Riding motorcycles, usually on weekends, has never been the same after the outbreak of COVID-19. Local government units (LGUs) were given the power to enact certain protocols that could go beyond the minimum standards set by the IATF to protect their local citizenry from tourists who may also potentially carry and spread the virus.
Unfortunately for us motorcycles riders, these protocols – while having the best intentions – could also mean that our travels are restricted. Or, they could even prevent our entry to into a town.
For example, the Province of Ilocos Sur is now open to tourists, but not without documentation, required testing, and possibly some time spent in a quarantine or triage area before being allowed enter the province.
The same goes for some of the provinces across Luzon. If you don’t possess the required test results or travel documents, you may be asked to turn around and go home.
Fortunately, there are quite a few destinations near Metro Manila that are at most, lenient, and only require the minimum health protocols for visiting riders or tourists. Here are some beautiful destinations we can all enjoy without any hassle.
This is probably the easiest and most popular place to visit on any given weekend, both for motorcycle riders and other tourists. Its close proximity to Metro Manila, generally cool weather, and lots of restaurant choices make it an easy pick.
The easiest way to go there (without using the expressway) is to just follow Aguinaldo Highway all the way to the Tagaytay rotunda.
Popular attractions include Twin Lakes (which overlooks Taal Volcano), Crosswinds Tagaytay (with an Alpine Windmill house as an attraction), Leslie’s Ridge restaurant, and many more.
Kaybiang Tunnel, which is situated on the border of Cavite and Batangas, has also become a popular destination to motorcycle riders and groups, largely thanks to its beautiful winding roads.
Chances are, you likely have friends who already know the way. Otherwise, take Emilio Aguinaldo Highway onto Tirona Highway, then to Centennial Road, Antero Soriano Highway, and onto Governor's Drive which leads into the Nasugbu-Ternate Highway.
I can’t think of any good place to eat there, but the last time I passed by, there were already dozens of carinderias (small food stalls) along the road that offer lugaw (rice porridge), Batangas Lomi, and other local dishes.
Be reminded, however, that the road is NOT a race track. An awful lot of unruly motorcycle riders go there just to practice or show off their cornering skills on its winding roads, which often end in an accident.
Quarry Road in Binangonan, Rizal
There is a newly-constructed road up in the hills of Binangonan, Rizal and it offers a breathtaking view of the Metro Manila skyline, especially at night. Called Quarry Road, it's accessible from Manila East Road (R5).
If you want to try this new destination out, just be sure to ride safely and at a safe pace, since there are a lot of stray dogs loitering along the road. It is also a popular cycling area largely due to its challenging inclines, so again, exercise caution.
This city surrounding the former US Air Force base is home to many restaurants that offer a great gastronomic experience, and usually at affordable prices.
If you’re the type of person who's willing to ride hundreds of kilometers just for good food, this is the place for you.
To go there, just follow the MacArthur Highway all the way to Angeles. Or, if you’re riding an expressways-legal motorcycle, just follow the North Luzon Expressway and exit at the Angeles City toll exit.
Some of the popular food destinations in Angeles include Bondoc Steak House, which offers pretty affordable Pinoy-style steaks; Aling Lucing Sisig – home of the original Kapampangan sisig, Ningnangan (barbecues, seafood), and many more.
If you’re the type of rider who’s not into food or cheesy overlooking views and is more of a “ride until I run out of gas” kind, riding the whole Laguna Loop is for you.
The Laguna Loop is basically all the roads that encircle the Laguna Bay, amounting to 200 kilometers total. To go there, start from Ortigas Extension in Cainta and just follow the Manila East Road until you reach the town of Pagsanjan, Laguna. Upon reaching this town, you may want to stop by for some good ol’ fashioned halo halo at Aling Talengs.
From there, continue until you reach Los Baños, then Calamba, Laguna. Follow the Manila South Road until you reach Alabang, Muntinlupa then back into Metro Manila.
Why no Marilaque?
Some of you might ask, "Why didn't we include Marilaque on the list?" That's because the LGU of Tanay is still observing strict health protocols and restricts entry to riders without the proper documentation.
It does still offer some great roads and scenic views, but is not the safest destination due to the sheer number of unruly motorcycle riders who still treat the road like a racetrack. We cannot confidently recommend it for now, though you're welcome to check it out. Just be careful and ride safely.
Lenient for now
These are just some of the suggested riding destinations that are (so far) allowing motorcycle riders to enter without any hassle. Their local health protocols, however, may change without prior notice.
It is also best to carry with you your quarantine pass at all times. After all, we’re still technically under a community lockdown.