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  1. #1
    where's the summer!? cabledonut's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Off to Manila in the Philippines in the next couple of weeks and will be there for a year or so. Wondering whether to take my bike with me. So, I was wondering if anyone on the forums has been to the Philippines or whether anyone resides there, especially Manila, and taken their bike with them or done any cycling in the area? I'd be interested to hear about local cycling activity - regular riding groups for training with etc, local clubs, safety in terms of road safety/likelihood of being kidnapped as a westerner (probably unlikely but it happens!), general perception of cycling by the general public there, and also if anyone knows of any web links I can read about Philippine cycling. I am aware there is a Philippine pro team by the name of Casino (?) and that they do have a national Tour Pilipinas which will be held in April this year. Have looked at the national Philippine cycling organisation website but it didn't seem to be working. Also be interested to hear from anyone who's been there at all, not necessarily cycling, and what it's like...you can only get some idea from reading a number of books/internet articles.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    i was born in the US but go back to the philippines every 2-3 years or so... i only got into cycling after my most recent trip there, so i probably didnt pay much attention to the prevalence of cycling, but all i know is that cycling around metro manila would probably be the equivalent of smoking a pack a day in terms of air quality. i cant even bear to drive there because driving habits are unbelieveable... most of the places i've been that would be nice to bike through have been dirt road-ish, so maybe a true road bike might not be the best option. hybrid tires maybe? overall as a country, you're very lucky to get to stay for a year. you may have heard about the landslide last year caused by illegal logging practices... it's a shame cuz many filipinos dont realize what they've got in their own backyard. but its still a beautiful country, for now... enjoy your trip.

  3. #3
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    My Wife is from the Philippines and I've been there several times.

    Riding in Manila would likely be suicide unless you're a professional messenger. Traffic is chaotic and traffic lines in the road mean absolutely nothing. Cars will turn a 3-lane highway into a 5-lane traffic jam. The sides of the roads often are filled with pedestrians awaiting buses or jeepneys.
    Most of the roads are in very poor shape. Pollution is horrible - although it is getting better as the years pass. There used to be times when the pollution was so bad that you couldn't see 1/2 mile down the road. I couldn't imagine trying to ride in Manila on a road bike or any other bike for that matter.

    The countryside is much better. The roads are still in poor shape but you have a better chance at survival! The Philippine countryside is quite beautiful.

    I'd ride there with a mountain bike or other hybrid. Don't ride anything you wouldn't consider to be "disposable".

    Enjoy the trip! Filipinos are some of the most friendly people I have ever met!

  4. #4
    Senior Member PhatRoadie's Avatar
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    Check your PMs

  5. #5
    Smooth like Butt'r supreemo1's Avatar
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    I was in the Philippines in May 2004 and the smog situation wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But I still wouldn't ride my bike in any of the downtown areas.. Cycling is a growing sport in the Philippine. There is even a 10-stage "Tour Pilipinas" event held annually. (http://www.mb.com.ph/SPRT2004120623984.html). Have fun and enjoy your trip!

  6. #6
    where's the summer!? cabledonut's Avatar
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    thanks for the replies chaps.

    thanks phatroadie for the pm - i'll send you a reply by pm from my work PC tomorrow.

  7. #7
    Senior Member squeegy200's Avatar
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    I find it interesting as my parents are from the Philippines. My observations are similar to Pilar's regarding urban areas. The metropolitan roadways are definitely not cycle friendly.

    Asphalt is only an option in many parts of the philippines. So slender road tires will likely pucture and/or bend wheels.

    I did go horseback riding and in some of the remote areas, the landscape is absolutely beautiful. I kept thinking how I could get a bike onto those trails.

    Enjoy your visit!

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    Howdy,

    My wife is from the PI. I was there last year for a few weeks. Heading back this year for a vacation. Her brother is on the national team. The earlier posts about riding in Manila are pretty accurate. Cycling is a necessity because of congestion. But be aware that smog regulations are non existent and 2 stroke motorcycles are everywhere. But outside of the city things are a lot nicer for riding. The Tour is an intersting sight. They don't always get the roads clear of traffic in the towns and it can be a challenge for the riders to get through. A good stage to watch is the Baguio to Baguio. Baguio is up in the mountains and the stage is a loop that goes up through the town back down, and up a again. Organized cycling is growing but faces the same corruption issues that much of the PI suffers from. Last year the riders threatened to boycott the Tour because of prize money coming up missing.

    I could go on for a while, but I'd probable get way off topic. Feel free to email me at OrionKhan@aol.com if you want more info. Also, I can give a good feel for threats to westerners from kidnappings, etc.

    Wade

  9. #9
    where's the summer!? cabledonut's Avatar
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    I've recently discovered it's most likely I will be living in Alabang, Muntinlupa City so if anyone knows this area and can offer some insight about it that'd be good. I'm aware it's about 20kms out of Manila itself so maybe the traffic won't be so bad?

  10. #10
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    Born and raised in the PI but only got into cycling when I moved to the US. That being said, DO NOT ride your bike on any major road ourside any gated community as even as a car driver I was wary. Everyone practices offensive driving (not trying to knock my homeland it's just a harsh reality).

    A few friends who are triatheletes pack their bikes and go to Subic (a few hours drive away) to get long, safe rides. I'll try to get a numbe or something if you'r like so you can try and meet up with them.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabledonut
    I've recently discovered it's most likely I will be living in Alabang, Muntinlupa City so if anyone knows this area and can offer some insight about it that'd be good. I'm aware it's about 20kms out of Manila itself so maybe the traffic won't be so bad?
    I believe I saw your post in PCN and hope you were able to get some of your questions answered, if not send me a message or email me. I visited Las Pinas this past Oct/Nov and did some city and mtb riding. After riding 80kms within Manila I was able to figure out the traffic patterns enough to be comfortable on the streets. It's an organized chaos, so there is some predictability. One should be confident or auto/jeepney/bus drivers will be merciless.

    I rode near the Alabang/Muntinlupa area and the traffic is not any less snarled. Fortunately the cycling culture, road and mtb, is very much alive in the country. If you can get in touch with the right people you'll have a great time riding there. I prefer to ride the trails as opposed to the streets because of the congestion and smog, but few of the trails are marked. Make some friends and they will show you the trails. There are also group rides that do 100-150kms rides out to the countryside, so try to hookup with them.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bon_gabs's Avatar
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    great info

    Quote Originally Posted by wcoastbo View Post
    I believe I saw your post in PCN and hope you were able to get some of your questions answered, if not send me a message or email me. I visited Las Pinas this past Oct/Nov and did some city and mtb riding. After riding 80kms within Manila I was able to figure out the traffic patterns enough to be comfortable on the streets. It's an organized chaos, so there is some predictability. One should be confident or auto/jeepney/bus drivers will be merciless.

    I rode near the Alabang/Muntinlupa area and the traffic is not any less snarled. Fortunately the cycling culture, road and mtb, is very much alive in the country. If you can get in touch with the right people you'll have a great time riding there. I prefer to ride the trails as opposed to the streets because of the congestion and smog, but few of the trails are marked. Make some friends and they will show you the trails. There are also group rides that do 100-150kms rides out to the countryside, so try to hookup with them.

  13. #13
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    I was just in the Philippines in January/February of this year and it was an awesome experience. I'm half Filipino and visited there for the first time and would love to go back. Now as far as cycling goes it definitely wouldn't be safe to ride within the city. If you've never been there the first thing you will be in awe at is the way the driving is. People cutting each other off constantly and you'll be in fear that someone is gonna hit someone else or you, and this is in a car. Not to mention the air quality there is horrendous, just driving with the windows open your inhaling tons of exhaust.

    Where i stayed during my trip it was a gated community so there weren't many cars to deal with. I saw a few cyclists and joggers early in the morning. Within the community it would be perfectly safe regarding cars, but your still breathing in all of the bad air. I'm sure if you actively research cycling groups when your there you will find a club or group ride that can show you some hidden gems of roads where not many people go. I was only there for a three weeks, went to Manila/Quezon City, Dumaguete City, Siquijor, Cebu, and Boracay.

    Hopefully you will be able to ride. Have fun and enjoy your stay there. Hospitality is amazing and so are the people. Not to mention how beautiful the country. Good luck.
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  14. #14
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    Maybe The Circle in Quezon City is still alive and kickin' for cyclists. If you don't mind going around in circles in a 1 km circumference. I used to go there with my cycling buddies way back then when I was 11 until I left for the U.S. at 14. I didn't get a chance to check it out when I went home for the first time in 2000 and again in 2007. Basically people go there to race. I wouldn't recommend biking around the city with that kind of traffic.

  15. #15
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    Over the Christmas holiday I did a wonderful 8-day bike ride from Manila-Pampanga-Olongapo-Zimbales-Illocos Sur-Baguio-pampanga. I am now thinking about going over the Spring break from Manila to Batangas, then across to Mindoro and and a ferry to Boracay. Has anyone road around Mindoro. If so, any tips? How are the roads?

  16. #16
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    To answer some of the previous questions I moved here 6 months ago and have been riding quite a bit. Sundays are fine all around Manila, but other days can be a bit harrowing. There is a great ride from Alabong to Taguytuy that hundreds of people do every weekend. I have seen many clubs, racing teams, and individuals like myself. Getting out of Manila sucks, but then the roads are not bad.

    Within the best bet is to get into some of the large neighborhood complexes. I have found a good 6k loop through Dasmarians and Forbestown in Makati/Global City area. A lot of people do the rides around High Street in G-City and Mall of Asia in Pasya...boring...but doable.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bobsled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travbound View Post
    Has anyone road around Mindoro. If so, any tips? How are the roads?
    Isn't Mindoro where all the unrests happens?
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  18. #18
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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    Cycling in a third-world nation is pretty much a bad idea. Bad roads, bad drivers, high crime...might as well wear a jersey that says "I am a rich person who can afford this expensive bike and silly clothes". My ORM bells are ringing loudly. Probably not worth the risk.
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  19. #19
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    RBA had an article in the most recent Feb '12 issue about Corporate bike races in the Philippines. They do it for PR and a good time. Looks like a lot of money goes into organizing the events.

  20. #20
    The "Mechanic" giantdefy's Avatar
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    My last visit to Manila 2009.


    P1020318 by giantdefy

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  21. #21
    Senior Member nismosr's Avatar
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    cabledonut - check this website

    cebucycling.com

    there's a couple a good bike shop aroung Alabang close to alabang town center.
    they do a lot of crit racing around alabang during the early mornings. if you get a chance to travel .. I suggest going to cebu, they also have a huge cycling community down there.
    they have tour of clark, tour of matambukay races. bring your bike and enjoy the ride.

  22. #22
    Senior Member nismosr's Avatar
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    here's the info
    2012 Pilipinas Cycling League Race Calendar (Source: PCL FB Page)

    Feb 19 - Criterium - ASEANA
    March 18 - ITT & TTT - Daanghari - this is one is by alabang where you will be staying.
    April 22 - Funride - Tagayaty
    May 19-20 - ITT & Road Race - Tagaytay
    August 19 - Criterium - QC Circle
    September 22-23 - Tour of Clark
    October 14 - Criterium - ASEANA
    November 17-18 - Tour of Clark/SCTEX
    December - Qc-Baguio via Marcos Highway(elite); Dagupan-Baguio via Marcos Highway(executive)

  23. #23
    Senior Member nismosr's Avatar
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    some pictures


    [IMG]http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/zz261/liciniasee/DSC_3694.jpg
    [/IMG]




  24. #24
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    I remember seeing a bunch of people in Manila on Colnago's. O_O

    The rich (who are very rich) usually buy some ballin things and can get tired of them quick, so be on the look out for deals.

    Other than that, I would NEVER want to road bike in the Philippines (especially Manila) without a group of people and a sag car blocking the traffic behind me.

    My advice, get rollers.

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    I grew up in the PI, and let me just quote this:

    Other than that, I would NEVER want to road bike in the Philippines (especially Manila) without a group of people and a sag car blocking the traffic behind me.
    Listen to him.

    There has been a sharp rise in the number of motorcycle owners too in the past 10 years. The Cyclist's place on the roads of Metro Manila has gotten smaller in the past decade. Just to be on the safe side go find a place on the countryside (tons of great places recommended here).

    Else, it's playing Russian roulette with anyone from a motorcycle to a bus. A game which you wouldn't want to play if you want to live longer.

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