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Manila guide, Manila streets, Triathlon

Best places to swim, bike and run in Metro Manila

If you want to do a triathlon, you need to have the time as well as the place to do your swimming, biking, and running. It’s always tough to find time, especially if you have a day job and family and social commitments. As to the place, it would be most convenient if you live in a subdivision where you can do your biking and running safely. Otherwise, it’s really not easy, but I’ve come up with a list of places which are the best bets to go to.

Of course, you can always do your biking and running in the gym. However, few people (not including me) can endure an hour’s running on a treadmill or do a mind-numbing spinning class.

Swim – unless you’re a member of a country club, you’ll have to settle for public swimming pools. Basically, there are only two choices:

  • Makati Aquatic Sports Arena (MASA) in Guadalupe, Makati – cleanest in Manila;  worker-friendly hours: opens at 8am, closes 8pm. View Map to MASA
  • ULTRA in Pasig (PhilSports Complex)- schedule is 8:30-11:30 am; 1:30 – 4:30 pm View Map to ULTRA
  • Army pool in Fort Bonifacio – even more friendly hours. View Map to the Army Pool.

Bike – you can bike anywhere, but for long rides, the best places are to be found in the hills east of Manila:

  • Teresa/Antipolo
  • Bugarin/Jala-jala – start at Coffeestop, go up Bugarin, go down around Jala-jala, good enough for 80km ride.
  • Tanay, Rizal – the so-called foothills of Sierra Madre. Starting point is usually Burger King along Marcos Highway (after Sta. Lucia mall).

Running – plenty of places to run, especially inside subdivisions, but the following are popular choices:

  • UP academic oval
  • Marikina river park
  • Makati – dela Costa / Valero St/ Velazquez park (for quick runs before and after office in Makati)
  • Makati – Rockwell
  • Fort Bonifacio

Having mentioned those places above, the best places to bike and run are subdivisions like Dasmarinas Village and Ayala Alabang. These have wide tree-lined avenues and they’re big enough to do a 5k or 10k run/bike circuit, anytime of the day. Not a resident or don’t know any one there? You can always pretend to be the caterer or the pest control guy. 🙂

This is just my list. If you know any other places, feel free to add in the comments.



15 thoughts on “Best places to swim, bike and run in Metro Manila

  1. hi just stumbled upon your blog through levy’s 🙂 how are the hills at the east like? what’s the incline like for those routes? did amadeo for the first time last saturday and that was one helluva ride! it was immensely fun, though!

    Posted by marga | July 7, 2008, 6:23 pm
  2. Hi Marga, I would say Bugarin is gently sloping, a distance of 9K up to the top. Sierra Madre (Tanay, Rizal) is more brutal, because there are several hills to conquer with steeper inclines, so it kind of saps your legs’ strength. Do Bugarin first, then after that Sierra Madre. We usually go up there once a month, you can join us if you want 🙂

    Posted by Joma | July 8, 2008, 10:39 am
  3. i’d love to! buzz me on my LJ if you have something coming up 🙂

    wait. i don’t have a decent MTB. roadie lang ha!

    Posted by margaloo | July 12, 2008, 6:33 pm
  4. a note to me and jomz:

    be forewarned — a sleep-deprived fever-ridden Marga
    did 88km in 3:03 just last saturday in daang-hari (look
    up her blog) on her speedy Sixto… we’ll be eating
    her dust if she’s in top shape 😀

    …get well soon marga 🙂

    Posted by butch | July 14, 2008, 11:48 am
  5. Thanks for the tips. I am aiming to do a sprint tri (is that the shortest?) this year. I regularly run and have recently started mtbiking. Need to work on the swim though and very much interested in checking out Makati Aqua Sports. What’s the pool length?

    Posted by runpinayrun | July 14, 2008, 7:30 pm
  6. Hi runpinay, the pool length of MASA is 50m, perfect for working on your swim. Upcoming sprint tri’s are UP Los Banos on Sep 27, and Ayala Alabang on Oct 12. Distances are 1km swim, 30k bike, 7k run. Good luck on your training and hope to see you one of these tri’s!

    Posted by Joma | July 15, 2008, 8:11 am
  7. aww butch thank you. 🙂

    no, i still suck! it was just daang hari kasi eh

    Posted by margaloo | July 15, 2008, 2:54 pm
  8. Hi Joma, I’ll take note of the race dates in UP LB and Ayala Alabang. I’m from paranaque so in terms of proximity, Alabang seems more desirable. Plus I can practice more! Good luck to us!

    Posted by runpinayrun | July 16, 2008, 11:47 pm
  9. Try MoA or Amari (Macapagal) for morning ritual biking exercise.

    Posted by Terry | August 26, 2008, 8:06 pm
  10. I’m going to be staying at the Dusit hotel in Manila and I’m wondering wheteher I can run from the hotel and where I can go safely. On that subject, is it safe to run in the streets?


    Posted by Patrick | November 10, 2008, 7:22 pm
  11. Hi Patrick, Dusit is within the the Makati business district, so it’s generally safe to run in the streets. However, because of the traffic you can only do so in the early morning before 7am. On Sunday mornings, you can also go to nearby Ayala triangle where they close the streets to cars up to 10am. Behind Dusit, across the Edsa highway, there’s a gated subdivision called Dasmarinas; if you can get in, it’s a very nice place to run.

    Posted by groundhogdude | November 11, 2008, 11:31 am
  12. Thanks GHdude, I appreciate your feedback.

    Ideally I would like to run from just after 6am. Is it light by then?

    What is the issue with getting in to gated communities? I am guessing it’s security, so is it possible to get in? If I do, how far can you run? I’d like to look at around 10km.

    Posted by Patrick | November 11, 2008, 5:45 pm
  13. This is useful info for travellers to Metro Manilla

    Posted by Arun | December 2, 2009, 4:14 am
  14. do you have a number of MASA?

    Posted by rvmartinez | March 24, 2010, 5:43 am
  15. do you have number of masa?

    Posted by medz | February 25, 2011, 11:48 pm

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