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Post-quarantine: Where do you want to go?

While the quarantine period suggests that mobility will remain limited until a later time, it does not mean that travel is banned. And when travel restrictions loosen up, road trips would become the norm, since flights, ferries, and other public transportation would not be as safe and convenient as it used to.

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Looking at the brighter side, we are all yearning for this pandemic to end so we can go out and experience fun with friends and family. 

Travelling has truly changed beyond recognition since the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of the implementation of quarantine. And as many experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) predict, this virus will be with us for a long time. 

While the quarantine period suggests that mobility will remain limited until a later time, it does not mean that travel is banned. And when travel restrictions loosen up, road trips would become the norm, since flights, ferries, and other public transportation would not be as safe and convenient as it used to.

Even though the pandemic may have put a dent on foreign travel, domestic tourism may perhaps be the new normal for people who still want to see the bigger world.

So, if you plan a road trip, why not travel on light vehicle without too much to spend to.  Riding a motorcycle solo conveniently meets the need for physical distancing, something that is going to be the new normal for all.

So, if you think the pandemic has scrapped any travel plans you made, perhaps you may want to consider these destinations instead. And to see these places, all you will need is a trustworthy motorcycle to experience a different kind of adventure. Here are some suggestions:

  1. La Union and Baler — If you love beaches and surfing, it only takes about a 4-5 hour motorcycle ride from Manila to these two places. You can get to enjoy the beach sunset, live the surfer life, and have amazing food trips.
  2. Baguio — “The City of Pines” is always a popular destination for vacations and weekend trips because of its proximity to Manila and cooler climate, great food options, and all the interesting tourist destinations you can visit.
  3. Bicol — The Bicol Region is composed of six provinces, four of which are on the mainland on the southeastern end of Luzon: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon. Here you can enjoy amazing sceneries like Mayon Volcano and Bulusan Lake, and enjoy activities in CamSur Watersports.
  4. Ilocos Norte and Sur — Ilocos is also a large province you can visit and needs about 10-12 hours ride. It may be a grind but the culture of Vigan, the sceneries of the tourist spots, and the amazing sights of the wind turbines will make it all worth it.
  5. Samar — Samar is the third largest island in the country, where you can already visit all three of its provinces and even Leyte through the scenic San Juanico Bridge. A beautiful uncommercialized island with gems like Calbiga Cave, Lulugayan Falls, Mapanas Rock Formations, Borongan, Guian, Calicoan, and Marabut.
  6. Bohol — Enjoy all of the eco-friendly activities that this island is famous for like the fantastic diving spots in Tagbilaran or enjoy the company of Tarsiers and butterflies in its reservations. The scenic view of Chocolate Hills will also make the motorcycle ride worth the take.
  7. Cebu — The province consists of Cebu Island, as well as 167 smaller islands, including Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands, are known for their beaches and dive sites. Enjoy areas like Osmena Peak, Kawasan Falls, Moalboal, and other historical locations on the island.
  8. Palawan — Palawan consistently ranks in travel articles as one of the world’s best islands. It’s home to the famed Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Palawan has lots of laid-back beach towns as well as top tourist hubs with nightlife and dining options. There’s no traffic whatsoever in the main highway making it safe to ride around.
  9. Siargao — Another great beach and surfing location. The island’s coastline is marked by a succession of reefs and white sandy beaches. The neighboring islands and islets have similar landforms and contain the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao at Del Carmen. The island has also established the use of motorcycles for the full travel experience.

There’s no better way to take motorcycle road trips but to use the best motorcycles around. Honda Philippines, Inc. (HPI), the No. 1 motorcycle manufacturer in the Philippines, provides riders the best and safe riding experience through their cutting-edge motorcycles.

Joniel Onting, a Honda Click Rider and proud member of the Click Squad Cebu Inc., shares his ride with his Honda Click to travel to different places in Cebu and beats the everyday traffic to work. The farthest he has ridden using the Honda Click is 91.5km from Cebu City to San Remigio which is almost a 2 and a half-hour ride.

“My favorite part when going for long travels is that I get to see all the beautiful and historical places here in Cebu. Mas enjoy namin ng girlfriend ko ang oras at lugar. We are creating good memories.Thanks to my Honda Click,” he said.

HPI’s wide array of cutting edge motorcycles from Automatic, Cub, Sports, and Big Bikes are perfect for the great long road trip adventure anyone can ask for.

This signifies how the company remains true to its “ONE DREAM” campaign, which is helping fulfill people’s dreams by allowing Filipino riders experience the joy of mobility. And in today’s reality, provide them with a memorable travel experience while keeping them safe.

But still, it is important for everyone’s cooperation so we can flatten the curve and make things normal again and finally go out to discover the world around us.

There is a lot more to explore from Honda’s wide array of motorcycles. For more details about Honda products and promos, visit www.hondaph.com.

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Destinations

Loggers become river tour guides in Samar

Revenge Tourism is a social phenomenon where people who have been stuck at home, often for months at a time, rush to tourist sites to appease their lockdown fatigue. With easing lockdown and flight restrictions, more and more tourist destinations are experiencing waves of visitors out to re-experience paradise – but what about the people who guide them? The people who themselves work in paradise?

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We’re shooting through a wild, wild washing machine: paddling, cursing, laughing and getting absolutely drenched inside a torpedo-shaped canoe.

We’re in the Ulot River, a 92-kilometer waterway which snakes east to west across Samar. The third largest island in the Philippines, Samar is rough country, hewn from limestone which over millennia formed some of the most dramatic rock formations and cave systems in the Philippines, such as the Langun-Gobingob Complex.

Revenge Tourism is a social phenomenon where people who have been stuck at home, often for months at a time, rush to tourist sites to appease their lockdown fatigue. With easing lockdown and flight restrictions, more and more tourist destinations are experiencing waves of visitors out to re-experience paradise – but what about the people who guide them? The people who themselves work in paradise? 

“I used to help cut and transport logs illegally,” reveals Epifanio ‘Panying’ Obidos, our boat guide. “For generations, we used traditional torpedo shaped canoes called balugo to transport timber. We would get orders to cut down hardwood trees like banuyonarra or kamagong. One balugo can transport over 100 board feet of wood.”

Samar is among the poorest provinces in the country. In 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that 45% or nearly half of all families in Samar lived below the poverty line. “The hardest part was that even when we’d risk run-ins with the law by transporting illegally-cut timber, we’d still have barely enough cash to survive. Often we’d borrow money from financiers to buy gas and other provisions to transport the logs they ordered. Even after getting paid, we’d still be in debt,” recalls Panying. 

Things have steadily improved. Samar’s poverty incidence dropped to 30% by 2018, mostly because of small businesses, one of which is the Ulot River Torpedo Extreme Boat Adventure, where boats go bow-to-bow with raging rapids.

“In 2008, to veer away from illegal activities, we started using our torpedo-shaped balugo for tourism to showcase the natural beauty of Samar. We mostly employed locals who formerly worked as illegal loggers or log haulers,” explains Panying. “Back then we only had 12 people and a few old boats – but traversing rivers was a way of life for us, since we’ve been using it for transportation long before Samar’s road network was developed.” 

Each torpedo boat has a three-man crew, comprised of a boat operator, tour guide and a point man, who sits at the bow or front of a boat, deftly using a paddle or pole to keep rocks at bay.

“Now our once-small operation has over 20 boats and employs 70 local people,” beams Panying. In 2018, their group, Tour Guides and Boat Operators for River Protection and Environmental Development Organization (TORPEDO), was recognized by the Department of Tourism for its responsible, community-based operations.

The Ulot River is part of the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), the country’s largest land-based Protected Area (PA). “The Philippines hosts 247 PAs and practically all of them give locals employment,” explains Department of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) director Natividad Bernardino. The stories of many of these PAs are similar to Panying’s – of loggers turned into tour guides, hunters turned into rangers, blast fishers transformed into dive guides.

“For all this to continue, there must be a steady stream of clients,” notes SINP superintendent Eires Mate. “The COVID-19 lockdowns hit the world’s PAs hard, generating all-time visitor revenue lows. Many people were laid off and operations were drastically scaled-down. With our parks again open for business, we invite adventurers to visit the Ulot River and our country’s other beautiful PAs.”

Launched in May of 2022, the Year of the Protected Areas or YOPA aims not just to educate people on the need to conserve PAs, but to encourage them to visit the sites themselves. YOPA hopes to generate funds from tourists to ensure continued management for areas hard-hit by COVID-19 budget cuts.

Declaring natural sites as PAs is among the best ways to protect natural capital. “The jobs generated by sustainable and ethical tourism activities act as economic and social safety nets for locals who might otherwise turn to illegal means to support their families,” says United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Selva Ramachandran.

* * *

Back in the Ulot River, the going is wet and wild. Our balugo, which traveled easily downstream, is now battling against the current in what locals jokingly call the ‘Salmon Run’ – akin to the epic upriver journeys undertaken by salmon in colder climes. Chilly geysers of water splash into the boat as our engines go full-throttle.

Just as soon as we’re sopping wet, the river calms down, the ride turning tranquil. Like the turbulent COVID-19 era, raging waters and rough times too, shall pass.

I glance ahead and notice what’s written on one of the guides’ shirts: #MAYFORRIVER, a play on #MayForever, the hope that some things really can endure the test of time.

With illegal activities, nothing is certain – but with legal, safe and sustainable tourism, then there truly might be forever.

“You know, if not for ecotourism, I would most probably be dead,” reflects Panying as we quietly glide back to shore. “The authorities would have definitely caught me, like they caught others. I might have starved to death, been shot by the cops or been hauled off to jail.”

He looks up, just a bit teary-eyed.

“In a very real way, ecotourism saved my life.”

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Travel

5 Road ready tips to ride motorcycles safely and comfortably

As a rider, you are part of a global community and a steward of the open road. To keep your ride safe and comfortable, consider these additional tips.

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A warm day on the open road is a dream opportunity for riders, whether it’s a longer trip or a quick jaunt through town. Regardless of the adventure, and no matter what you ride, a thrilling ride is a safe ride.

Whether you’re new to the open road or a seasoned veteran, remember to follow best practices for safe riding like those outlined in the Responsible Rider program from BRP, makers of Can-Am 3-wheel vehicles. The program prioritizes being an attentive rider and always considering safety, the environment and riding etiquette from highways to city streets and everywhere in-between.

As a rider, you are part of a global community and a steward of the open road. To keep your ride safe and comfortable, consider these additional tips:

Wear the Right Gear

While your fashion statement is largely a matter of personal preference, there are some safety items designed to protect your health and well-being that should be worn. Protective riding gear helps keep you safe while enjoying the open road.

Full-hand gloves, riding boots that cover ankles, pants and jackets help protect against wind, sun, cold, heat and flying objects such as bugs or rocks. Drivers and passengers should also wear an approved helmet and eye protection to prevent injuries to the head, brain and eyes.

Choose a Proper Helmet

Every rider should wear a helmet, and the abundance of options available can make it tough to decide what’s best. Start by looking for a DOT Certification sticker, which means the helmet meets the strict safety standards of the Department of Transportation.

  • Full Face: This style of helmet provides protection for the head and neck with a fixed chin that helps absorb impact. Simply slip it on and adjust the visor.
  • Open Face: Helmets like the Can-Am N21 are usually worn with goggles or a small integrated shield. This option provides ultimate freedom on the road.
  • Crossover: These helmets are easy to personalize based on ride intensity and weather conditions. Crossover helmets can be configured in numerous ways by transforming from full face to jet, which keep it breezy with a full field of view.

Maintain Your Hairdo

Keep hair out of your face. If you have longer hair, choose a hairstyle that’s high and away from your eyes like a low bun, simple braid or ponytail. Secure hair at the nape of your neck and, when possible, wear a neck gaiter around the back of your head and across your nose to keep loose hairs secured. Bonus tip: Keep a compact brush on your ride so you can brush your hair upon arrival at your destination.

Prepare Appropriately for Riding Conditions

Weather is unpredictable, and you should be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Regardless of the forecast, always make a plan for unforeseen conditions like wind and rain. An easy way to stay prepared is to keep a small packable jacket on your ride so you’re never left without an extra layer.

Cooler conditions call for warm yet lightweight gear such as a base layer with additional light layers over the top like a jacket or thin vest. Hotter days require vented clothing that allows airflow to keep you cool and dry.

Consider Your Passenger’s Safety

The most important rule for packing a passenger is ensuring your bike has a specific seat intended for a second rider. Be aware of how the added weight can affect the handling and behavior of the vehicle.

Generally, riding with a passenger requires more gradual riding from acceleration and braking to steering. Instruct your passenger how you prefer him or her to ride with you to ensure the most enjoyment possible.

Find more responsible riding tips at can-am.brp.com.

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Travel

Sunny summertime safety

Tips for enjoying the great outdoors.

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A bright, sunny day offers opportunities for warm-weather fun. To make the most of your summer, you’ll need to take a few steps to enhance the experience and ensure you’re ready for whatever the day may bring.

When it’s time to head outside, consider these tips from the experts at CURAD to protect your body (and skin) from the elements this summer:

Protect Skin from UV Rays

Any time you’ll be outdoors for more than 15 minutes, you should wear protective sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even if it’s partly cloudy or overcast. One mistake many people make is applying sunscreen before they leave the house then not reapplying throughout the day. To help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating.

Also be sure to cover all exposed areas, including often overlooked spots like the tops of your ears, neck and tops of your feet, if they’re exposed by sandals or other open shoes.

Stay Hydrated

One of the most important ways to protect your health when you’re spending the day outdoors is staying hydrated, especially on warm days when you’re losing your body’s water reserves to sweat. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day can help replenish what you lose so you don’t get dehydrated, and you’ll also have an easier time regulating your body’s temperature.

Be Prepared for Cuts and Scrapes

Summer cuts and scrapes are to be expected, but the faster you can take care of them, the faster you can get back to having fun. An option like CURAD Kendra Dandy Adhesive Bandages can help you heal in style with a four-sided seal that keeps dirt and germs out and a nonstick pad that’s extra absorbent. Designed by Dandy, a renowned artist and illustrator, these fashion-forward bandages are made with a comfortable, stretchy material that conforms to your body for maximum protection. Available in a 30-count standard-sized strip and a 50-count variety pack, these eye-catching bandages feature trendy, one-of-a-kind pineapple, papaya, banana and dragon fruit designs that can add a little fun and flair to your summer wardrobe.

“We created our Kendra Dandy designer bandage line to add a splash of fun, color and flair to our classic adhesive bandages, offering consumers thought-provoking styles that add a great feeling to empowered healing,” said Kim Washington, Medline vice president of marketing.

Repel Bugs

Aggressive insects can put a damper on outdoor fun. Bug spray or roll-on products should go on top of your sunscreen, but never under your clothes. Apply a sparing coat to all exposed skin and clothing, paying special attention to your waistband, pant and sleeve cuffs, collar and socks. Rather than applying spray directly to your face, spray the palms of your hands then rub the repellant onto your face. Be sure to wash your hands afterward to avoid accidentally transferring spray to your mouth or eyes.

If you have sensitive skin or prefer not to use spray or roll-on for other reasons, products like repellant fans or wearable repellant bracelets may be good alternatives. Some essential oils are also natural bug repellants.

Don’t Forget Your Lips

While faces, necks, arms and legs are often top of mind to protect from the sun’s rays, lips can be easy to forget. However, using a lip balm that is rich in oils, beeswax and petroleum can help seal in moisture. Similar to sunscreen, lip balms featuring SPF should be reapplied every two hours when outdoors and often offer added moisturizing benefits. Available in a variety of flavors, some even taste good enough to leave you wanting to apply them over and over again regardless of if you’re venturing outside or not.

Wear Light Clothing

When it’s hot outside and you’re engaged in physical activity, you’re at a greater risk of overheating. Dressing for the climate, while also protecting yourself from the elements, should be a top priority. If the temperature will vary throughout the day, consider layering so you can warm up or cool down as needed. Lighter clothes that don’t add weight are a good idea, and it’s important to be conscious of the fit. Ideally, clothes should be loose enough to allow for easy, comfortable movement, but not so baggy they get in the way or pose a snagging or tripping hazard. Don’t forget accessories like a hat and sunglasses, which can protect your head and eyes.

Support Summertime Injuries

Twisted ankles are one of the more common summertime injuries, especially for hikers or runners who may stumble over rocks or curbs, and even weekend warriors playing pick-up basketball or softball games. Keeping an ankle support on-hand can help stabilize a sprain or provide extra support during recovery. If you do experience a mild injury, it’s important to choose a high-quality product, like CURAD Performance Series IRONMAN ankle supports and braces. With options available to support both mild and moderate ankle injuries, they offer a rugged yet comfortable design to wear on the field, in the gym, at work or out on the town.

Find more tips and resources to take care of your body this summer and beyond at CURAD.com.

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