LEGAZPI CITY — Albay unleashes a grand display of its sports tourism power this year when it hosts several major international and national events, including the 2016 Albay Xterra Off Road Triathlon and Le Tour de Filipinas in February, and the 2016 Palarong Pambansa and Mayon 360° Ultra Marathon in April.
Governor Joey Salceda said these events are sure to push further Albay’s strong tourism surge, this time powered by international and national sports tournaments, and bring hordes of multi-national athletes and foreign and local visitors alike to the province.
Salceda said his province goes “full throttle” in 2016, the banner year of ‘Albay Rising’ sustainable development theme “through tourism, agriculture, small enterprises, education, health, social protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.”
Albay hosts XTERRA Off-Road on Feb/ 7 for the second year now with more than 200 participants, over half of whom are foreign racers. Le Tour de Filipinas 2016, sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the Asian cycling Federation and the Philippine Cycling Federation, comes to the province Feb. 20 and 21 for the second time after seven years.
XTERRA Albay once more comes with an irresistible offer, a finish line set just a stone’s throw from the grounds of the centuries old Cagsawa Ruins Park, now a National Cultural Treasure. The event ushers in the Cagsawa Festival celebration sponsored by Albay and Daraga town. The festival celebrates and highlights Albay’s rich history and culture of disaster resiliency.
Le Tour, on the other hand has its own prime package. Cyclists will tackle its final 147-km lap circling around the breath-taking Mayon Volcano twice, which organizers describe as most enjoyable and awesome part of the race.
On April 10 to 16, Albay hosts the 2016 Palarong Pambansa, which Gov. Salceda said will be presented as a sports tourism activity, the first in the history of the games, with the venues scattered around scenic places of the province, all in full view of the majestic splendor of the near-perfect cone-shaped Mt. Mayon.
Salceda said this year’s Palaro also comes as first for Albay since it was launched 68 years ago in 1948. Of its 81 provinces participating, Albay, established in 1574 or 442 years ago, is the 20th most populous. This year’s national games, mandated under RA 10588 which provided clear guidance on competition for hosting, is also the first to be participated by 18 regions, counting in the newly established Negros Island Region.
The Mayon 360° Albay Ultra Marathon is set April 9. Contestants will run around the base of Mayon Volcano passing three cities and at least five towns. Now on its 6th year, the race is jointly sponsored by the province, the Liga ng mga Barangay, and the JCI Legazpi. It draws many foreign and local runners and visitors alike.
The foreign teams joining Le Tour de Filipinas, now on its 7th year, come from Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Japan, the United States, Holland, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Laos. The local teams aiming to grab the title away are the 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines, Kopiko Cebu Cycling Team and the PhilCycling National Under 23-Team.
More than half of XTERRA Albay’s over 200 racers come from 15 countries, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, US, Guam, France, Hongkong, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, South Africa, Switzerland and Vietnam.
Many of the country’s national figures, politicians and actors, are also expected to join the race, which last year drew some 5,000 guests to Albay.
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