Just Ride

There’s always this strange mix of uncertainty and purpose whenever I ride. I may be at the mercy of the elements and of the terrain, but I am still in control of my fate. I come to a fork in the road and it’s always my decision where to go. If a path scares me, I can either turn back or go forward. There are no boundaries except my own limitations.motorcycle marilaque road

Whenever I travel by bus, train, jeep or plane, there are always barriers. Someone else is behind the wheel and I’m just a passenger like everybody else. I look out the window and watch the world go by. I don’t really feel invested in the journey. Most of the time, I just sleep. But the feeling of driving a motorcycle is different. It’s just me, my motorcycle, and the open road.

I started this blog four years ago, when I got seriously bitten by the travel bug. My first entry here is dated March 2011. Yet since then, it seems like I’ve accumulated more than a decade of travel memories, many of which have yet to be written. It was also in March 2011 when I decided to buy a scooter and learn to drive one myself after years of riding pillion. My Yamaha Mio Fino is named Chocobo, after a character in the role-playing video game series Final Fantasy. I got inspired to travel because of video games and consider travel as a way to earn EXP points in real life.

motorcycle batanes lighthouse travelup

Riding around Batanes

In the game, chocobos are bird-like creatures that the heroes ride to get from one town to the next faster. The creatures can get to areas that characters previously couldn’t go to on foot, giving access to new destinations like secret dungeons or new towns with lots of treasure along the way.

motorcycle pagsanjan arch travelup

Photo op at Pagsanjan Arch after riding to San Pablo, Laguna

An apt name, since Chocobo has been my faithful steed for weekend rides, helping me discover new sites in familiar places that I would have probably overlooked or never even stopped at if I had been traveling by any other transport. On Chocobo, I’ve found some beautiful places seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Waterfalls, quaint cafes in mountainside towns, historic churches, windmills, and even a castle in the sky. And because of Chocobo, I’ve made new friends while on the road.

motorcycle fantasy land batangas travelup

A castle in the sky in Batangas

Compared to big bikes, cruisers or sports bikes, my retro scooter may not look like much, but he’s fast. Chocobo has always allowed me to ride like the wind and with him, I feel like I can overcome any adversary. Short weekend rides to the mountains of Sierra Madre can help me clear the cobwebs and daily grind of the week. I can disconnect, ride away, and feel like a real-life warrior on a quest for adventure.

jariels peak infanta quezon paved road

On the way back from Infanta, Quezon

Whenever I travel for work or personal trips, I try to find a way to ride by renting or borrowing a motorbike in different destinations, though I don’t always get a chance to do that when I’m traveling with a group. I don’t mind traveling with other people, but in the game of my life, I’ve always preferred one-player (or two-player coop games) to multi-player. Even in the midst of large group trips, I crave for that alone time. Which is what makes riding so appealing to me.

07. naga-legazpi motorcycle ride viewdeck tiwi-sangay roadView point near the border between Camarines Sur and Albay

siquijor motorcycling travelup

Solo ride around Siquijor

calayan babuyan islands motorcyle travelup

Riding around Calayan Island in Babuyan Islands

siargao motorbike travelup

First time to drive a semi-automatic during a solo ride in Siargao

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Ride to Red Rock Falls near Dumaguete

When I look back at the places I’ve ridden around the country, I recall experiences like they just happened yesterday.

That gripping sense of fear and excitement while driving between a strip of concrete with soaring cliffs on either side to catch the sunset over the rolling hills in Batanes.

motorcycle batanes vayang rolling hills

Solo ride in Batanes

The refreshing taste of ice-cold halo-halo topped with grated cheese in a small town in Albay after riding under the searing heat.

The surreal stillness of the forest as I stood alone beneath a tunnel of trees lining a winding road in the mystic island of Siquijor.

siquijor salogdoong forestA heartfelt conversation with a local I met in the town cemetery while scooting around Calayan in Babuyan Islands.

The sight of giraffes and zebras roaming free in a safari park after hours of riding a motorbike from Coron town proper to Calauit over demented dirt roads.

motorcycle calauit dirt road

En route to Calauit Safari Park from Coron

Being welcomed in the home of a tribal woman in Lake Sebu and seeing firsthand how she wove beautiful T’nalak textiles out of abaca threads.

The rays of the sun streaming through the clouds in the horizon as we made our way from foggy mountain roads of Bontoc to Sagada.

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Stopover from Bontoc-Banaue-Sagada ride

Beyond the journey and the thrill of the ride itself, these are the treasured moments I have from trips. For me, travel isn’t just about stepping foot in a place just to say you’ve been there. It’s not about ticking destinations off a bucket list or who gets to visit all the provinces of the Philippines the fastest way possible.

imnajbu road cliffs batanes motorcycle

Travel is a personal journey. It’s about savoring the experience. Being one with nature. Finding what’s unique and what’s beautiful in each destination. Immersing with the locals. Making new friends. Going out of your comfort zone. Finding your own path. Not relying on what has been previously written on what you should do in a place but finding out for yourself, what you can do.

Riding has really fueled my love for travel. Wandering solo on a motorcycle always reminds me that I’m alive. That the world is beautiful. And that there’s much more to live for.

wrangler philippines kara santos travel up motorcycle true wanderer

Do you have the same love for travel and motorcycling? Check out Wrangler’s True Wanderer Site and you could go on a journey of a lifetime.

9 thoughts on “Just Ride

  1. That is the essence of motorcycle for me too, a good way to experience nature in a solitary way, without having to walk! It says a lot about Phillipines too that you are able to solo travel safely. Some beautiful pics. Enjoy!

    • Hi Patrick. Thanks for the comment. Yes, some parts of the Philippines get a bad rep, but I’m glad to be able to show the beauty of different destinations to both local and foreign tourists. Hope you get to visit the Philippines soon 🙂

  2. You did a good job in showing some of the most beautiful places in the philippines. You show different brands and types of motorcycle. It only shows that its now about the ride but It’s about the place and adventure. I wish I can join you on your rides someday. keep it up 🙂

  3. Well dear Kara,
    Good day and hello. I share every bit of your enthusiasm and taste
    Of feeling free to roam the vast Pilipino expanses away from metro Manila. It is now the third bike I own and ride from my base in Antipolo Rizal a humble commuter, Rouser 220Dtsi fitted out for touring like one would do with larger bikes in Europe, and I enjoy every bit of every trip whatever the road conditions or weather.
    Now it looks like you inspire me very much to broaden my next road going experiences in coming February 2016 and I kindly thank you for that friendly sharing spirit of your’s.
    So from wintery Belgium back to the Phils, the sole thought of good times again in “the Islas de luz” (first name of your Philippines) make my heart beat faster already.
    Who knows we may cross paths one day. Take great care and may God Bless your explorational adventures.

  4. good day

    grabe ingit n ingit ako sayo kahit girl nagawa mo ung mga gusto ko gawin.. solo ride
    pa astig talaga.. gusto ko ung name ng scooter mo chocobo “Final Fantasy” hahaha fanatic ka din astig talaga.. sana pag laguna loop ride ka pasabit naman ako..

    ingatz po lagi sa ride.. astig talaga.. nice ride..

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