Discovering Baguio by motorbike
Angeles City to Baguio
After spending 6 months around Angeles City & Subic Bay we decided that it’s time to go and discover a bit more of the Philippines. For our first trip, we chose Baguio aka the “City of Pines” or as we call it “The City Of Umbrellas”. When it rains it pours in Baguio and walking around on Harrison street, all you can see are umbrellas.
We came to chose Baguio because it is the summer capital of the Philippines. Now if you think that this means that it has a nice warm climate, white sandy beaches, and clear blue waters then you couldn’t be more wrong. Baguio is actually a city built in a valley and mountainsides. It is located 1300 m above the sea level and average temperatures are 8-10 degrees cooler than the rest of the Philippines. So why would they call it as the summer capital then? Well because during summer months people are trying to escape the hot and humid weather. And Baguio is perfect for that.
Are you sure that you want to go to Baguio by motorbike
After sharing our idea of taking this trip with couple of our local friends, we saw lots of surprised faces. Most of them asked “Are you sure that you want to go to Baguio by motorbike?”. Our friends were saying that the road up to Baguio is winding and dangerous. Further more, as the motorbike we had was under 400cc it was not allowed on the hwy.
Decision time – Baguio by motorbike or not
We then did some more research to figure out how bad of an idea riding a motorbike there would be. Unfortunately, you really couldn’t find much information about it. All of the posts and information about trips to Baguio focus on other kinds of transport.
As the date of our trip became closer and closer, we had to make a decision. Despite everyone saying that we are crazy to take the motorbike we decided that this will be the best option for us. This decision was made mainly because we heard how bad the traffic jams could get in Baguio and we didn’t want to sit in traffic jams.
Here is a pic of our 150cc Chinese Pocket Rocket aka FLASH ⚡
DAY 1. Bags are packed, let the adventure begin
Last weekend of May, bags are packed, moved out from the comfortable apartment where we had lived for the last 6 months and jumped on our motorbike. Taking everyone’s opinions on count we allocated two days for the trip. The plan was to ride 110 km on day one and the last 74kms on day two. We thought that this way we can avoid riding with rain (except when it rains all day) and we wouldn’t have to rush.
We started riding from Angeles City at around 11 am on Saturday morning. The overall traffic was crazy as always but because we had our motorbike we didn’t really have to sit in more than two traffic jams. One in Tarlac and the other one is Rosales. The traffic in Rosales city was so bad that we decided to make a short stop. We thought that it would be a good place to have some lunch and let the bike to cool down.
Something is wrong with the bike
An hour later, when we had finished with our lunch in Zark’s Burgers, we returned to our bike. When walking out from the SM Mall in Rosario we could smell and see a terrible smoke. We looked at each other and joked that maybe our bike has burned down. In the parking lot, we saw that our bike was safe and sound. Our bike wasn’t on fire but the following events made the day more interesting for sure.
We tried to start the bike but it wouldn’t kick over. The bike was on strike, the engine didn’t want to start. After messing around with the bike for another 15 minutes without success we assumed that the engine is probably too hot and needs some time to cool down. We pushed the bike to a shaded area and we went back inside the mall.
Simon was asked to move aside for a body and bag search
As we entered the mall one of us (Simon) was asked to move aside for a body and bag search. In the Philippines, if you enter a shopping center you are greeted by the security. Normally they just run their metal detector over your body and if you carry a bag you need to open it for them to have a quick look.
They asked us to step aside because this was our second time to enter the mall in 20 minutes. (Simon was carrying all our bags so he would’ve definitely seemed suspicious for them.) After they had searched through our possessions, we sat down to a cafe to pass the time. As we were sitting there Simon got an idea to buy some water to try to cool down the engine a bit quicker. Because we were not sure whether it would work or not we decided that I will stay inside the mall with our bags and Simon will try his luck with the bike.
Button from HELL
About 30 minutes later Simon returned. He said:” All good, we can go” and then quietly added that it was his own stupidity. Simon had accidentally pushed on the engine kill switch and it stopped the engine from starting. 🤣 He then described what had happened before discovering the real problem. “After pouring the water over the engine block, I was still not able to start the bike. I was getting very agitated and sitting on the bike screaming F*%K, F%*K, F*%K”. The parking lot security guys along with some trike drivers were all gathering around me to see what was going on. And then I noticed the button from HELL, it was turned on. HAHAHAAA….are you F*%king kidding me, really? Why is this button even necessary?”
Button From HELL!!!
For his defense, we had changed motorbikes for our Baguio trip. And although we knew about the button, our previous bike didn’t have this pointless function. Anyway as the bike was now “fixed” 🤣🤣🤣 we were able to hop on and continue our trip. By 3:30 pm we arrived at our final destination for day one and 20 minutes later the rain arrived. Perfect timing 😊
Stopover in Binalonan
We spent our firs night in a a town called Binalonan. The reason why we chose this place, was because we didn’t want to make a big detour and this place was literally located on the way to Baguio. We stayed in a granny flat that we found from Airbnb. The host Lolita was very lovely and the place was nice. For dinner, we went to a place called “Brinks”. If you are looking for a place with a nice atmosphere, good food, and affordable prices then Brinks is the one.
More pictures from Brinks at our Instagram Feed @Estralians
Check out their Facebook page and few pictures we took over there. Great atmosphere and superb local cuisine. Estralians seal of recommendation 🙂
For breakfast, Lolita had organised us Pandesal (Filipino breakfast bread) and Tea. What a perfect combination to kick-start the day.
Pandesal, Nutella & Tea.
“What a perfect combination to kickstart your day on the road”
Before leaving, Lolita & Simon went for a quick walk through the garden. Lolita gave us a big bag of fresh chilies straight from her own garden (Simon mentioned in the previous day how much he likes chilies). She didn’t just pick a few chilies but every red chilly from the plant. Lolita told Simon: “Hopefully it will help you remember me when cooking with these chilies”. Such a lovely gesture, no wonder she is a super host on Airbnb 🙂
DAY 2. On the road again, the Baguio by motorbike adventure continues
On day two, we had only 74 km left to ride. Although it sounds like nothing you have to remember that we will be riding on steep winding roads. Google Maps informed us that the trip should take 2 h and 08 minutes. About 30 km later the winding road started. As we were getting to higher altitude you could really feel the temperature dropping with each km. Due to the roads getting steeper and more difficult for heavy and big trucks the traffic jams started. Luckily for us, we just ride straight past them…what an awesome feeling.
The surrounding was getting more and more beautiful, high mountains and clouds floating in between them. Also, the freshness of the chilly air and the views were just breathtaking. At one point we decided to take a quick break and admire the views from a viewing deck.
Where is this F*%king place
After enjoying the views, we jumped on the bike and got back on the road. Just a few more km’s to go and we should arrive at our destination…in theory 🙂 That’s where things took the wrong turn…quite literally. Google Maps went bananas. In other words we had no GPS, no 4G. It was time to start guessing :D. After a lap around the local Barangay we stopped on the side of the road to take another look at the map. We then discovered, that we we were literally stopping in front of the driveway of Bahri – South of Colombo, our Airbnb. Long story short, we had arrived 🙂
If you would like to get up to $ 46 AUD off from your first trip with AirBnB then you can use Estralans Airbnb referral link. Help us to help you 😉
Estralians conclusion: Taking the trip from Angeles to Baguio on a motorbike was the best decision. The route is easy enough that even intermediate rider could undertake this journey
1. Quicker than taking the car using the same route
2. Better views and easier to make stopovers
3. Not stuck in the traffic
4. Easier to find parking
5. Much cheaper
1. Sometimes getting briefly stuck behind a truck with lots of exhaust fumes flying everywhere
2. Getting wet when it rains
3. Maybe a bit more dangerous
What to pack:
As we were traveling to Baguio by motorbike in the beginning of the rain season this is what we packed:
* Raincoats designed for motorbike
* Warm clothes & Summer Clothes
* Face masks to prevent breathing in as much cr*p from the air
* Couple of pairs of shoes
* Always a pack of matches & flashlight as well 🙂 You never know
* Few bottles of water
* Adventurous Spirit 🙂
Baguio by motorbike