Sun, Sea and Palm Trees – Riding in the Philippines

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By Michael Cannon

Sun, sea, and palm trees. A dream for many and rightly so. I might also add that the number of speed cameras can be counted on one hand and no large capacity bikes ever get stolen! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there are no traffic police. “Fantastic!” I hear you say, all the things that a rider would want.

Well, nothing in this life is ever perfect. Here’s a list of things we frequently contend with:

  • Typhoons
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Monsoon rains and flooding
  • Poorly maintained roads
  • Drivers who have never passed a driving test
  • Humidity regularly in the 90-100% range
  • Limited medical facilities
  • No breakdown services
  • Very limited dealer servicing
  • All spare parts have to be purchased online
  • Eye-wateringly expensive second hand “big bikes” (400cc and above)

Not so much of a riders dream now, is it? However, despite the difficulties, big bike ownership is increasing. You just can’t keep a rider down!

The Philippines, like most Asian countries, have always had large numbers of small capacity bikes, be it 150cc regular bikes or Underbones. There are also increasing numbers of what I call scooters (think Yamaha NMax). Originally, they were Japanese but in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in Chinese brands. The number of riders has always been high and by high, I mean 30 million riders out of a population of 100 million! They have flourished because they afforded the general populace with a cheap (relatively) and a reliable form of transportation. The vast majority of these machines are small cc bikes.

Big bikes were originally imported into the Philippines by individuals or organizations. Most of these were brought in illegally and without paperwork, however, in recent years there has been an increase of interest in big bikes with all of the main Japanese, Harley, and European brands opening dealerships.

This was good but it did not provide the …read more

Source:: Sun, Sea and Palm Trees – Riding in the Philippines


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