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Thrills on Two Wheels

The bucket list of MTB trails within Metro Manila and in the Philippines that you’ve got to ride, according to MTB enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies.

LA MESA DAM, Quezon City 

(recommended by Jose Leal)

La Mesa Dam

A must-try because: 

I visited this trail once a few years back, and enjoyed it a lot. It’s not as hilly as Timberland, but it has a combination of single-track and open roads. 

Challenges: 

Unless you go there often or ride with friends familiar with the trails, you need to hire a guide to ride with you.

 

HEROES BIKE TRAIL, Taguig

(recommended by Ige Lopez)

A must-try because: 

It’s the ideal 3-4 km loop filled with twists and turns near the metro. Perfect for those who don’t want to travel far but still get on a quality ride.

Challenges: 

The twists and turns will elevate your heart rate (HR) quickly.

 

FILINVEST TRAILS, Alabang, Muntinlupa

(recommended by Anna Mapua)

Filinvest Bike Trails

 

A must-try because: 

Filinvest trail is a relatively safe 7-km trail ranging from basic to more challenging technical routes. It’s a good training ground for newbie mountain bikers before they take on the challenging trails of Timberland in San Mateo.

Challenges:

Filinvest trail can put to the test the bike-handling skills of experienced mountain bikers. There’s a section called the “Log Stairs.” I fell off my bike on my first attempt but with the proper guidance of Coach Donjie Dormitorio, I was able to bike down the Log Stairs perfectly.

NUVALI, Santa Rosa, Laguna 

A must-try because: 

There a lot of single-track roads and you can move from one trail to another easily. —Jose Leal

You can find several trails around there, depending on difficulty. —Ige Lopez

Challenges:

Even though there are hills, they are not really long or too challenging. —Jose Leal

Rolling terrain where you can test and find the ideal gear ratio for a quality ride. —Ige Lopez

 

TIMBERLAND, San Mateo, Rizal

A must-try because: 

It has a very varied terrain. They have added bumps in certain areas, and new challenges to the trails. It’s the venue of what I feel is one of the best MTB races in the country, the King of the Mountain. Edmund Mangaser has done an amazing job with the trails.  —Jose Leal

Timberland has lots of elevation, downhills and very technical terrain to test your skills. This is for intermediate riders. —Ige Lopez

Challenges:

It’s very hilly if you start from the bottom, so be prepared to suffer.

It can get very muddy when it rains, which is not necessarily a bad thing, since it forces you to work on new skills. —Jose Leal

Go for the “Blue Zone“ and the “wall” that starts from the bottom of Timberland. —Ige Lopez

 

BASEKAMP BIKERS PIT STOP, PINTONG BUKAWE, San Mateo, Rizal 

(recommended by TJ Isla)

A must try because: 

Practice your XC, Enduro and downhill skills on the properly maintained bike trails, berms and jumps. Recover after the day ride with meals and beers at the store for that proper recovery.

Challenges: 

Riders of all levels will enjoy the Basekamp trails. You can get a lung-busting workout if you’re training for a race, doing laps of the trail circuit with combination of uphill/twisty singletracks, fast downhills with berms and all-around trails with a feel of nature just near the city. You can advance and practice enduro and jumping skills with help from other riders.

Know Before You Go:

Camp out for the weekend for that trail getaway. Tents can be rented on-site and the store packs up all you need.

 

CORREGIDOR ISLAND 

(recommended by Anna Mapua)

Corregidor

A must-try because: Sunday Biking at Corregidor” by Sun Cruises (Seaside Terminal, Sunrise Blvd., SM Mall of Asia Complex) is a whole-day guided tour of Corregidor using your MTB. It’s fun and relaxing mountainbiking around the island that will take you through moments of Philippine history. It’s Great for photo-ops because of its scenic backgrounds. The tour package also includes buffet lunch and a round-trip ferry transfer.

Challenges: 

It can get hot. Be sure to bring enough water and sunblock. Reserve early when Sun Cruises offers a promo. (Visit https://www.facebook.com/CorregidorPH/ )

 

MT. UGO TRAVERSE FROM KAYAPA, NUEVA VIZCAYA TO TINONGDAN, ITOGON, BENGUET 

(recommended by Aldean Philip Lim)

A must-try because: 

If you love climbing, this is your trail. You’ll go through mossy forests, pine forests, and traverse a trail that’s 2,150 meters above sea level with very beautiful views.

Challenges: The first 8 km is all climbing so prepare your climbing legs. The downhill from Mt. Ugo peak is really dangerous and not for newbie riders. Be careful with the pine needles on the trail; they can be very slippery when wet.

Know before you go:

Take a bus or car to Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya via Baguio. Start your ride in Kayapa and climb the trail to Mt. Ugo via Ansipsip, Indupit, Bundao, Domolpos Village.

 

CORDILLERA MOUNTAINS IN BENGUET & LA TRINIDAD 

(recommended by TJ Isla)

cordillera

A must-try because: 

The Cordillera mountain range is literally bike heaven.

It’s an epic ride and adventure of a lifetime as you climb up and ride down the mountains with breathtaking, stunning landscapes—rice terraces, cascading rivers/streams, mountain peaks and valleys, awesome sunrise and sunsets.

TJ Isla, on cycling in the Cordillera

You’ll find peace on two wheels in the Cordillera, on all kinds of trails, fire roads, singletrack dirt, rocky downhill cliff, ridgeline climbing, and village roads in remote barangays. You’ll find yourself lost but at the same time, at home with the simple mountain culture.

Challenges: With elevation levels at 1,500-2,000 meters above sea level, the altitude and weather can be unforgiving and should be considered in training. The weather is extreme, from

hot to cold and vice-versa. Proper planning/preparation is key, aside from training. You must be comfortable with long climbs and long descents. Don’t forget to stop, smell the flowers, and just take it all in.

Know Before You Go: 

From Baguio, it’s less than one hour away from the jumpoff point of Halsema Highway (highest mountain trail/national highway in the Philippines). Start in Tublay in Benguet or in La Trinidad. Begin along the highway before turning into the endless mountain and pine forest trails. Contact the mountain guides at www.cordilleraconservationtrust.ph for an epic MTB ride itinerary.

 

MT. MAYON, CAGSAWA RUINS, Daraga, Albay 

(recommended by TJ Isla)

Cagsawa

A must-try because: 

What better reason than to ride on and around an active volcano, onto the lava trails with the majestic Mayon as a backdrop? The trails and terrain are out of this world. It’s like riding off-road on the moon’s crater amidst a lush forest, river streams, deep into the 6-km danger zone. You’ll be riding in awe of this world wonder while thinking of the

devastation nature can also bring. It’s a one of a kind experience on two wheels.

Challenges: 

With it’s varying and unique landscape and terrain, the Mayon trail is both for the extreme and recreational rider who’s looking for wild ride. The trail is mostly lava rocks and sand, so MTB skills will come in handy. The trail goes from the ruins and deep into the forest, for a combination of rocks, singletracks, fire road, and village roads.

Know Before You Go: From Manila, take a plane, bus, or private transport to Legazpi, Albay.

Hire a van and make your way to the Cagsawa Ruins jumpoff point in Daraga. Get friendly with the Bicol Adventure ATV so they can recommend a guide for that day.

GUIMARAS TRAILS

(recommended by Aldean Philip Lim)

Guimaras

A must-try because: 

Guimaras is mountain biking heaven.  Every weekend, hundreds of Ilonggo mountain bikers flock the beautiful island for its rolling singletrack, fireroad and technical trails. Plus, there are two bike parks in Guimaras. You can choose from over a hundred kilometers of connecting trails from around the island. Guimaras has been a known venue for mountainbiking events such as downhill, enduro, cross-country, and 4x races.

Challenges: 

Guimaras has two bike parks. Trails are interconnected around the island. As you cycle on the singletracks and cross rivers, you’ll come across mango farms and nice beaches that can even be a destination by itself and where

you can dip after cycling. Check out Alubihod Beach, Tatlong Pulo Beach, and Pulang Pasayan Beach.

Know Before You Go: 

Fly in to Iloilo. Proceed to Ortiz or Fort San Pedro Port to catch a pumpboat to Guimaras, which is only a 15-minute boat ride for Php15.

Find a local mountainbiker in Iloilo around the bikeshops. Go to Value Shop Bikes and look for Jimmy Ng. He knows all the local trails in Guimaras. It’s just in front of St. Clements Church in La Paz, Iloilo City. Or you may call Jimmy at (033) 329 1539.


Photos courtesy of Jose Leal, Ige Lopez, Anna Mapua,  TJ Isla, Aldean Lim

 

 




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