We are now entering the “New Normal”. As Metro Manila slowly reopens after a lengthy lockdown / quarantine period, different industries are coming back to work, like restaurants, malls, and offices (such as BPOs). Biking to work is becoming a practical reality for a lot of people. It is mostly because of its innate social distancing nature and the fact that we can’t comfortably rely on Philippine public transport at this point. In this article we’ll have a bike-through (as opposed to a walkthrough 😉 ) of one route that might interest bike commuters: Biking through from Marikina to Manila.
GCQ: Bikes (now) allowed
Most provinces surrounding Metro Manila have by now been downgraded to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) imposed by government for two months. This allows people aside from medical frontliners to take to their bicycles as they return to their workplaces.
Commuting from Marikina to Manila
“Old Normal” commute
Going to Marikina City to Manila City before COVID-19 would normally involve a lot of transfers — from tricycles to jeepneys and UV Express vans. Alternatively one can also prefer to ride an MRT-2 train from Katipunan to Pureza (or even farther). With gridlocks everywhere, this commute would probably take a couple of hours like former presidential spokeman Panelo’s challenge did in 2019.
Alternatively: Ride a bike to Manila!
“New Normal” bike commute
As some bike advocates are calling it, a better normal!
Biking through Marikina to Manila City doesn’t necessarily involve adrenaline-pumping speeds. Far from it! A good #bike2work pace is a chill pace. There’s sense in traveling leisurely so you arrive at your workplace in good spirits and with enough energy to last the day. 🙂 In comparison, bike commutes are quite different from those “long rides” that you see — those 100++ km rides are best done over the weekend.
Watch the highlights of this bike-through in this YouTube video:
The commute was tracked using Endomondo. It started in Gen. Ordoñez Avenue in Marikina, and ended near Nagtahan Flyover in Manila City. These are the statistics that one can get for a chillax ride from east to west. 🙂
Our path generally took us through the following major roads:
- Gil Fernando Avenue
- Sumulong Highway
- A. Bonifacio Avenue (Barangka)
- Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City
- Magsaysay Boulevard in Manila City
The bike-through end-to-end was 16.88 kilometers. Of course, this included some water breaks in between. Commuting time took 1 hour and 38 minutes to complete on an average chill pace of 10 kph! With all the traffic, you couldn’t speed up so much anyway even if you wanted to!
We can easily break down that relatively-long commute into smaller portions. Four segments are presented below, with each segment showing a route of the segment taken.
The commute went on a generally east to west route. As you scroll down through each section, the commute would be going further to the left. 🙂
Marikina Heights to Katipunan Avenue
- Length: 6 km
- Travel time: 27 minutes
- Start Point: Puregold Jr. Gen. Ordoñez Avenue
- End point: Aurora-Katipunan Ave. intersection
Katipunan to Cubao
- Length: 3 km
- Travel time: 17 minutes
- Start Point: Aurora-Katipunan Ave. intersection
- End Point: MRT-2 Araneta Center Cubao Station
Cubao to Centerpoint
- Length: 5 km
- Travel time: 24 minutes
- Start Point: MRT 2 Araneta Center Cubao Station
- End Point: SM City Sta. Mesa (SM Centerpoint)
Centerpoint to Nagtahan
- Length: 2 km
- Travel time: 9 minutes
- Start Point: SM City Sta. Mesa (SM Centerpoint)
- End Point: Magsaysay-Lacson intersection (underneath Nagtahan Flyover)
This bike-through series went from Marikina to Manila last October 2019. The situation may have changed with COVID-19, but the commute paths have remained largely the same. What will drastically change is how we get to places, post-ECQ/GCQ. With modes of transport cutting back on capacity by half, maybe commuting to different places will become a “more normal” option? Whether it’s biking from Marikina to Manila, or from Centerpoint to Cubao, or even smaller portions of those segments. Hopefully, these bike-through guides will help you to have an idea getting around the metropolis.