Philippines ride report

Iron Chef

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Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Location
Tokyo
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FJR1300
Since there is no Philippine ride reports I thought I would post a short summary of a ride I did there in 2014.


I started in Angeles city renting a Honda CBR150R from Nice Bikes. They had very few bikes at the time a couple of old road trails that barely ran but I see they now have updated their fleet with a few Kawasaki ER6 models.


Travelling north along the Pan Philippine h-way is highly congested in the urbanised areas and you need your wits about you riding but later it becomes nice as you enter the foot hills of the mountain province.






The CBR150R was a nice little bike, performance was really lively compared to other small bikes I have ridden however having tubeless tyres proved to be a problem.
I got a puncture and had forgotten my repair kit I usually have with me. None of the small roadside vulcaniser shop had anything to plug the tyre since they only dealt with tubes. I was too far away from any big town so nothing in way of repair kit. No one has a big bike so no 17" tubes and nobody had heard of those tyre inflation aerosol cans with the sealant. I eventually got a vulcaniser who actually had the tools the get the wheel off and who ground smooth the inner of the tyre and applied a vulcanised type patch on it. This seemed to work so I kept going.




I rode some of the mountain passes next couple of days and stayed in Solano then at a mountain lodge that is situated near the high point of the road system. They had a open fire in the evening which I could never imagine in the Philippines but indeed it got really cold at night.
Some excellent riding and views. Lots to see in the area, Banaue rice terraces and the coffins in the mountain side.
Came across a crash site where a bus had just gone over side near Bontoc, pour souls never had a chance.










I went next to Baguio the capital of the mountain province which was one huge traffic jam. Decided to drop off the mountain to the beach at La Union.
Superb riding roads to the coast from Baguio.




My plan then was north and back across another mountain pass to Cerbantes but I got another puncture. Even here in a fairly large town no one used to fixing tubeless tyres, same situation as before. Another patch job but the shop said that it was unlikely to hold long and where I was going was a bit remote and I could end up stranded.
So I decided to return the bike to Angeles City and indeed the patch leaked by the afternoon so it was wise not to have gone on.
I decided to put the rest of my Luzon ride route on hold for another time since I now had lost a few days.
Back in Manila no trouble to source a tubeless repair kit at auto accessory shop in a large mall. Lesson learned.


Next I went to Cebu where I caught a ferry to Bohol island and then to Alona beach. Plenty of scooters and a couple of Honda XR200's available to rent. Nice coastline and hills to explore. Some places supply a scooter for guests to use and that is my tip if you go there.
Alona beach is not mentioned favorably in lonely planet which is a blessing as it is not yet a crowded tourist trap like Boracay.




Next I went to Dumaguette by ferry and while there tried to find bike rental I had read of but it no longer existed.
Took ferry to Siquijor Island and rented a Honda XR125, there is a few places at the dock renting bikes.
Very nice place and lovely riding, roads are in great shape and very low traffic. Could easy spend a extended period there.








Back in Dumaguette I wanted to ride to Pamplona across the range and loop back via the west coast but not able to find a suitable bike. So I took the bus north to Cebu.






I knew a place renting big bikes in Cebu on Mactan island and found my way there eventually. Taxi was genuinely lost and turns out my destination 'hotel' was actually the clubhouse for the Outsiders MC Philippines division.
It turned out no problem to stay, they have rooms for rent, a bar, a restaurant, bike storage facility and a rental shop. Still I was only non club member staying there and I don't know how many people not associated with the club go there. The bikers never spoke to me which was a shame as we are all riders and would have been nice to simply hear where the best rides are in the region.
They had a large few cruisers for rent but I was heading to the mountains and wanted good corner clearance so I rented a cheaper Yamaha YBR 125 which was brand new.
Superb riding in the mountain range that lies in the middle of Cebu Island. The YBR was a little under powered going up the steeper sections had throttle wide open in low gears and nothing like the CBR150R which had power to pull out and pass slower bikes uphill with ease. I took in a fiesta and rode around a few spots.












Lastly I flew to Palawan. There I took the 9 hr bus ride to El Nido and noted the road criss crosses two nice mountain ranges and has a superb coastal section too.
I rented another Honda XR125 in El Nido where there is lots of bikes for rent in the touristy port area which I otherwise suggest avoiding.
Sealed roads soon end either side of town. Beautiful Nactan Beach to the north and Las Cabanas to the south.
















I asked about a one way rental to ride a bike back to Puerto Princess and this was possible but then I was struck down with food poisoning.
Unfortunately I was very ill and bed riddin a couple of days and afterwards still not up to tackling the long ride south but it would be a good ride to do.
I have been to Philippines a few times and seem to get dirrareha and some stomach bug each time despite always being extra careful about food. Hygiene is poor.


To sum up it was still a great trip despite the challenges. Philippines food in general is poor, that is perhaps the thing that stops me going there more often.
There is a lot of diesel soot from the Jeepneys there so you may want a face mask riding. I used a scarf pulled up over my nose in places like Cebu city.
There are also guns everywhere. From shopping mall staff with pistols and shotguns to assault rifles at banks. You get used to it but can feel edgy at times. Actually you need to be a bit more careful there than you might be say riding northern Thailand. But well worth it.







 

bsacbob

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Jul 1, 2012
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Chiang Rai
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Honda CRM-AR 250, Honda CRF 250-L, Suzuki V Strom XT 650 Honda XR250 Baja BMW F650GS
Nice, thanks a lot for taking the time to put the report together, look's very interesting indeed.
 
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