This town in Nueva Ecija is a new paradise for cyclists

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To drive

All roads lead to Bongabon, Nueva Ecija on April 3 as it hosts the first-ever qualifying race for the 2022 Trek UCI Gravel World Series

ANCX staff | February 25, 2022

It is already known as the “onion capital of the Philippines”, but the town of Bongabon in Nueva Ecija is now on its way to becoming an emerging destination for cycle tourism.

The municipality will host the inaugural qualifying event for the first Trek UCI Gravel World Series on April 3. The event is organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), a sports cycling governing body based in Switzerland. Organizers say this serves as an alternate off-road version for the premier World Series and the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.

Bongabon is magnificent in summer, with its rivers and the coolness of Mount Labi.

Why is this important to us? The Philippines is the only Asian country to host a World Gravel Series qualifier. The following racing events, whose locations have not yet been revealed, will take place in North America and Europe.

The Philippine event will include an 85 kilometer course (for ages 19 to 49) and a 62 kilometer course (for ages 50 and older). Beginning in Vega Grande, located north of Bongabon, the 85 kilometer route is a mixture of flat gravel roads along the river, forest roads and dirt tracks. The shorter 62 kilometer route includes a shortcut to the same end point of the 85 kilometer route.

Bongabon, Nueva Ecija
The city has exciting side roads, trails and routes that all adventurers would love to explore.

Gravel racing, a new cycling discipline, has become very popular in recent years. According to the Bike Radar website, it “falls somewhere between road, cyclocross, and mountain bike racing.”

Bongabon has mixed terrain which makes it an ideal location for a gravel race. Apart from its mountains and gravel, the town also has plenty of rivers and breathtaking sights that will surely refresh runners, says Bongabon native race director Edrie Ocampo.

Bongabon, Nueva Ecija
Bongabon offers breathtaking views for bikers.

The second-class municipality is quite small, with a total area of ​​28,000 hectares, with 28 barangays. “We have limited accommodations, but the nature of gravel biking is outdoors, so we will be setting up campsites,” Ocampo told Philstar. He also assures that Covid protocols will be in place for the race.

Bongabon, Nueva Ecija
Bongabon is a small town with an area of ​​28,000 hectares.

The town’s mayor, Allan Xystus A. Gamilla, says Bongabon is “a great place with exciting back roads, trails and routes that any adventure seeker would love to experience.” The place is magnificent in summer, with its rivers and the coolness of Mont Labi. “It’s also the home of Bongabon Bike Park in Ariendo, an Enduro and Downhill MTB destination for gravity riders.”

The race coincides with the city’s Sibuyas Festival which is held every April 10. The celebration is a form of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest of onions.

Bongabon, Nueva Ecija
Bongabon Mayor Allan Xystus Gamilla said the town is now an emerging destination for cycle tourism.

Ocampo says it has always been his dream to bring world-class quality racing here to the Philippines. He hopes that the cycling event will attract many enthusiasts and even non-professional riders to come and visit Bongabon.

To register for the race, visit https://gravelphilippines.com

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