Bolanon Hospitality and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I love the feel of riding on my bike Red. We’ve been all around Bohol him and I. And though he’s an outmoded early 2000 Kawasaki Aura Classic 110cc Southeast Asian underbone motorcycle, he remains a faithful ride to this day. With his measly 3.5 liter fuel tank, he can take me and a passenger from Tagbilaran to the Chocolate Hills and then some back on a full tank.
But alas Red is showing his age of more than a decade and in the past year it’s been harder and harder to get Red started. His horn honks like a squeaky toy and kick starting him was starting to become a good quadriceps workout. There have been times that I needed to give him a running start in neutral and put him on second gear just like a car. It works of course but it doesn’t work well for me especially when I’m on my way to work and good old buddy Red makes me late for work.

Red, my little bike that could.

So finally I bought him a new battery. I bought it from the mall (yup the mall) because the supply stores were closed after 6pm and the malls stay open till 9. I brought Red to an almost closed up motorcycle shop afterwards and asked them to replace his old battery with the newly purchased one.

The battery was installed and surprise surprise my starter still didn’t work. They didn’t have a proper mechanic that night but they were still helpful enough to diagnose what was wrong with all from the sound of my bike. Turns out they were right. I went to a proper mechanic two days later and they fixed the exact part that the guy the other night said when he installed my battery.

That’s what I like about Bohol. People go the extra mile for service.  One they’re not afraid to refer you to people who can do the job better. And when I had to purchase parts for the repair, they didn’t have one of the parts in stock. Good for me though, they pointed me to a shop just around the corner who sold the part, cheaper.

So while waiting for my bike to be fixed I had a look around and watched what they did in the place. Literally around it, the shop was in a residential area and the bikes were being repaired by the sidewalk. There was a lady who came in to have her seat reupholstered and it ended up looking more macho. But then a tough guy rolled in with his white bike with baby pink accents looking to do more pimping on his bike. Anything and everything motorcycle could be done in the shop, from repairs to third party mods. From cosmetic changes to performance enhancements to cosmetic changes that affect performance. They will do anything and everything you ask them to.

Sometimes though, personal sense of design overrides common sense and safety. A customer may opt for thinner than standard tires which may not be so safe. Side mirrors may be made smaller than functional or removed altogether to preserve a desired silhouette. Not to worry the dangling rosary under the anodized aluminum grips is all the safety gear a Boholano needs.

Finally my bike got fixed, and for the first time in three years the electric starter worked. And I could start my ride in a more dignified way. Not a bad job for a 15 year old mechanic. And it was fun how he tested whether Red’s faulty parts. He used his own bike to serve as a guinea pig for Red’s old parts. He knew his bike was in great shape if the part from Red caused a problem on his bike it was the problem of the part. And finally my little bike that could could do a lot more. And is ready for more adventures with me. Just in time too, I’ve got places to go to in writing this blog.

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