Jun 12

Honda TMS 125cc Tricycle fully loaded with luggageIf you chose a base in a host country you basically explore the surrounding area only in a certain radius. That means, even if you have a rented motorcycle, you always have to return to your point of origin.

Of course you can do a daytrip or even multiple daytrips, but still you are limited to an area of close proximity for exploration.

In Bali that was never a problem, as the island itself is fairly small, yet allows for plenty of adventures in all directions. So even in 2 years you’ll never get bored. But nowhere else than in Goa that was more of a problem – it’s hard to get even out of Goa with 2 or 3 days to go, scenic and natural wonders aren’t simply in close range but miles and miles apart.

So this time in the Philippines, a different approach to explore the country was needed – one where you can go forward all the time – and never have to look back. ;-)

Thus the tricycle idea was born. Why not buy a vehicle, which can carry 2 persons and all the luggage to expand your circle of exploration beyond those 2 or 3 days around your base?

Of course you could buy a car – but the initial costs are steep and you are practically isolated from the surrounding nature, driving around in your own cocoon or capsule. A bike with more capacity would be nice!

What do the Filipinos do about that problem?

The Tricycle Principle

Simple. They use a tricycle. A tricycle can transport up to 10 people (Yes, I’ve seen it!) or 2-3 people and plenty of bags, coffers, crates, live animals and other luggage.

Tricycle Test Drive in Sibulan near DumagueteAnd what is a tricycle, you might ask? It’s nothing else than a motorcycle with a sidecar, but with a roof on top and a wind screen in front. Something like a Tuk-Tuk in Thailand or a ‘Bajaj’ in India or Indonesia.

So why not get something like that? And drive around the Philippines in a Tricycle? Exactly! ;-)

Ownership of a vehicle in the Philippines is not a problem, similar to Thailand or Indonesia, only India was difficult in that regard, that’s why I only rented there. To buy/own a used vehicle (motorcycle) in Philippines, make sure you will get the following documents from the owner or dealer:

  • the CR (Certificate of Registration – that’s the Owners Paper which includes the type of vehicle, frame and engine number, date of first registration and else)
  • the OR (that’s a paper which the Plate Number and the road insurance paid per year with the LTO – Land and Transport Office of the Philippines)
  • a ‘Release Paper’ if the vehicle was used for a mortgage (very common in the Philippines, either the vehicle itself is mortgages and paid in installments, or used to borrow money from a lender, who in return is written into the OR)
  • a ‘Dropping Order’ stamped by the Cityhall of your host town, if the vehicle was used for business purposes and you are now planning to use it now for yourself/private only (for instance, if the vehicle was used ‘for hire’, as a taxi service or tricycle taxi in the Philippines)
  • the ‘Deed of Sales’ – a hand-written, but better machine/computer-typed paper which states the buyer/seller, amount paid, date and so on (best if undersigned/stamped by an attorney or notary of public)

To register a vehicle in your own name you will also need a ‘Highway Patrol Clearance’ and a ‘Smoke Test’ – all done at the LTO Office of your host city.

Motorcycle Purchase Options

Looking around the last 2 weeks here in Dumaguete it became apparent, that there is only a limited 2nd hand market. In Bali I simply bought a used 3-year-old Kymco Scooter straight from a Kymco dealer and it came with mobility warranty, good maintenance and all the papers issued in my name – all taken care of by the dealer. After using it for 2 years in Bali and putting another 25.000 km on the clock, it still sold for 90% of the price I bought it.

Visiting most brand dealers in Dumaguete (Honda, Kawasaki/Suzuki, Yamaha) it soon became apparent, that it was somehow never an option. Most dealers simply wanted to sell you a brand-new bike or cheaper Chinese Copy. There are almost no used motorcycles available – and if, only for outrageous prices.

Here are some examples:

  • New Honda Wave 110/125cc – 53.000 Pesos (too small frame for tricycle use)
  • New Honda TMX 155cc – 73.000 Pesos (perfect for tricycle use!)
  • New Kawasaki/Suzuki 125cc – 69.000 Pesos
  • New China-Bike (Ram-Star, Liliyan) 150cc – app. 59.000 Pesos (perfect for tricycle use, but stellar value depreciation in first years)
  • New China-Bike 125cc – min. 39.000 Pesos (similar value depreciation)
  • 2nd-hand Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki 150cc – app. 50.000 Pesos (overpriced for a 3-5 years old)

New Speedometer starts new - how convenientThe problem – if you buy new, you will only get 50% of the price back, when you try to sell it after 1 or 2 years. If you buy a good (branded) 2nd-hand bike from a dealer, you still pay something around 40-50K Pesos for the bike alone, which is pretty overpriced in my view. And you still don’t have a sidecar.

You can ask any welding shop around town (there are dozens) to custom-make you your very own (tricycle) sidecar, but it will cost you anything from 20.000 Pesos to 30.000 Pesos – and that’s if you bring the material!

The Tricycle Experiment

So the only way to go – with a limited budget – was obviously 2nd-hand from a private individual. After looking around for 10 days, I found an old guy in Sibulan, just north of Dumaguete, who sold an old tricycle sidecar for only 6.000 Pesos – cool!

He knew someone, who wanted to sell his old original Honda bike. Ahso!

And he could also build a custom-made “butterfly” (the frame to attach the sidecar to the bike) for a reasonable amount. Even better!

So that’s what I got in the end:

  • Work Horse Honda TMS 125ccThe workhorse: Honda TMS 125cc (actually a bit under-motorized, but maybe o.k. for a start)
  • Age: 10 years (old, verrryyy old!)
  • Engine: 2-stroke, 4-gears, unleaded gasoline (1 Liter – 42 Pesos) (*correction – engine is 4-stroke, as researched by Dodong Flores)
  • Most used gear: 4th
  • Tank Capacity: 7 liters (plus 0.5l reserve)
  • Est. Range: app 300 km
  • Avg. Travel Speed: 40 km/h
  • Max. Speed: 55 km/h (with sidecar attached and fully loaded; 2 people/luggage)
  • Added Weight (to Bike+Sidecar): 2 persons, 4 piece luggage (app. 200kg)
  • Price Bike: 20.000 Pesos
  • Price Sidecar: 6.000 Pesos
  • Honda TMS 125 with butterfly to attach sidecarBuild/Attach Butterfly: 2.000 Pesos (the sidecar is held by 4 screws only and can easily detached by yourself)
  • Initial necessary Repairs: Frontbrake/Cable/Brake Shoe (was missing completely!), new Speedometer/Cable (ditto) – parts/installation – total all 1.100 Pesos
  • Total Initial Costs Tricycle: app. 30.000 Pesos (equals 470 Euro or 640 USD) – I expect additional costs for repairs and maintenance in the coming weeks.

Ready, steady, go!

The initial goal is to drive from Dumaguete westwards to Bacolod, check out the area around Bacolod (volcanoes, waterfalls, beaches), maybe head over via RORO-ferry to Guimaras (island between Negros and Panay) and after seeing this one, RORO-ferry over to Iloilo on Panay, circumventing Panay, maybe revisiting Boracay and heading back east-wards around Negros to either Dumaguete or further on to Cebu Island.

Sounds like a plan? You bet!

The first day saw us driving 185km from Dumaguete to Sipalay through some heavy rain showers.

Wooden Bridges and Gravel Roads in Negros Occidental, PhilippinesThe roads were actually in fairly good conditions; just initially – Dumaguete’s main roads (the National Highway) is currently complete under road construction (with resulting massive dust and pollution) and just after crossing the regional border from Negros Oriental to Negros Occidental, the roads are getting worse again also.

There is only asphalt on the main straights, before all bridges and in the serpentines up and down the mountains there is only gravel road with plenty of potholes. I feel now that I have muscles in the shoulders and in other places I never imagined!

Besides that – easy driving – for now. Some updates will follow soon. ;-)

Update 13/06/2009:

Made it meanwhile to Bacolod, not without difficulties. At km 248, just passed the hills in the area of Mt. Malapanto, on the road before Ilog, the clutch thought that it had enough.

As it wasn’t possible to use any gear anymore, we had to be pulled to the next big town, which was Kabankalan. Thankfully there were 4 garages closeby (Honda’s Du Ek Sam, Rusi and 2 smaller ones) for parts and price competition. In the end Rusi won out (as before in Dumaguete).

All in all it took 4 hours, 200 Peso for the pull, 480 Peso for parts (clutch lining/discs, gasket, some wear and tear plates, bolts etc.) and 250 Peso for labor to get going again. A friendly crew at Rusi’s even posed for pictures and wished a ‘Save journey!’.

Arriving in Bacolod at 9pm after passing a heavy thunderstorm, horrible road conditions (constructions ongoing for miles with deep potholes, no street lights, oncoming traffic with high-beam lights and pushing Ceres Liners from behind). Great shoulder and underarm muscle training though! ;-)

Nice to be in a good hotel with fast and free Wifi for a change!

Driving around Bacolod today showed nothing much of interest at first look; except Robinson’s or SM Shopping Malls. So it will be either the Waterfalls around Murcia, driving further North on Negros, Guimaras Island (between Negros and Panay) or Iloilo as the next step.

Currently app. 410 km driven.

CNN Weather said today that there are even more thunderstorms coming from the East towards the central Philippines, this weekend should be the calm before the storm. Let’s see about that! ;-)

To follow a more up-to-date version of the Tricycle Route, check out this Google Map here, which is updated more often, than the posting frequency at nomad4ever currently allows. New pictures are constantly uploaded to Flickr here.

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written by Chris

73 Responses to “The Tricycle Diaries – an Idea becomes Reality”

  1. Fu LoongNo Gravatar TAIWAN Says:

    I really like your idea. its not for me, but it is very cool. I just ride a regular motorbike without the side car. but I will enjoy your story as it unfolds..Good luck :D

  2. Private garden resortNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Glad it finally became a reality Have happy travels and hope to see you both on the road someday. All the best Bikerdave

  3. Randy CNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    You can always make a little money on the side with this arrangement too, if need ;-)

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Fu Loong, I never rode a bike with sidecar before in my life, just miscellaneous smaller bikes and scooters. It’s a complete different feeling, but something really exciting. I’d never known if I hadn’t tried. And thanks for the heads-up! ;-)

    Private Garden Resort/Biker Dave, thanks for the wishes and all the great advice you gave during our meetup – we’ll make it surely back to Dumaguete one day. For everyone else who is looking for affordable accommodation for weekly/monthly rental in Dumaguete, you should check out Dave’s place near the Southern outward road.

    Randy C, yep, I had about a dozen times someone trying to flank me down to transport them onwards. Should’ve seen the look on their faces, when seeing a ‘Kano’ at the steering wheel. :D

    Although the design of tricycles in Negros Occidental looks quite some different than in Oriental. Here are more “bicycle-tricycles” (if that term makes any sense) and the tricycles with motorcycle are much smaller/leaner/lighter than the ones in Oriental. Have to make some pictures… ;-)

  5. Peter ChristopherNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Congradulations on getting the rig on the road. -Peter and Milyn

  6. Mindanao BobNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Chris – I love it! :D Super idea! I have never heard of anybody doing this, but it’s a natural. I hope you’ll keep us updated!

    BTW, would you be willing to write a guest article on my site about this? With links to your site, of course! Let me know…

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Peter & Milyn, thanks for the wishes! And sorry that we didn’t see each other again; time was suddenly in short supply. :-o

    Mindanao Bob, I heard of some other white guys driving around in Angeles City, but that’s more for a xxx website, if I’m not wrong. Ahem! Regarding a guest article; you’ve got mail… ;-)

  8. Erik BlairNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Moto_rickshaw is a super idea. I’d like it more if I could convince my wife to ride the handlebars :) Anyway, my kid and I would love to travel around south america with one !

  9. RicoNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Nice trip idea! I saw a tricycle drove by once in Bremerton, WA USA, near Seattle, very much the same from the one made in Dumaguete, driven by a “kano” I’m pretty sure it was shipped from the Phils, but did not have a chance to flag down or talk to the guy, only saw it once.

  10. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Erik Blair, thanks for the heads-up! I can only confirm that it is a nice ride indeed. South America – wow, that would be really a trip, I can only imagine what pothole sizes they would have there, hehe! ;-)

    Rico, that would’ve been interesting to know. Meanwhile I discovered that the tricycles look different in other regions of the Philippines. In Negros Occidental for instance they are slimmer and leaner, while on western Panay they have a more round sidecar, all slightly different than the larger ones in Negros Oriental (the one I use). :-/

  11. Fu LoongNo Gravatar TAIWAN Says:

    I was wondering would it have been easier to build a trailer to pull behind your bike?

  12. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Fu Loong, easier probably, but not necessarily cheaper. That would’ve been mch likely a custom-made wagon and still the 2nd passenger would have to be riding on the back seat all the time. The used tricycle was with 6.000 Peso the cheapest option here and is something typical Filipino. Although now that I saw the slim, leaner and cute tricycles they have in Negros Occidental or here on Panay – that looks interesting also. Much lighter, therefore probably easier to drive with….ahhh, so many options…. :D

  13. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi, Chris!
    Slimmer sidecar could be better just like what we have here in Metro Manila. It’s similar to what you’ve seen in Panay (I’d been in Iloilo for quite a time) and the sidecar is smaller and lighter.
    Chris, I’m envious! This is what I’d like to do for quite a long time. Since I’m a native in Mindanao, my brother and I had a childhood dream of touring around the island, not necessarily in a tricycle) but it was an option. It didn’t materialize twenty years ago that passed since the plan had been hatched but I already did a tour on a single motorcycle (Yamaha DT125) with another friend in Camiguin Island wayback in 1994.
    Well, there are so much stories to tell, and a lot of things to be discovered in the islands of the Philippines.
    I’m just wondering if you’re sure a Honda TMS125 is a 2-stroke engine. We used to have a CG100 and TM110 which is much older than your motorcycle but those are 4-stroke engines. I’m just making it sure with you…
    I’m a bit busy I hardly surf the net these days but when I’m online I’m sure I’d always visit your site to see more adventures and interesting stories.
    Will check your most recent stories after this comment…

  14. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I mean, CG100 and TM110 are both Honda, probably predecessor of TMS models…

  15. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Dodong, yeah it’s actually really fun, although I’m not so sure anymore, if it was a good idea to start with an old used bike like that. But let’s see. So you are in Manila currently? Maybe we can catch up, when we pass there. Currently the plan is to RORO from Caticlan to Mindoro, have a look at Puerto Galera and jump over to Luzon after that, so probably in a few weeks I will be knocking at your door…. :D

    I’m not so sure about the 2 or 4 stroke, as I can’t find a lot of info about this TMS125, must be a special design for the Philippines. I just put unleaded gasoline into its tank and it runs and runs. It’s actually a similar (or predecessor) model like the Honda TMX, which is still produced and running here, although mainly with 155cc. When I go to a garage, the TMS shares plenty of parts with the TMX, so it may be a 4-stroke also. :-/

  16. Tony BNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Great story and great adventure. Good luck with it and stay safe.

  17. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Thanks Tony B! So far the traffic here is pretty medium and forgiving; on top of that I’m driving only a mere 40 km/h on average – no really dangerous situations yet. ;-)

  18. John BardosNo Gravatar JAPAN Says:

    This is a fantastic story.

    I don’t know if I would have the courage to get a bike though. Have you ever had any problems with police when driving in any country?

  19. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi John Bardos, nice to read from you again! So far we were never stopped by police here in the Philippines. Indonesia is a different story though and in India (Goa) it was pretty similar. But as a foreigner you can always find a way to deal with them in a friendly manner. Just stay calm, smile and be nice with them and usually they are happy to let you on your way unharmed. ;-)

  20. Motorcycle Adventures for Independent Travelers UNITED STATES Says:

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  21. Around the Philippines - in a Tricycle : Live In The Philippines UNITED STATES Says:

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  22. liezlNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    hi…got your site from bob (live in the philippines). you’ve got a cool adventure…riding a tricycle in touring the philippines. i think it’s fun. my husband’s dream is to tour the philippines also (and hopefully some asian counties) using his Yamaha T135 motorcycle. i hope you get here in our place, General Santos City. we’ll be happy to tour you here.

  23. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    liezl, thanks for the friendly wishes. I’m not sure about making it to GenSan with the Tricycle though, as the recent news of the last 2 weeks were quite disturbing. But I’m thinking about it and checking maps and options currently.

    Anyway – all the best for your planned trip! You surely won’t regret it! ;-)

  24. Fu LoongNo Gravatar TAIWAN Says:

    Don’t worry too much about traveling around Mindanao it is just the same old malcontents. It is just where you travel in Mindanao there are parts of southern Mindanao that I would not advise any foreigner to travel even though I have been there myself. But all in all it is a very safe place. Beautiful and friendly just like the rest of the Philippines. Surigao to Cagayan De Oro is safe enough also Surigao to Davao City. But anything past Davao or Cagayan de Oro, I would not recommend beyond that as far as your safety. But even with this limit that is a lot of road to ride. With sights that could take your breath away..

  25. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Fu Loong, yup I was already at Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin a few years back and never felt unsafe or threatened in any way. But to go to some spot for holiday and drive through the whole island is quite a bit different for me. I’m not overly scared about anything or such, but don’t know also if I should push my luck with the news of the last 2 weeks and so. But let’s see, haven’t made up my mind yet on how to proceed… ;-)

  26. Fu LoongNo Gravatar TAIWAN Says:

    Well you are welcome to stop by my place. I will be home for a week. from July 26 to July 31 then back to work in Taiwan..But it would be great to meet you..

  27. Fu LoongNo Gravatar TAIWAN Says:

    Oh yeah I live near Gingoog City. my place is 17k from town on the way to Butuan.. you can even go to San Francisco Mindanao. love that name it seems funny to hear it for me being from Califorina..

  28. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Thanks for the offer, Fu Loong! Currently I won’t travel to Mindanao yet. Want to finish Leyte and Cebu first. Feeling a bit skiddish about Mindanao also. So, not sure about the further route yet, but will surely think about it. :D

  29. allenNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    hi chris, i have a question for you hoping you’re online. i am now presently in cookeville tn, i was just wondering if you know how much is Honda TMX 155cc if my parents will purchase it brand new? they live in cebu and they can get it from carcar or maybe mandaue , but more likely in carcar….????????thanks

  30. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    allen, see above – the prices for a new Honda TMX 155 are usually between 69.000-73.000 Pesos, depending on configuration and if you pay cash or not. I don’t know ‘carcar’, but almost every town has its Honda dealer, they all have plenty of them in stock. ;-)

  31. allenNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    chris, thanks man, my parents just got it and they paid cash, was a good deal for 69,000 and some miscellaneous. the site helps me a lot too. thanks guys.

  32. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Good for them, allen! It’s a nice bike, wish I could afford a brand-new one. :D

  33. allenNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    well, couldn’t afford when i was there too, been trying to give them luxury and stuff but i just can’t, earning Php 11,000 a month teaching is not enough. Now that I am in US earning different currency is different. :-?

  34. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    That sounds like you are on the right track to retiring early! :D

  35. WendylNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Chris, this is CRAZY — your idea of driving around the Philippines by Tricycle! But, you’ve done it! I’m impressed…Imagine, you’ve reached Tagaytay, Legaspi, Boracay, Puerto, Dumaguete and many other places here in the Philippines only with a TRICYCLE?! Unbelievable…It’s just crazy! Bus rides, long rides for that matter, are a torture; how much more driving around here in a trike?! Where’s your next stop? Manila? That would be so much fun to see a trike on Roxas Blvd or EDSA! I don’t know if you are allowed to drive your trike on these major roads. I hope you’ll never have problems with the MMDA. Good luck, Chris! Keep me posted…

  36. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Wendyl, thanks for calling me crazy – I like that! Actually it’s not that crazy, more an obvious and natural way to getting around cheaply. We were wondering how to transport our luggage in an economic way and a bike would be too small, a car too expensive. So what do Filipinos do? Use a Tricycle. That’s how the idea was born. So far it suits us nicely and I’m very happy with the result now after 3.300 kilometers. Currently on Cebu Island, thinking of where to head next…Palawan is unfortunately out of the question, due to lack of proper road network and costs to ship the trike over, about Mindanao I’m quite skiddish due to the Moro’s, so yeah – running out of options…any ideas? ;-)

  37. PeterNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Wow you guys are cruising! We were sad you didn’t stay longer in Dumaguete, so of course our vote is that you rent a house here after all and hang out a while!

  38. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Peter, yep it was a pretty fast month, coming around almost the whole country. Of course we can’t sustain that forever, so sooner or later we have to settle down for a while. Some place not too crowded, close to a beach and with internet connection….still searching for the right spot…. ;-)

  39. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hey, Chris. If you ever come to Manila, don’t drive around EDSA, Roxas Blvd., and any other major thoroughfares with your tricycle. You’ll just get apprehended. But there are alternative roads, of course. I can show you around ;)

    If you run out of ideas, I think you can still make it to Baguio using your tricycle. Just don’t take Kennon Road. With just one passenger and a few luggages, I’m pretty confident that your tricycle won’t struggle that much climbing up to Baguio. Just have your clutch lining and braking system be checked first with qualified motorcycle mechanic. It will just be fine…

  40. WendylNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    You’re in Cebu?! Where? I’m from Cebu! From the simple town of Oslob…Have you passed through Oslob? If you’ve driven with your trike from Cebu City to Dumaguete City and have taken the south-eastern coastline of Cebu, you must have passed through Oslob. It’s the town before (or after, depends where you come from) Santander. Anyway…
    Indeed, the trike is one of the cheapest means of transpo here but have you heard of the multicab? Well, that’s more expensive than a trike but cheaper than cars, even second-hand cars. You must have seen it. A multicab is a common sight in the Visayan region. In Dumaguete, they are the king of the road. They use it instead of jeepneys. But, yeah, i can imagine that shipping it would be quite expensive.
    Ideas for your next itinerary: Have you been to Bohol? If you’re from Cebu, it would be easy for you to do island-hopping. You can go eastward (Bohol, Leyte, Samar) or westward (Negros and Panay Islands…You make me review my Philippine geography!). You can even consider Cagayan de Oro City; it’s in Mindanao but it sure is safe for foreigners like you. The Abu Sayyaf’s are just concentrated in southwestern Mindanao, even only in the island of Basilan; the MNLF’s (Moro’s as you call them). It’s pretty safe to travel around Cagayan; go up Bukidnon if your trike can manage and on to Davao (I’m not sure though if your trike is allowed in the highway…When we went from Zamboanga to Davao, we took a bus via Cagayan de Oro. That was hell of a ride…about 24 hours!). From there (Davao), it would be safe for you to take a ship back to Cebu or Dumaguete. I don’t know if from Cagayan it is possible to go east, to Surigao etc. Especially with your trike, I would not know! But, it’s going to be worthwhile, I’m sure.
    I admire your adventurous spirit. I have some of it but not as magnanimous as yours. Take care and enjoy the rest of your vacation. When do you leave the country? It would be nice to have a photo with you and, of course, with your trike that traveled around the Philippines. It’s really something.

  41. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I agree with Wendyl. You can travel and bring your tricycle just anywhere. But like here in Manila, most highly-urbanized cities refrained tricycles from entering their major streets. So, you should always be fine using secondary roads.
    As in the national highways, it’s not strict so tricycle, is okay…

  42. Best Lifestyle Design, Personal Development and Travel Links | JetSetCitizen.com UNITED STATES Says:

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  43. RobNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Very much enjoyed you tricycle adventures. Had been to many of those places you mentioned around Panay and Negroes with some friends and their private pumpboat. You can really get to know the countryside when you only travel tens of kilometers a day. Was really suprised that the dialects change even on the same island in places that are only a days travel. The best tuba in the Philippines comes from Antique province! Good luck and happy trip!

  44. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Dodong, yep – Manila must be fun with the Tricycle. You are also right, that we most likely could do Baguio. Right now, that’s pretty far away and we decided to rest at least 1-2 weeks. Especially the last 2 days were pretty tough, driving around 250km each (6-7 hours). Will think about it and let you know for sure!

    Wendyl, yes we came trough Oslob, exactly on 22/07/2009, around 1pm or so. Best sunshine all the way on the southern coast. We actually wanted to stay in one of the countless resorts along the way, but then suddenly we were around the ‘horn of Cebu’ and no more resorts. Arglglg! So we decided to go on until Moalboal, which also wasn’t great, as they are completely gone crazy with their room prices. We stayed then in Ronda over night, in a small, but clean and affordable lodge.

    Thanks for your many ideas on where to go next. I know Bohol fairly well from a stay about 7 years back, not sure though if it would be okay with the Tricycle though. At that time, there were only unpaved roads around the island. Only Tagbilaran to Panglao was concreted. Have to check the current situation.

    In CDO and Camiguin I was about 3 years back, it was very nice. Just not sure about that whole Mindanao thing. I know the Abu Sayyaf are only in the western part, but everyone whom I talked about Mindanao (mainly Pinoys) advised me against it. Palawan would be great also, but I remember the road conditions around Puerta Princesa a few years back which were horrible and potholes are no good with the vehicle. Maybe really have to think about a multicab. For now we will rest a while, maybe 1-2 weeks and clear our mind on where to go next. Keep the ideas coming, very much appreciated! :D

    Rob, glad you liked it! Panay and Negros are really nice islands to get around. I would never notice the different dialects for sure, but maybe the difference in quality of tuba liquor, haha! ;-)

  45. WendylNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Wow, you passed through Oslob! Had I discovered your site earlier, I would have told Dad to welcome you to our humble abode. Schade! Well, you are still welcome if you ever pass through Oslob. You’ll be warmly received. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks will be served. ;-)
    What are the places you’ve visited in Cebu? Have you been to Kawasan Falls? It’s in Brgy. Matutinao. What about Bantayan Island? There’s a fine beach in Santa Fe, one of the 3 or 4 municipalities on that island. There’s also Malapascua Island (I’m not sure though if you can ship your trike). It also has fine beaches. There’s also Badian Island. Well, Oslob prides itself of Sumilon Island whose white sand beach shifts position…it’s interesting, yes! But, you have to stay there for at least six months to see the sand shifting. It’s also a nice diving spot (Thanks to the developer of Sumilon, Mr. Alegrado, the Consul General of the Austrian Consulate in Cebu, I got my 3rd Schengen Visa). This is if you want to explore the beaches around Cebu.
    If you want to drive your trike, you can go to Romblon, which is famous for marble. Close to Romblon is the pristine island of Sibuyan which is dubbed as the “Galapagos of Asia.” Sadly, it’s threatened by mining. There’s also the island of Masbate.
    If I remember it right, we had a smooth ride going to Carmen (Bohol), to the Chocolate Hills. Roads were already cemented; it was quite hilly though. That was less than 5 years ago. I have to ask my friends over there if it’s okay to travel around Bohol in a trike (It’s really crazy…hehehe).
    The decision is yours. But, if you’ve driven more than 3,300km with a trike (!), it should be enough for now. Rest and be ready for the next ride. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  46. WendylNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Kawasan Falls is in Matutinao, Badian. It’s a 3-level falls. You can go to the 3rd and last level but the first is the most impressive. There are a number of bamboo rafts which will bring you behind the falls and, yeah, right under it. It’s awesome! Beautiful experience…It’s cold at first but your body will adapt. If you’ve not been there yet, you might want to go there, while still in Cebu. I tell you, Kawasan Falls (Cebu) is more interesting than Tamaraw Falls (Puerto Galera).
    I wrote this because I forgot to write “Badian” in my previous comment.

  47. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Wendyl, no haven’t been to Kawasan Falls yet, but it’s noted as a possible future destination. I love waterfalls! I’m currently on Bantayan, one of my favorite islands in the Philippines. Need some rest after now 4.000 km. Enjoying it! Yeah, Malapascua is nice also, but too small for me for longer stay. And good to hear that the roads on Bohol seem to be okay, will take that into consideration also. Thanks for all your great tips, hope I can make the most out of them. :D

  48. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi, Chris. Those Pinoys who advised you against going to Mindanao is not from Mindanao themselves. While I’m already based in Manila since 1995, a lot of my friends here were asking me about Mindanao condition and were telling me that they’re afraid to go there. And these people are also Pinoy who have seen much on TV – it was the overhyped Mindanao condition on TV.
    I strongly agree with Wendyl’s recommendation to you. While I was no longer around Mindanao for a decade and a half, my mother and brothers are still living their and I can say they’re quite from the war-torn areas of Mindanao. My family’s in Agusan del Norte of which neighboring places includes Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro. It’s a peaceful place, I tell you, with no trace of terrorism and large-scale crimes. I think you already know what place in Mindanao you shouldn’t go so I don’t need to mention it here.
    By the way, it was in Camiguin where my inclination in photography started – in Katibawasan Falls to be exact. And from there, I didn’t stop clicking my shutter release button up to the present. I have switched from film SLR to digital SLR yet I won’t forget Camiguin.
    Camiguin is one of the nicest place here in the Philippines, you know that. Don’t lose the opportunity for a revisit with your tricycle ;)

  49. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I mean: My family are quite far from the war-torn areas of Mindanao.
    Hmmn, that typo…

  50. WendylNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Enjoy Bantayan! Make the most out of your stay there…have fun!

  51. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Dodong, right – it seems there is a very safe passage through Mindanao staying just East of CDO, using the highway coming down from Siargao all the way to Davao. Will think about it, maybe not Camiguin for now, as those smaller islands seem to charge the highest RoRo fees. Just now for Bantayan I paid 1.000 Pesos just to ship us and the Tricycle over, it was the only vehicle during that trip. But yeah – I can imagine how you discovered your love for photography on Camiguin; for me it’s like a mini-Bali – Waterfalls, Mountains, Volcanoes, Hot Springs, Beaches – all in one small location. Interesting! ;-)

    Wendyl – thanks for the wishes, will make the most out of it. Nice relaxed place, easy-going locals, great seafood, some of the best beaches – what more can you ask for? :D

  52. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    That’s right, Chris. From the province of Surigao all the way to Misamis (CDO and Camiguin) that’s safe. It’s still safer to go to Iligan but beyond that, I can no longer make sure of the safety especially for an eye-catching non-Filipino (foreigner) like you.
    From Cagayan de Oro, you can take the shortcut way going to Davao via Bukidnon. But for a tricycle adventure, I don’t know if it is feasible at present. Way back in the early 1990’s, the road is unpaved, mountainous, and way “uncivilized.” Anyhow, you can turn back and take the same route you’re taking from Surigao to CDO. When you’re in Butuan, you can take the highway going to Davao. Davao is another safe place and you can visit Mindanao Bob. You don’t need to proceed to Cotabato but you can also ask the opinions of the expats who are staying in Davao. Lake Sebu, the tinalak, and a lot of things you shouldn’t miss in Cotabato. But it’s already a place where Muslim and Christians merge. Ever heard of the bombing in a cathedral in Cotabato City last July 5? That’s what we should try to avoid.
    So, enjoy Mindanao so soon. I’ll also visit to my wife’s hometown in North Cotabato this December. But it’s not a problem with me as I am a Filipino, Hehehe…

  53. MikeNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun. You should try Indonesia next for your motorcycle diaries!

  54. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Mike, yeah we were thinking of repeating that in a similar way with a Bajaj or similar. But then, that would probably take a year or more in Indonesia. Just the size alone of the country is a different league and would probably require faster transportation. The Tricycle is only doing 40 km/h, but a Bajaj would maybe only 20-25 km/h – an almost impossible undertaking. :D

  55. MarkNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    wow this trip sounds a lot of fun! but doesn’t this take forever and tons of dust hehe

  56. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Mark, so far it took about 6 weeks for 4.000 km. Yeah, it takes long, but that was never a problem for us. With all the time in the world it can take as long as it takes.

    Dust is another thing, but a shower every now and then will take care of that. :D

  57. WendylNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Are you still in Bantayan Island, Chris? How long do you intend to stay there? How’s your tricycle? In the early 90’s (when I was still in high school), I had a chance to go to Bantayan. But, I never had a chance to go back. I would have loved to. We stayed in the town of Bantayan but went to Santa Fe to enjoy the beach and bask under the sun (have you been to these places? are there still cheap rooms/cottages there? P1000/night? or less? This is ironic…A Filipino is soliciting information from a foreigner :D ).
    Have you heard of Olango island? An hour by pumpboat from Mactan, it’s a haven for migratory birds. It lies between Bohol Strait and Camotes Sea. I just don’t know if it’s possible for you to ship your tricycle on a pumpboat. Maybe not…
    You might want to visit Camotes island as well. It must be big…It has 5 municipalities…I’ve never been there myself so you can’t rely on me. The net may be helpful.
    Enjoy your vacation! Stay safe…

  58. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Wendyl, don’t worry – I try to help out where I can, even fellow Filipinos about Bantayan. :D

    Yup, I’m still here, thinking of staying a few weeks at least. For me Bantayan is currently more attractive than Boracay; definitely cheaper also. Fresh seafood every day and the best chicken and eggs of the whole country. I like very much the laid-back, very slow lifestyle and the friendly people here. There is still cheap accommodation available, for instance we stayed first in Tristan’s for 800 Pesos for a small, but nice A/C cottage right at the beach in Santa Fe. A small fan-only room in Budyon Resort goes for as low as 500 Pesos. That’s what I call good value for money, not what those ripoff artists in Moalboal offer (dark and dirty fan-only rooms for 1.000 Pesos and up).

    We now moved to another place for 8.000 Pesos monthly, which suits me even better. The best thing about Bantayan – 3G Smart Bro/Buddy works here pretty stable – wooyeeeeeee! That’s also really important. ;-)

    Olango and Camotes? Never heard of it, but sounds interesting! I tried Bohol and several islands closeby like Cabilao a few years back – that was all very nice. It’s generally a nice area of the Philippines. Thinking of staying here for a longer while to rest. Will probably return to Bohol and surrounding in September, when we get some visitors.

    Tricycle is under-used currently, went only to Bantayan Proper so far to use the ATM over there. Some German in Santa Fe was already interested in it – but so far I didn’t receive an offer I couldn’t refuse. :-?

  59. oliverNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    Try Leyte and south leyte=cheap roro to Bato or hilongos=excellent roads=good beaches and plenty to see
    Can then roro Liloan to Mindano again cheap
    stay here in South leyte Hinunangan-my beach cottage island house

    see “quaint pictures”

    N 10 27 0 E125 13 0


  60. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Interesting waypoints, Oliver. However I decided meanwhile to give Mindanao a miss this time and went over from Palompon RoRo to Bogo on Cebu Island. Next time then! ;-)

  61. BryanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Warum? Warum? – I could hear that sound coming out of your trike! hehe

    Man, that’s awesome! Enjoy!

  62. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Bryan, hehe! Nicht “Warum, warum?” – sondern “Warum nicht?” :D

  63. BryanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:


  64. marina k. villatoroNo Gravatar GUATEMALA Says:

    what a superb idea!!! I can’t believe how far it’s gotten.

  65. marieNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    this is such a fun idea. can’t believe you have actually embarked on this tricycle voyage of yours…i mean trikes here in the philippines are usually for short distances like going around the subdivision or something – but not the whole country! so im really wishing you all the luck..and i can see so far you’re doing well and going far and im glad.
    just wondering in what leg of the journey you are in now. and you’re going to manila right. not sure if trikes are allowed in the highways there..so you have to look that up..but i guess you already did and you have all your plans B and C..
    won’t you consider upgrading to a jeepney? =) it would be a really good ride to take you all over the Luzon area especially going up north..=)

  66. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    marie, been meanwhile to Luzon, Bicol and further south Leyte and Samar. Currently on a small island near Cebu for resting. All in all it was more than 4.000 kilometers – great fun! Definitely a different way of seeing the country – thanks for the heads up! Check out my pictures here, if you are interested. ;-)

  67. Alex BNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Love the title. I’ll be following your adventures. :))

  68. Maciej PiaseckiNo Gravatar POLAND Says:


    Firstly thank you all for sharing this usefull information on this site.
    We are a group of 6 people from Poland travelling to Philippines from 27 Oct to 15 Jan
    We would like to buy or rent 2-3 tricycles, so we have a few questions regarding our trip.
    Thank you all for answering them.

    – is it possible to rent a tricycle for such a long period and how much could it cost.
    – i have found used tricycles to buy for about 40000 pesos. is it a good price, what can i expect for such amount of money.
    – how about a registeration – do we have to register them if we plan to stay in Philippines for 3 months
    – where we can buy them. We fly to Manila but prefer to buy/rent in more quiet area (especially to learn how to drive them :) )
    – which type of driving licence do we need (is car category enough or do we need a motorcycle category)

    and last but not least is it possible for any of you to help us in any way to contact a person willing to sell/rent 2-3 tricycles.

  69. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Maciej, I’m not sure if it’s possible to rent tricycle, as they are mainly owned by families who run them as a business to make ends meet. But like with almost everything else in the Philippine, it’s maybe just a question of the right amount of money.

    It’s hard to say, what you can expect for the price of 40.000 Pesos. It would vary what bike you might get, what region you are buying it and other factors. Do you have any more information about the age, type, region of those vehicles? So far I only see a number here.

    Where to buy? Almost anywhere in the country. Tricycle look completely different on most island, and the frames and chassis vary a lot.I bought mine in Dumaguete on Negros and sold it on Bantayan island. Anywhere in between would be an option for you, there is no best or worst place.

    I’m not sure about the type of license, I used my European Car Licence and had an (expired) international license also. But I was never stopped by Police while driving within 3 months about 4.000 km around the country.

  70. bejoNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Very nice adventure Mr. Cris……than those guys from trikepatrol… he…he…hee….. I have my own private tricycle but the farthest my tricycle traveled is just 150km away from my home……. he…he…he…. I’m from Isabel, Leyte…….. hope to do the same, travel around the philippines using my custom made tricycle…. he..he..he……

  71. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    bejo, thanks for the compliments! Yeah Trikepatrol is a different Tricycle adventures…lol!

    Just try to ride your tricycle a bit further distances, to see something else than your usual close surroundings. It’s easier than it sounds, once you are on the main roads, having the fresh wind blowing around you, smelling the fields and the ocean, there is nothing that can stop you anymore of trying to catch the sun at the end of the horizon…an experience, well worth leaving those old neighborhoods behind you…at least for a while. ;;)

  72. Best Maui HikesNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Aloha Chris, let me know when / if you ever make it to Maui, Hawaii. I want to take you on one (or two) of the Best Maui Hikes! Love your style! Mahalo, Erik

  73. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Erik, thanks for the offer, might take a while though before I can make it there. ;-)

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