The Bicol Zigzag route in the Philippines

Roundtrip through the Philippines

When you are riding in the Philippines and follow the the Pan Filipino Highway through Quezon heading south, towards Bicol you’ll find the old Bicol ZigZag route between Pagbilao and Atimonan. A 2-lane twisting road through a forested group of hills which is pretty amazing to do by motorcycle.

We I left the hotel that morning I did not know what was coming, Signs at the intersection happened to point us this way and seeing that most heavy highway traffic would go the other direction way this was my chance to ride at ease for a while. TYP

Bicol Zigzag road

The whole area has the main highway build around it but the old route still exists for a more leisurely crossing through the nature preserve. It is the old version of the Pan Filipino highway, leading through Quezon protected landscape. Inside the preserve there are several spots to stop and take in the sights, explore some of what the park has to offer and just enjoy yourself in the forest.

It is as if time had stood still here, the ancient old forest makes you forget all the business of the surrounding area.

It is known by many names

The road come with many names. And therefore it might be confusing to find information about it. But on Google maps it’s simply called the “Old zigzag road”.

Some of the other names include;

  • Altimonan Zigzag Park
  • Altimonan Forest park
  • Altimonan Zigzag route
  • the old Zigzag route
  • Quezon Zigzag route
  • Pagbilao Road
  • Butikang Manok Road
  • EME Road

And I am sure locals will come up with more names for this road.

The Zigzag route

When you take the turn of the highway and enter the forest, the first thing you notice is that there is way less traffic, certainly no heavy trucks and trailers. A few kilometers in you’ll see why. Steep slopes and hair pin turns make up the famous Zig Zag road. Impassable for modern large trucks.

An afternoon in Cabo san Lucas

In May of 2022 I drove down to Cabo san Lucas for lunch and a bit of fun. Living in La Paz is great, but the city as a whole doesn’t have much to offer and a change of scenery is nice from time to time. Cabo is supposedly only a few hours away. And it almost is. The plan was to leave somewhat early, have some fun in Cabo and ride back at the end of the day. Simple as that.
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Visiting Todos Santos in Mexico

A little roadtrip to the Todos Santos and the nearby beaches.

in the southern bit of Baja California Sur in Mexico.

2 routes from Cancun to Merida without paying tolls

If you’re looking for a more fun way to get from Cancun to Merida but you don’t want to ride a boring and straight toll-road, MotoTravel has you covered!
Once you’re past Nuevo X-Can on the Quintana Roo – Yucatan border there are quite a bunch of options for more fun and adventurous routes.

I’ve been to Merida from Cancun a few times, and every time I took a different route. For a mid-week roadtrip I followed a rural route to Merida through the Northern part of Yucatan and spend a few days in Merida before heading back via a more southern route. Along the way to Merida I passed through several small and developing towns with old Spanish era churches and squares. Some with a market, others with just some shops.
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The historic ruins of Ek-Balam and Coba

Living in Cancun for a while also means a lot of historic sites can be visited. For this adventure I had made a route to visit Ek-Balam and Coba with a quick stop in Valladolid.
This turned out to be a nice day with lots to see and do.

We left early-ish in the morning from Cancun, filling up with fuel and heading out to the ruins of Ek-Balam, which is in north of Valladolid in Yucatan. Not one for tollroads we of-course sought out smaller roads and streets to make it extra fun.
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Bored in Dumaguete – Time for adventure!

Two adventures in one? Not quite. But yes. If you like a short adventure and see some waterfalls and scenic views these are 2 nice smaller adventures to explore. Each track will take a few hours. First let’s tackle the longer one. Negros Island in the Philippines is one of the bigger islands in the country which makes for some great exploring.

I often went for a ride, just heading into the mountains and see how far I could go before the roads got too bad. Which in many places was pretty soon.
Sometimes the fun would end pretty quick with the road at a 30+ degree angle, or just stopping. Other times it was just going to a little farm or stopped at a single track-like walking path into the jungle.

But other times I would just find a nice route. Below you can read about 2 of the nicer ones that don’t have you backtrack and just go in a nice circle over the southern bit of Negros Island.
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A weekend in Sipalay

Escape the hustle and bustle of Dumaguete for a few days and relax on the golden beaches of Sipalay. Sound good? Let’s go!
On this adventure we went to Sipalay City, a Municipality on the other side of southern Negros for a few days.

Sipalay is, I think, a fun and relaxed escape from the city and with its nicer beaches than what you find in or near Dumaguete a great option for a getaway.
At the time I had a girlfriend, we regularly went on little vacations like this. This trip was in July 2018.
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A roundtrip through the Philippines – Part 2

Roundtrip through the Philippines

Between 2015 and 2019 I lived in the Philippines. I ‘learned’ how to ride motorbikes there. And discovered I really like riding around and exploring things on my own terms. In 2017-2018 having travelled around the country a bit by bus I changed over to doing so on a motorbike.
This two part story of our roundtrip through the Philippines is a summarized version of events and highlights. This is part two.
Joining me on this adventure is Jeanette from FloatingCoconut.net.
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A roundtrip through the Philippines – Part 1

Roundtrip through the Philippines

Between 2015 and 2019 I lived in the Philippines. I ‘learned’ how to ride motorbikes there. And discovered I really like riding around and exploring things on my own terms. In 2017-2018 having travelled around the country a bit by bus I changed over to doing so on a motorbike.
This two part story of our roundtrip through the Philippines is a summarized version of events and highlights. This is part one.
Joining me on this adventure is Jeanette from FloatingCoconut.net.
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Mexico’s Canyon del Sumidero is a grand adventure – Part 1

If you’re visiting either the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez or San Cristobal de las Casas you should probably also visit the Canyon del Sumidero. This is a massive canyon towering above the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez with a large water reservoir at the end. Mexico’s CFE has a hydroelectric dam there.

We visited the Canyon in 2 ways. The touristy and common way is to hire a boat and go down the river which we did as a sort of part 2. But a little less common is a land route along the top of the canyon with some stunning views. We went up the land route first. This route takes you about 400-500 meters above the river and gives a great impression of how high the canyon really is. I have made a simple route to ride and off we went…

On top of Canyon del Sumidero

In the neighborhood of ‘La Esperanza’ you’ll find the entry gate to the Sumidero Viewpoints. In Mexico they call those Miradores. So here it’s Miradores del Canon del Sumidero. Entry onto the road is 50MXN per person. After that you’re let loose on the long winding road. Once you reach the top of the mountain range there are 5 miradores spread out over the area, along the canyon.

Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy when we were there, so at first we didn’t actually get to see much. Watching the clouds move about was fun too, and occasionally they would let up and give us a glimpse of the canyon below.
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