This journey is mainly about keeping plastic pollution — about using less of the stuff, about keeping it off the beaches and out of the ocean. But to share this message I am traveling the length of the Philippines on a Bambike, made of bamboo, handmade in the Philippines. Therefore this blog is dedicated to the biking, and of course to the biking community here in the Philippines!
First of all I want to say that cycle touring through the Philippines is hugely underappreciated as a method of travel. It’s such an amazing way to get around, and when you need to go over sea, just pop your bike on a roro (roll on roll off) or a Bangka boat and away you go. I highly recommend this unique experience.
Here’s my route through Negros, and Bohol (I’ll keep adding coastline as I travel it!)
Tambobo Bay to Dumaguete
Distance – 44 km
Stops – I stopped in Zamboanguita for a beach clean up. On Wednesday there’s an amazing market and a ton of beach resorts if you want to break the trip up.
Hill factor – Apart from a little hillwork at the start this leg is flat flat flat. The beauty of hugging the coast. For more adventurous cyclists head inland!
Beauty – I loved riding through the Tambobo area at the start of the trip, then along the coast, as always getting into a bigger town isn’t so pleasant but it’s relatively short lived.
Dumaguete to Sibulan Port
Distance – 10km
Stops – I didn’t stop as this was a short trip but I did take the longer route along the coast and loved it.
Hill factor – Nil.
Beauty – Lots of plastic on this coastline but you get a good view of Cebu, and for me it was a really interesting ride.
Sibulan Port to Santander, Cebu
We caught an easy pump boat ride to Cebu that left regularly from Sibulan Port. No problem getting the bike on.
Santander, Cebu – Alegria Park
Distance – 44 km
Stops – I stopped at every bridge to photograph plastic, again J
Hill factor – Undulating.
Beauty – I loved riding in Southern Cebu, there is heaps of vegetation over the road to keep it cool. I was happy to pull into the park in Alegria to see the family.
Alegria – Moalboal beach resort area
Distance – 32km
Stops – Stopped in Moalboal proper to load up on fruit and nuts before heading out to the beach. Really enjoyed both the town and the beach area, especially seeing how packed with tents white beach was on a Sunday.
Hill factor – Nil
Beauty – Also loved this trip especially when I came into Moalboal town. I liked riding through the smaller towns of western cebu.
Moalboal – Cebu
For this leg I had always planned to put the bike on the bus to go over the mountain range. I also didn’t want to ride the bike into as big a city as Cebu however after riding in Cebu I actually found it better than taxi/jeepneying. Another option could have been to go directly to Argo across Cebu. For me I’m getting on the bus for the legs that aren’t on the coast as my focus is ocean plastic but the inland roads are so stunning it’s worth staying on the bike. Also be warned it’s relatively hard to get the bike accepted on the bus, most drivers and conductors can’t be bothered with it.
Cebu – Tubigon
I put the bike on the fast ferry between Cebu and Tubigon. No worries and I think it cost 50 pesos extra for the bike. Too easy.
Tubigon – Doljo, Panglao
Distance – 71 km
Stops – I stopped in Loon for some great food, the road works killed me on this leg and it was a longer leg than most. If you like slow travel like me I’d break up the trip somewhere along the way. There are pension houses everywhere, many not advertised on the internet, so if you can go with the flow then do it.
Hill factor – nothing too serious but a fair bit of working your way up and down.
Beauty – I think I was too tired on this ride to appreciate it, also I left in the middle of the day so it was hot hot hot. But the rice paddies were great and Bohol was refreshing after our time in the city.
Doljo, Panglao – Baclayon
Distance – 23 km
Stops – none
Hill factor – Minimal
Beauty – I took this ride in the early evening and loved it. It’s best to cycle early morning and early evening, avoid the middle of the day if you can as it just makes it way more tiring and the light is so beautiful around sunrise and sunset.
Baclayon – Badiang Springs
Distance – 40 km
Stops – Just a few photos of the rice paddies and normal plastic pollution photos. J
Hill factor – a few crunchers but nothing that a good breaki won’t fix.
Beauty – I love the cascading rice terraces on this route and the snippets of coastline.
Riding with – Cheers to Graeme Pederson for sharing this trip!
Badiang Springs to Guindalman
Distance – 39 km
Stops – Stopped in Jagna for some food at the market. Lots of options here.
Hill factor – After Jagna it gets a bit rough for a while, but apart from that not too bad.
Beauty – I loved loved this ride along the coast.
Guindalman to Ubay
As I was journeying off the coast I put the bike in a van this time and headed to Ubay. It is definitely difficult to get bus and van drivers to take you, time is money to them and they can’t be bothered dealing with a bike. I chose my route for maximum outreach but if you fully focused on the bike trip I’d recommend just sticking to the road, the inland road from Guindalman to Ubay was rural beauty.
Ubay – Bato, Leyte
Again no problems getting the bike on the big Bangka, so easy. 50 pesos again I think?
A bit about the bike set up
The bambastic, say no to single-use plastic bamboo bike courtesy of Bambike is set up with a front pack and panniers from Conquer Outdoor Equipment. The rear carrier was purchased from Jhun’s merchandise in Manila for 800 pesos and I’ve now added a stand for 150 pesos which helps me take photos when I’m by myself. I got given a horn from my buddy Ian Salaysay who’s already cycled over 7000km through the over 7000 islands. I added a drink bottle holder and lights for a few hundred pesos. And voila you’re all set! I picked up everything in Manila over the course of the day and was ready to go the day after.
Cycle touring the Philippines
Cycling the Philippines is simply the best way to travel. Not only is it great fitness, but also, you move at a really nice pace each day. I’m a huge advocate for this way of travel now I’ve tried it!! It’s soooo nice to just pedal out of the hotel in the morning, you meet so many people, and you stop in cool little in-between towns that you’d normally fly right by on the bus. You don’t add heaps of time to your trip either as there’s no waiting for bus schedules or jeeps to fill. When you want to go, you go. I’ve been really surprised with the traffic so far. I find everyone gives me heaps of room on the road. I have only used my horn once when I was overtaking!
So why not get yourself a bamboo bike too and travel the Philippines in style? That way you’ve got something really nice at the end of the trip to take back home with you.
If you have any questions about cycle touring the country please get in touch with me on anna [at] plasticfreephilippines [dot] com.