|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||26 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||Jan 5; Feb 2; Mar 2, 2014|
|Start city:||Manila, Philippines|
|End city:||Manila, Philippines|
The Philippines is an overlooked treasure of Southeast Asia, but that's due to its remoteness, not for lack of natural gems that range from coral-fringed islands, palm lined white-sand beaches to hot springs and majestic volcanoes.
Consisting of more than 7,000 islands between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, it would take you years to visit all that the Philippines has to offer, but for some highlights we take you mountain biking on trails that run up and down the base of volcanoes on the main island of Luzon.
We start in Manila, head down to Carmines Sur and then to Bicol where we end by swimming with the whale sharks off Donsol. Named after Crown Prince Philip II of Spain, the Philippines is considered Asia's largest Catholic country. But even before the Spanish arrived the Filipinos were a mixture of foreign influences and continue to be a fusion of cultures that has led to the uniqueness of the Filipino identity. The Filipinos themselves are exuberant, fun loving and easygoing people and the fact that most speak English makes it easy to communicate.
To avoid the jeepneys, tricycles and the pedicabs that haphazardly ply the roads of the Philippines we'll be staying off road and riding trails that are popular with locals. We'll start with the Santa Rosa trail that will take us to the Tagaytay Highlands. The next day we'll have a fun descent to Taal Lake and a ride around the island. Then it's off to some more technical trails around San Pablo, with the advantage of soaking in hot springs at the end of the ride. Next we head to the historical town of Lucban and for a scenic ride.
In Carmines Sur we'll hit two very popular trails that will test your off road skills before heading to the trails along the base of Mt. Mayon. A highlight of the tour will be the chance to snorkel with the whale sharks. These gentle giants are a slow-moving filter feeding shark and can grow up to 18 m long. Why they gather near the shores of Donsol is still unknown, but it is a rare opportunity to observe these huge blue-grey, silver spotted creatures up close.
We limit the packing/unpacking you need to do by staying two nights at most of our overnights, which range from an eco lodge, to a hot spring resort, to bungalows at a water park resort.
Learn more about guided tours.
Day 1: Manila
We'll meet you at your centrally located hotel for an afternoon walking tour of the historic old quarter of Intramuros. The construction of this walled district was started by the Spanish in 1571 by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. The fortress walls are 6 metres high and are 3 km in length. After our tour we'll have a trip meeting at dinner. Meals: D.
Overnight at White Knight Intramuros in Manila.
Day 2: Manila – Tagaytay (28 miles/45 km)
We'll have an early breakfast and leave the hotel ready to ride. After a transfer of about an hour we'll be ready to hit the Santa Rosa trail. We'll ride on single track, fire roads and have some gentle climbs in the beginning and work our way up to more challenging hills for a total ascent of 200 m. Along the way we'll see lots of farms and villages and be riding through a wide variety of fields from cabbage, to pineapple to sugar cane. We overnight at the top of a ridge that will give us views of the next day's ride. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at Highlands Inn in Tagaytay.
Day 3: Tagaytay – San Pablo (28 miles/45 km)
This morning starts off easy, with a downhill! We will ride down from our lofty heights to Taal Lake, on farm roads and for those who want some challenging single track we'll ride a section of a race course. After 30 km we'll come to the pier where we'll catch our boat to the active Taal Volcano that is an island in the center of the lake. We'll ride around the island and see the crater lake which is the world's largest lake on an island in a lake on an island, and it in turn contains its own small island. In the late afternoon we'll boat back, then transfer 2 hours to hot springs resort. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at Hidden Valley Springs Resort in San Pablo.
Day 4: San Pablo Trails (28 miles/45 km)
Today we tackle the Golden Triangle Trails at the base of Mount Banahaw and Mount San Cristobal. On single track, fire roads and farming tracks we'll have an exhilarating day of riding through small lakeside communities, see some old churches and stop at waterfalls. This will be a more technical ride, with some abrupt climbs and drops. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at Hidden Valley Springs Resort in San Pablo.
Day 5: San Pablo - Lucban (47 miles/75 km)
For those who want to ride some hills, we have the option to rise early and hit the road towards Lucban. You'll pass through many historical towns on this scenic road that has only light local traffic on it. We ride the 40 km to Majayjay where we'll meet up with those who chose to have a relaxing morning at the 16th Century church. From here it's an easy ride to Lucban where we'll have lunch at a local cafe. In the afternoon we'll head out for some more trail riding, again under the shadow of Mount Banahaw, but the other side. We'll ride to a waterfall and have time for a swim before heading back to this festive town. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at Batis Aramin Resort in Lucban.
Day 6: Lucban Trails (30 miles/50 km)
We ride along the trails around Lucban and in the foothills of Mt. Banahaw. We wiil ride through farms, by small villages, rice paddies and single tracks with hanging bridges and river crossings. Time to relax and go for a stroll through town or enjoy the resort in the afternoon. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at Batis Aramin Resort in Lucban.
Day 7: Lucban - Naga (18 miles/30 km)
We get up very early as we have a five-hour drive to our next destination. Driving through coconut plantations we'll catch glimpses of both the Philippines Sea and Ragay Gulf as we drive south to Naga. We'll stop in town for breakfast and then start riding. We'll ride at the base of Mt. Isarog but the riding will be on rolling terrain. We'll pass a deer farm and waterfall. Part of this trail is also a downhill course, so expect some fun single track. In the afternoon we'll head to the Cam Sur Water Sports Complex where you'll have free time to take advantage of the swimming pool. There's also the option to make use of the wake board park and show off your flipping skills. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at CWC Bungalows in Naga.
Day 8: Naga (28 miles/45 km)
Today we hit the trails in and around the Consocep mountain resort that consists of several natural waterfalls. We'll take a downhill single track section back to trail head. Have lunch along the way and make our way for a short boat ride to Atulayan Island to a fishing village. Have a swim and enjoy the beach. We make our way back to CWC for dinner. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at CWC Bungalows in Naga.
Day 9: Cam Sur - Legazpi (31 miles/50 km)
Today we'll rise early for a 2 hour transfer to the start of our riding at the base of the picturesque but still active Mt. Mayon. We'll ride through coconut plantations, lava flows and dried stream beds. We'll take a break at the foot of a lava flow and have the opportunity to take a zip line back to solid ground. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at Hotel Venezia in Legazpi.
Day 10: Donsol (31 miles/50 km)
For our last day together we'll take a break from riding and switch to snorkeling. We drive down to Donsol where we will board a boat to snorkel with the famous whale sharks that gather here from November to February. Though there's never a guarantee that you'll see them, we hope our spotter has sharp eyes and finds them for us. We'll return to Legazpi for our farewell dinner. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight at Hotel Venezia in Legazpi.
Day 11: Legazpi - Manila
Time to say good bye to Mt. Mayon as we fly by the volcano on our flight to Manila in the morning. Meals: B.
Jan 5; Feb 2; Mar 2, 2014. Other dates available upon request for parties of 2 or more.
This minimum age for this tour is 18.
We now have 2015 information for some tours. Please contact us to inquire if you don't see 2015 dates and prices here.
Jan 5; Feb 2; Mar 2, 2014
|Please note that the deposit for this tour is $500 per person.|
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20 a day for incidentals.
You can rent well-known makes of mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, disc brakes and Shimano components and front suspension. You have the option of renting a hard tail or a full suspension bike on this tour. If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a mountain bike with front suspension and that it is in good mechanical order.
Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended on all our biking adventures and if you choose not to wear one you will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Your guide is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.
We will be supported by an air-conditioned vehicle that has been specially modified for cycle tours. The vehicles follow us the whole time, except for when we are on remote trails. It is very easy to get bikes on and off, so you can rest when you are tired and cycle whenever you feel like it.
We ride 239 miles/385 km, about 90 percent off-road, in 9 cycling days. We have designed the route to give a wide variety of riding. There are some first class single track trails to gentler dirt roads. Many trails traverse the base of volcanoes and our routes will wind up and down hillsides. We guarantee you will never be bored by the riding. There are some outstanding descents and stunning views across rolling hillsides and valleys.
Although our escort vehicle is always close by, some rides are not supported due to the remoteness of the trails. Your guide’s expert knowledge of the area and terrain means that you always know what is coming up in terms of distance and difficulty.
Your Philippines biking experience is primarily off road on varied surfaces including forest trails, mud, volcanic sand, lava cobbles, gravel and broken tarmac roads. There are sections of single-track, some climbs are challenging and some of the off road tracks will have rocky and steep technical sections, but these are normally short and sharp and can be walked by those not confident.
This trip is rated moderate and is recommended for riders in good physical condition who enjoy and have some off-road experience, but you don’t have to be an expert to get the best out of this trip. You should be confident of your physical condition and bike handling skills.
Tour start and end
Nearest airport: Manila
This tour starts and ends in Manila. A domestic flight from Legazpi to Manilia is included in the tour price. International flights to and from Manila are not included in the tour price. Please contact us for advice before arranging flights for the best arrival and departure times.
Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Most meals are local and feature noodles, rice, curries and soups. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring local fruit and soft drinks are included in the tour price while riding. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. Beer is widely available everywhere, but is NOT included in the price.
Climate in the Philippines is hot, humid, and tropical. The average yearly temperature ranges from 25°C/ 78°F to 32°C/90°F. Filipinos generally recognize three seasons: Summer from March to May (the hottest); Rainy Season from July to November (the wettest and also typhoon season) and Cold Season from December to February (moderate for those from temperate countries).
Weatherspark.com offers information on average weather conditions at most destinations throughout the globe. Type a destination in the search box, and select "Averages," and you'll find a range of information such as average high and low temperatures, precipitation, cloudy days, humidity and wind speed/direction.
Of course, if your tour is coming up in the next week, you can also select "Forecast" to get the most current information on upcoming conditions.
All nationalities require a passport for entry into the Philippines. Please ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry. If staying less than 21 days then a visa is not required by European, North American, Australian and many other nationalities. The exceptions being passport holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), British National Overseas (BNO) and Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) who are only allowed up to 7 days stay without a visa. You will need to show proof of an onward flight out of the Philippines. For stays longer than 21 days, a Temporary Visitors Visa is required.
We recommend that you visit a travel medical doctor and ask about the following vaccinations: typhoid, polio, tetanus and hepatitis A. A certificate for Yellow Fever is required when arriving from an infected area within six days.
The currency in the Philippines is the peso (P), which is also spelled piso in Filipino. ATMs, which are abundant, are the easiest way to get pesos. For getting cash, Cirrus and Plus are the most widely accepted; for cash advances, MasterCard is the most widely accepted, followed by Visa. Banks offer the best foreign-exchange rates. Credit cards are accepted in big cities and resort hotels but you’ll need pesos for family-run guest houses or restaurants.
SpiceRoads endeavors to offer high-quality, educational, and adventure-filled itineraries that highlight and focus on the diversity of landscapes found in Asia and its people. As a specialized "niche" bicycle tour operator since 2000, we provide the most authentic, unique and exciting adventures in Asia.
The SpiceRoads family began back in the mid 1990s, when Hamish Keith was creating, operating and leading ground breaking cycle tours throughout Thailand and in emerging destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar for well known companies such as Exodus Travels and World Expeditions and his own company the Wild Planet.
In 2000 Hamish decided to concentrate on what he loved doing the most and he established SpiceRoads as a specialist cycle tour operator in the region he knew best - Southeast Asia. The “niche” was to promote bicycle group tours directly to clients all around the world via the internet. Hamish set the standard for all subsequent SpiceRoads tours by offering a high quality tour - from customer service, to bicycles, to well researched routes to the guides we use – at a good value.
In 2002, when Hamish left to pursue other opportunities in the travel industry, Struan Robertson came on board, and with his skills in management, IT and of course cycling, the company has grown to encompass other Asian countries. During the years of growth what hasn't changed is the spirit of SpiceRoads, which is to offer professional, international standard cycle tours and services to independent travellers and cycle enthusiast looking to discover Asia by bicycle.
Our well-planned eye-opening cycling tours provide an active immersion into local cultures, languages, scenery and, of course, the most delicious of foods. By combining legendary service and rare opportunities for cultural experiences, our travel philosophy continues to excite, enthuse, and positively impact every guest. Take a look at our guestbook if you don't believe us!
SpiceRoads' staff and all of our professionally licensed multi-lingual tour guides are passionate about creating the best possible experiences, with fun, creativity, and total dedication to satisfaction.
We're always peddling towards making your tour perfect so you can See Asia by Bicycle!
(Involuntary) On the rare occasions when we, SpiceRoads, must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be 100% refunded, which constitutes full settlement. There will be absolutely no deductions.
(Voluntary) If you, the client, must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the following formula:
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
Number of days prior to trip start
Cancellation fee per person
50% of tour price
70% of tour price
**Administration fees include bank fees and exchange rate losses.
Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies. Please note:
We strongly advise that clients have full personal travel insurance that covers for the refund of monies paid in case either party cancels the tour for any reason.
We regret that we cannot be held responsible for incidental/consequential costs or expenses you may incur as a result of any changes or cancellations. No compensation is payable for minor changes.
Any damages/injuries incurred that are attributable to your own actions, acts of some other party unconnected with the contract services or where the damage/injury results from events/circumstances which our outside our control and could not be reasonably foreseen.
For damages where SpiceRoads is responsible, our liability is strictly limited to twice the total price of the tour. In booking a tour with SpiceRoads you, the client, are agreeing to these terms and you accept this limit on our liability. This limit allows us to keep the prices of our tours as low as possible.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and all the visas and permits required for your tour. This includes any medical certificates that are required. The client accepts full responsibility for obtaining any and all such documentation. Every client is encouraged to contact the consulate/embassy for the countries they are traveling in respectively to receive the latest and most current information about their immigration / transit policies.
SpiceRoads does not accept responsibility if your documentation is not in order. Information provided by the company about these matters and other related items (clothing, baggage, climate etc.) is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
SpiceRoads insists that all clients must take out good travel insurance before joining one of our tours. There are inherent risks involved in cycling and mountain biking and we will not be liable for your medical expenses or evacuation in case of an accident.
This insurance must include adequate coverage for any personal accident, medical expenses, injury, death and repatriation. Insurance should also provide coverage for cancellations or curtailment of the holiday. Clients should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for any dangerous or unusual activities that might be included in their tour.
If you join the tour without adequate insurance you may be disallowed from continuing on the tour without the right of refund. Clients are solely responsible for arranging their own insurance and they should ensure that they are covered for the full duration of their tour. Your tour leader will ask for copies of your insurance before allowing you to join the tour. This protects both you and us.
In case of an accident, please consult with your tour leader or contact our reservation staff at +66(0) 89 895 5680 (24 hour hot line).
Upon signing up for a tour you must agree to accept the authority of the tour leader who is the representative of the company. The tour leader should be regarded as the same as a “ship’s captain” or an airline’s “Pilot.”
At all times the authority of your tour leader will be final when concerning matters likely to endanger your own health or safety or in regard to behavior or ill health that is causing or is likely to cause danger, distress or disturbance to the group and the well-being of the tour. Failure to abide by the authority of the tour leader could result in legal proceedings and the immediate termination of your participation in the tour without recourse.
In such circumstances we reserve the right to terminate all travel arrangements without liability on the part of the company. You must always comply with the local law, customs and drug regulations of the country/ies you are visiting. Failure to do so may lead to you being ordered to leave the tour without recourse to any refund or any legal claim against the company. In the case of ill health the company and its operators can make those arrangements that it sees fit and recover all monies paid from the client. The person who signs the booking form (which incorporates these conditions) warrants that he/she does so, with full authority on behalf of all those whose names appear thereon, and confirms thereby that all such persons accept and are fully aware of these conditions.
No refund will be given for non-utilized services, however if we are able to obtain a refund ourselves for these services we will endeavor to pass these on to the client less reasonable administration charges.
SpiceRoads pledges never to increase the tour price except under exceptional circumstances for those that have previously book the tour. Circumstances of this policy include: government action or legislation that directs the company to increase prices, exceptional and unfavorable changes in exchange rates that exceed a 20% fluctuation or currency devaluation.
Clients will be notified of any price increase at least 4 weeks before departure.
We will not accept any liability for any delay in your outward or inward flight/s, whether the cancellation or delay is caused by the weather, airline rescheduling, industrial action or mechanical failure. We will give no refunds or compensation for lost time and services from the itinerary.
Should you have a complaint while on tour, you must notify your guide, or the local operator, at the earliest opportunity, so that they can do what they can to immediately rectify it. Failure to do so will result in the limiting of a client's ability to claim compensation. If the problem is not brought to our attention we have no opportunity to rectify it. Any complaints should be sent to us in writing, or by email, not more than 28 days after the tour ends.
Complaints related to booking, inquires, billing, sales or operations should be directed to the Sales and Marketing Manager and/or the General Manager.
If there is anything else you need to know or want to hear in order to put your mind at rest, please do not hesitate to contact us.
SpiceRoads is not liable for any bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to): physical exertion for which a guest is not prepared; forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, boat or other conveyance, or by bicycle, horseback, foot or other form of active or adventure travel; consumption of alcoholic beverages; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention once provided.
SpiceRoads is also not liable for: expenses (e.g., meals, transportation or hotel costs) that are not specified as included in the trip cost but may be required to get to or from a trip start or end point.
SpiceRoads reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as necessary to improve the trip quality or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of guests. Guests grant SpiceRoads express permission to take photographs or make film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, as well as approve such use by third parties with whom SpiceRoads may engage in joint marketing, without financial remuneration.
To view our liability release form click here. You will be asked to sign this form before you start your tour.