Over the years, Marilaque has been a favorite weekend destination for some riders. Some even call it their playground. For some, it is a place to unwind, enjoy the scenery that the Sierra Madre has to offer, or simply just ride in a well-paved road with lots of zigzags for everyone’s riding pleasure.
Marilaque is an unofficial term coined by riders as this route covers several cities and provinces. Starting from Marcos Highway in Marikina (MA) going straight all the way to Antipolo towards Tanay and Pililia in Rizal (RI), the route takes you all the way to the beginning of the so-called Laguna Loop starting from Mabitac going to Pagsanjan (LA). From there, Pagsanjan will be your gateway going to Quezon (QUE) via Cavinti, which is still situated in the Sierra Madre mountain range.
Another riders destination is the Mang Vic’s Bulalohan
Anywhere within that route is still considered as Marilaque, meaning you don’t have to actually have to reach Quezon just to be able to say that you have conquered Marilaque. It could be as short as a 40 kilometer one way trip from Cainta to Café Katerina, or a 200 plus kilometer loop around the famous Laguna Lake. What’s important is that you get to experience the beauty and serenity Marilaque has to offer. Since some consider Marilaque as a rider’s haven, some go up to the Tanay part only so that they could relax or chill-out in the numerous spots where riders could hang out.
I am sharing photos from my adventures in Marilaque over the years with my first ride there riding my old trusty 2008 Honda Wave 100r, my first 4-stroke motorcycle. My most recent one was on a Honda too, this time a CB1300 Super Four. I have ridden several bikes to Marilaque, and I have also tried bikes from the Big 4, as there was even a time wherein I would go up to Marilaque every weekend for several consecutive weeks, as I immensely enjoyed the opportunity to see the sights whenever I have the chance to go up to this side of Luzon.
One of the more popular places is actually situated in Antipolo City, just before going up to the Marilaque “proper”, before all the zigzag roads start. That place is just near the Antipolo bridge and is called Mang Vic’s Bulaluhan. For only 90 pesos, they sell Bulalo that has remained consistent in taste all over the years. I first tried this in 2009 and the flavorful taste is still the same after so many years. It is also a common sight to see dozens of riders making this hole in the wall their rest stop, to have breakfast before going up, or to have lunch here before heading home. Being a true bikers’ destination, one could see several riding club posters on Mang Vic’s Bulalohan’s wall, a strong proof that it is really a preferred destination of bikers.
You just might see wild animals on the road
Then there are also two popular resorts in the Tanay area amidst the paved and winding roads, and these are the Sierra Madre Resort and Pranjetto. Both offer accomodations and amenities that riders could enjoy should they decide to have an overnight ride in this part of Rizal. There are also ziplines, pools, and even an ATV track nearby for everyone’s entertainment. Some just go hear to have a quick meal and relax before they head on home.
Two popular places for a stopover would be Palo Alto and Garden Cottages. They both offer an amazing view of the scenery as they are situated overlooking the Sierra Madre mountain range. The good thing about those two is that they are only abut 30 kilometers from Cainta, but would offer a good photo opportunity because for some this would be an appropriate rest stop. I personally have had several photos taken here over the years.
From 6 years ago during a rest stop
There is also Jariel’s Peak, just an hour away but that is already in Infanta, Quezon and is part of the also popular “Marifanta” route and hopefully I could cover Jariel’s Peak in detail in one of my future Epic Ride articles.
When I had my first riding club more than 7 years ago, I was given some brief background on Marilaque by one if its founders, and what stuck to my mind specifically was the way he described the route. He said that it was full of twisties and it will take me all the way to Laguna (the current Marifante route back then was impassable for underbones) and that the roads were full of zigzags like upon turning to the right I should make sure to prepare for a sharp left turn immediately, or something to that effect.
From 2008 – everything seemed peaceful in Marcos Hi-way – not a lot of racing kolokoys unlike today
Although Marilaque is considered a rider’s haven, one must practice due dilligence and proper caution when attacking it’s famed twisties. Although the roads are generally paved, there are sometimes loose rocks and even oil spillage in the middle of the road. A lot of riders have perished here as they have been too aggressive taking on these famous roads. Some would even create a group ride and brand it is a type of “practice” with Marilaque being the unfortunate destination. However, no matter how good or confident you area, you must remember that generally, it is a residential area in a public place and Marilaque is not a race track – it is a public road where one must respect the road rules. Observing the attitude of the weekend riders, I am not surprised that many deaths and accidents have occurred here. A lot would eat up part of the other lane and counterflow just to carve out their knee dragging exploits, okay for the racetrack but a big no-no on public roads. Honestly, I do not have any sympathy when these “racing kolokoys” get into an accident because it’s not as if they are the only ones being inconvenienced. Often times, disciplined riders from the other lane are dragged into the mess that they create, involving these innocent riders into the accident that these hard-headed “street racers” create.
Relaxed Marilaque riding on a scooter
Not only do I enjoy the sights but I also like the fresh air here
My first foray into Marilaque was way back in 2008 with a group called Sunday Breakfast Riders. Yes, that is the real name of the club and its main goal back then was to have a regular breakfast ride– you guessed it right – every Sunday morning. We stopped over in Pranjetto before heading over to Shell Sampaloc to have a quick snack nearby before heading home, all done probably in about 3-4 hours. Come lunch time, I was already relaxing on my couch at home. After that, I proceeded in going up to Marilaque once in a while, most of the time solo so that I could reflect and appreciate the beauty of the Sierra Madre more thoroughly. There are also instances that I would meet friends up there and even meet strangers who would walk up to me to just strike a conversation, sometimes groups, sometimes fellow solo riders. That’s part of the beauty of motorcycling – whatever bike you bring doesn’t mean a thing, it’s all about the mutual respect that riders share with each other.
Palo Alto in Marilaque
I have been Marilaque several times in the past and it would be no surprise to see me go up and down those old familiar roads regularly in the future, as not only it is very convenient due to its location, but also the unique and relaxing experience it gives me whenever I take on Marilaque’s famous twisties – although this time most preferably on a weekday.
I would like to thank Motoworld Philippines for giving the Filipino consumers great quality yet affordable helmets. I have worn only two brands in my 8 years of going up and down Marilaque and Motorworld carries both of them – Zeus and LS2. Thank you also to Top 1 Oil and Evolution 10w40 Fully Synthetic for keeping my bikes’ engine in tip top shape for the past 3 years.
So where should I go for my next ride?
– Erik Gatmaitan is the author of https://www.pinoyrider.com – Journeying the Philippines SOLO on a motorbike.
Follow his adventures on his website or through his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PinoyRider