Fancy riding a bike made of bamboo while going through the history class minus the boring lecture? Then this activity is definitely for you!
This is what I love about Philippines the most. Every place is just full of surprises. Who knew that the corner of Casa Manila is a bike rental place and gives historical tour around Intramuros?
I always tell visitors, foreign friends, or travellers I have met and will meet along the way that if ever they plan to visit Manila is that they should food binge at Kapitolyo and Maginhawa, walk and ride the kalesa around Intramuros and Rizal Park, or from the city, go on a road trip instead. Now, I have something more exciting (than huge malls) to share- the Bambike Ecotours Intramuros Experience.
Bambike Ecotours, in partnership with Gawad Kalinga, is a socio-ecological movement that aims to alleviate unemployment and poverty in over 2,000 communities in the Philippines. The enterprise helps out in awarding scholarships, sponsorships, sustaining livelihood, and feeding programs for children. The frames of the bicycles are handmade by the villagers for almost five months and are sold for 15,000php (310 USD) and up each. What I love the most with this movement is not only do they provide quality, educational tour, but they also take care of the nature through bamboo forestation. (Bamboo = Pandas = LOVE, yeap!)
I was torn between using a smaller two-wheeler and the one with the basket. Since I really wanted a woven basket, I ended up with a bicycle that had a longer frame. It took a while for me to get used to manoeuvring the bambike since it was a bit lighter and longer than the usual; nonetheless, it was not a major problem. If only the streets were empty, I could have shown my “eyes closed” and “no-hand” tricks! Haha!
As part of one of my birthday surprises for Marti, I booked a Saturday morning tour. We visited around 7-10 landmarks in Intramuros and we biked roughly 4.5km long. The last time I went here for a stroll and biking around was probably with my dad when I was still 5-7 years old and every corner, if I could still remember, was the same as it was before. Exhausted? Yes we were, but we definitely fell in love with the cultural abundance and beauty of our own country. Below are the historical places we parked our bikes in. Thank you, Bambike, for an awesome experience!
- Plaza San Luis Complex
- San Agustin Church
- Galeria de los Presedentes de la Republica Filipina
- Japanese Cannon
- Baluarte de San Andres
- Plaza Roma / Manila Cathedral
- Fort Santiago / Rizal Museum
- 2.5hour tour around Intramuros w/ super cool our guide
- Poncho in case it rains
- Your choice of bike (if you just want to rent the bicycle and skip the tour, it’s 200pesos (5 USD) only )
- Bottled water