Philippines

Guided, Self Guided, Off-Road adventures.

Philippines

The trip was fantastic. Rick is a star, and worked his butt off …. He is a good guy to be with. Having sampled a few guides (!!) over the years he is the best one I’ve come across yet. You rapidly realise that he is dependable, trustworthy, knowledgeable and a bloody good Mr Fix-it/organiser. I can’t speak more highly of the guy.

Mick Kenyon, UK, 2005

Having travelled for many years to various worldwide locations and covered many adventures in my years I had not crammed so much into 2 weeks.

Gary Hopkins, UK, 2013

H-C Travel’s Philippines off-road motorcycle tour is just for you! If you love adventure and are looking for a motorcycle tour with a difference, then look no further. There is a fleet of Honda XLR200s awaiting you to take you on a spectacular 2-week motorbike adventure past jade coloured seas and tropical beaches, and through lush tropical rainforests studded with active volcanoes. We take in jungle trails, river crossings, fast-fire tracks and mountain roads. The tour also includes white-water canoeing at Pagsanyan Gorge (the setting for the closing section of ‘Apocalypse Now’), scuba diving and small fire arms shooting are optional extras.

Accommodation varies from first class hotels to bamboo beach huts, and all the time Rick, your experienced English guide, is on hand. The tour is open to all riders, although some offroad experience is required (more challenging sections can be bypassed by the less experienced).

Why the Philippines?

  • A country of great variety and natural beauty, barely touched by tourism.
  • Asian country where English is their second language so communication with locals is both easy and rewarding.
  • The Philippines is a country where you can see mobile phones being used on one side of the road, and native Filippinos with a lifestyle unchanged for thousands of years on the other.

Websites

UK government information and advice: www.fco.gov.uk

Philippines tourist board: www.tourism.gov.ph

Why the Philippines with H-C Travel?

  • The world’s first guided motorcycle tours to the Philippine Archipelago, established in 2003.
  • Suitable for ‘hardcore’ dirt rider and ‘novices’, as advanced sections can be bypassed.
  • Wherever we stop for the night on tour we are never more than a few metres from the sea, a river or a lake … great for a dip to get the dust off!
  • Our Honda XR200s are light, tough and easy to handle, great for first time dirt riders and with enough power for the experienced, and with electric starts – great in tropical weather.
  • Extremely varied riding terrain, from gravel tracks, mountain passes, and handlebar width trails to alpine like paved twisty sections…in fact think of it and we ride it!
  • Small group size for maximum enjoyment (maximum 8 motorcycles)
  • Licensed in the UK and the Philippines
  • Great tour crew – entertaining and always up for a laugh and a joke, typically Filipino.

Your guide

Rick Abbey, born West Yorkshire, England, 1962. Rick was brought up in Hong Kong as his father was a teacher in the British army and his mother an army nurse. On returning to England he qualified as a mechanical engineer and now performs all of the maintenance on our fleet of bikes – if you want a job doing right … do it yourself! is his motto (and proof he’s a Yorkshireman!). Rick cut his teeth dirt riding in the Yorkshire dales and moors (at a time when it was allowed) on a range of bikes, from trail bikes.

In 1993 Rick went to the Philippines for a holiday, and 6 months later went back to stay. He bought himself a 1987 Yamaha DT200R straight off the back of a ship from Japan and proceeded to discover the islands over a 4-month period. It was a real eye opener, and he fell in love with the culture, the people and the diverse geography. Rick was hooked. A few years later, in 2003 Rick approached us at H-C Travel and started ‘Philippine Jungle Riders’, the rest is history as they say. Rick has a Filipino wife and two boys, who are already showing an interest in bikes, which is great, and Rick is looking forward to the day they can ride on tour.

Mindoro and Lake Taal off-road tour

The tour was fantastic, everything was perfectly planned and very enjoyable. The scenery, people, bikes and activities planned made it much more than a biking holiday. Rick has done an excellent job of preparing each day so that all thinks that we did, saw and experienced meant that it felt that we were away for a month, not just two weeks! He’s really taken time to plan the tours to make sure that we got the best of everything, and saw as much as possible to get a flavour of the Philippines. I’ll certainly recommend this tour to our pals.

John Baxendale and Vicki Hirst, UK, 2005

The bikes supplied were also in good condition which was a nice surprise as having been on a few of these tours before some of the machines we end up with have been pretty poor.

Neil Avery, UK, 2013

An off road motorcycle experience like no other, surrounded by colourful jungle scenery and getting up close to the local hilltribes. The Mindoro and Lake Taal tour offers you the opportunity to circumnavigate this fascinating island while testing your off-road skills and being able to enjoy a dip in the ocean to clean the dirt off.

Highlights

View Lake Taal and its 35 volcanoes • Visit Pagsanyan waterfall and gorge by banquero • Enjoy an overnight stay on a desert island • Meet the fascinating Mangyan hill tribes

Itinerary

Day 1 Manila – Puerto Galera

Your guide Rick will meet you at the airport and take you by air-conditioned minibus to the port of Batangas, and your ‘ferry’ to the island of Mindoro, the focus of the tour. The ferry is in fact a large outrigger, which will take you directly onto the beach, only yards from your hotel. After time to freshen up and relax, enjoy a welcome dinner and get to know the rest of the group.

Day 2 Puerto Galera (50 km)

Pick up your bike in the morning and spend the day discovering the many varied local trails and attractions. For example, waterfalls with rock pools, Indian (Mangyan) tribes people, and the amazing views from the only golf club on the island, carved into the side of a mountain 700m above sea. Today gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with the local terrain and Philippine riding conditions!

Day 3 Puerto Galera – Calapan (80 km)

This is the start of the circumnavigation of the island. Check out some interesting trails with river crossings and encounter spectacular waterfalls en-route to Calapan. Finish today in the provincial capital of the region, Calapan, in a beachfront hotel.                                                                                                                                                     

Day 4 Calapan – Roxas (120 km)

Head out of the region on reasonable roads, en-route check out an old coconut lumber logging trail along the rugged coast line. Pass the vast inland Naujang Lake.and head into the mountains over a very long jungle bridge which spans the huge ‘Bongabong’ river delta. Modest but clean accommodation can be expected at Roxas, as we are now deep in the provinces where accommodation is getting scarce!

Day 5 Roxas – San Jose (130 km)

Travel mostly on newly cemented mountain roads, traversing the mountains that divide the island into Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. Stop at some great little beaches, giving you a chance to cool off in the South China Sea. If you are a little more experienced, there is a tough but rewarding trail that cuts deep into ‘Mangyan’ (native people’s) territory. Before ending your evening in San Jose.


Day 6 San Jose – Sablayan (120 km)

Divert from dirt roads early after leaving San Jose, and head into the Mount Baco National Park, where you will encounter more native settlements. Later – if permission is granted – visit and travel through a vast penal farm with a river crossing exit to the town of Sablayan. Here leave the bikes behind and take a boat to a desert island where you will stay the night in native ‘Nipa’ huts. No mains electricity, but solar energy powers the batteries for the only bar on the island! You have to share accommodation here, but the food more than makes up for that, as the island is owned by a French chef!

Day 7 Sablayan – Mamburao (70 km)

A short journey today as you travel through varied terrain to arrive in the small coastal town of Mamburao, your home for the next 2 nights. Relax on the beach and have a dip in the sea before, tomorrow we’ll explore the remote northern part of this island.

Day 8 Mamburao (90 km)

Head to the most northerly town of Mindoro, Paluan, and up into the foothills of Mount Calavite, visiting one of the largest Mangyan settlements on the island. Enjoy lunch in the jungle beside natural pools amongst houses on stilts. There are some great trails here to suit all ability levels, plus the chance to discover some new trails as this area is criss-crossed with Mangyan trails.


Day 9 Mamburao – Tagaytay (120 km)

An early start, as you have to catch the ferry to the island of Luzon! Head via road and trail to the pretty mountain town of Tagatay, and the spectacular Lake Taal with its caldera of over 35 volcanoes. Most of these are active, many are under the lake’s surface. Here ride down a zig-zag trail 700m down the side of the main cauldron. After a visit to the volcano monitoring station take an outrigger boat trip around the main volcano island, with its seven volcanoes – offering some superb photo opportunities.


Day 10 Tagaytay – Pagsanjan (130 km)

Head first to the ‘Palace in the Sky’, on Mount Sungay, built by former President Marcos for the state visit of President Reagan some 30 years ago – the palace is now in ruins, but the views from here are amazing. After descending and riding through lowland towns, head up into the Mount Banahao range, passing through small Spanish colonial mountain villages with some very twisty semi-tarmac sections, reminiscent of Swiss alpine roads! Then down into Pagsanjan, home of the famous gorge and falls.

Day 11 Pagsanjan (35 km)

Today take a canoe trip up the gorge to the falls, made famous in the movie ‘Apocolypse Now’. Two banqueros will paddle you upstream through the eerie, deep gorge, before returning down at thrilling speed. Then it’s a short ride to the neighbouring hot springs spa town of Los Banos. Here you have the choice of relaxing in the baths for the afternoon, or visiting the PNP (Philippine National Police) shooting range, where professional instructors will teach you how to shoot 9 mm and .45 calibre automatic pistols, M16 assault rifles, and even Uzi sub-machine guns! Then it’s a short ride back to Pagsanjan.

Day 12 Pagsanjan – Puerto Galera (100 km)

Make an early morning start back to Puerto Galeras via the port of Batangas and the ferry. Then there’s plenty of time to relax in this popular dive resort, visit local attractions by bike or foot, scuba dive, snorkel, or relax on the many beaches – it’s up to you!

Day 13 Puerto Galera (free day)

Puerto Galera is world famous for its scuba diving, as these tropical waters have one of the most productive marine eco-systems in the world. It has, for example, no less than 800 different species of coral alone! Many consider it has some of the most beautiful reef slopes in the world. So this is your chance to dive with our “Discover Scuba” programme, and see for yourself what has made these waters world famous. Alternatively, the day is yours to enjoy on dry land: another day’s riding, the beach, town and countryside beckon. This evening you can celebrate the end of your great adventure at a farewell dinner.


Day 14 Manila

With the end in sight, return to Manila by air-conditioned coach for return flight home, where Rick and the crew will bid you a fond farewell!

Distance

1300 km (depending on trails taken). Approx 70% dirt roads/roads and 30% off-road trails, although we can vary this depending on riders’ wishes.

*** ADD TABLE ***

We are also happy to run custom tours for groups of 4 or more riders at any time of year.

Price includes:

  • 13-nights standard or superior accommodation
  • 12 days’ Honda XLR200 trail bike or similar motorcycle hire
  • Fuel & Oil
  • Welcome & Farewell Meals
  • Jungle BBQ
  • Entrance fees
  • Airport and local transfers,
  • 4WD Support vehicle
  • English speaking tour guide and local support team.

Price excludes:

  • £250 refundable security/damage deposit to pay locally in cash
  • Bullets for shooting, allow c £10 depending on how many you use
  • Personal Items and expenses
  • Additional activities
  • Riding gear
  • Insurance
  • Flights, stopovers and additional accommodation which can be arranged through H-C Travel
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Motorcycle holidays can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be and here at H-C Travel we’re happy to make whatever arrangements you want. We’re here to make organising your holiday as simple as possible.

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