5 scenic motorbike rides in the South

5 scenic motorbike rides in the South

Riding a motorbike is one of life’s greatest joys (or, at least, it should be), and here’s where you should do it.

Since it’s not as wet in the South as it is here in the North, and since motorbiking is life, giving you an adulterated freedom to see and experience sights at your own pace, cheating city and inner town traffic, here are five destinations you can fly to and enjoy the sights of, after renting a motorbike. Bloggers Kara Santos and Louie Pacardo curate.

Siquijor

Islands like Siquijor are often best explored on two wheels. Photo by Kara Santos

The island province of Siquijor is a scenic island worth exploring on a day motorbike tour. Often associated with stories of witchcraft and mysticism, Siquijor offers enchanting beaches, beautiful waterfalls, and other architectural gems. The most interesting spots are scattered around the island—a bit difficult to access by public transportation but best if via a motorbike.

Glan, Sarangani Province

Sarangani is about as far south as some people would like. These open roads give you a view of Sarangani Bay, as shown here by Louie Pacardo. Photo by Louie Pacardo

The road going to the beach town of Glan is already a destination.  The coastal road along the edges of Sarangani Bay offers scenic views of the mangrove-rich and white sand beach strips. Glan is best known for its white sand beaches and heritage sites. Biker-friendly resorts include Kamari Resort and Hotel which offers a spacious and guarded parking area.

Glan is about one hour’s ride away from General Santos City in Mindanao

Alamada, North Cotabato

Head for Alamada in North Cotabato if you’re looking for something that’s definitively off the beaten path. Photo by Louie Pacardo

Alamada is among the lesser known riding destinations in Mindanao with unique landscapes and roadside views.  The 120-meter wide Asik-asik Falls is the top destination going to this silent town in North Cotabato. Another emerging must-stopover is Daday Falls, a tall drop settled in a Jurassic period-like landscape sandwiched by steep gorges in Barangay Dado.

Alamada is about three and a half hours’ ride away from Davao City

Lebak, Sultan Kudarat

This is the view that awaits any avid rider after taking on the hundred motorcycle bankings. Photo by Louie Pacardo

This coastal town facing the Celebes Sea in southwest Mindanao is best known among riders because of its twisting roads. You’ll do about a hundred motorcycle bankings going in and out of this sleepy town in Maguindanao Province. Lebak is best known for its tasty crabs and seafoods and its many waterfalls like Tres Andanas Falls.

Precaution: Mindanao is generally peaceful. However, just like when traveling in any part of the country or even the world, it is still best to check the present security situation in particular areas with previous peace and order issues.

Siargao

What better way to explore the country’s top surfing destination than on two wheels? Photo by Daniel Soriano

For beach-lovers and surfers, the island of Siargao is one of the best places where to ride. Aside from the main surfing area of Gen. Luna, the island conceals beautiful uncrowded spots like Malinao, Magpupungko Tidal Pools, and Pacifico, that you can easily ride to. There’s a variety of motorbikes for rent, including ones outfitted with surf racks—well, for packing your surfboard—and gorgeous bespoke bikes handcrafted by 3B Customs, a bike builder from Surigao City.

Words: Ferdz Decena

10 best kitesurfing spots in the Philippines

10 best kitesurfing spots in the Philippines

Know where to ride the winds, straight from award-winning kitesurfer Dano See.

Most people will point towards Boracay as the kitesurfing capital of the country. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only place where you can ride the winds. Here’s a list of kitesurfing spots in the Philippines from former kitesurfing champ Dano See.

1. Kingfisher Resort, Paoay, Ilocos Norte

This beach is known for ideal kitesurfing conditions. Photo from Kingfisher Kite Surfing and Wind Surfing Beach Resort

For Australian kite designer and professional kitesurfer Dano See, Ilocos Norte is not only a site for history and beautiful beaches but also a playground for kitesurfers looking for the ideal wind condition. Kingfisher Resort in Pagudpud  is where kitesurfing enthusiasts will find the “strongest winds, biggest waves, and most radical reef passes for the longest duration of the year,” says Dano. But what makes Kingfisher a special location is the bigger venturi effect caused by the local mountain range which adds in 10 to 15 knots to any forecast. The venturi effect is when the wind becomes stronger as it passes between mountains or hills.Book kitesurfing tours at Kingfisher.ph

2. Bangui Beach, Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Kitesurfing near the iconic Bangui Windmills of Ilocos Norte.

Another spot worth checking out in Ilocos Norte is Bangui Beach, which, according to Dano offers a “great beach break location with side-shore winds for the experienced wave riders or a super flat water lagoon surrounded by windmills.” He considers it the most picturesque location in the Philippines because of the wind farms and its waist-deep lagoon. Book kitesurfing tours at Kingfisher.ph

3. Paoay Lake, Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Another requisite in the must-kitesurf list of kiters as it has a freshwater lake that’s ideal for flat water kiteboarding—kiteboarding that entails gliding over a calm, slow-flowing body of water. “The winds can be strong too, but typically, it’s more your average 9-meter-plus weather, which is the wind range for small kites. The season is much more limited as it is out of the Taiwan Strait, but the heat of the Laoag area draws in afternoon sea breezes.”Book kitesurfing tours at Kingfisher.ph

4. Bulalacao, Mindoro

The laid-back southwestern charm of Mindoro coupled with unspoiled pocket beaches, coves, waterfalls, caves, as well as steady and strong winds make it an alluring kitesurfing destination. The town of Bulalacao, which Dano describes as the “outback region of the Philippines,” is wonderful because of its rugged trails and forested paths. It  is also notable for its howling winds due to the venture effect created by the huge mountain range of the neighboring islands.

Aside from Bulalacao, other spots in Mindoro that are good for kitesurfing include Libagao and Nagubat, Aslom and Suguicay.

5.  Cuyo Bay, Cuyo, Palawan

Further away, Cuyo Bay in Palawan is perfect for flat water kiteboarding—thanks to its sandy bottom and some outside reef passes that offer small wave riding fun. “Although Cuyo is an island off Palawan, it has been listed under Mindoro because the wind is from the same venturi effect of the Tablas Straight. Winds are strong and blowing from Amihan (northeast wind) starting October up to May. Recommended kite sizes are from 5m and up,” Dano says.
#DashHolidays is your all-in, hassle-free provider of travel packages that include roundtrip airfare, roundtrip airport transfers, tours, and room nights.
+63917 840 6853, +63917 627 6179
[email protected]
GF Solar Century Tower, 100 Tordesillas corner HV Dela Costa Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Open from Mondays to Saturdays from 9am to 5pm

6. Kite Club Palawan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

A 20-minute drive from the Puerto Princesa International Airport, in Brgy. San Jose lies Kite Club Palawan, a resort with a beachfront that is a good spot for kiteboarding. It’s the only safe launching spot along the southern end of Honda Bay. “The venturi effect here is the leftover air flow from Mindoro’s Tablas Strait, which reacts with the local mountain ranges and land temperatures.”

“It’s best to kitesurf here during the Amihan season, especially from December to February, and use kites with size from 9 meters and up.”

7. Lakawon Island, Negros Occidental

Dano See’s description of Lakawon Island suits it best: a erfect flat water lagoon location and right-hand point break seen on the outside reef during high winds and typhoons. Photo by Zander Servant

In Negros Occidental lies Lakawon Island, which, according to Dano, cradles over 100 hectares of reef that offer a “perfect flat water lagoon location and right-hand point break seen on the outside reef during high winds and typhoons.”

“The winds here are a mix of venturi and sea breeze all year round. Amihan winds from November to March are relatively light, but the Habagat (southwest monsoon) winds are quite special. The southwest air flow funnels through the Guimaras Strait bumping up the usually light offseason winds. Use kites that are sized 9 meters and up if it’s the Habagat.”
Lakawon island is a 20-minute boat ride from the Cadiz Viejo Port and 50km north from Bacolod Airport

8. Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental

Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental is a chill kiteboarding spot with good flat water conditions and consistent winds from September to May. “Here, the wind is mainly from the Amihan wind flow with a large volcano in the backdrop accelerating the air flow around the bottom corner of the island,” says Dano.Zamboanguita is an hour-drive away from Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros, which is known for its lively food scene and makes for a good basecamp

9. Siargao Island

Siargao isn’t just for surfboards; it’s also good for kites. Photo from Surfkiteschool

If you think that surfing is all there is in the country’s surfing capital, take a look at its waves again. Because then you’ll know that they likewise attract the different kind of surfers— kitesurfers, that is. Cloud 9 is said to be the mecca for advanced kitesurfers because of its huge waves and averagely light winds. But Dano has a piece of advice: Stay well clear of the Boardwalk area; otherwise, you’re likely to get your kite all tangled up.

The huge lagoon near Viento del Mar in General Luna,  also offers a good flat water kiting—thanks, in part, to its sandy and grassy bottom. “Although the winds are generally light there is the odd monsoonal blow. Best to kitesurf Cloud 9 from December to February and use kites from 12 meters and up. There are, however, those few days a year when you need a much smaller kite.

10. Boracay Island, Aklan

We can’t have a spots-for-kitesurfing list without Boracay. We just can’t. Photo from Nenette Graf

Boracay is the mecca of kiteboarding and windsurfing in the Philippines, in fact, it’s is where it all started and kicked off. The wind here are lighter as they come from the Tablas Straight and they’re consistent from November to March, and allows for using kites from 9m and up. Alternately, White Beach, world-famous for its four-kilometer-long creamy white-sand beach, is, according to Danao, a “great for kitesurfing from June to September.”

Who is Dano See?
Dano is a former kitesurfing champion who is now into kite designing and manufacturing. He’s been supplying kitesurfing schools from all over the globe and helping kitesurfing schools in the Philippines by providing affordable kitesurfing equipment.

Words: Jona Fortuno

4 days in wreck wonderland

4 days in wreck wonderland

Explore sunken ships—the ugly beautiful allure of Coron, Palawan.

Coron, Palawan, the wreck diving capital of the Philippines, is known for its 13 World War II Japanese shipwrecks all lying within depth enough for them to be explorable by underwater addicts—the divers— from the Teru Kaze at a minimum depth of 4m, to the Irako with a maximum depth of 42m.

These wrecks offer great views from the outside and excellent routes on the inside for experienced divers and those with the right certification levels. Most of Coron’s dive operators in town, including our own Reggae Dive Center, typically offers three daily dives.

If you only have a few days in town, try this itinerary.

Day 1

Swimming in Barracuda Lake.
Photo by Catalin-Mihai Craciun of Freediving Coron

Start your diving holiday with some shallower check out dive in Barracuda Lake, known for its thermoclines and temperatures reaching 39 degrees Celcius—a perfect warm-up for a stunning dive on the Morazan Maru, which offers great diving both for experienced and entry-level divers.

Morazan Maru was originally built in 1905 in England but was sunk in September 1944 along with the other wrecks. She has since turned into a home of an abundance of species like lionfish and giant trevallies—and sometimes even turtles.

The beginner-friendly (and eerie) Teru Kaze.
Photo by Catalin-Mihai Craciun of Freediving Coron

Cap off your day with a shallow dive at Teru Kaze located a stone’s throw away from the Morazan Maru, for some reef and wreck diving. This wreck is good for snorkeling as the shallowest part is only 4m below the surface. On most days, Teru Kaze will offer good views from below as well as from above the surface.

You’ll be back in Coron later in the afternoon with ample time to climb Mount Tapyas for a view of beautiful sunsets and of Coron Island. Enjoy a refreshing fruit shake or a cold beer at the newly opened Tapas Lounge before you continue further down the hill and out into town.

End your day by stopping at Coron’s many bars and restaurants. You can have the bistek and menudo at Lolo Nonoy’s or vegan pesto pasta and veggie sticks at Le Voyage. For something off-track, walk off the main street and venture into Coron’s side streets with its eateries and restaurants catering to all tastes.

Day 2

Experienced and certified divers can upgrade their depth limits with dives to the Akitsushima.

The Akatsushima.
Photo by Catalin-Mihai Craciun of Freediving Coron

This wreck’s location between 23 and 35 meters under the sea makes it not suitable for entry level divers but it remains to be one of the most popular dives in the area as it’s the only wreck left with its guns mostly intact. The guns are dislodged from the gun turrets and are currently standing upright on the seabed next to the wreck, with three barrels raised toward to surface.

It’s a just-barely-doable for entry-level divers: the Okikawa Maru.
Photo by Catalin-Mihai Craciun of Freediving Coron

After spending some time on the surface, have your second dive at the Okikawa Maru, an oil tanker that holds the distinction as Coron’s longest and widest shipwreck at 160 meters in length and a 20-meter span across the beam. Her shallower part lies above the depth limit for entry level divers.

This wreck is located in a passage that from time to time creates strong currents. Due to the relatively shallow depth and the current, the Okikawa Maru teems with marine life—groupers, snappers, crocodile fish, triggerfish, and more. Those with keen eyes will find this wreck good for macro diving.

Cap your day’s dive series at Lusong Gunboat, one of the last unidentified wrecks in Coron. The Gunboat took direct hits and had its wreckage spread over a wide area, though the hull is generally intact. As with the Teru Kaze, this gunboat was also sunk in very shallow water—so shallow in fact that this wreck pokes out of the water at low tide.

The Lusong Gunboat is perfect for all levels of divers—from those getting into scuba diving, experienced divers who want to chill a bit after some great dives, and macro enthusiasts.

End your day with a dip at Maquinit Hot Springs with its natural saltwater springs, or a full Italian meal at Altrove.

Day 3

This day will be your last diving day in Coron since divers are advised not to fly within 18 hours of going underwater. Finish off in style at the Irako, Coron’s deepest and darkest shipwreck.

The beauty of the Irako outweighs the risks for experienced divers.
Photo by Catalin-Mihai Craciun of Freediving Coron

Irako was a refrigerator ship in the Japanese Navy. She has tight compartments and storage rooms, and her starting depth of 30 meters means only the most experienced of divers dare to take her on. Currents can change in a heartbeat and visibility ranges from a few meters on a bad day to magnificent ideal months. Her upright position with masts still poised makes it easy to see why she has become part of many divers coming to Coron’s bucket lists.

The eerie compartments of the Kogyo Maru makes for one daring dive.
Photo by Catalin-Mihai Craciun of Freediving Coron

Another deep dive is on the cards for your last dive day: the Kogyo Maru, an auxiliary construction supply ship, which went down with her load. One can still see the toppled construction machines in her cargo holds, with belt tracks and hundreds upon hundreds of bags of cement. Like the Morazan Maru, this wreck is widely covered in corals and marine life, from schools of seabreams to circling big-eye trevallies, to huge numbers of scads and fusiliers.

Make a final dive in one of Coron’s reefs or one of the shallower wrecks to make this trip one for the books.

Head back town for some tasty ramen and a cold beverage at Buzz. You can also visit Tita Esh for a more low-key vibe and some filling pansit canton or a heart-warming bowl of mami.

Day 4

It’s island hopping day! Make sure not to leave Coron without taking a trip to Coron Island. Rent a private boat with a tour guide or book a tour through an operator.

Kayangan Lake, but not from the usual viewpoint. Photo by Daniel Soriano

Coron Island offers a lot of white sand beaches and clear waters, with lunch that’s served in one of the small huts they have set up for the same purpose on the beaches. Do not miss out on Kayangan Lake or Twin Lagoon; go snorkeling in Siete Pecados or Twin Peaks.

A stand-up (or in this case, sit-down) paddle boat is a good way of exploring Coron’s neighboring islands. Photo by Daniel Soriano

Rent a kayak or a standup paddleboard in town if you’re feeling edgy before leaving and explore the island as you paddle along. This is a great opportunity to experience the beauty of the island in a very eco-friendly way.

Relax and enjoy the evening with a good view and a cold gin and tonic from either the View Deck or Suites 4:13 before heading out for dinner and summoning a good night sleep.

Who is Lisbeth Jensen?
Lisbeth is an instructor at Reggae Dive Center in Coron for over four years now. She is passionate about the environment and has used her work to participate in conservation efforts in Busuanga.

The Basics
Get there. Skyjet Airlines flies from Manila to Coron three times daily. Flyskyjetair.com

Dive tours. Reggae Dive Center offers fun dives to Coron’s many shipwrecks as well as PADI dive courses.
Mobile: +63928 835 5657, +63906 316 1454
Reggaedivecenter.com

Head to Freediving Coron if you want to enjoy these same dive spots without the need for heavy scuba gear.
Mobile: + 63915 172 6809
Freediving-coron.com

Words: Lisbeth Jensen; Photos: Catalin Craciun & Daniel Soriano
Featured photo by Catalin Craciun

Bounce like it’s your last in these trampoline parks

Bounce like it’s your last in these trampoline parks

If you’ve ever been a fan of Tigger (yes, that TIGGER) and you’ve always had a dream of bouncing around all day, then hit these places up!

In today’s world, you’ll really only see bouncing happen at nightclubs, and that mostly means leaving them, not bouncing around in one. Very unlike the kind of bounce that the kids in us are yearning to try.

You can try and buy a trampoline or go to a mall and hope to find one that’s set-up in the middle, but then only your kids can enjoy those—and that’s a big bummer. Gymnastics facilities have trampolines, but those are (usually) used for training.

We’ve found an answer to your bouncing dreams: trampoline parks. As the name implies, these places house dozens of trampolines in a set-up that lets you fully enjoy all of them at the same time. It’s quite common in other countries, but it’s a bit of a rarity in the Philippines, so much so that these are your three best bets:

Trampoline Park

Did we mention it’s purple? Photo from Trampoline Park
The Gladiator won’t be able to hold a candle to this: Bubble Ball Fights! Photo from Trampoline Park

It’s the park that started it all. Trampoline Park opened its doors in February 2016 and it hasn’t stopped sending people skyward with its many trampolines. They’ve got tramps that go wall-to-wall that you can use for a variety of activities: volleyball, dodgeball, parkour, basketball, and overall fitness. They even have fitness and dance classes on trampolines!

The best part: you’re having fun AND losing weight! Photo from Trampoline Park

The best part, though, has to be what happens when the sun goes down. The lights are turned off and the lasers are turned on—it’s a party venue

Mayflower St., Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City
Trampolinepark.ph, FB: Trampoline Park – Zero Gravity Zone

Jump Yard

Ever had dreams of being “Like Mike”? Grab your chance at Jump Yard. Photo from Jump Yard PH
The Jump Yard Obstacle Course. Live out your Ninja Warrior dreams here! Photo from Jump Yard PH

The second of the metro’s three trampoline parks, Jump Yard is often tagged as the “biggest and coolest“ trampoline park in the country. From what we’ve seen, there isn’t much to hold them back from saying so, mainly because of their own obstacle course and the many trampolines they have.

You can leave your kids at a local playground, but why stop there? Photo from Jump Yard PH

They also offer coaching for those who want to learn how to bounce, as well as a separate space for the little ones! Make sure you drop by on a Wednesday for Volleyball Day, where you can live your dreams of flying like the characters from the popular sports anime Haikyuu!

Road E, Frontera Verde, Ortigas Ave. cor. E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave (C-5), Pasig City
Jumpyard.ph, FB: Jump Yard

Bounce Philippines

Platforms, tramps, and a foam pit. All inside a mall. Photo from Bounce Philippines

Remember when we said you don’t want to head to malls to find trampolines? Well, we take that back. Bounce Philippines, the third trampoline park in the country, might be the easiest to get to thanks to its location.

Will you be joining this cutie on her climb? Photo from Bounce Philippines

Imagine bouncing around their trampolines, skying for dunks, playing dodgeball, knocking your buddies off a beam, climb, do parkour, or challenge their Ninja course—all while being in either SM North EDSA in Quezon City or SM Southmall in Las Piñas?

2/F, North Tower, SM City North EDSA, Quezon City
G/F, South Tower, SM Southmall, Almanza Uno, Las Piñas City
Bounce.ph, FB: Bounce Philippines

10 weird and adventurous things to try now

10 weird and adventurous things to try now

Not-your-usual adventures of real travelers, rounded up.

Have a Kawa Hot Bath in Antique

Carla enjoys a hot bath in a cauldron. Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo

If weird is your thing, the Kawa Hot Bath in Antique tops the bill for Carla Araniego of Blissfulguro.com. “It felt weird at first, thinking about the steaming water and an actual fire under the giant cauldron I was sitting in, like I was being cooked alive! But a few minutes after, I simply enjoyed the soothing effect of the water.”

Book at Katahum.com

Cliff Dive in Siquijor

Not quite a leap of faith, but close enough. Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo

Carla suggests a much more fun thing to do at Siquijor’s Salagdoong Beach: cliff-jumping! “The key to conquering the 35ft jump into the water is to not to think twice. I just went for it and jumped! It was exhilarating!”

Book a tour with Dennis Caspes, Tel: +63947 789 8337, +63936 110 7863

Do Lambaklad fishing in Antique

Gives a new meaning to “do as the locals do”. Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo

Try Lambaklad fishing in the town of Tibiao in Antique where fisher folks allow visitors to catch fish with them on a huge bamboo raft. Carla says “balancing skills is a must, but once you get into the groove, it’s actually an enjoyable and unique fishing experience. We even got to grill and eat our catch!”

Book at Katahum.com

Ride an ATV up Mayon Volcano

Hard to leave Albay without trying this. Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo

Ride a mini 4×4 along the slopes of the volcano, splashing through streams, lahar-laden landscapes and dense foliage until you reach the midpart of Mayon. The panoramic view of Albay from up high is breathtaking.

Book at Mayonatvtour.com

Climb the Taraw Peak in El Nido

El Nido’s not just about the big blue. Photo by Elal Jane Lasola

El Nido, Palawan’s Taraw Peak right at the town center offers a beautiful challenging climb. The limestone karsts rises to a height of more than seven hundred feet, and travel blogger Elal Jane Lasola recalls her grueling experience. “It took us an hour to climb all the way to the top of the Taraw Ridge. The view from above was so worth it—the town with the azure waters of Bacuit Bay and limestone karsts jutting out of the water.”

Book at northernhopetours.com

Zip bike over the Chocolate Hills

Test the limits of your fears with this bike. Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo

Try one of the more unique ziplines in the Philippines: zip bike in Bohol! However perfectly safe as you’re harnessed, pedaling a bicycle across a thin steel rope over the famous Chocolate Hills is a knee-weakening experience.

Book at Chocolatehillsadventurepark.com

Canyoneer Kawasan

It’s only relaxing AFTER you jump in. Photo by Shugah Gonzales

Not for the faint of heart, and more importantly, knees, John Marx Velasco of Marxtermind.com recommends canyoneering along the bluish waters of Kawasan in Cebu. “Our adventure started with a jump from a waterfall, traveling downstream along the canyon. We walked, we swam, and we jumped some more, eventually finishing the course in four hours.”

Book at Kawasancanyoneering.com.ph

See Caramoan’s sacred fish

Somewhere in here are the sacred fish of Caramoan. Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo

A rock wall in Matukad Island in the Caramoan Peninsula in Camarines Sur presents a different kind of high. Scale the craggy rock wall and be rewarded with the lagoon’s hidden gems—two giant milkfish, which locals believe to be sacred.

Book at Kaddlangan outdoor adventure, Facebook.com/joseferdinand.villareal

Compete at the JEST Hunger Games

Will you volunteer as a tribute? Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo

Subic’s JEST Camp can let your Hunger Games fantasies come true. At the camp, you get to play in an actual forest, hiding and camouflaging, squirting water guns, and hurling water balloons in an intense match to snatch ribbons from other tributes.

Book at Jesthungergames.com

See the bioluminescent planktons in Coron

Darwin Cayetano of Tracking Treasure took the usual firefly tour in Coron and got more than what he paid for. “We started with a dinner on a floating restaurant while being serenaded by a local artist, then we rode a speedboat to the mangrove forest to see the fireflies. Our boatman got off the boat and started to stomp on the water and it lit up! The bioluminescent planktons were like pulsating brain neurons illustrated right on the water!”

Book at Coron-travel.com. Skyjet Airlines flies daily from Manila to Coron; book at flyskyjetair.com.

Our Dash Sources

Words by Christian Sangoyo

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