Bike Trails: Post-Habagat Marikina Riverside Loop

Monsoon season is just around the corner, and as a reminder, I'm posting these photos of my bike ride in Marikina just a few days after habagat rains (not even a typhoon) devastated the place last year.

View Marikina Morning Loop in a larger map

My usual morning jumpstarter route goes like this: from JP Rizal in Lamuan area, I head towards the Marikina River Park in Santo Nino all the way to Barangay Calumpang riverbank, and then loop back to Malanday via the riverside Jocson road. If I have extra time, I warm up or cool down (or both) around South Supermarket's 'oval'.

It's an easy aerobic workout on mostly flat terrain. As a bike-friendly city (first to implement bike lanes), this route is very safe. Now, this doesn't mean the Marikina bike scene is just that - safe. There are good cardio trails in the area like Marikina Heights (road), Timberland Heights (rough), The Great Wall (San Mateo) and Wawa (Rodriguez), just to name a few. But these would take up a lot of my morning time (and energy), so I reserve those for special 'rides'.

Access to the River Park is through a short steep road beside the Marikina bridge. As I go down, I immediately notice the difference in my surroundings. Usually, there are more people milling about - parents with their kids, joggers, dog-walkers, fellow bikers and vendors. That day, trash and debris seemed to have taken their place.

The usual greenery and lively atmosphere now looks and feels like a post-war battlefield. It's hard to think what the people living in the area had to endure, knowing they've been hit by floods the year before, too - who can forget typhoon Ondoy?

Silt has made its way to the concrete pathway and I can see garbage stuck in tree branches. One can only imagine the terror of seeing the river rise to that height.

Lady Marikit-Na, the huge white lady statue along the riverbank is ironically pulling a boat, as if she, too, has just emerged out of the water - dress covered with mud and all.

Bars and restaurants that defined a colorful night life at the park are boarded up and deserted except for one. It served breakfast lugaw (porridge) to hungry morning walkers on tables and chairs set up along the road (indoor dining is not yet possible).

Despite all of these, general order seems to be in place and people go on with their morning as usual.

Just a week after the disaster, people have already picked up pace in putting their lives back to normal. Along Jocson road, I pass by homeowners patiently tilling soil beside the river, to prepare it for re-planting vegetables.

Natural disasters put people's resilience to the test. Marikina has seen it twice, but they manage to rise from the rubble unfazed.

If there's a lesson I learned from my ride that day, it would be this: Nature may take its wrath. It will. But once it's done lashing out, humankind takes back the throne of power by rebuilding what's destroyed and reclaiming what's lost.

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.” - Chuck Palahniuk


  1. Gusto ko din ma-try biking around Davao. :) this gives me a good idea. :)

    1. Ako din, I want to bike Samal Island! :)


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