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We dropped by Pareng Jose before ending our tour
Like most countries we have a deep fascination with cars, everyone wants one and everyone has one or actually needs one. The result of this fascination and love are: pollution and an un-walkable city. Since practically everyone has a car there’s practically no need for sidewalks, sidewalks have been widened and taken over by irritating motorcycle drivers, if not that, then vendors of all shapes and sizes. It’s actually a pity since the city and our country still has a lot of places that are worth exploring by walking or biking.

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Here we go!

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Atop one of the baluartes overlooking Manila and the Intramuros golf course
After having explored the walled city of Intramuros with Carlos Celdran, our city’s historic quarter still amazes me with some interesting sights. Visiting the Bambike store last June opened up the possibility of seeing a different side of this city in a different way. Apart from offering bamboo bike frames, the Bambike store also offers tours on their bikes. For Php. 1,200 the Bambike store inside the Plaza San Luis Complex, just beside the San Agustin Church, offers a two and a half hour tour around the walled city with one of the store’s tour guides or founder, Bryan McClelland.

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Three bikes, a bag full of water, and an entire historic quarter to see and visit
Taking two bikes (one for me and Tricia) and our tour guide, Rey, we quickly went off to different places seldom visited by ordinary tourists. Taking a quick stop at the San Agustin Church we sped through a lot of sights and places, all the while mingling with the normal hustle and bustle of Intramuros. We passed by a lot of puertos (gates), baluartes (bulwarks), biked along the perimeter wall and stopped by Luneta to pay respects to the country’s national hero.

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One of the drawbridges leading to a puetro and a wonderful garden

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All things sustainable
Along the way our tour guide, Ray, would give us a short history lesson of the places we’d visit. Here and there he would point out at little things that we rarely notice, like stones taken from a Chinese cemetery or dates and markings on the floor to indicate that not all of the materials in Intramuros are as ancient as we make it out to be. If Carlos Celdran’s tour was heavy with a load of material and facts, Bambike’s tour is minimal and just right for those who want a quick refresher of Philippine history.

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The old Spanish docks and the Pasig River
The experience of taking a bike tour inside Intramuros, its perimeters and a quick trip to Luneta and the Rizal Park was a truly worthwhile and interesting experience. Its uniqueness is not just in the bikes we rode on but the sights we had the opportunity to see, a chance to visit places that aren’t on the maps or in the itinerary of normal tours inside the city. Each stop along the route had an interesting story to tell, and our tour guide would add a little flavor to the story of the city or sometimes a remark about the sad state of historical preservation.

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Heading off to Luneta and Rizal Park

The Bambike tours are scheduled at the following times: 

  • 10:00am to 12:30nn
  • 3:00pm to 5:30pm

Bambike can be found at the Plaza San Luis Complex, along Real Street corner General Luna Street. Intramuros, Manila. 
They can be emailed at info@bambike.com  and also at ecotours@bambike.com
You may also visit their website here
Or contacted at (02) 525-8289
You can also visit their Facebook page here

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