Three cyclists appreciating the sunset among the grassy hills of Bohol. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism – Region VII.

Over the pandemic, more and more Filipinos picked up cycling. Apart from the fact that it was one of the few exercises allowed, it gives a more immersive way of checking off destinations off our travel bucket list and experiencing the world around us.

If you’re looking to explore Bicol and Central Visayas, for example, perhaps going on two wheels would be a good way to do it.

Both regions are filled with both charming architecture and natural wonders that would make a great backdrop to your cycling route.

Fantastic sights

Bicol is a region rich with historical landmarks and natural landscapes. There’s Caramoan, a peninsula east of Bicol, where one can find fine, white-sand beaches and limestone cliffs like in Palawan. In Catanduanes, there are waterfalls, corals, and mountain ranges. And of course, there’s the Mayon, along with its cousin, Bulusan Volcano.

Cyclists heading towards Mount Mayon. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism – Region V.

Speaking of Mayon, one of the more popular Cycling routes going to Region 5 is the well-known eight-day Bicolandia journey. The route starts in Manila and ends in Sorsogon, spanning about 1,300 kilometers.

It passes through the famous zigzag road (also called Bituka ng Manok, or chicken intestines in Tagalog) at Atimonan, Quezon, which passes all the way to its end in Gumaca.

The zigzag road that passes through the mountains. Photo by Joseph Trilles, courtesy of the Department of Tourism – Region V.

The route is challenging but fulfilling, as the zigzag road passes through the mountains. From Gumaca, the road leads straight to Daraga in Albay, and then Sorsogon, the final destination.

Upon reaching Sorsogon, bikers can then do another famed circuit, the Mayon Volcano Loop. Also known as Mayon 360, the circuit typically starts in Legazpi, which affords cyclists a fantastic view of the volcano’s perfect cone shape. It then goes through Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao, Tabaco, Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, and then back to Legazpi.

Along the route, bikers can see popular Bicolano sights such as Cagsawa Ruins, Vera Falls, Quituinan Hills, Tabaco Church, and Solong Eco Park.

A cyclist in the Cagsawa Ruins. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism – Region V.

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Magic and history

Central Visayas, on the other hand, consists of four provinces (Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor) and three highy urbanized cities (Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Cebu City).

Region 7 is a huge place for a cycling tour, but there is a popular Bike & Boat route in the Central Visayas that can be used as a good reference point. The circuit encompasses three major areas: Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

The first and second day would be a tour around historic Cebu City, with sights like Magellan’s Cross, the Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño, and Fort San Pedro. After the city proper, you travel west to the less known areas of Cebu, which is filled with beautiful beaches and pristine waters—like Tajao Shoreline, located in Pinamungahan, Cebu.

From Pinamungahan, on the third day, travellers can then go to Dumanhug or Santander to catch a boat or ferry to Negros Oriental, where you can see sights like the Canloan Volcano. Mount Canlaon is located in Canlaon City, also in Negros Oriental. Then, on the fourth day, you would be on your way to Siquijor.

The island is often associated with mystical traditions and the supernatural. Siquijor is also well known for its healing festivals, and for the sale in public markets of potions made from insects, tree barks, and herbs.

The fifth day would be an exploration of Siquijor’s coastal loop, with attractions like Sandugan Beach, Salagdoong Beach, Cambugahay Falls, and Salagdoong Beach, along with various caves and nature parks—like the Bandila‑an natural park and butterfly sanctuary.

Day Six would see you leaving Siquijor and onto Bohol. From Tagbilaran, you ride along Bohol’s southern coast. Day Seven and eight will explore Bohol’s hidden gems and all the way to the white sand beaches of Anda.

Bikers riding along the rolling hills found near Candijay, Bohol. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism – Region VII.

On Day Nine, cyclists would then go to the rolling hills and greenery of Bohol’s interior towns, from rice terraces to little-known villages. Day 10 would bring you to the Chocolate Hills, while on Day 11, the tour would bring you to a nature preserve and meet the official mascot of Bohol – the tarsier. Day 12 will be the flight back to Cebu, or, as another option, travelers can also take a ferry from Bohol to Cebu. Ferry options can be found in Tubigon or Tagbilaran City.

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Travel safely!

COVID restrictions in doing these bike tours would vary according to your chosen route. And while the current situation in the country points to a further easing of COVID restrictions, it would be best for you to always bring your vaccine card, along with other forms of identification when traveling the land route like in the Region 5 bike tour.

When flying to Cebu for the Region 7 circuit, be prepared with your vaccine card when boarding a plane to the city.