Corregidor, an island at the entrance of Manila Bay, mostly attracts history buffs. Known as “The Rock” because of its rocky landscape and the heavy fortifications, this historic island is a great destination for bikers as well. Traversing the island’s well-paved roads and jungle trails on board a bicycle and getting to visit the different ruins and landmarks offers a totally different experience from the usual day trip tour on board a tranvia.
I’ve had the opportunity to try biking both on just a day trip and staying overnight with bikes on the island. Though Corregidor is relatively small, the elevation, views and historic significance make the place a bucketlist worthy destination for bikers. For a more experiential account of our trips, check out Outside Slacker’s posts: Biking in Corregidor and Night Ride in Corregidor. But for bikers who just want to know the basics to plan their own trip, here are a few tips and some useful information.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Take the Sun Cruises ferry from Manila to Corregidor. The ferry terminal was previously located at the back of the Folk Arts Theatre at the CCP Complex Roxas Blvd., Pasay City. Sun Cruises’ terminal is located at the Esplanade, Seaside Terminal of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex. There’s only one trip daily to and from the island. You need to make reservations beforehand to ensure you have seats on the ferry. Bikes are kept on the upper deck on bike racks.
DAILY FERRY SCHEDULE: (Note: cut off for boarding is 30 minutes before departure)
- Check-in at Terminal: 7:00 am
- Boarding: 7:30 am
- ETD Manila: 8:00 am
- ETA Corregidor: 9:15 am
- ETD Corregidor: 2:30 pm
- ETA Manila: 3:45 pm
WHAT TO BRING:
Starting January 2018, you will be able to rent Bamboo Bikes in Corregidor Island for P300/hour. It’s cheaper if you bring your own bikes though. Bring your bike helmet, water bottle or hydration pack, energy bars, shades, sunscreen, arm sleeves and biking gloves for the day tour biking. For night rides, bring bike lights & flashlights as most streets don’t have streetlights.
GETTING A GUIDE:
When cycling groups are too big, they are assigned different guides (usually on board a bicycle, ATV or motorcycle) who take bikers through the different parts of the island. The biking guides are necessary for first-time visitors to the island and to ensure that rules are followed. The good thing about having a guide is that they can share trivia about the different spots, call for assistance in case a support vehicle is needed, and can take your souvenir photos for you! If you’re staying longer, you can also bike around on your own during your free time without a guide.
WHERE TO GO:
Corregidor is divided into four major sections (Topside, Middleside, Bottomside and Tailside) each with their own unique points of interest and vantage points. The tadpole-shaped island is about 6.5 km (4.0 mi) long, about 2.0 km (1.2 mi) wide at its widest with a total land area of about 900 hectares (2,200 acres). The highest elevation is at 180 m (590 ft) on the Topside. [MAP OF BIKING TRAIL]
Corregidor has several biking trails that wind through the island and emerge in historic spots. Those on road bikes and folding bikes will have to stick to the paved roads while mountain bikers can opt for the jungle trails. According to the biking guides, they are currently developing more biking trails in the area. Some of these roads are really steep, especially the coastal road from the beach area leading to the Japanese Garden and Filipino Memorial.
If you’re going on a day trip, you have less than five hours to go around the island, since you arrive at around 9:00 am and have to be back on the ferry by 2:00 pm. Subtract an hour or more loading and unloading of bikes, orientation and lunch, and that’s only about 4 hours worth of biking. This was what we did during our first trip (May 2013). While it was a great experience, we all felt that bitin siya. This also meant biking during the hottest part of the day.
Bong, Dolly, Glenn, Me & Outside Slacker
Day Tour Route Itinerary: Port, McArthur Statue, Malinta Tunnel, Filipino Heroes Memorial, Japanese Memorial Garden, Kindley Airfield, Beach Resort Complex, Lunch at Corregidor Inn, Middleside Barracks, Hospital, Milelong Barracks, Different Military Installations, Cine Corregidor, Pacific War Memorial, Eternal Flame Monument and the Spanish Lighthouse.
On our second biking trip (June 2015), we stayed overnight. The great thing about staying overnight is that you can resume biking in the afternoon without a guide when it’s not so hot, go on a night ride around the ruins and Malinta Tunnel, and ride some more in the morning so that you can cover more ground at a leisurely pace.
Day 1 morning: Jungle trails, Middleside barracks, Battery Way, Battery Grubbs, Battery Hearn, Hospital, Milelong Barracks, Different Military Installations, Cine Corregidor, Pacific War Memorial, Eternal Flame Monument, Spanish Lighthouse, Malinta Tunnel, Lunch at Corregidor Inn, Check-in at hotel (2:30 pm)
Day 2 morning (DIY): Port, Beach Resort Complex, North & South Beach, trail overlooking beaches, coastal road to Malinta lateral tunnel entrance; lunch at Corregidor Inn (check-out is 12NN)
BIKER’S PACKAGE RATES & INCLUSIONS: (as of Jan. 2017*)
- P2,000/person inclusive of:
- Roundtrip ferry transfers
- Island entrance fee
- Bike Cargo Fee
- Guided Biking Experience (Road Bike/Jungle Trail)
- Buffet Lunch
- For those renting Bamboo Bicycles, it costs P300/hour.
WHERE TO STAY & EAT:
Most visitors stay and eat at Corregidor Inn, a 31-bedroom hotel with its own restaurant. Rooms cost P1,500-P2,000/night. La Playa Restaurant at Corregidor Inn serves buffet lunch (includes welcome drink, DIY salad bar, soup, seafood paella rice, pasta, 2 meat dishes, dessert, fresh fruits) for P480/person during weekdays and P520/person during weekends.
For those who want more budget-friendly options compared to the hotel, there’s also the option to camp out on the island. You can pitch a tent at the South Beach area under the trees and bring your own food. There are public restrooms nearby as well as a carinderia with cheaper food options. Tent rentals are also available for P500/tent. (See Travel Guide: Corregidor for more details)
- Drinks aren’t cheap on the ferry or on the island. A bottle of juice or can of softdrinks costs P40 while beer costs P80/can at the hotel. Bring your own drinks or buy from the sari-sari stores instead of the hotel.
- It helps to have a hydration pack so you can bring more water with you.
- Drinks are sold in several areas where souvenir stalls are located, including the Japanese Memorial Garden, The Spanish Lighthouse and stores near the beaches and port.
- There are water dispensers at Corregidor Inn where you can refill your water bottle or hydration pack when you stop for lunch.
- It’s pretty hard to bike while carrying a bulky SLR. It’s better to bring a smaller and tougher compact point and shoot camera, use your smartphone, or take video with a bike-mounted GoPro.
- If you are bringing your bikes on a car, have your parking ticket validated at the ticketing counter to get a discount on parking, especially if you’re parking overnight. (We paid P50 instead of P300 for overnight parking)
ADDRESS & CONTACT DETAILS:
Sun Cruises Corregidor Reservations Office
Esplanade Seaside Terminal, Esplanade Seaside Park (Seaside Blvd., MOA Complex), Pasay, Pasay City, Philippines [MAP OF TERMINAL]