No one is immune to the grind of Metro Manila traffic—not even bikers. Sometimes, you just need to go for a long ride to shake the cobwebs loose and let off steam. If you’re up for spur-of-the-moment road trips, these destinations are only a two or three-hour drive away from the city.
1. Tagaytay (60+ km)
A trip to Tagaytay is an institution for a reason: It’s an easy mountain run that’s more accessible than Baguio. It takes just over an hour via the South Luzon Expressway, ending with a climb up the Santa Rosa–Tagaytay road. If your bike is too small for SLEX, the C5 Extension through Bacoor features winding, open roads that are subjected to heavy traffic only on occasion. Head out before sunrise and you’ll be in Tagaytay in time for hot coffee and pandesal.
Bonus Round: Taal via Tagaytay-Talisay Road
If you have the legs for it, the twisty Tagaytay-Talisay road is a fun ride, dropping you off lakeside in just 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re coming from the Santa Rosa side, Ligaya Drive is an easier ride, though it passes through more populated areas.
2. Nasugbu via Coastal Highway (80-90 km)
Nasugbu may be accessible via Tagaytay, but the Cavite Expressway down through Ternate and Kaybiang Tunnel is a more relaxing ride, with IG-worthy coastal and mountainside scenery. There are a number of high-end spots like Punta Fuego, Pico de Loro, and Tali Beach north of the town proper, as well as budget-friendly options like Calayo.
3. Laiya, Batangas via SLEX-STAR (130+ km)
This one is for the big boys. Expect an 80-kilometer blast down the tollway to Batangas followed by an easy provincial road ride to the white sands of Laiya, Batangas—doable in just three hours. If you’re adventurous, you can ride back north along the coast to Batangas city and discover new hangouts along the way.
4. Infanta, Quezon via Marilaque (120+ km)
Marilaque is a relaxing, scenic ride if you take it at your own pace. Looping through the Sierra Madre mountains, there are inns and cafes where you can rest during your trip. Paseo Rizal is a particular favorite, or Cafe Katerina if you prefer one with a view. You can take a detour to the Pililia Wind Farms to see the windmills, or leg it straight up to Infanta to spend the night at the beach.
5. Caliraya Lake via Marilaque or SLEX (90-100 km)
This man-made lake provides hydroelectric power for the surrounding areas. Access is via the southern towns through the SLEX, or down from the north through the roads of Marilaque and Tanay. The SLEX route is shorter, but the Tanay route is more accessible to small bikes, which would otherwise have to detour around the SLEX on the Laguna side. The scenery is pretty, the roads are winding, and there are a lot of places where you can stop and stay the night.
Bonus Round: The “Tanayburgring” Challenge
If you’re a sucker for punishment, the “Tanayburgring” run through Marilaque, Pililia down through Laguna and back up to Manila via the SLEX is doable in six or seven hours. For an extra challenge, you can loop through San Pablo to Batangas and back up the coastal highway through Nasugbu.
6. Mount Samat, Bataan via NLEX-SCTEX (140 – 170 km)
Another ride where a bigger bike is recommended. While the non-highway route is shorter, in-town traffic makes it a slog compared to the two-hour highway route. The goal is to get to Mount Samat Shrine, at the top of a picturesque tree-lined mountain road, overlooking the rolling hills where Filipino and American soldiers made their last stand during the war. And if you feel like it, the beaches of Bataan are a short drive away.
Bonus Round: Subic Freeport
If you’re looking for some nightlife, head on up to Subic Freeport to spend the night. From here, it’s an easy two-hour ride back to Manila.
7. Baguio City via NLEX-TPLEX (250 km)
This once daunting ride has been made easier by the new Tarlac Expressway. A half-day trek via small bike, it only takes a little over three hours on the expressways, depending on how adept you are at high-speed riding. Be sure to go during the off-season, though. Baguio City traffic is trying, even for bikers. Still, its lovely mountain passes and cafes are a big draw.
Bonus Round: San Juan, La Union
An hour and a half down from Baguio, San Juan has clean beaches and that laid-back feel missing from more commercialized beaches. Best of all, it’s just four hours back to Manila over newly renovated roads, past scenic Poro Point and provincial capital San Fernando.
Of course, this list is but a starting point. When planning for long rides, it helps to make sure that your bike is in top shape. This means having good tires, fresh oil, and a tank full of high-quality fuel. Premium high-octane fuel like Petron XCS helps ensure low emissions and reliable running in hot weather, preventing engine knock and loss of power. Powerful detergents also help keep your combustion chamber clean, keeping your bike happy and your travels worry-free.
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