The first Mountain Marathon sporting event has promoted the tourism potential of Culasi town, particularly its Mt. Madja-as, the highest peak in Panay island.
The marathon event on March 25-26 gathered 389 sports enthusiasts who conquered Mt. Madja-as, also the second highest mountain in the Visayas with an elevation of 2,113 meters above sea level.
“Through the mountain marathon, we were able to show that Culasi has many unexplored tourism sites and natural resources that we could be proud of,” Lomugdang said in an interview on Monday.
The mountain marathon has three categories to include the 15-kilometer, 25-kilometer and 42-kilometer events.
While traversing the trail, the participants saw the preserved and protected greeneries, Lomugdang added.
From the foot of Mt. Madja-as one could already see the islands of Mararison and Batbatan of Culasi that boast of their white sands.
Antique Representative Antonio Agapito Legarda, in his message during the March 25 opening, said he intends to hold the event annually as part of his sports tourism advocacy.
He also planned to have the mountain marathon recognized and funded by the Philippine Sports Commission.
The lone district representative said the marathon was inspired by Iraynon-Bukidnon Larry Apolinario who won the first Philippine Trail Running Association (PHILTRA) National Championship on Feb. 26 in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
Also present in the event was local ultramarathoner John Ray “Stingray” Onifa who lighted the urn that signaled the official start of the competition.
Rogen Aguirre won the 15-kilometer category and bagged the PHP6,000 prize; Randolf Gonzales won the 25-kilometer with PHP8,000; while Onifa won the PHP15,000 prize for winning the 42-kilometer category.
The event was organized by the Iraya Adventure Group, a group of mountaineers in Panay island, while prizes were provided by the office of Senator Loren Legarda. (PNA)