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Biking and Running in UP Diliman

U.P. Diliman Biker

For running and biking, the U.P. Diliman campus is the best destination in Metro Manila

If New York City has its Central Park, Metro Manila has the UP Diliman campus. No disrespect to Luneta and the QC circle, but in terms of wide and green open spaces, the 493 hectare flagship campus of the State University is unmatched in Metro Manila. The campus is a gigantic garden with tree-lined avenues and wide grassy areas where all sorts of outdoor activities can be held. I am not sure if there’s a place that can compare to it in the Metro.

Bonifacio Global City may have lots of runnable and bikeable pavement, but its small trees hardly provide any shade. Luneta and Roxas Boulevard meanwhile have deteriorated a lot, as evidenced by the seemingly uncollectable trash along the baywalk. If you’re sick of breathing in the brown, oily halitosis of Metro Manila while running or biking, UP Diliman is the best place to go inside the Metro.

Bike and U.P OblationRecently, a group of enterprising individuals has even started offering bike tours around UP. The fact that a lot of people have been signing up for the tour just goes to show the potential of this green space for inner city tourism. Outsideslacker has also been getting a lot of search hits for “biking in UP” for several months now. And so I’m writing this as a response to those searches.

If you’re new to UP, and want a DIY run or bike tour of the place, here are some of the routes and spots that you should check out.

U.P Academic Oval

Academic Oval
The most popular route for running and biking in UP is the academic oval. One loop there is about 2.2 kilometers long. Do four and half loops and that’s already 10k. Thanks to the shade provided by the huge acacia trees lining the oval, it is possible to run or bike there on practically any time of the day. If you get thirsty, there are lots of stalls along the way which sell refreshments and food.

There is also a designated bikers’ and runners’ lane on the oval which motorized vehicles are not allowed to use. This means you don’t have to worry about getting run over by a car while you try to score a PR for your 5k or 10k run. On Sundays, the entire oval is closed off to motorized traffic and becomes one giant playground for runners, bikers, longboard skaters and families who just want to enjoy the shade of the trees. 

U.P Diliman National Science Complex

U.P Diliman National Science Complex

Grove in U.P Diliman National Science Complex

The grove in the U.P Diliman National Science Complex

The Science Complex
This network of buildings doesn’t have as many trees as the oval, but it features short easy climbs for people looking to work on uphill sprints. The wide grassy spaces are also easy on the eyes. 
Take a detour to some of the walkways near the Math building and you may just stumble on a few Instagram-worthy spots. It’s not everyday you get to see footbridges over a creek under a canopy of trees.

U.P Heartbreak Hill

Heartbreak Hill
It’s not exactly Shotgun, but doing ten loops of this Hill will still wear you down 

This stretch of road just behind the University Hotel is a favorite among local runners and bikers who want a more challenging uphill climb. As far as I know, only runners and bikers refer to it as heartbreak hill.

UP University Ave Pump Track

Not a real pump track, but pretty cool nonetheless

University Ave Pump Track
This is not really a pump track but why limit your imagination? Ride your bike over the humps of these coconut trees and have loads of fun.

Map of UP Biking Routes

Map of UP running and biking routes

Biking in the UP Diliman campus

Runner in UP DilimanBiking in the UP Diliman campus

Biking in the UP Diliman campus

This could also be the best place to teach kids how to bike

UP Diliman Lagoon

Get your fill of Instagram-worthy shots at the UP Lagoon

UP Diliman's Secret Trails

There’s lots of trails around UP, but you’ll have to look for them ;)

Another great thing about living in U.P is that whenever I feel like doing some wall climbing, the Power Up Tandang Sora gym is just 15 minutes away. I feel fortunate to be living near UP. I just hope that by writing about it, I am not actually contributing to messing it up.

I live in Maginhawa St. right now which is just a sneeze away from the campus. Maginhawa is a great place where lots of bohemian and artsy types live and where a string of indie restos provide good eats. After getting featured on TV and magazines though, I’ve noticed that lots of cars now line up the street, causing a bit of traffic every now and then.

UPDATE:
U.P. has lots of facilities that make it a very bike-friendly place. There are bike racks in several areas, bike pumps that you can use in the major dorms courtesy of the UP Mountaineers UP Padyak project, and bike groups who may be able to help you out. For more info, check out this page from iskwiki.edu.

UPDATE 2:
If you’ve been biking for several weeks now and you want to sample some trail riding, you should try out the newly-built UP Bike Trail at the CHK.

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19 Comments

  • Hi, can I just ask about the safety of the places? I’ve been to the oval but the other ones are new to me so I really don’t know what to expect. Thanks!

    • outsideslacker

      June 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      hi, there are roving guards at the science complex, while the university ave. is well lit ar night. i ride to these places at night and i’ve never had any issue so far. i’ve never tried biking or running on heartbreak hill at night though because of the dogs there.

  • I’m a UP alumna, but have never seen that bridge before. Where’s it at? The lagoon? After I buy my first mountain bike, that’s where I’m headed- UP nating mahal :)

    • outsideslacker

      July 2, 2013 at 9:19 am

      hi pepper, the bridge is along the footpath between the math building the nigs. the science omplex has some really scenic spots

  • great read! thanks. would you know if it’s safe to park your mountain bike in UP? i plan to bike to UP and then run :) Thanks!

    • outsideslacker

      July 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      i park my bike at the tindahan in front of the faculty center where other bikers hang around. make sure to lock it though, as you can never be lax about bike theft these days. i double lock my bike to one of the steel posts there when i feel like running after biking.

  • Thank you. sa oval lang ako paikot ikot parati. :D

    • outsideslacker

      July 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      the oval is cool for a few rounds, pero i-explore mo na rin yung ibang parte ng peyups. you won’t be disappointed :)

  • Some bikers call the univ ave pump track “Buko Jump” since you can get some airtime using the mounds as ramps. Just watch out for falling coconuts!

  • There are also some fun singletrack trail sections scattered around campus if you know where to look ;)

  • Hi do you know where is the safest parking spot there? preferably pay parking for extra security when I leave my car while I jog. thanks ;)

    • hi mok, as far as i know there isn’t a pay parking area in u.p. but if you’re concerned about security, you can park near the up diliman police station near the arki building

  • Thanks for this very informative post, specially the photos! Gotta schedule a trip to UP soon :)

    One question, where can we park our cars? :)

  • Hi! Where is a safe place to leave your stuff while you run or ride?

    • outsideslacker

      April 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      yun ang problema sa peyups. walang lockers. kung suki ka na nung stall sa tapat ng faculty center where the bicyclists hang out, you can ask them to guard your stuff. but don’t leave money or valuables para walang problema

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