More Ilonggos embrace cycling

Opening of the 3rd Iloilo Bike Festival. Kin Baterna, representative of Ronda Pilipinas; Dr. Ronald Raymond Sebastian, CEO, John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University; Jennifer Ann Palmares-Fong, vice-president for sales and marketing, Megaworld Iloilo; Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Undersecretary for Agriculture Cesar Drilon, Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III and Pablo Nava, president, Federation of Iloilo Cycling Organization. Image source: Iloilo Business Park

More and more Ilonggos are embracing cycling as an alternative way of reaching their destination because of its positive impact to health and the environment.

The benefits of biking include lesser fossil fuel use, less air pollution, less traffic and a healthier body because of increased physical activity.

Iloilo Councilor Jay Trenas bikes 
to work every Friday

According to Lybe Batay, a bike rider and bike maker, he noted an increase in the demand for bikes. More people even have their bikes customized to fit their needs and lifestyle.

Batay has been customizing bikes for four years now. His bike, the low-rider, was considered as one of the unique bikes seen during the 3rd Iloilo Bike Festival held at the Iloilo Business Park last March 19, 2016.

Alternative Mode of Transport
"The cycling community in Iloilo is vastly growing and our infrastructures for cycling are currently being provided through Senator Franklin Drilon," Councilor Jay Trenas told this writer.

"I started biking when I was a kid but really used it as an alternative mode of transport seven years ago," he added.

"I use my bike whenever I can; sometimes to a meeting, an event if it's relatively in close proximity and I make it a habit to bike every Friday because it is 'casual Friday' at the office," he further said.

"On a bike, you enjoy the ride and appreciate a lot of things along the way," added Trenas who was among the 5,000 bikers who joined the 3rd Iloilo Bike Festival's fun bike from the Iloilo Business Park to Diversion Road.

One Voice
The increase in the number of bikers spurred the creation of the Federation of Iloilo Cyclists Organization, said Ronald Sebastian, CEO, John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University.

Cyclists get ready to start the fun bike

"We met with 33 biking organizations and out of that, we created PICO headed by Pablo Nava. Their voices will be brought to the Iloilo Council so that in the near future, we can become the bike capital of the Philippines," Sebastian said.

Government Support
Trenas revealed that the Iloilo City Council "has passed a resolution encouraging the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) to make good on their promise, during a road sharing meeting, to create bike lanes along Gen. Luna and to include bike lanes in all major developments. We also passed a Bicycle Parking Ordinance which received a ‘Bayanihan sa Daan’ Award in Malacañang last 2014. It’s an ordinance requiring cyclists to install front and rear lights, blinkers or reflectors."

Batman and a fairy join the Iloilo Bike Festival

"Right now the only way cycling can be catered for on most roads is by ‘sharing’, as an allegedly equal partner with motor traffic. Eventually creating an environment where comfort and safety is not conditional on the willingness (or otherwise) of motorists to ‘share’ with cyclists," Trenas said.

"We see the sustainability of biking here in Iloilo," said Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

Mabilog added that the City has entered into a 10-year contract with Megaworld for the holding of the Iloilo Bike Festival at the Iloilo Business Park.

Pintasikelta participants

"Let us show we are responsible bikers and that we know how to share the road. In Iloilo, we make our dreams in biking come true," Mabilog said.

It’s never too late to ride a bike and save the world./Kathy Villalon

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Low-rider bikes made by Lybe Batay

Lybe Batay (left) and his fellow bikers

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