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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
View point near the border between Camarines Sur and Albay
Solo ride around Siquijor
Riding around Calayan Island in Babuyan Islands
First time to drive a semi-automatic during a solo ride in Siargao
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.