THE Province of Guimaras gradually opened its doors for local tourists, as it sought to revive its tourism industry that suffered a major blow from the 2019 sea tragedy and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Provincial Government of Guimaras partnered with the Department of Tourism-Western Visayas and the Guimaras Xtreme Riders headed by Ysa Katrina Gumarin and 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Lea Denise Belgira for the first ever biking event this year after the province welcomed back tourists who want to explore the splendor of the island.
At least 136 cyclists participated in the Bike Fun Race held last November 22 at the San Fernando Bike Park in Barangay San Fernando, Buenavista, Guimaras.
The race has 17 categories participated by bike enthusiasts from the province and the neighboring Province of Iloilo.
Liberty Ferrer, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Tourism Office, said the province is now transitioning to the new normal as it embarked on hosting events that can attract tourists back to the island.
"We are very glad that after eight long months this is our first sport event and this is initiated by our young athletes. We are now transitioning to the new normal," Ferrer said.
The activity is timely as Guimaras aims to become the Bike Paradise of the Philippines, she added.
Ferrer reminded the public that while the island province is opening its doors to travelers and tourists, it is everyone's responsibility to uphold the minimum health standard and create a safe environment for all.
Belgira, who made history after she delivered the first gold medal for the Philippines on the 30th SEA Games, encouraged cycling enthusiasts who attended the event to balance their time for the sport and their studies.
"Bisan hilig niyo ang bike, dapat kabalo kamo mag-balance sang time sa inyo pag-eskwela kag sa sport," Belgira said.
She added that cycling is a sport that unites people from all walks of life but does not require fuel, only passion. (PR)