By Inaki Jose
On December 6, 2020 at exactly 5:30 AM, simultaneous messages started popping up on our La Salle Greenhills riders viber group. "Boys, its drizzling should we push it back a bit?", or "Wala yan drizzle lang yan, game na!!" So its on!
Tuning into Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, my feelings were suddenly in a time machine .... Charging the rain and riding to our first meet up place which also brings back good memories, Petron Connecticut Greenhills, the feeling and the scene was more exciting than nostalgic. Seeing my friends in a place where a lot of kalokohan was planned brought me back ... I was in high school again.
Although we have not seen each other in months and some in years, the bond between us made us all feel that we just saw each other yesterday. Immediately, we started talking in high school linggo. It was a mixed bunch, some rode scooters and adventure bikes, it was a ride-what-you-want type of thing; from Lambretta, to Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki.
My weapon of choice is the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Cafe Racer, a classic which was fitting for the Manila City ride.
Our first stop was where it all started, the De La Salle University in the historic Taft Avenue, Manila. It was a very meaningful stop for all of us, specially to me because I was with my brother Manuel and we are 3rd generation Lasallites. Most of us in the group are purely green minded, some went to De La Salle University and some to La Salle Greenhills from prep to high school, but one thing is for sure, we are all solid ANIMO.
|From age 5 to 50 years old, we are still together. With La Salle Green Hills Batch 1987 buddies Kenneth Peralta, Lorex Yam, and Dong Delos Reyes.|
|Friends since Prep, Lorex Yam, Kenneth Peralta, and I. Animo!|
Lorex Yam, Kenneth Peralta, Miles Roces and I, were together since prep, forging an unbreakable bond from 5 to 50 years old. We were all paying homage to the very core of our essence. Jeers and alaskas like , "Naku mga Jose.. guard, tumawag ka ng pulis!" and "Sino may degree from Ernie's bilyaran dito?" It really feels good to be home.
Our next stop was the mandatory selfie in Luneta to honor and remind us that we are Filipinos first, and we were expected to inspire national pride and patriotism as Lasallites. It was kinda hard to get a good photo, ang daming tao, from cyclists, to joggers, to families and this was a very welcome sight.
We were acting like tourists, which we really were, stopping at every destination we can to snap photos and selfies. Finally reached our breakfast destination which was 1919 Grand Cafe located at Juan Luna Street, Binondo, City of Manila.
The cafe, which sits on one of the oldest buildings of Binondo's old business district (the building dates back to 1919) was where history, nostalgia and the future met. Modern interior decked with historical images was perfect for its chill atmosphere. The coffee and food was outstanding, I strongly recommend the breakfast Adobo.
|The Hub, a coffee house which hosts the classic scene along Escolta every Sunday morning.|
|Scooters along Escolta.|
Next stop, Escolta. The Escolta scene was different. Classic cars, scooters and motorcycles lined up in front of The Hub, a coffee house which hosts the classic scene along Escolta every Sunday morning. The atmosphere was more like a show, if you have a classic or a custom, this is a place for it to be seen.
The First United Building Corporation is also located in Escolta, it is considered to be the entertainment hub of the city, from chill coffee houses to comedy and musical stages. Escolta is indeed a destination for riders and classic enthusiasts. Whether you want to showcase your custom and classics, or if you just want to chill over coffee and conversation, while snapping photos of whatever you fancy, that can only be seen in Escolta.
The rest of the ride around Binondo was very educational. From famous Chinese tea houses to Eng Bee Tin bakery's famous hopia. Thanks to our own ride tour guides and Manila residents, Mile Roces and Mike Zarcal, the group was giving the historical and non-historical facts from Taft avenue all the way to the new developments of San Lazaro race track.
|The Arch of Friendship borders City of Manila and Chinatown.|
The City of Manila is indeed very beautiful, there is so much history and culture in this city, it even has its own Manila sound. I strongly recommend to my fellow riders to do a Manila tour ride and re-appreciate the destinations that we often take for granted, the rich history and culture that only the City of Manila can offer.
Thank you brothers specially to Dong De Los Reyes for organizing this ride. Thank you also Jimmy Baraniga of Royal Enfield Philippines and Hardcore Brothers Philippines for letting me experience Manila on a Gt Continental 650 cafe racer and my Gillie helmet.
See you around Manila, RIDE SAFE BUT RIDE SMART FIRST ..... ANIMO !!!