Manila to Cebu Adventure Ride (plus experiencing the 7.2 earthquake)

Manila to Cebu Adventure Ride
by The Pinoy Rider

Arriving in Cebu after my long roadtrip which had me spend 4 days in 3 different islands just to get to Central Visayas, finally I am in Cebu – the one and only “Queen City of the South.”



It was a long and arduous journey, 1100 kilometers to be exact. I wanted to spend the whole day just to rest my aching back, sore muscles, and my right wrist and arm which was still numb from all the throttling I did while at the same time absorbing all the weight as I was in an aggressive riding position the whole trip. With that, I came to a conclusion that the bike I used in this trip is definitely not for any sort of extreme adventure riding – most especially if it entails riding in different terrains over 12 hours in consecutive days. Don’t get me wrong it is a great bike, but adventure riding is definitely not why it was built in the first place. A sportbike may look sexy, but a 12-hour day in the saddle for 4 consecutive days hurts! I am hoping to be able to ride a standard-type bike, which I know is more suited for long-distance riding, for my next adventures. Hopefully with a bigger engine too.

After 2100 kms, I finally did an oil change on the CBR. This has been the first time I let the mileage exceed 1000 kms before changing the oil since the engine response and shifting has been the same all throughout. And that includes all the constant high-rpm hard riding I did last week in Samar and Leyte. Try out the Top 1 Evolution Fully Synthetic and see for yourself.

It was also delightful to point out na kahit na madami akong nagging biyahe ng malayo the past month – from Metro Manila to Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Cebu ay parang bago pa rin ang gulong na gamit ko – IRC Road Winner. I put in a wide 140/70 – 17 tire as my bike’s rear to give me a more stable ride. The grip it gave me was great in spite of the heavy rains I encountered while passing through Bicol Region and Samar. With safety in mind, the motorcycle gears I was wearing – Zeus Modular Helmet and RS Taichi jacket, gave me the comfort needed for any adventure ride – while at the same time giving you all the protection you’ll need in case of anything. It’s always better to be prepared.

I did not waste any time in exploring the beautiful province which is Cebu. I arrived at almost 4 in the morning, and I just put some of the things I had inside my room, and then prepared for another long day ahead. At least, I will finally be doing mostly a relaxed city driving pace this time.


Thank you for welcoming The Pinoy Rider – Club CB 110 – Cebu Chapter – Cruise Bros.

Must see sites when in Cebu

Basílica Menor del Santo Niño– This Basilica houses the image of the Child Jesus. This 448 year-old church is one of the most visited tourist sites due to its proximity to Magellan’s Cross. Last October 15th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook Central Visayas and unfortunately the Sto. Nino Church was one of the casualties. The earthquake destroyed most of the belfry and facade; some walls and ceiling paintings were cracked.

Magellan’s Cross – It is safe to say that this religious landmark is one of the most visited places in Cebu. The cross is believed to be planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers, as ordered by none other than Ferdinand Magellan upon his arrival in Cebu City in 1521. Expect to have vendors approach you offering to “pray and light a candle” for you for a fee


Magellan’s Cross is probably the most popular tourist site in Cebu

Plaza Independencia and Fort San Pedro – The smallest fortress in the Philippines, consider it as Cebu’s version of Intramuros – only a whole lot smaller.

Beverly Hills and Philippine Taoist Temple – Beverly Hills is home to Cebu’s most affluent community. It also houses the Philippine Taoist Temple wherein one could have a beautiful view of Cebu City while at the same time praying and reflecting inside the Temple. There is no transportation inside Beverly Hills so you better bring your own vehicle or rent a taxi cab.


The Philippine Taoist Temple is a must see


Sometimes I like to be alone, think, and reflect

Ayala Terraces – By far my most frequented place, Ayala Terraces offers a great variety of bars and restaurants for you to unwind.

Taboan Market – Easily the top pasalubong destination for tourists and visitors, this market offers a wide array of dried goods such as tawilis, pusit, danggit, and the like. This is also the number one source of dried mangoes should you wish to bring them home – and you can even buy it per pack or per kilo!


No pasalubong – no worries! The Taboan market can easily be accessed from the city center


Basilica del Sto. Nino Museum – This seemingly hidden museum contains historical remembrances from the Sto. Nino church’s hundreds of years of existence. From hundred year-old Sto. Nino statues to the jewelries of Cebu’s bishops, everything is here. Entrance is at 30 pesos.

Casa Gorordo Museum – This Cebuano lifestyle museum is recognized as a national historical landmark by the National Historical Institute. The Museum does not only showcase late 19th and early 20th century Philippine lifestyle, it also depicts the typical architecture of the period. Casa Gorordo has at least 1,000 artifacts, which are all available for public viewing. Entrance is at 40 pesos

Cathedral Museum of Cebu – The Ecclesiastical treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu are said to be housed in this Museum, which could be found beside the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Entrance is at 30 pesos

Yap – San Diego Ancestral House – This 300 year-old ancestral house, believe it or not, is still visited by its owners. Be prepared to be transported back in time. Entrance is at 50 pesos.


Cebu is full of museums that give tribute to our history as Filipinos

Food – tripping in Cebu:

When you are in Cebu, apart from the numerous tourist sites, most likely your visit will also be about food. So if you are currently on a diet here’s my word of advice: This might not be the place for you because no matter what happens, you will eat…a lot.

3 weeks in and a few pounds later, and aside from meeting new people, this is what I enjoy the most about riding to different places… the food! One particular dish that I’ve loved here would be the famous Cebu Lechon. This one is very different from the lechon being sold in Quezon City due to the way that it is cooked, at pati na rin yung sangkap nito na nagbibigay lasa. There are numerous restaurants selling this. The most popular ones would be Zubuchon, Ayer’s, CNT, among others. There are also much cheaper ones, like those hole-in-the-wall lechon stores in Maguikay, Mandaue City. Mang Tomas is also not served here – just their local vinegar. It is also best eaten with your bare hands and partnered with puso` – actually just rice, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection. When I said perfection, that meant that I believe that it is actually better than the traditional cooked rice from the rice cooker as puso` actually could go on for days without spoiling.

Apart from the famous Cebu Lechon, if you get to roam around the city, you will see the almost ubiquitous ihaw-ihaw or sugbahan. Almost every street will have one, and I’m not even exaggerating. The most popular one would definitely be Larsian Barbecue located in Fuente Osmena circle. Larsian is probably the Philippines’ biggest barbecue centre with over 40 stalls in one compound all selling different kinds of fresh seafood, pork, chicken, even intestines and chicken heads! The Larsian experience is also best taken on by eating with your hands. Not with your bare hands though as you have the option to use a small plastic glove for hygienic purposes. For me, this eating style actually boosts your appetite! Do not also forget to make your very own sauce made out of sili, toyo, suka, and calamansi! Alternatively, you may also ask for a dicer – or the reddish sauce they spread on their barbecues while they grill it.

If Fuente Osmena is too far from you, there is also The Original AA Barbecue which has over 10 branches scattered in Cebu, and is quite good as well. Manganhi mo diri…Mangaon ta! (Ang sarap ng pagkain, kain tayo!)

7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Central Visayas

As I’ve said in my column last month, I wanted to make this epic ride a little bit different so I wanted to immerse myself in the Visayan culture, instead of merely visiting the province. With that in mind, I was trying my best to settle myself in. Four weeks into my stay here in Cebu, something very unfortunate happened: there was an earthquake and I was right in the middle of it.

Around 8:12 a.m., residents in Central Visayas experienced ground shaking. The strongest, at Intensity 7.2, was felt in Tagbilaran City, Bohol and several areas in Cebu. Initially, PHIVOLCS said that the epicenter, was in Carmen town in Bohol, which was just right next to Cebu.

Ngayon alam ko na ang pakiramdam kapag akala mo magpapaalam ka na sa mundo. I was really scared. I was in a deep slumber and woke up at 8 a.m. to a roaring jet engine like sound. I thought a commercial airliner was about to slam into my house as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport was not that far away. The building I was in started shaking uncontrollably and I started to finally realize that I was not dreaming. At first it was just my bed being shaken. I finally realized that it was indeed an earthquake when I saw the plates and glasses falling down on my countertop. Since I was still dazed from my sleep, it didn’t sink in very quickly. I glanced upon my window and I saw people running outside, and there were lots of them. Confused, I took a peek and it finally came to me that indeed there was something very wrong happening.

I was awoken from sleep by a constantly strong jerking of the bed but it felt more like someone from underneath my bed frame was shaking it, ala horror movie. Everybody rushed outside. Every single one of my neighbors was rushing outside. They must have thought that I was crazy or something as I was inside most of the time this was happening. The earthquake must have lasted a good 45 seconds to 1 minute. I could see the house literally shaking.

I thought the building would collapse and my unit is situated in the 1st floor. Imagine this: I was sleeping very soundly and then suddenly a big earthquake hits, and the whole building comes crashing down on my face. I wouldn’t even have the luxury of being trapped. But the building did not collapse. Without any exaggeration, I really thought it was the end of the world for me that time.


Everyone came rushing out of their homes when the great 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck

I’ve been in several earthquakes in my life. This was by far the strongest and most frightening. I thought my building would fall down. With plenty of aftershocks continuing every few minutes, and with yours truly still not being able to recover from the strong earthquake, I didn’t know what to do anymore. Nakakapraning. And did I mention that power was out everywhere? My relatives in Manila must be worried by now.

It was the deadliest and strongest earthquake in the last 23 years.

After a while the tremors become a little mild but it is still scary and nakakapraning because I haven’t even recovered from a 7.2 earthquake, and all I want to do is just go back to my unit and have some peace but I can’t have it because every few minutes I would feel the earth move. With about a dozen aftershocks in the first hour alone and a few of them made me almost run for the door again. What added to the stress I experienced were these aftershocks. Just when I thought it was over, some of the tremors were very strong that would actually be very noticeable, which puts your terrified state of mind more uneasy.

All in all the total damage: 222 were reported dead, 8 were missing, and 976 people were injured. In all, more than 73,000 structures were damaged, of which more than 14,500 were totally destroyed. I am still grateful that nothing happened to my house and that I was safe.

My take-away from this experience is that no matter how hard your situation is, there is still someone out there who would rather have what you have. I mean, yes I know it was very traumatic and all that, but that is nothing compared to our other kababayans in Cebu and Bohol who lost their loved ones. There is always something to be thankful for.

Live Free…

– Erik Gatmaitan is the author of – Journeying the Philippines SOLO on a motorbike.

Follow his adventures on his website or through his Facebook page at

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