Boracay Is Getting Its Very First DOT-Accredited Bike Tour
Erielyn Gaston only started riding bicycles as the pandemic raged in 2020. The Boracay resident who owns and runs the Mediterranean-themed Kasbar on Station 1 started renting bicycles to get around the island until she finally bought her own in November last year.
“And then I started biking around two to three times a week,” she tells Esquire Philippines while sitting on a bench in front of Kasbar facing the blinding white sand beach of the world-famous island. “I’d go around the island. There are lots of nice spots here, hills, and secret beaches.”
Gaston then joined a group of bikers on the island composed of residents and longstaying guests. Biking exploded during the pandemic as governments restricted mass transport services, leading to a huge global spike in sales of the two-wheelers, not just in cities but even in island destinations like Boracay.
In March this year, the Department of Tourism approached the Islanders Bikers Group and proposed a bicycle tour on the island to promote biking and other spots on the island further. Gaston says it was also DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat’s vision to support the bikers on the island.
Gaston was elected president of the Unisikad Boracay Association, which got all the members of the different bicycle groups on the island together to develop a bike tour itinerary for visitors to see the different spots on the island on two wheels. The group put together an Easy Ride for beginners and a Hard Ride for more advanced cyclists.
The Easy Ride starts in Bulabog Beach, goes up to the main road and then makes a stop at Willy’s Rock on White Beach on Station 1 where participants can take pictures. Afterwards, the tour goes back to the main road and stop across the road from D’Mall, where there’s another round of picture-taking with the “I love Boracay” sign.
“Then we’ll make a stop at souvenir shops, where the riders can buy pasalubong,” Gaston says. “After that, plan is to go to an Ati Village (a neighborhood of indigenous peoples on the island) where the riders can support the Atis by buying soaps, and other things sell.”
The tour continues to the mangroves area, and then ends at the Kingfisher Farm, which Gaston hopes will become a hub for bikers in the island.
The whole tour will last a max of two hours, depending on the pace of the riders, and "how many pictures they want to take at the locations," Gaston jokes.
The Hard Ride, on the other hand, takes approximately three hours. It starts in Bulabog, goes to the main road, then up to Station 1, to Sitio Sinagpa, past Fairways & Bluewater and Citimall, toward Boracay Newcoast. The riders will go inside and down to the beach to the rock formation known as “Keyhole,” where they can take pictures.
“After, they go back out to the main road to Lingganay and then on to Ilig-Iligan Beach,” Gaston says. “It’s a different side of the island.” Afterwards, they go back to Puka Beach, where there’ll be a quick break and another round of photos.
“After Puka Beach, balik ulit sa main road, and then dadaanan nila ulit lahat yun. Then, after Citimall and Fairways, there’s a corner there that goes up to Mount Luho. Mahirap talaga yun. Then baba na ulit pabalik ng Bulabog.”
Gaston says Unisikad Boracay is in the process of fixing its papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which she hopes will be taken care of by November, when the group plans to formally launch the bike tour with the DOT.
Asked about the prices, she says rates will start at P500 for the Easy Ride, which will cover the bike rental and the bike tour guide.
“We’re also planning a sunset bike ride,” Gaston says. “And Kasbar is going to be one of the stops, where riders can get drinks and snacks.”
Sunset views in one of the world’s best islands, a drink in hand, after a strenuous bike ride? Count us in.
The Boracay bike tours is expected to start in November 2021. For more information, visit the Unisikad Boracay Facebook page.