Monday, July 7, 2014

Bambike Ecotours of Intramuros: The Coolest Way to Tour Intramuros

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"Bambike Ecotours Intramuros is an exciting and educational ecotourism activity in the heart of Manila’s old walled city of Intramuros. Guests will be riding through the streets on bamboo bikes that have been handmade by Gawad Kalinga villagers here in the Philippines. Tourists will be led around the area, getting to cover more ground than if on a walking tour and having a more interesting experience than if going around on a calesa.This ecotour will both teach visitors about Philippine history and make them feel like kids again."

I agree to their Facebook page description. The tour will make you feel like a kid again. That's for sure. I saw these in the faces of my fellow bloggers before they proceeded with the actual tour. Yes! I mean "they" for I had to miss the opportunity to ride with them and Bryan, the proprietor and brains behind "Bambike" because I had to pick up a Mini Cooper S at the Bonifacio Global City Mini showroom. The guys at Mini scheduled the pick-up the same time I was supposed to be riding with the Wazzup Pilipinas community.

It was between riding a Bambike and a Mini...I would have chosen the Bambike but Bryan made it easier for me - he gave me another opportunity to join them in any schedule tour. Thus after taking a group photo with them, I ran off to the Mini showroom all eager and excited to drive like there was no tomorrow (joke). Seriously, I was very careful in driving the Mini since it was not mine to begin with.

Going back to Bambike, to experience the tour as clients normally would, tourists are requested to come at least 30 minutes before the allotted tour start (10am or 3pm) for a briefing about the company, tour guidelines and a group photo in San Luis Plaza. The tour takes 2.5 hours and includes helmet, one water and the entrance fees. If taking the tour in the afternoon, please make especially sure to come on time.

The cost of the tour is only Php 1200 pesos for the regular 2.5 hours, but they also have an expres tour that only lasts for 1 hour and cost half of the original price. The Intramuros area is also such a nice place to roam around especially on a bike.

During the orientation, Bryan showed us a short video where we learned that the process of creating a bambike takes around 5 months. That long just for one order. So they have several on stock just in case you want to grab one immediately. They have ready-made models all ready to be rode on, but they can also personalize based on your requests.They have all kinds of bike from small to huge, from beginners to pro, and have bikes for sale as expensive as P65k complete with everything, or you have an option to just buy the bamboo body.

What's great about Bambike is that you also get to help out people, specifically the workers from Gawad Kalinga community, when you patronize their products. I guess it's a great thing to know that our hard-earned money is going somewhere beneficial to our fellowmen.

The raw material of bamboo also helps the farmers who plant bamboos. If more and more people buy these locally made products, we get to help and employ more and more farmers, and generate jobs as well. It feels really good while riding a bike, and the wind touching your face, knowing you are riding on a bike that helped put kids to school, or bring food to the table of a family.

If you and our fellow bikers in the group don't normally incorporate much physical activity in your daily routine, it is recommended that you drink at least a litre of water by the time you arrive to prevent symptoms that may lead to dehydration or heat stroke. However, you should not worry too much as it's a very easy bike ride, at a slow pace and you will constantly be feeling an 8km breeze on your face as you ride.

Hoping to join them soon on the soonest day and time I would be available so I can also experience a Bambike tour....and if ever I will be assembling my next bicycle, it will be from Bambike parts.

Thank you to Bryan and Christine for arranging the Bambike Bloggers Tour for members of the Wazzup Pilipinas community. We appreciate the time and effort you gave us to tour us around intramuros and introduce us to Bambike.

Before we actually head off into the beautiful areas of Intramuros, we were introduced to their pet turtle that they keep in the fountain near their store. Bryan said it rarely comes out like this to eagerly show his face to the Bambike tourists. We are fortunate we can see his entirety right now.

Call it luck or coincidence, we have a lot to learn from the turtle because just like their pet, the turtle takes life really slow, and even slower than riding a bike. We seem to be fortunate that we can speed things up as we please, unlike the turtle that does everything at a slow pace because it has no other choice.

But unlike the turtle, we sometimes miss out on the more important things in life because we are always on a hurry. We tend to neglect to appreciate the real beauty of the real world because we want to get ahead and above everyone else thus most of the time missing the necessities in life.

Like riding a bike, the speed of how fast we should go depends on how often and how hard we hit the pedal. We are in control of our speed, we are also in control of our direction depending on where we point the bike, and the best thing - there is always the break to allow us to slow down, stop and reflect on things before we proceed to our next destination.

We should take time to check our lives. Like the bicycle, we should check if our wheels are still fine, our breaks still working, all the hinges are oiled, and our seats still comfortable. Since we are in full control, we can easily step down from the bike, make it better and fix it.

Life is like riding a's best we ride slow and appreciate the wind blowing in our face, and learn to admire the beauty of the sights that we pass by. We need to stop or pause once in a while and appreciate everything and everyone around us.

Mister turtle may not be able to do the same thing as what humans can, but at least it's one simple living creature with very little needs and free from the desires of material possessions and wealth. I envy him for being more carefree than us....but I am more determined to be more responsible with my actions for we tend to affect and influence everything around us with every thing that we do.

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