Bike Routes from Metro Manila - Sierra Madre
Looking for longer bike rides and to get away from Metro Manila? Here we show you some routes you can take into the scenic Sierra Madre mountains of Rizal Province. Here are some routes you can take starting from Quezon City, list of stops you can take along the way, and back and forth route profiles showing maps and elevation.
1. Quezon City to Pilila, Rizal
This route leads up to the Pililla Wind Farm, a 54 megawatt power complex made up of 27 wind turbines that each stand 125 meters tall. It's become a tourist attraction for the area because of the views it offers of Laguna De Bay and of course, the strong winds. The climb up to the wind farm also offers views of rolling hills, grasslands and the lake.
The wind farm is around 55 kilometers from Quezon City if you pass through Antipolo City, Teresa, Morong, Baras and Tanay towns in Rizal Province. If you're not in the mood to go that far, you'll have other stops along the way.
Right before the climb towards the wind farm, at around this route's KM 47, you'll find Tita Carmen's Bahay Kainan. They serve home-cooked meals and homemade snacks. The area is more popularly known as Pisong Kape, after a restaurant right across Tita Carmen's that used to serve coffee for only one peso. Unfortunately, that restaurant has been demolished to make way for a housing development.
Another stop along this route closer to Metro Manila is Antipolo City's Hinulugang Taktak. From Quezon City, it is only about 16 kilometers if you pass by Marilaque (Marcos) Highway and climb up Sumulong Highway. It is a public park surrounding a waterfall. You can spend an afternoon there having a picnic. However, most cyclists like to ride down towards the end of Taktak Road and hang out at the eateries and pop-up bike market there.
2. Quezon City to Cafe Katerina, Tanay
The route to Pililla is sort of a teaser for Sierra Madre because the route sort of skirts the mountain range. The real climbs are when you go follow the Marilaque (Marikina-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon) Highway. But with harder climbs, you get the better views 😉
This route has three main climbs: Boso-Boso, Radar and finally Cafe Katerina in Tanay, Rizal's highlands. About 45 kilometers from Quezon City, Cafe Katerina is a hill top al fresco restaurant that serves homecooked meals along with expansive views of the Sierra Madre mountain range and Laguna De Bay. It is a popular stop for tourists who travel along Marilaque Highway.
Photos from Cafe Katerina's Facebook Page
One popular stop on the way to Cafe Katerina is Mt. Tarangka Coffee Shop, also know as Radar. The place got the name Radar because of a satellite dish on top of the mountain overlooking the coffee shop. This is also right next to the world renowned Masungi Georeserve whose main attraction are the rope bridges above limestone rock formations.
Views from Radar
FIf you want a relatively shorter climb, Boso-boso is the place to go along this route. The top of this climb is only about 20 kilometers from Quezon City. There are several cyclist stops in the area. The first of which is Inang Valing's store where you can get snack and drinks refills on the way to the heights of Sierra Madre or a cup of coffee to end your climb. They have bike racks and tables for cyclists to hang out.
The climb up to Boso-Boso, Antipolo City
Inang Valing's at Boso-Boso
3. Sierra Madre Loop
If you want a challenging ride, then the Sierra Madre Loop is worth a shot! It is a combination of the Pililla Wind Farm and Cafe Katerina routes. These two routes are connected by the challenging Tanay-Sampaloc Road which is about 11 kilometers long with gradients reaching 20% near the top of the climb. If you're not in the mood to tackle this segment, you always have the option to ride this loop clockwise 😉
- These routes are popular for big motorcycle groups who go on tours, especially on the way to Cafe Katerina. They usually travel on weekends. We recommend that you ride on weekdays to minimize interactions with these groups who tend to have very noisy motorcycles and be reckless and noisy. If you want to ride on a weekend, try to start as early as possible. Motorcycle groups start late in the morning and you can still have a relatively peaceful ride before they go out.
- The Quezon City - Pililla Wind Farm route is pretty busy on weekdays and Saturdays. You will have to share the road with motorcycles, tricycles, cars and trucks. We recommend riding this route on Sundays.
- Be sure to have your brakes checked before you ride. Because there are a lot climbs, there will also be a lot of long descents. We recommend using disc brakes and avoid riding in wet weather.
- For more tips on how ride these roads, check out our urban cycling guide.
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