AS urbanized as Metro Manila is, there are still a few choice spots to indulge in outdoor activities. One location in particular has become the de facto destination for mountain bikers looking for a quick dirt fix any time of the week.
Aptly named Heroes Trail, this three-kilometer ribbon of singletrack is nestled on a gentle hillside adjacent to the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The trail is built and maintained by the Philippine Army, and has been the subject of several revisions based on rider feedback or, as it turns out, Mother Nature. While the recent storm felled some trees and damaged portions of the trail, the Army remained undaunted and in fact took the initiative to extend the trail by almost a kilometer.
For a fee of P50, you can ride Heroes Trail as many times as you want, and as fast (or slow) as you want. It’s a great place to sharpen your bike handling skills: off-camber turns, root-infested sections and the occasional mud pit are just begging to be ridden. There are also climbs and descents to negotiate, and yes, even a series of jumps. The jumps are clearly labeled for experienced riders only, so it’s probably a good idea for new riders to hang back and watch the more seasoned cyclists take them on.
Hammering out six laps in succession can get pretty, well, repetitive, but we’ve figured out a way to take care of that. After completing a lap (or two, or more), you can take five under the shade, or buy a drink at the registration counter, and hang out with your fellow riders. It’s a laid-back, social atmosphere that abounds - which is probably the reason why mountain biking is becoming a popular pastime. If you’re lucky, you can catch a former pro cyclist ripping up the trail - but he’s equally adept at working the grill. Don’t take our word for it though - you have have to sample his cooking. After a bit of riding, of course!
Here’s a video of a flying lap in Heroes Trail, courtesy of our friends from Trek Bikes PH: