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Rich in natural beauty, the Philippines is a country studded with magnificent views. From the mountains of The Cordilleras to the shores of Palawan, it delivers breathtaking sights that cyclists will love. Here are the best places in the country for a visit on your two-wheeler.
For cyclists up for the challenge of steep and sloping trails, the town of Sagada in the Mountain Province should be at the top of the list. Not to be underestimated, cycling within the Cordillera Mountains naturally calls for a sturdy mountain bike. Popular trails in the area include Kiltepan and Marlboro Country. Traversing these uphill routes at the right times rewards visitors with surreal views of the sunrise within a sea of clouds. If more relaxed cycling is desired, however, slow riding around town and rice paddies still gives gorgeous views of surrounding mountains. The town’s activities and attractions shouldn’t be missed either. Cyclists can make a side trip to the famous Hanging Coffins of Sagada or take a bike-break for a day of spelunking in Sumaging Cave. Be warned, however, that due to its high elevation, the climate in Sagada, and the Mountain Province in general, is much cooler than the rest of the country. So come prepared for colder, and possibly foggy, early morning rides.
Usually raved about by divers for its rich marine life and by beach-lovers for its pristine islands, Palawan is rarely recognised as the cyclist’s paradise that it undoubtedly is. The main island of Palawan is one long, narrow stretch of land. With the the capital city, Puerto Princesa, at the center of the island, travellers begin here and venture much further up north, normally to the popular tourist destinations of El Nido and Coron. But what many have yet to discover are the places in between. This is good for cyclists since these areas, such as Sabang, Roxas, and San Vicente, aren’t as heavy on the traffic, vehicle- and people-wise. Cyclists are best taking on these long-haul journeys from Puerto Princesa, northward, making multiple stops along the way, to truly appreciate the beauty of Palawan. Because of the island’s shape, cyclists will never stray far from the coast. This means that there will always be nearby sea-side accommodation to spend the night and beautiful beaches close by for some tropical R&R.
For an array of trail options, Cebu is the way to go. More than just their world-famous Cebu Lechon, the island province offers city, beach, and mountain trails. For a fairly short, decent challenge, Tops Lookout in Busay is a popular tourist attraction and a near-center, weekend getaway for locals. Cyclists can enjoy a beautiful view of Cebu City and its surrounding islands upon reaching the top. For a route ending in sandy, sea-breezy goodness, the province has the coastal town of Moalboal where, after a good ride around the town or its mountain trails, cyclists have numerous stunning beaches at their disposal. For more intense trails, the northern part of the province also houses a popular trio: the Mountain Goat, The Big Loop, and Dutch Connection trails.
Luckily for cyclists taking on Cebu, just a quick ferry ride away is the island province of Bohol. Here, they can, not only ride through scenic trails, but also make pitstops at the island’s most well-known tourist attractions. 10km from the city of Tagbilaran is the municipality of Corella, which is home to the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary. Here, visitors are allowed a closer look at one of the world’s smallest primates in its natural habitat. Another route from Tagbilaran goes through a beautiful man-made forest and ends in picturesque Chocolate Hills.
A cyclist’s favorite in this island province is the route from Calapan to Puerto Galera. This paved, winding route seems to offer every desired view imaginable, from shimmery coastlines to volcanoes and lush mountains. Cyclists can also enjoy many refreshing nature stops along the way in places like Infinity Farm, Tukuran Falls, and Tamaraw Falls. And at the end of the long journey, the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve-declared town of Puerto Galera awaits with beautiful beaches and flourishing coral reefs.
The Philippines is abundant in natural trails. But for a taste of something different, cyclists can take a step back in time with a trip to the island of Corregidor. Because of its strategic location at the gate of Manila Bay, Corregidor was a crucial fortress of defense used to protect the city of Manila. Due to this, it carries centuries of history that are still visible in its sites and ruins. The island is best for leisurely cycling and stopping at the various landmarks for tales of the past. An overnight stay is recommended to be able to see and do everything it has to offer. For bike enthusiasts who also happen to be history buffs, this cycling destination should not be missed.
Cyclists shouldn’t come to Batanes for technically difficult trails. Instead, what this small island province at the northernmost tip of the country rewards visitors with, are truly spectacular landscapes that can’t be found in any other part of the Philippines. The green rolling hills and high cliffs overlook views many compare to springtime in countries like Scotland and New Zealand. Cyclists should allot ample time for cycling North Batan, South Batan, and Sabtang Island because each one is truly worth the trip. The difficulty of reaching this island province brought by its remoteness and unpredictable weather is all made worth it by the lovely locals – sworn by visitors as being among the nicest in the country – and sights that are nothing short of spectacular.