Not all of our clients want an all inclusive vacation package that comes with all tours and transportation. Some prefer a more independent trip experience, and if you’re reading this article, you are probably one of those. Here we will discuss motorbike rentals, but not car rentals, for it’s not very common in the Philippines.
Though renting a bike is possible in large cities such as Manila or Cebu, it’s usually more expensive and complicated than renting a car with a driver (which is the norm). Also, once you rent the motorcycle your destinations are limited because the Philippines is an archipelago. However, renting and riding a bike in the smaller islands is easy, and it’s a very efficient, cheap and convenient way to move around thanks to the short distances.
Recommended guidelines and rules for bike rental
- Don’t ride without travel insurance. In our opinion, a good travel insurance from your country of origin is a must when traveling in general. Especially so if you plan to drive in a foriegn country. You must verify it covers driving a motorbike as some define it as an extreme sport. Make sure that your insurance covers it.
- Never ride a motorcycle in the Philippines without a proper driving license. It sounds quite obvious right? Well the thing is, that in order to ride any kind of motorbike in the Philippines, only a general driving license is required. So your regular driving license might be sufficient, even if it won’t permit you to ride a bike in your home country. Great news right? No, it’s not! The reason is your insurance. If you get into an accident your insurance company can claim that you didn’t have the sufficient license and hence not compensate you.
- Don’t drive if you’re not confident enough in your riding skills. Keep in mind that you’re going to drive in a very provincial environment. So even though you’ll probably go relatively slowly, you should expect unmaintained curvy roads, children and livestock running around, farmers drying their crops on the road during the day, and unlighted, pitch black roads at night.
How much does it cost to rent a motorbike in the Philippines?
There isn’t a fixed price for motorcycle rentals in the Philippines. It ranges between 300PHP to 600 PHP for 24 hours for a 125cc motorbike. Bigger bikes will cost a little more, but 250cc will be the strongest engine you’ll be able to find.There are no other rules to it other than supply and demand. For example, in Boracay a bike might cost anywhere between 1500 and 3000 a day!
600 PHP is a bit too much so never go for this offer without checking other options first. We would say that other than El Nido and Siargao, where most other services are overpriced in general, 400 PHP is a fair price.
From where to rent?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any proper motorcycle rental shops in the Philippines, and most are small shacks or just bike owners along the street. So it’s a bit tricky to choose the right one. Luckily, most people in the Philippines are honest and won’t scam you systematically like in similar countries such as Thailand.
Most vendors will be happy if you’ll return their bike on time and in the condition you received it. Choose a place with a few bikes that are well maintained and in good condition. Try to get a positive vibe from the person renting the bikes, and if something looks suspicious, just move ahead to the next shop. If budget isn’t an issue, you can always ask your hotel for help. In most cases, they’ll be happy to rent it for you for a small additional fee.
How does it actually work?
When you’ll rent a bike you’ll be usually asked to show your driving license or ID. The shop will take a photo of the ID and sign you on a waiver stating that anything that happens is your own responsibility. Then you’ll sign on a document that states the level of compensation you’ll be responsible for if you damage the bike (or it gets damaged while you’re renting it). Make sure that the sum is reasonable. To clarify, a new 125cc motorbike costs between 60,000-80,000 PHP. So if the stated amount is very high, walk away to another shop.
Always ask to take the bike for a short test drive, to check all brakes and lights are fully functioning, and that it runs well. Then take pictures of the vehicle that covers all scratches if any. We also advise to take a picture of a valid ID of the person you’re renting the bike from. Also check if the gasoline tank is full or empty, so you won’t be requested to fill it up even if you accidently received it empty.
So if all looks good, you’re good to go! Just dive safely, and make sure that both you and your back rider have HELMETS, that aren’t only going to protect you in an accident, but are also mandatory for all riders. You’ll see a lot of people, especially locals, breaking the law but don’t be one of them. Just follow our guide and keep safe.