The recent staging of the La Routa 2023 – Adventure Race World Series (ARWS): Asia Championship Leg is a milestone for Eastern Visayas’ sports tourism, the regional tourism office here said Tuesday.
Department of Tourism (DOT) 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said in an interview that the holding of the event from Nov. 20 to 24, participated in by local and foreign racers, gave the region a chance to increase its visitor arrival figures.
“Sports tourism is one of the priority tour offerings of DOT under the leadership of Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco. Eastern Visayas has a space in this product offering, particularly in surfing, skimboarding, golf, and adventure racing, to name a few,” Tiopes added.
Eight groups from Poland, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, and Japan and another eight teams from various provinces in the Philippines joined the La Routa 2023, exploring the terrains of Biliran province by running, hiking, swimming, paddling, mountain biking, ropemanship, and land navigation.
The La Routa 2023 in Biliran was Asia’s qualifying round for the Adventure Racing World Series in November next year in Ecuador.
Tiopes noted that the region hosts national sports events annually, mainly skimboarding and surfing competitions.
The La Routa 2023 was the second time Eastern Visayas hosted an international adventure race. The first time was in 1999 for the Elf Authentic Adventure Race held in Samar Island.
Borongan City is currently hosting the 4th leg of the NextGen Pilipinas Surfing Nationals, which the city has been hosting every November since 2019.
Staging the adventure race also promoted Biliran as the most suitable place for nature-adventure activities and as the mountaineering destination of Eastern Visayas, Tiopes said.
In 2022, Biliran’s provincial tourism office and DOT-8 began to create a mountaineering/hiking tour package for the island summits of Mt. Panamao, Tres Marias Mountain Range, Mt. Suiro, and its summer capital – the Kapatagan Valley, to develop the island’s potential as a mountaineering haven in the region.
Biliran’s landscape and topography, being an island and one of the smallest provinces in the country with only eight towns and a land area of only 536.01 sq. km., are suitable for adventure racing.
It has rugged mountains, numerous waterfalls, plains and rice terraces, dense forests, sandy and rocky beaches, and several islands and islets. (PNA)