Manila by Bike: A Food and Photography Tour on Two Wheels

Strap on your gear, explore, and get a taste of Manila on a bicycle.

 

(SPOT.ph) Contrary to popular belief (and despite lacking proper infrastructure), Manila is a bikeable city. One can take advantage of the relatively empty streets on Sundays or on non-working holidays to go for a ride and enjoy the many sights Manila has to offer, because biking lets you slow down and see so much more. It also lets you build up a healthy appetite for a couple of food stops along the way.

 

Here’s a quick bike tour through Manila that you can try one slow-moving, worry-free day.

 

 

Wherever you're headed, get your bike checked first at Bikes Per Minute to make sure it's running smoothly. A quick tune-up means you won't run into any mechanical mishaps along the way. While their in-house mechanic gives your bike a thorough once over, you can check out the many city and folding bikes that they have on display.

 

Bikes Per Minute is at G/F Finman Building, Tordesillas corner Bautista Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Contact them at 801-2502 or visit their Facebook page.

 

 

You and your group (company makes for a safer and fun ride) can make your way to Roxas Boulevard by taking the scenic baywalk bike lane towards the Rizal Monument. Feel free to stop along the way to take pictures of people throwing out fishing lines, as well as some kalesas plying that route. Across the Monument is the marker for kilometer zero, the starting point for all kilometer posts placed along highways across the country.

 

 

Ride into Intramuros, and explore the old churches, buildings, and ruins in the area.

 

 

Don’t leave Intramuros just yet: Have your photo taken with a guwardiya sibil-it will make for an awesome #TBT photo.

 

 

Exit Intramuros via the North Wall (by the Pasig River) and see a different angle of the famous El Hogar Filipino, one of Manila's few, surviving pre-war buildings. While its disrepair makes it an interesting backdrop to many films and TV commercials, here's hoping someone restores it to its former glory.

 

Bike down to Jones Bridge and cross over to Escolta. Turn around and enjoy your unimpeded view of the Manila Central Post Office. This neo-classical building also survived the war, and still functions as the headquarters of the Philippine Postal Corporation.

 

 

From Escolta, continue biking down Paredes until you reach Binondo Church, or as it's officially known, the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz. Take a breather by the fountain in the plaza across the church, and whip out your camera or smart phone: remember you're in one of the oldest Chinatowns in the world today.

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Head to Yuchengco Street (right behind the church) and visit Dong Bei for some authentic, Beijing-style cuisine. This family-run place makes their dumplings under the same roof (by the window, to be exact), but be adventurous and try out other items on the menu.

 

Dong Bei is at 642 Yuchengo Street, Binondo, Manila.

 

Also read: 10 Dim Sum Places to Try in Metro Manila

 

 

If you still haven't had your fill of Chinese food, make your way to Ongpin Street, bike over the estero, turn into Salazar, and take another turn into Benavidez. There you'll find Wai Ying, a favorite restaurant for dimsum and familiar Cantonese cooking such as asado and duck rice.

 

Wai Ying is at 810 Benavidez Street, Binondo, Manila. Contact them at 242-0310.

 

Also read: 10 Dim Sum Places to Try in Metro Manila

 

By now, you've probably satisfied your craving for food and picture-taking. It's time to ride it all off and head on home.

 

Here are a few more tips for biking in Manila:

  • If you find yourself craving something sweet after biking around Intramuros, the Cioccolata Churros Café at The Bayleaf Intramuros has excellent hot chocolate and churros, perfect for a leisurely afternoon break. The Bayleaf Intramuros is at Muralla corner Victoria Streets, Intramuros, Manila. Visit their website to find out more.
  • If you want a guided, specialized tour of the walled city, Bambikes gives eco-friendly bamboo bike tours. Contact them at 525-8289, ecotours@bambike.com, or visit their Facebook page.
  • Bring a bike lock, so you can secure your bike to a post, or to the bikes of your friends, while taking breaks at restaurants.
  • Riding around Manila shouldn't take all day, but just in case you find yourself biking into the sunset, bring blinkers so you're still visible come night time.

 

 

Miguel Nacianceno is a professional photographer whose work regularly appears in Real Living, Preview, Yummy, and Town & Country magazine, among other local and foreign publications. On his days off, Miguel enjoys watching movies in the afternoons with senior citizens, and getting lost on his bicycle. Follow him on Instagram.

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