By Anna Valmero
JORDAN, GUIMARAS – Aside from its beautiful beaches and world famous mangoes, this island is also becoming a destination for extreme mountain bikers.
The principal playground for extreme cycling in Guimaras is the rugged 580 square kilometer formation of coral rocks just across Iloilo harbor. You can get here after a 20-minute boat ride from the city.
The rolling terrain and long stretch of dirt road and trails that crisscross the island established the island’s popularity for downhill, cross country and four-cross races among biking enthusiasts, both here and abroad.
During the third Guimaras International Mountain Bike Festival in March 2008, Cebuano ace mountain biker Niño Surban, along with bikers from Singapore and Germany, conquered the trails of this island beach paradise.
The event aims to boost tourism in the island after the oil spill in 2006 and also to promote environmentalism as a way of life. Aside from the race, the event also featured a food fair and tours around Guimaras and Iloilo City. A bit of trivia: Guimaras used to be a sub-province of Iloilo until it became independent in 1995 by virtue of Republic Acts 7896 and 7897.
Photographer Erik Lacson covered the event and says it is one of his most enjoyable gigs, taking photos of bikers while on board a motorcycle, thanks to a race marshall he describes as “one crazy fellow who believes the best way to take photos of fast moving subjects is to go faster”. Check out more of his photos on Flickr.
For non-bikers, Lacson recommends a guided tour of the island, referring interested parties to Daisy Yanson, who can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to get to Guimaras:
Domestic flights fly daily to Guimaras. Those who want to bring their vehicles can try the Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) service – there are four trips a week to the province. Or, from Iloilo City, you can take a 15-minute ferry ride to Guimaras.
Photos by Erik Lacson via Flickr
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