10 Fascinating reasons why you should ride in Mindanao

The friendly locals is just the beginning
by Aris Ilagan | Aug 6, 2018


Last July 27 to 29, Yamaha Motor Philippines (YMP) treated some 50 Yamaha Club members to an epic 1,200km adventure around Mindanao.

Dubbed the Yamaha Club ‘Tour de Rev’ Mindanao edition, the touring participants were selected randomly after they registered online and passed a screening process.

Ryan Jude Camus, YMP senior marketing manager, said this second touring event for the year is YMP’s way of expressing its gratitude to the riders—for supporting the brand through the years, and at the same time promoting the country’s moto tourism effort.

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The first edition of Tour de Rev was held in Northern Luzon a few months back, while the third and upcoming final leg will be in the Visayas region. All three legs require participants to complete the 1,200km journey.

As we started the Mindanao leg that took off from Cagayan de Oro City, two female riders caught our attention. They were consistently tailing the speeding male riders in the corners of the mountain passes. Their jaw-dropping riding style prompted us to ask them how they developed such impressive skills and courage, as if they’ve got more balls than the others.

Meet Audrey Galeon and Mem Arriba of Davao City. Both ladies regularly ride to the different parts of Mindanao, particularly on weekends, and this built their confidence to take on corners at high speeds. Not only they can ride well, they talk a lot about their region’s natural treasures, and this gives them a reason to invite riders from Luzon and Visayas to experience the flawless roads and meet the friendly people of Mindanao.

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In fact, Audrey and Mem laid out 10 reasons why riders should include Mindanao on their bucket list:


1) Traffic is no problem

Once a rider passes through a populated area, volunteer and full-time traffic personnel are always present in critical corners along with local police. The former, being volunteers, man their post not only to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, but to assist tourists to their destinations.

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In case you get lost and you need assistance, don’t panic if you happen not to speak fluent Bisaya. Mostly likely they will understand your English.


2) Speed limit is enforced (seriously)

Road discipline is sacred in many urban areas of Mindanao, especially in Davao City. Never mess with the speed limit because you will likely end up paying a hefty penalty if you insist on riding like a maniac. Local governments of Tagum, Davao, Koronadal and Tupi have acquired speed radars. No contact apprehension is not exclusive to Metro Manila; it is also being enforced here.

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3) Unlimited beautiful scenery

During the Yamaha Tour de Rev, we averaged four hours of riding each day. Rushing from one point to another requires more focus. However, the wide, flawless roads of Mindanao allowed us to take intermittent glances of its natural beauty, en route to tourist spots like Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, and Tabibinta Falls in Maragusan, Compostella Valley. Just be alert for stray animals.

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4) Smooth roads are everywhere

Metro Manila contractors should learn about building high-quality roads from Mindanaoans. During the ride, we hardly encountered asphalt on major thoroughfares. Almost all roads were made of solid concrete.


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5) Affordable fruits abound

Take a whistle-stop and you’ll discover how far your pesos can be stretched for a kilo of delicious durian, mangoes, and even vegetables, all fresh from the farm. Just make sure they’ll all fit in the panniers.


6) Improved telecom service

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I remember criss-crossing Mindanao on four-wheels several years ago for a travel article. Getting a phone signal between towns and cities caused me a terrible headache. Nowadays, communication signal has greatly improved, making road travel safer and more fun in almost all parts of the peninsula. But halt your bike at a safe spot before you make a call or send a text message. Take a selfie and post it right away!


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7) Bumming around on the beach

After a long ride, take a soothing dip in Mindanao’s best beaches. Take off your sweaty riding gear and head for the pristine, white coastlines to relax. There’s life after Boracay. World-class beaches can be found in Glan, Sarangani, in Camiguin Island, and in Samal Island in Davao del Norte.


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8) Endless twisties

What’s a ride without twisties? In Mindanao, there are lots of places where riders will enjoy challenging road bends that will improve their cornering skills. Bikers will feel much safer attacking corners that are wide and smooth. If you try the curves of Mati City in Davao Oriental, you’ll likely say goodbye to Marilaque.


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9) Improving peace and order

Mem and Audrey can attest to the fact that peace and order has greatly improved. We all know that Martial Law in the entire southern Philippines is in effect and the locals welcome it with open arms.

Of the many checkpoints we passed through, only a few of them had armed men manning their posts. Not only did they manage the traffic, they were also courteous.


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10) Golden era for motorbikes

In recent months, Moto Sapiens has visited Mindanao countless times. Last June, the BOSS Ironman was staged for the first time in this region, at the request of local executives to boost tourism. Also, almost all motorcycle brands have established dealership networks in urban centers like Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City and General Santos City. These herald the arrival of Mindanao as the new flashpoint for grand motorcycle events.

Don't miss out on the fun.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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