May 13, 2017
Downhill Riding with Cebu MTB Adventure
Location: Cebu City, Cebu (province), Philippines
It's been ages since I was on the saddle. With Cebu MTB Adventure tagging me to come along for a downhill riding tour, I was curious how it could be different from my experience as a cross-country rider. With my new hardtail, I wondered if I still had the juice.
Cebu MTB Adventure
This outfit was founded by famed motocrosser and downhill rider, Gene Faelnar. It's one of the very few mtb outfitters in the country. They provide everything - just show up with your riding clothes. They provide the bikes, there is a support vehicle to transport bikes and riders to the jump-off and patiently wait at the landing point where bikes and riders are loaded again to the next trailhead. The support crew have all the competence - as professional bike mechanics, they can fix mechanicals along the way (but there is always a spare bike to avoid delays). As riders, they are podium finishers, so even if you are an elite rider, you wouldn't see them eating your dust. Lunch is provided - boodle style!
The scheduled ride was for a group of Accenture employees who were out to try something unusual - downhill riding. As expected, they were all new to it with the exception of about 2 riders. I was the odd joiner.
On the Way
The trip took quite a while as we left the hustle-and-bustle of the city and up into the mountain range of Busay - way beyond Tops. We stopped on an obscure section of the main road which served as the jump-off point. How Gene discovered that is beyond me. From the top end, we began our downhill run. From what Gene said, it's a continuous 5km run before we start to do some pedaling to where the support truck was waiting for us.
But there was a snag - they were newbies. On the first 10m, on a non-technical section, someone already took a spill. On mild grades, the whole group would stop and everyone would take slow and very cautious manuevers, sometimes to another wipeout. This would go on practically on every 50m. The 5km run was essentially broken down into short segments as we all stopped to ensure the safe passage of the newbie riders. This would characterize the rest of the ride.
It wasn't a game of patience for them. Since they were mostly at the same skill level, they we enjoying the moment - every bit of it as they took selfies after selfies. It was the greatest team-building activity for an office crew - fun, challenging and rewarding. Gene and his entire staff were consumate professionals guiding, instructing, assisting and taking videos and pictures, always smiling, not showing any trace of frustration or impatience.
Unique in the Visayas is the boodle fight of laying down all the food on banana leaves on a table with people simply crowding around and eating with their bare hands - no individual plates, no spoon and fork. Such was the scene for our lunch as we devoured roasted native chicken, grilled pork and fish with lots of rice and bananas.
After the filling lunch and some much needed rest, we were off again for the second trail. It was more techinical with a long downhill run that ended up to our climactic finish, the waterfall. With weary legs and tired bodies, we soaked it in to our hearts' delight. It wasn't rushed. We just stayed there as long as we wanted afterwhich pedaled a few back to the support truck which took us back to the city.
We covered 2 trail systems but the tour isn't about the number of trails. It's based on a full day of riding. If you are fast riders, then you cover more trails to ride on. One staff mentioned being with a fast group. There was no stopping or dismounting until at the end of the trail. On that day, they did 11 trail systems!
The crucial lesson I learned was to join a group with the same skill level as me. I didn't see this situation coming. But again, the operative word is same skill level - you don't want to be the slowest either. I remember joining a winter ride back in the day when I was the weakest link amongst elite riders. It was pure trauma as I found myself immeasurably out of my depth.
Why go to the beach on a weekend? It's been done to death. For a weekend activity with the gang that's different from the usual, riders or not, given all the hand-holding the crew provides, a bike tour with Cebu MTB Adventure is highly recommended.
Cebu City, Philippines
More Information about Cebu City
Cebu City to Camotes Island
- via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
- Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
- Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Cebu City to Dumaguete via Liloan
- Cebu City South Terminal - take the southbound Ceres bus to Liloan, P200, 5 hours
- Liloan - the bus drops you off at the Liloan Port where you board the Fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental, P62, 30 mins
- Sibulan - at the Sibulan Port, the jeeps wait for Fastcraft passengers to take them to the public market in Dumaguete, P12, 30 mins.
- Public Market - at the market, you can take any tricycle to your hotel, P8 for short trips
Suggested Destinations in Cebu
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
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