Riding for nature, not just for leisure

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


FOR these bikers, sitting still isn't on the agenda when it comes to having fun.

JP Alipio, executive director of Baguio-based environmental NGO Cordillera Conservation Trust, has been biking since he was a kid.

"Biking opens you up to new adventures. Cycling is fast enough to bring you further yet slow enough so you are able to really take in what is around you—the local environment, every bump on the road, the people you pass, and even the weather. Biking was just really my preferred vehicle for getting out there," he said.

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Charie Villa, media practitioner and biker, shared Alipio's love affair with biking.

"Biking gave me mobility as a kid. I even gave my prize money from playing Bingo to my dad so he could buy me an 'Easy Rider' bike when I was younger," she recounted. "I also moved to biking from running to manage my weight because it's easier on the knees."

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Both Alipio and Villa have married their love for biking with their love for the environment and their personal advocacies.

"Environment preservation is one of my advocacies. So is 'Choose Philippines,' a project I lead in ABS-CBN where you can share discoveries around the Philippines and I support TaoPo.org, and online portal where people can contribute solutions to social problems,” said Villa. TaoPo.org allows citizens to be “changeneers”, empowering them to articulate inefficiencies in government offices and solutions and insights on social problems through the Internet.

Alipio, also a guide for the adventure travel company Cordillera Expeditions, is the chief trail master for the Globe Cordillera Challenge, an annual biking event held in Baguio to promote the need to reforest the Cordilleras.

The trail he designed for the third Globe Cordillera Challenge in May 2012, is by far the trickiest, Alipio shared. "It was quite challenging since for most of the trail, the riders were biking above 2000 meters, plus it had a lot of technical sections."

Villa, who joined the Globe Cordillera Challenge 3, thought the trail was a welcome challenge. "It was uphill all the way! But it was fantastic. The sights (of the Cordillera mountains) were fabulous."

For Villa, the view along the trail was a reminder why she believes in "Choose Philippines."

The Globe Cordi 3 trail showcased the best views of the Lingayen Gulf, Mossy and Pine Forests of the Cordillera while the high-altitude 27 kilometer trail involved steep grades, loose rocks, and tricky descents with over one kilometer of vertical climbing.

"We've always tried to design the challenge around showcasing the local environment of the Cordillera,” Alipio added. “I am hoping we can take the biking event one step further and really explore the mountains and showcase the wilder side of the Cordillera." Alipio's team also recently received recognition from the United States Embassy for environmental activism and enterprise.

Alipio, who grew up in Northern Luzon, thinks there will always be adventure for those who seek it.

"One of our aims every year is to create new advocates for the environment and transform people to love the outdoors -- the best way to do that is to get people outside to see some of the most beautiful environments we know. And in the mountains, there are opportunities for that," he said.

Globe Arakan XC

This month, Globe brings its first environmental challenge to the South via Globe Arakan XC (Cross Country). The event, slated for October 20, features a 55-kilometer trail which will start from the Philippine Eagle Center (PEF) in Davao and continue towards Arakan Valley in Cotabato City. Proceeds from the event will support the Forest Corridor Development Project of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF).

"Globe is committed to the protection, preservation, and conservation of our environment and we are happy to extend our reach to the South," said Rob I. Nazal, Globe head for CSR.

Nazal was also a first-time biker for the Globe Cordillera Challenge in May 2012. He added, "Biking to support a cause is a way for our employees, stakeholders, and our public to do their share in helping preserve the environment. We're glad that aside from the Cordilleras, we have an opportunity to help conserve the home of the Philippine Eagle."

Villa is also set to join the Globe Arakan XC on October 20. Shared Villa, "I am looking forward to seeing the sights [of Davao] and the gratification of hopefully, finishing the trail."

Bikers are encouraged to donate P1,000 each as their registration fee and the proceeds from the event will help preserve the remaining forest fragments which are biologically and ecologically important since they have been home to the Philippine eagle since 1992.

Globe's partnership with the Philippine Eagle Foundation also aims to re-establish forest on grasslands along the forest corridor between the mountains of Mahuson, Sinaka, and Kabalantiian-Binoongan-Kulaman (Kabiku), rehabilitate degraded lands close to habitats of threatened wildlife and critical watersheds, and provide incentives to both indigenous and non-indigenous community partners.

Interested bikers may register through the Globe Arakan XC Facebook page or through the Everest Outdoor Shop in Wheels N More Drive Compound, Bajada, Davao City. For more information on Globe Arakan XC, bikers may check facebook.com/GlobeBridgeCom.

Globe Arakan XC is supported by leading global ICT solutions provider Huawei, Gerry’s Grill and the Ayala Business Club – Davao composed of about 30 members including Ayala Land, Avida, and Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 10, 2012.

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