“Good bye, Philippines. I’m bikepacking.”

When travel restrictions ease and we can finally conveniently fly abroad, I’m definitely going to buy a plane ticket and be away for a long time with a bike. I’m bikepacking.

Any country suggestions?

However, I’m guessing that local boundaries will open first. So when destinations are ready to welcome tourists, I’m thinking of going to the mountainous north. Or maybe visit the beautiful Mayon volcano? Or why not, take the adventure farther and bikepack to the islands of Visayas?

That should be fun and good since I want to be a local tourist again. Tourism is one of the most affected industries by Covid-19 and I want to help our kababayans from the regions by simply being a tourist and by encouraging more people to travel.

You see, I love traveling. I was supposed to be in East Asia this month because I wanted to explore Japan’s local scenes and maybe spend a week or two in Seoul. Plus, my friend and I wanted to have fun in Tokyo’s crazy Halloween shenanigans. Our flights were officially cancelled two weeks ago. And now, I’m here in Manila, stuck with the uncertainty of our future.

I asked my friend if he could join me for a short bikepacking trip in Luzon, a preparation for overseas bikepacking. He said that we need to be accompanied by an experienced bikepacker since it’s our first time. I replied, saying that there’s no need. I’m an experienced backpacker, anyway, and I have “bikepacked” northern Vietnam before (with a motorbike, though).

He asked, “eh paano kung masiraan tayo sa gitna ng daan?”

Then it hit me. Bikepacking can be much harder than I thought it would be, at least for me. My motorbike had some problems while on the road in Vietnam, but motorcycle workshops there are literally everywhere so I had no problem having it fixed. Right now, I can imagine myself having a difficult time when my bike starts acting up in the middle of nowhere because I don’t know how to repair bicycles yet. I’m still a newbie and this newbie will be doomed.

Bikepacking is really interesting, especially if you don’t have a strict plan. You stop if you feel like stopping. You only find a room to sleep (or camp) when you’re tired. You get to see beautiful places and maybe meet awesome people on the road. No one’s in control but you.

I would like my bikepacking trip to be relaxed, no-pressure. Would I prefer going solo? I can but I think I want it to be with some cool friends.

My original plan was to stay in Bali for a good month when international travel restrictions get lifted, just to forget all the stress that this Covid-19 lockdown has brought me. Then maybe go to Singapore and visit some friends or backpack India again (or Nepal) to find that inner Zen.

But recently, cycling has influenced me so much. It has been giving me an unexplainable happiness that makes me want to bike everyday. So yeah… change of plans. I’m bikepacking. 

Note: The cycling community in the Philippines has been very helpful in terms of bikepacking. I’ve been reading posts online and talking with other bikers. It gives me so much motivation to push through with this plan soon.

This was written by Lester Babiera.

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