The prospect of biking in Coron tickled my fancy the first day I set foot in its small town streets. "It would be cool to roam here on wheels", I thought. And by coincidence, while idly roaming to the direction of the Ro-Ro port, I chance upon a bike rental shop. It just had to happen!
|Suggested bike routes in and around Coron|
Payong Bike (rental shop) is located along the National road. It is family-owned and managed by husband and wife Joey and Jing. I decided to hit the trails on my third day in the island. The two welcomed me with a big smile and let me pick out my ride without much ado. I chose a black KHS alite bike, tested the fit, wheels and brakes. The bikes were in great condition, almost new actually.
|Turn right at the first big junction|
Before they let me loose, I was asked to sign a release form (in case of accident and stuff), handed a helmet and a business card. You can also request for a bike chain if you like, at no extra cost. The bike rental fees are: P100 for 1 hour, P150 for 2 hours, P300 half day and P500 whole day.
|goats lazying under the morning sun|
On a wall inside the shop were suggested trail routes. The shortest one shows a total distance of 13K. I thought I'd go for that since I only had till afternoon to vagabond. Joey suggested a counter-clockwise loop starting towards Maquinit hot spings, but I decided to go other way around. I mean, I've seen the road up to Maquinit yesterday, and it wasn't really a motivating one. I make a quick stop to a water refilling station before I head out.
|another big junction, I took the one on the right.|
I pass by Mt. Tapyas hotel, still grinding rubber on cement. Things are not looking right. And then a short distance ahead, I stumble onto Mt. Tapyas road. So I was indeed on the wrong track. I just continued beyond the mountain's stairway and asked around for directions to Maquinit (Yes, the long way).
|mysterious mountain range|
Now officially entering Coron's backyard... Touristy sights are replaced by greenery. Keeping a leisurely pace, I cruise past thatch houses and stray goats. Rural life getting more evident, the concrete road finally reaches its end.
|quiet and provincial|
It's no single track trail, but I revel at the rough road that stretch ahead of me. It's almost devoid of vehicles and population. I kick up some dirt by pedaling harder. Around this time, the mid-morning sun peeks out of the clouds and reminds me that I should've put on some sunblock.
All of a sudden, a massive gated compound catches my attention. Isolated like Area 51, I examine its whitewashed walls and find out that it's a school. I reckon seeing only one jeepney in this motorycle-dominated city the last 2 days; it had a sign board that says "CCFT". Connecting the dots, it was a school bus!
|first water break|
It's my first time to ride alone in an unfamiliar place, and the lack of civilization in sight makes me feel more isolated. I begin to doubt my strength and thoughts of "I should've just gone pasalubong shopping today" hamper my motivation. But then, brightly colored birds cross my path and I am re-energized. I've always wanted to name the birds I see, so maybe I'll be back here with a binoculars and a bird book next time.
|another push section|
Conscious of the time, I propel the bike enough to cover a good distance but not as much as to endanger myself. Although Joey assured me that he can pick me up anywhere on the trail using his motorbike, I didn't want to risk it (and embarrass myself at the same time).
The uphills are a challenge, mostly because I am not comfortable with the bike I am using. It's like using a different model of cellphone than what your nimble hands are used to. I push the bike on steep portions and get back on the saddle as soon as I find the incline manageable. Overall, the trail is a nice rolling playground, great even for first-timers.
|resting at Maquinit hot spring's waiting shed|
There aren't any trail signs in the 'woods' but I made a mental note that as soon as I get a glimpse of the sea, it means I am on the last couple of kilometers to Maquinit. The path starts to get narrow now and my heartbeat races as I plunge to a steep downhill. After I make it, I see a nice view of the Siete Pecados islands. Yes! Checking my altitude from my Amazon-bought Suunto Vector watch (yes, it's cheaper there), I discover that I am rolling on sea-level.
|Look they're surveying the road. It'd be paved with cement soon.|
It's been almost 2 hours when I reach the junction to Maquinit. I take five in its waiting shed, glad to be on a familiar place. After this area, the road sides get increasingly lined with houses and I encounter more faces. It feels great to be back on the radar.
|Two roads, one destination. I take the one on the left, passing by a fishing village|
I feel proud of myself for having blazed Coron's backyard. I make a quick pasalubong stop at Coron Harvest (cashew nuts) before I dash back to Payong bike shop. They clocked me at two-and-a-half hours but I manage to haggle down my bill to just the two-hour rate (P150).
|One great ride!|
Later, I would check Google Maps and find out where I deviated from shop's trail map, giving me an awesome 15K workout instead of just 13K! Here it is, the completed Coron bike route loop:
View Coron 15k bike loop in a larger map
*This is not a sponsored post*
Check out my other articles on Coron here:
Coron tour itinerary (3D/2N)
10 things I learned about Coron
List of Coron accommodations