CITY OF SAN FERNANDO---“It’s not just off-roading adventure and racing. Off-roading allows us to discover untapped spots in the province that will boost the tourism industry.”

Thus said Pampanga Off-Roaders Club founder and past president Rene Romero during the Luzon Leg of the National Association of Filipino Off- Roaders (NASFOR) 4 x 4 race championships held at SM City Pampanga.

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Romero, also the president of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham) told Sun.Star Pampanga they started getting on 4 x 4 vehicles after the Mt. Pinatubo explosion and lahar devastation in 1995.

“We got to off-roading after the Mt. Pinatubo explosion because roads then became impassable to light vehicles so you need a 4 x 4 vehicle. Since the roads were covered, we, together with our PamCham officials led by chairman Levy P. Laus, had to create our own trails leading to Arayat, Magalang, Porac and other areas where we discovered that there are a lot of potential and beautiful tourist spots in Pampanga like hidden waterfalls, caves and lagoons that would make you wonder if you were really in the province,” said Romero.

He said that the club is now making efforts to make this spots, like a trail in Sacobia, accessible by 4 x 4 for local and foreign tourists.

“Once we realize this, then the local government units could market them and boost our tourism industry. There are so many of these undiscovered places,” he added.

He furthered: “These 4 x 4 vehicles we have are indeed helpful even in times of disaster and in rescue operations. We use them to discover places where no one has ventured before. Besides, being an off-roader makes you a safe and keen driver because our reflexes are honed.”

He said these efforts led to the club’s hosting of the NASFOR Luzon Leg 4 x 4 race where the representative to the “Driver of the Year” finals would be named by December this year.