IN A bid to promote eco-friendly and sustainable tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Northern Mindanao officially launched its Bike NorthMin campaign program on May 13, 2023 at the activity center of Centrio Ayala Mall.

Bike NorthMin is a program that strives to make bike tourism popular in Northern Mindanao and unleash its full potential in the tourism industry. It also aims to encourage both the government and the private sector to invest in promoting and developing bike tourism.

According to DOT Regional Director Marie Elaine Unchuan, biking is one of the fastest-growing modes of transportation and recreational activity.

"Coming from the pandemic, daghan naga-bike. Na-notice naman nato na every weekend daghang mga bikers and naa sa tourism destinations. That's why we are implementing this program. This is part of our product development for sustainable tourism," Unchuan said.

The region's tourism department also partnered with the private sector, ROX, for the launch of the Bike NorthMin as well as the Camiguin Isle Bike Tour, a 64-kilometer bike tour on the scenic island province of Camiguin set to be held on May 28, 2023.

Unchuan was optimistic that after the Camiguin Isle Bike Tour, more bike tours in Northern Mindanao will follow as the tourism department has already identified pilot bike sites and circuits, including Cagayan de Oro to Manolo Fortich; Cagayan de Oro to Misamis Oriental; Claveria to Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental; Ozamiz City to Oroquieta in Misamis Occidental; Lanao del Norte to Iligan City; and around Del Monte Plantation, among others.

The regional director further shared that they would collaborate with local government units to identify potential cycling routes and develop necessary infrastructure like bike lanes and parking areas; promote new cycling routes in the region, and organize regular cycling events to encourage bike enthusiasts to explore Northern Mindanao's natural beauty.

"So far we're very lucky that all our LGUs are very supportive of all the endeavors of DOT," Unchuan said.

"We hope that this is going to be an annual program. We are very encouraged, especially with the support of the private sector, that this will really go on and also because it's eco-friendly, sustainable and now everybody is getting conscious about health after the pandemic. So I'm expecting, praying and hoping that a lot more people will be biking to save our planet and also so we will all be healthy," she added. (SunStar Cagayan de Oro)