The province of Isabela in the Cagayan Valley is usually overlooked as a tourist destination. While it’s second largest province of the Philippines and the largest in Luzon in terms of land area, not many tourists would go out of their way to spend a vacation here.
The island province of Bohol is one of the most popular and tourist-friendly destinations in the Philippines. This small island is packed with beautiful white beaches, stunning landscape filled with exotic animals and different fun adventures and activities. I’ve been to Bohol several times for family vacations, work and personal trips. As a solo traveler, I enjoyed motorcycling around Bohol to visit the various sites last year.
If you’ve ever played an RPG, you know that sometimes you just have to go back to a place you’ve already visited because you missed something very important. Maybe your skill level wasn’t enough yet to handle the obstacles or maybe the time just wasn’t right to visit a certain destination. Or maybe you just like the place so much that you want to visit it again. That’s the case for me with Daraitan, the scenic village nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges between Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon.
I encounter a lot of rough roads when I travel around in different provinces. Over the years, I’ve had a few spills while driving a motorcycle. In Sagada, I fell off an embankment when my tires skidded on loose gravel on a slippery wooden bridge. When we rode from Coron to Calauit Safari Park, we encountered dirt roads that got progressively worse as we drove on. While driving from Koronadal to Lake Holon in South Cotabato, I got stuck in a rut and the bike fell on me while I was trying to drive uphill a trail normally reserved for hikers.
For riders, cyclists and road trippers clocking in the miles, meals on the road often just consist of quick stops at fast food joints or meet-ups at gas station convenience stores before heading out. Most riders would be satisfied with cup noodles or hot coffee to warm up along the way. A few years ago, this was pretty much all there was along the Marilaque route (also known as Marikina-Infanta or Marcos Highway), the scenic twisting road traversing Marikina, Rizal, Laguna all the way to Infanta, Quezon.
During weekend rides, I’ve noticed a lot of new places to eat and a lot of other establishments being built along the route. Below is a growing list of old favorites and new places where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view along Marilaque. Manila East Road (specially in towns overlooking Laguna de Bay) also has a lot of interesting dining places that makes it great for road trips.
Masungi Georeserve, a conservation area and karst rock garden hidden in the rainforests of Rizal, aims to protect the natural landscape through sustainable and responsible tourism. Since they opened to the public about a year ago, they’ve become a much sought-after weekend destination for those based in the metro. The Discovery Trail has visitors passing through caves, rope courses, hanging bridges, relaxing on a giant hammock and getting stunning views from a spiderweb-like viewdeck.
Updated May 2017
A revolution is definitely brewing in the craft beer scene here in the Philippines. It seems that in the past few years, there’s been a boom in local microbreweries. According to the Philippine Craft Beer Community as of 2017, there are now 36 local breweries: 12 Craft Brewpubs and 24 Nano / Microbreweries with over 200+ Craft Beer Styles in the Philippines. (Whew. It’s getting hard to keep track of all these beers and keep this post updated!)
While guzzling down 99 bottles of beer for a self-imposed sidequest, I was glad to come across some great craft beers which are brewed right here in the country. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast or you want to try something new, here are some homegrown microbreweries and beers that you should look out for when you travel around the Philippines.
If you’re on a road trip in the Bicol region and looking for a place to stay in Sorsogon City, Siama Hotel, a charming nature-inspired boutique hotel, is a great option. This hidden gem celebrates the beauty of Bicol’s natural materials in a contemporary artistic setting. Prior to my visit, I had already seen various photos of Siama Hotel online and was intrigued by the place. During a summer visit to Naga City, I convinced my parents to take a road trip to Sorsogon for a quick family vacation.
The more I travel, the more my bucket list grows. I tick off one place only to add two more. There’s just so much to see in the world, and so little time. But before I explore outside the country, I want to see as much of the Philippines as possible.
Motorcycles have distinct personalities. Stock underbones and scooters are your dependable workhorses, the best when it comes to the daily grind. Except for a few high-end brands, most are pretty average-looking. Everyone has them. They blend in with the crowd and they get the job done, especially when it comes to snaking through the city’s gridlock. Custom bikes have a bit more character.