Albay hosting 3 nat’l, int’l sports events in February
LEGAZPI CITY—Preparations are underway as this premier city in Bicol region receives thousands of visitors attending major sporting events starting this month.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the province is hosting the XTerra Off-road Triathlon on Feb. 7 followed by the Le Tour de Filipinas, an international in road bike race, on Feb. 18 to 21.
In April, the province will host delegates to the Palarong Pambansa.
Salceda said the provincial government is expecting local and foreign visitors attending these events as spectators and participants would boost the local tourism industry of the province, this aside from the various festivals that the 15 towns and three cities are offering.
The XTerra Off-road Triathlon, the second international event Albay is hosting this year, starts with a 1,500-meter swim course at a beach in Barangay Lidong in Sto. Domingo town. This would be followed by a mountain bike course, where participants would pedal 35 km with Mt. Mayon as backdrop, passing through paved roads, grasslands and rock trail.
The final course is a 9.2-km run that would follow the all terrain vehicles (ATV) route near Mayon volcano. The race will end at the historic Cagsawa Ruins Park in Daraga town.
Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal said the city is also preparing for the hosting of the 7th Le Tour de Filipinas, an International Cycling Union (ICU)-sanctioned competition, that would start in Antipolo City and end in Albay on Feb. 21.
Rosal said the city’s tourism unit has coordinated with hotel and restaurant owners for the event where 450 foreign and local visitors are expected to attend.
Donna May Lina, event organizer, said 75 local and foreign cyclists from 15 teams (five riders per team) are joining the 700-km race.
Lina said the first stage of the competition will see the cyclists taking a rolling 153-km ride from Antipolo City to Lucena City in Quezon province on Feb. 18.
The second stage will be a 204-km race from Lucena to Daet, Camarines Norte, on Feb. 19, while the third stage covers 187 km from Daet to Legazpi City.
The race’s last stage on Feb. 21 will see cyclists pedal around Mt. Mayon, passing through the towns of Sto. Domingo, Bacacay, Malilipot, Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga and the cities of Tabaco, Ligao and Legazpi.
This stage covers 147 km.
Lina said the foreign teams competing in the race are from Belarus, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, the United States, Holland, Germany, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Laos.
Frenchman Thomas Lebas, winner of the 2015 edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas, is defending his title.
Rudy Fulo, Air21 chair and president, said Le Tour de Filipinas is not only a sports event but serves as a tourism driver for the province.
“Sports is a collateral advantage to tourism where foreign visitors are looking for places that are adventurous but peaceful, where they experience fine dining and enjoy its scenery,” said Fulo, a native of Bulusan town in Sorsogon province.
Salceda said the construction of sports facilities in the province for the Palarong Pambansa on April 10 to 16 is 70 percent complete.
Salceda said some 16,000 delegates from various regions are expected to arrive during the national games, where they would be housed in 32 school buildings near event venues.
He said the province has set aside P300 million to host the annual event. He assured the Palarong Pambansa board that Albay has the equipment and resources needed to build and repair facilities and playing venues in time for the event in April.
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