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43 bikers bear witness to successful Pulag to highest point of Philippine highway system launch

YOUNGEST. Erl Ryeken Santos, 11, and Sam Lestat Ancaway, 10, came along with their grandfather Samuel Egsaen, the Department of Education assistant superintendent of Benguet, made it to the finish line of the 25 kilometer Bike to the Highest Point organized by the Department of Tourism – Cordillera with the local governments of Benguet, including the towns of Kabayan and Buguias and Ifugao and its town of Tinoc last Sunday. Photo from the DoT - Cordillera

A new biking experience was launched Sunday by the Department of Tourism-Cordilleras and the local government units of Benguet, and its towns Kabayan and Buguias, and Ifugao and Tinoc town with the Bike to the Highest Point.

Some 43 biking enthusiasts, some as young as 10 and 11, finished the 25.32 kilometer challenging route that started at Lake Tabeo near Luzon’s highest peak, Mount Pulag, to the highest point of the Philippine Highway system in Tinoc, Ifugao.

“It is a super adventure and we are happy to start an activity like this to open doors for more ecotourism events and activities in the whole CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region),” DoT – Cordillera OIC director Jovita Ganongan wrote RNG Luzon.

“We have majestic mountains and we should take advantage of all these nature’s bounties. Show to the world of our pristine environment and love of nature,” she added as she said it could be an institutionalized event to be adapted by the LGUs involved.

Erl Ryeken Santos, 11, and Sam Lestat Ancaway, 10, came along with their grandfather Samuel Egsaen, the Department of Education assistant superintendent of Benguet and matched pedal per pedal their older counterparts to conquer the rather difficult route that started at Mount Tabayoc’s Lake Tabeo, with Mount Pulag as witness.

The riders braved the cold, aggravated by typhoon Fabian which lingers within the Philippine area of responsibility, and with the tranquil water of the lake, located some 7,487 feet above sea level, and trekked their way to Tinoc via Buguias witht eh finish line at point 7,968 feet above sea level.

Ganongan during simple rites conducted after the biking challenge, emphasized that the Kabayan-Tinoc/Buguias Biking Circuit is one of the new tourism products being promoted by the Department in line with its thrust on sustainable tourism and as a health and wellness activity for the populace.

She added:“Biking has been the preferred health activity among Filipinos upon the onset of the pandemic, and we would want to encourage this growing interest by infusing tourism into this physical activity.”

The event was also fully supported by Department of Environment and Natural Resources -CAR represented by Provincial ENR Officer Edgardo Flor and Team Pine, a local biker’s association, with Joseph Belo and mayors Basilio Louie Daoal, Jr. of Kabayan; Ruben Tinda-An of Buguias; and, Samson Benito of Tinoc.

Bicycling has become one of the fastest growing types of outdoor recreation and tourism nationwide especially during then Covid-19 pandemic. Team Pine said that biking “has been known to contribute to better community health, less congestion, environmental health, and generally, happier people.”

The event was supposed to be staged last June 20, but Ifugao was still under modified enhanced community quarantine that was lifted only last June 30.

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