, the old Spanish walled city section of town, and there are a few hotels in Intramuros and more close by. Lots of the old history if you spend some time walking around.

    You could have a look at the Nice Bike website (Google them). They are up in Angeles City which is a van/bus ride from Manila, have been renting for at least as long as I have been going to the Philippines (11+ years), and have a good mix of road and dual sport bikes available. Their website also has several suggested Luzon trips posted on their site.
    They can also provide you with the license requirements: their website states that all they need is a passport and deposit.
    Disclaimer: I have never used Nice Bike myself, as I tend to travel and rent a bit more 'local' and don't do the Angeles City thing.

    The problem with riding out of Manila, is that you can use up most of a day getting anywhere with decent riding (Cordilleras, Baler / east coast, and so on).
    I have done Manila to Baguio, then to Sagada / Bontoc / Banaue (rice terrraces), and then back via Solana / Bayombong back before the road from Baguio to Banaue was tarred, in a rental 'car'. Seemed like we spent a lot of time in the flatland and busier roads just getting to the foothills on the way to Baguio, and then again coming back from Bayombong.

    For another option, I have rented Honda 125 underbones in Dumaguete (Negros island in the Visayas) off the street: there is a section of town where there are several informal rental vendors with dozens of bikes. From there I have toured Negros. I have done 2 and 3 day trips 2-up this way (188 cm and 90kg at the time), just have to pack light.
    That would provide 3 to 4 days of easy riding.
    Dumaguete is an easy flight from Manila.

    There are some stunning rides around Dumaguete (Japanese/American/Philippines Amity Shrine up in the western mountains overlooking the city, the Twin Lakes up in the mountains north of the city, and several waterfall and coastal rides that could take up a day or two.
    There is a rental at the Dumaguete airport (Philippine MotoAdventures): back in 2012 they specialized in guided (expensive) tours on bigger bikes (KLR650 with a few 200/250 dual sports). Not sure what and how they operate now.

    For a 3 day road trip, the road south from Dumaguete to Sipalay and then up to Kabankalan on the west coast is very scenic: take some time to do some of the small coastal roads like the ones to Tambobo bay and Siaton. I have stayed at resorts near Sipalay, quite a good selection, and there are also many resorts along the coast between Dumaguete and Siaton if you don't want to ride as far as Sipalay on the first day.
    From Bacolod (biggish city on the west coast north of Kabankalan) you can head over towards Don Salvador Benedicto and then San Carlos: stunning mountain ride most of the way. From San Carlos head back along the east coast to Dumaguete, with good views over the sea and western Cebu.

    I have also rented in Tagbilaran (Bohol), which had a reasonable rental agency at the airport (I rented an XR200, they also had various underbones available at the time), and Siquijor (YBR125 and various underbones or scooters available near the ferry landing or else from various resorts).

    There is enough riding on Bohol/Panglao with all the tourist attractions to spend a few days, although it's getting a bit touristy for my tastes. There are direct flights from Manila and Cebu.

    Siquijor is a lot smaller and more laid back (much quieter), but you have to fly Dumaguete and then get a ferry across. The riding on Siquijor is more about finding the small roads and trails in the mountains, as well as the coastal ring road (about 90km in length).
    You could also include it as a day or overnight trip from Dumaguete, several good small to mid-size resorts, mostly family run.


    78er likes this.
  13. remzamora

    remzamora Adventurer

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    Where exactly do you want to ride in the Philippines? Considering that you only have three days, the place will dictate whether you need to rent a motorcycle in Manila or the place you intend to stay.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
  14. Macosie

    Macosie Been here awhile

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    Manila isn't that fun to ride in. Take a taxi to Intramuros on one of your work days and have dinner at Barbara's(make a reservation). When you are done work, hop a cheap flight out of Manila to(see previos poster) and rent a bike at your destination.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
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  15. carloscyclecare

    carloscyclecare Been here awhile

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    Here's a few ride destinations that could be of interest to you...

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  16. carloscyclecare

    carloscyclecare Been here awhile

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    This one's from the north...

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  17. carloscyclecare

    carloscyclecare Been here awhile

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    Beach, Beer & B!tc&s. Puerto Galera...
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  18. carloscyclecare

    carloscyclecare Been here awhile

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    Mayon Volcano.. you can check out more of my ride documentaries at youtube. "The Minimalist Adventourer"

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  19. 78er

    78er Been here awhile Supporter

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    There's fun riding to be had everywhere *except* in the capital region. Cebu city is also quite bad so I like to avoid that as well. Get a domestic flight from Manila and rent wherever you end up. North Luzon is awesome but as has been written before, you have to invest a day to get there from Manila.
  20. DuaKembara

    DuaKembara Adventurer

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    dear all fellow ADVriders, sorry for my very slow respons & thanks you for all suggest and information. so I have a lil conclusion better riding out of capital region. until now I'm not choose any destination yet, but this plan will be happen at ied al-fitr or christmas 2018. thanks for being helpful, can't wait to go there. for motobikes, it is ok for us to ride honda's or anythings else small moped. CMIIW, the bike option between indonesia & Filipina are not too different. once again thank u so much!


    *ps: I can't stop play & repeat yours youtube video, Minimalist Adventourer. :hide