OK, we know this is way beyond the scope of your typical one-day ride. But if you just happen to find yourself 1) in the crazy traffic of Manila, 2) with the keys to a running motorcycle and 3) have an afternoon to kill, this is the way to do it.
Recently, while visiting family in the area, I was told of an easy ride just an hour outside of the Philippine capital with winding roads and gorgeous views.
Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of normal-sized bikes in the Philippines. While motorcycling in general is exploding here, it's mostly on bikes from 90-150cc. These little semiauto scooters swarm over the streets as low-cost and traffic-proof transportation. There is, however, a hard-core minority of big-bike enthusiasts, and that's where I scored my ride. There are also a good number of bike rental agencies.
Anyhow, Tagaytay City, which lies in the highlands south of Manila, commands glorious views of Taal Volcano and Lake. The lake is the caldera of an ancient volcano that had huge eruptions 50,000 years ago, but at the center is Volcano Isle, which has the curious distinction of having a small lake of its own, which has a small island called Vulcan Point. So Vulcan Point is an island in a lake, which is on an island, which is in a lake on an even bigger island. One more lake or island, and most people's heads explode. The volcano is itself ready to explode, as it's active and feisty.
Due to the serene views and mild temperatures (but probably not within the active volcano), it's the premiere getaway town for folks from Manila. As such, there are good roads and tons of tourist infrastructure, from luxury condos to golf courses and fine dining. We stopped at Josephine Restaurant, which has a stellar view of the lake and killer food. Nearby is also the Palace in the Sky (recently renamed the People's Park in the Sky), which was constructed for visiting foreign dignitaries, specifically Ronald Reagan...who never got the chance to visit before dictator Ferdinand Marcos was deposed in 1986. It commands even better views, including Manila Bay and Laguna Bay as well as the local Taal. The roads into and around the palace are some of the best, and from the top you can mentally map out a few more hours of riding. The estate itself was abandoned before completion and stands as a semi-ruin. B
Vulcan Point (island within a lake within...)
GPS: Lat 1400'34"N, Long 12059'48"E
Tagaytay City Center
GPS: Lat 1405'55"N, Long 12059'10"E
People's Park in the Sky