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Explore Cebu City’s highlands on a mountain bike

On the fringes of Cebu City’s urban landscape are wooded trails that lead to rustic hangouts. People unfamiliar with the city might find it hard to believe that a few minutes away from the high tech enclave of BPO companies and big shopping malls are rivers, waterfalls, and other scenic spots.

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On the fringes of Cebu City’s urban landscape are wooded trails that lead to rustic hangouts.

People unfamiliar with the city might find it hard to believe that a few minutes away from the high tech enclave of BPO companies and big shopping malls are rivers, waterfalls, and other scenic spots.

The most convenient way to explore these uphill sites is on a mountain bike and your best bet for a guide would be biking fanatic Gene Faelnar, who is behind the Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure tours.

Faelnar’s love affair with mountain bikes started in 1990 and he has been trail riding since 2005. It was only three years ago or in 2012, though, that he made a business out of bringing guests to explore the mountainsides.

Gene Faelnar

“In Cebu City’s mountain barangays, there are 52 trails and counting. There are campsites where you can relax before moving on to other destinations,” said Faelnar.

MTB Adventure rates

Faelnar organizes biking tours to the mountainsides for people of all ages. He picks the trails based on whether his guests have beginner or hardcore biking skills.

Trail biking rates depend on the number of persons joining and already include rent for the bike and other gears, food, and guides.

kiddie-trail-party

He charges P4,000 to bring one person on a biking tour, P2,500 each for groups of two to three, P1,500 each for four to six, and P1,250 each for seven and up.

According to Faelnar, the ideal biking group is from 8 to 10 persons.

“I’ve tried handling 27 persons in one tour and it posed a lot of challenges. There were experienced riders who went on ahead and beginners who lagged behind. It was difficult to keep track of them,” he cited.

gene-bike-shop
Gene Faelnar is the man behind Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure tours.

 

Biking tour inclusions

In the beginning, Faelnar said he served as the only guide and brought tools in case of flat tires and other problems. He hired multicabs to transport his guests and the bikes to where the trails start.

mtb-trail-hardcore

Today, he has bought his own truck and hired staff to bring with him on the mountain biking tours. He now assigns one person to every four to five bikers and also has someone to act as sweeper to stay at the end of the line and make sure all are accounted for.

“I developed my system through experience. Hangtud karon, sige lang gihapon nako og improve ang tour,” Faelnar added. (Even now, I’m continuously improving the tour.)

A pit stop in the biking tour is Faelnar’s campsite on the mountainside. Bikers have their lunch — it’s boodle, Filipino style — and take a break or even shower at the cottage in his one-hectare property planted with mango trees. Faelnar hires his own cook to prepare food like native chicken soup and grilled pork belly.

Guests get to climb and enjoy the view of urban Cebu City at the Tops Lookout in Barangay Malubog, swim in the waterfall-fed pool in Barangay Bonbon, and crisscross the mountain trails on bikes.

mtb-tour-waterfall-break

Bike shop services

At the start, those who went on Faelnar’s tours were mostly foreigners, Europeans in particular, and visitors from Manila. In the last three to four months, there have been call center agents in Cebu joining his tours.

To provide convenience to out-of-town guests, Faelnar recently opened backpacking accommodations at the back of his bike shop in Guadalupe, Cebu City. He has a total of three rooms and has also set aside a small space for a restaurant.
gene-backpacking-room

Aside from guiding bike tours, Faelnar sells custom-made mountain bikes and provide bike spa services, which involve tune-up, greasing, and overall maintenance.

He said his parents used to be critical of his business but now support him wholeheartedly.

For the growing number of tourists coming to Cebu, Faelnar’s Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure tours provide more than the usual travel experience.

gene-mountain-bikes

Interested in this activity? Contact Gene Faelnar’s Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure group to book a tour.

Cebu MTB Adventure
1298-B V. Rama Avenue, Guadalupe, Cebu City
Contact number: (032) 238 6813 (tap on your phone to call)

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By Marlen Limpag

Marlen is the editor of MyCebu.ph and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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