While I already knew how to ride a simple bike when I was in fifth grade (2008), I became interested in biking just recently — February 2021 to be exact. From my first ride up until I purchased my own bike, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra witnessed all of those precious memories.
At first, I thought I wanted to document my slow weight loss journey by capturing series of mirror selfies each day with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, but the smartphone deserves more than that. Little did I know, I became used to the phone’s cameras that I had to stop in a middle of a ride just to capture eye-catching subjects I saw along the way.
As of this writing, the Galaxy S21 Ultra isn’t with me anymore. The nature of phone reviews most people don’t realize is that we don’t even keep the phones with us permanently — no matter how bad we want them.
However, in order to relive the memories (just like how I badly miss the pre-pandemic life), I’m compiling dozens of my favorite shots so you can see that the Galaxy S21 Ultra takes astounding photos even if there are newer flagship phones around.
Let’s start with my current location. As someone who’s less known in this team, I’m not really sensitive when it comes to disclosing some information about myself. While I wasn’t born here, this is the town where I actually grew up.
While there’s nothing super interesting about my current location, it’s actually home to industrial parks or big factories including the Jollibee food factory and other notable brands such as Samsung, Toshiba, Suzuki, among others. Also, it’s the biggest barangay of our city — Calamba to be specific.
Canlubang is also home to one of the biggest golf courses around. Thanks to the S21 Ultra, I was able to squeeze in more details in the shot.
Here are shots of the rainbow I was lucky to see and shoot up close with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This is a friendly life reminder that there is rainbow always after the rain. We shouldn’t always sulk to the gloomy weather we’re used to having every now and then.
And while we’re at it, here’s how it looks like whenever I go home from a late afternoon ride. In the eyes of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, night time needs more tuning using Night Mode — and it works wonders.
Nuvali (Canlubang area)
This is actually my go-to place when biking. One of the perks of living in this town is that it’s also home to other exclusive residential areas with less traffic — which gives me the reason to bike even more.
Not only the roads are well-managed, the air is cleaner and less-polluted too. Most of all, the views are all breathtaking. From the peak of Tagaytay to the silhouettes of the volcanoes Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw in Quezon, I just can’t get enough.
With the camera prowess of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, I was able to take the shots above using its telephoto lenses.
These zoomed photos show how close an area is in the eyes of many, even if they’re not in real life.
Solenad, Nuvali (Santa Rosa area)
Solenad is still part of the growing community of Nuvali, but it’s located in another city in Laguna called ‘Santa Rosa’ — more on that later.
Let me just talk about how peaceful and quiet it is here. The man-made lake sure knows how to make me calm after a quick ride from Nuvali.
But with the ongoing lockdown restrictions, hanging out around this place is prohibited. But hey, here’s a dark chocolate cranberry cookie to cheer myself up a li’l bit.
If ever it’s possible to stay in this place again, I surely wouldn’t miss another sunset — even if the Galaxy S21 Ultra isn’t with me anymore 😭.
Marcos Twin Mansion
This is actually where it all started. I was persuaded to start biking by my friend, Ange (who did the amazing artworks in our virtual assistants turned into animé characters piece by the way). I just asked her if the old and unused mountain bike would be enough. She, together with her younger brother, told me it’d suffice and asked me to join them in their future bike rides.
Since it was my first time going out of the village (my last bike ride was in high school, and that wasn’t even far), I thought biking there would be easy-peasy. Oh boy, I was wrong. The steep, uphill part is hard especially if you don’t know how to shift gears when using a mountain bike. I just carried my bike with me while walking along that hilly road.
But once you reach the higher part, you’ll be greeted by the old Twin Mansion of the late Ferdinand Marcos — a dictator who held power as the Philippine president for 20 years.
After several tries and rides, I was able to reach this part with less body and leg strain. But this was just the beginning.
I wasn’t joking when I told you there are more steep rides going up the hill. After that mansion, you simply wouldn’t miss going to Kambal Ahon. In a rough English translation, you’ll need to “ascend twice” before you reach the peak.
And with the powerful cameras of the S21 Ultra, I was able to capture both 3x and 10x zoomed photos that show the overlooking of Metro Manila (I suppose a part of Alabang) even if the location was several kilometers away from the heart of the Philippines.
RevPal – Tagaytay
If one surpasses the bloody, uphill rides of the Kambal Ahon in Casile, your next destination would be RevPal (Reverse/Palace) — or that peak of Tagaytay you see from afar.
Not only it’s my first time to reach RevPal, I was also able to see People’s Park in the Sky up close for the first time, too.
Admittedly, this has got to be one of (if not) the most memorable bike rides ever. A day after we went here, the government announced another lockdown due to the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases last March 2021. Also, don’t be like me, but I went here energized even if I barely had any sleep.
To make it even better, it was cold and gloomy — a weather I like so much. I even had some time to pass by Tagaytay City proper and reach as far as Sky Ranch — a theme park in Tagaytay.
This is, by far, the highest bike ride I’ve ever achieved. It also best represents our life: While the process in-between is long and hard to achieve, you’ll be happy to see the result once you reach the peak.
Santa Rosa, Laguna
If you go down South of Tagaytay, the municipality of Santa Rosa in the province of Laguna greets you (which is also popular not just because of Nuvali, but also because of the theme park Enchanted Kingdom).
It was an unlocked achievement for me as I managed to brace the wreckless Filipino drivers as well as heavy traffic. To make it worse, heavy rains poured but the food was all worth it.
In the southern part of Santa Rosa is none other than the city of Cabuyao.
Not only is this where my college alma mater is located, this is also where my friend lives — so I usually pass by the area if ever she wants me to go to their house first before we initiate a bike ride. I’m not complaining though. That’s more calories burned for me.
This city has a good blend of urban areas as well as fields. It’s also here where you’ll see a clearer view of Mt. Makiling.
Just some boring #HistoryFact, this city was derived from “Kalan-Banga” which is that big clay jar. Back then, a Spanish soldier asked for the name of the place but the woman thought it was about her belongings. She said the latter part.
What makes Calamba more interesting is that, it’s where the actual house of Philippine National Hero José P. Rizal is located. Other than that, there’s also a coliseum (still under construction) named after him.
At the farther part of Laguna is Pagsanjan — home to the popular Pagsanjan Falls. While I wasn’t able to reach that place, I’m happy enough to shoot a photo with this old Pagsanjan Arch that was built as early as 1878. That’s more than a century ago!
If you go on a bike from Pagsanjan, you should take the left road to be able to go to this area. Your area of landmark is the Church of Pagsanjan.
Don’t bike with full ease. The roads are actually going uphill — just a slow and steady one (banayad) so that you can feel the pain as you approach it.
Other than seeing the beautiful, naturesque views of the province, you also get to see Laguna de Bay (or Laguna Lake) on the side. For the record, that’s the biggest natural lake in the entire Philippines.
It’s several kilometers away from where I live (six expressway exits to be exact for better measure) but there are instances that I go here just to get a good bike race record with my friend that I barely do in uphill areas around our barangay.
Muntinlupa is just one town away from Biñan, just between them is San Pedro, Laguna.
Other than also being a city located near Laguna Lake, it’s also home to New Bilibid Prison, one of the biggest prison camps in the Philippines. The Jamboree Lake pictured above is actually found inside the area of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) — or that one agency under the Department of Justice (DoJ) for security and reformation purposes. As if the Philippines has enough justice system for the actual criminals.
It wouldn’t be a bike ride without trying more food. This time, it’s the famous Taiyaki (鯛焼き) or the fish-shaped cakes filled with either red bean paste, custard or chocolate filling. If you pass by Muntinlupa, this is definitely a must try since it’s as authentic as its original Japanese owner.
This location is currently my farthest bike ride up north. It was in May 2021 when we went here after visiting our friend who lives around the area.
For people who barely know Philippine geography, it’s actually more of a prestigious and exclusive barangay in Muntinlupa City. It’s like the gateway of South Luzon towards Metro Manila — thus, the existence of larger and taller business and retail spaces. And if you were reading earlier, this was the part I shot from the overlooking of Kambal Ahon.
Daang Hari — Evia
Daang Hari and Evia are more of the pass-throughs between Muntinlupa, Laguna, and Cavite.
Unlike zoomed photos in the previous sections, I opted to use its Ultra-Wide this time to emphasize how wide the skies are.
I even let my friend take a photo of me in this openly-wide and vast Evia Football Field.
If you go past Evia and down south of Bacoor City, you’ll then pass by the City of Dasmariñas, now in Cavite again.
I honestly can’t believe the shots above were taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Not only do they have this particular Depth of Field (DoF) or background blur, they’re also sharp in detail.
Even if you apply certain photo filters, the cameras still delivered excellent levels of shadow all throughout.
If you turn left and are not thinking of going to Tagaytay, Carmona City is where you’ll end up.
Carmona is the bridge between Cavite and Laguna through the City of Biñan. This is one of Cavite’s less-populated towns which makes it more peaceful and quiet.
Santo Tomas, Batangas
This is where I held my third ride. It’s also where the famous St. Padre Pio Shrine is found. While this isn’t the last ride I’ve had with the phone, this goes last as it’s beyond my usual biking route.
Before going home, we tried their take on Lomi Batangas, but instead of crispy pork rind, they serve a healthier lomi with mushroom in it. Another yum on my biking bucket list!
BONUS: Celestial bodies
Some subjects I find astonishing to shoot whenever I’m having my bike rides are both the Sun and the moon.
I shot this moon as early as four in the morning just before my usual early ride. It’s surprising how sharp the 10x photo was that the 30x failed to achieve.
I also captured and preserved the lunar eclipse event last May 26, 2021. That’s thanks to the phone’s night and zoom capabilities.
While this looked like it was shot at night, I actually captured the Sun just hours before sunset. At first I thought it was just a dead camera pixel. Upon closer inspection, they’re a series of sunspots. Those are unusual to see especially with the naked eye.
All photos were taken using the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and were post-processed using Adobe Lightroom and VSCO.
Social distancing and health protocols such as wearing face masks were still followed when biking. The author also dislikes big crowds and always went with his close contacts for better safety and peace of mind.
Honda launches CONNECT app: Safety and security at one’s fingertips
Enhancing the ownership experience
Honda Cars Philippines has officially launched Honda CONNECT. It’s an app that automates customer service and offers Honda car owners a full package of safety, security, and convenience.
The app is available as a free three-year subscription for owners of the all-new Honda CR-V. Owners will get a telematics-based (TCU) version of Honda CONNECT that connects the phone of the owner with their car.
Some features include Automatic Collision Detection, Security Alarm, Remote Diagnostic Support, Speed Alert, Geofencing, Vehicle Dashboard Information, and Remote Vehicle Control.
The new service also supports Find My Car to make it easier for drivers to locate their parked vehicle.
For owners of other Honda models, the app is also available as a non-TCU platform, allowing owners to make emergency calls for 24/7 roadside assistance and browse location search for places of interest such as gas stations, ATMs, convenience stores, and more.
Everyday hero: HATASU HERO ebike now official
Multi-ride, easy go
HATASU ebike has launched the HATASU HERO, the company’s latest three-wheeler model and sixth product offering overall.
The latest addition to the company’s growing lineup of e-bikes is a multi-use, easy-go e-bike that can cater to daily riding needs such as household use, service, business, and more.
Designed to help users save their respective days, the HATASU HERO has a 250-kilogram capacity to support up to three adults or have someone fetch a bunch of kids from nearby schools.
It has top speeds of up to 20 to 25 kph and can cover 60 to 70 kilometers in one full charge.
The HATASU HERO comes in virtually an all-black design, sporting a splash guard in front, along with eagle-eye headlights that resemble a superhero mask.
The three-wheeler comes with a patented leather roof and back cover similar to a superhero cape, so users won’t have to worry about purchasing attachable roofs as add-ons
The e-bike also has an under seat and back compartment for riders to be able to load more goods such as groceries.
Inside is a high-powered 650W differential motor and an upgraded controller for better acceleration.
Accompanying the setup outside are dual and reverse horns and a motorcycle suspension fork, as well as a stainless front fender and large front wheel.
The HATASU HERO is priced at PhP 64,990 and is available in HATASU ebike dealers and online via Lazada.
Customers who purchase from November 15 will also receive a limited gift box worth PhP 1,790 and five raffle entries to HATASU’s Holiwheels Raffle Promo.
Honda Holiday Deals: Choose your own promo package
For the BR-V, Brio, City, and Civic
Honda Cars Philippines is offering customers several promo packages on participating models as part of its Honda’s Holiday Deals promotion.
Customers interested in availing of the All-New BR-V, New Brio, New City, and New Civic may choose their preferred promo – each coming with freebies or discounts:
- Package 1: Additional PhP 5,000 discount
- Package 2: Promo discount plus one year PMS
- Package 3: Promo discount plus PhP 7,000 accessory voucher
Downpayments for the BR-V, City, and Civic start at PhP 55,000.
Honda CR-V: Special insurance package
Meanwhile, customers may also be interested in getting a special insurance package offered for a purchase of any variant of the newly-launched All-New CR-V.
As part of the package, customers may enjoy benefits such as a waived PhP 2,000 deductible on first claim or an upgraded personal accident coverage, depending on the insurance partner (Standard Insurance, MAA, or AXA Philippines).
The latest iteration of Honda’s midsize SUV comes with e:HEV full hybrid system, Honda CONNECT, and Honda SENSING.
Flexible financing options
Honda is also offering low cash-out rates of just 15% to 20% downpayment and low monthly amortization bundles for up to 60-month payment terms.
There are several banks participating in this offer but customers will have to be approved first to push through with their car purchases.
Downpayments for the BR-V, City, and Brio start at just PhP 10,000 while all-in cash-outs for the City Hatchback, HR-V, Civic, and CR-V range from PhP 60,000 to PhP 142,000.
Honda Genuine Accessories package
Lastly, Honda car owners may enjoy up to a 90% discount on selected Honda Genuine Accessories, such as spoilers, trays, tailgate garnishes, covers, and more.
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