TACLOBAN CITY-The staging of the La Routa 2023 – Adventure Race World Series (ARWS): Asia Championship Leg was a milestone for Eastern Visayas sports tourism.
Karen Tiopes, tourism regional director, said this following the “successful and mishaps-free” hosting of the world’s top adventure racing event in Biliran province from November 20-24.
“Sports tourism is one of the priority tour offerings of the Department of Tourism under the leadership of Sec. Christina Garcia Frasco. Region 8 has a space in this product offering particularly in surfing, skimboarding, golf, and adventure racing, to name a few,” she said.
“The market for these sports activities domestically and globally offers Eastern Visayas a significant opportunity to increase its visitor arrival figures,” she added.
Beyond this, the La Routa 2023 – ARWS also allowed Eastern Visayas to showcase the “heart of the Philippines,” according to the tourism director.
“It gained us promotional mileage in terms of showcasing our wonders of nature, our culture, our heritage, and the warmth of our people to the foreign teams and participants from other parts of the country,” Tiopes said.
La Routa, the longest running, locally organized, adventure race in the Visayas, had been popular among the domestic outdoor adventure enthusiasts from different parts of the Philippines.
This year, however, the ARWS chief executive officer Heide Muller reached out to the organizers of La Routa to collaborate for their race leg in the Philippines.
“Ultimately, the Biliran race became the Asia Regional Championship Leg. Previously, Biliran Province was the venue of Carrera Habagat, the toughest non-stop adventure racing event in the country. This 2023, it was the staging place of the ARWS, the most prestigious and globally recognized adventure racing event in the world,” Tiopes said.
“This impacts positively on the image of Biliran as a most suitable place for nature-adventure activities and as the mountaineering destination of Eastern Visayas,” added Tiopes.
The FEAR Youth team from New Zealand emerged as the champion in this year’s Asia Regional Championship after they defeated 13 other teams from India, Poland, Malaysia, and the Philippines in a challenging competition around Biliran.
The winning team was composed of Dean Stewart, 20; Josiah Murphy, 20; Flynn Goodger 23; and Sophie Shallard, 20.
The race lasted 96 hours, covering 300 to 350 kilometers of non-stop activities across remote islands, rainforests, tropical seas, and rugged terrains around the province.
As the overall winner, the FEAR Youth earned a ticket to compete in the Adventure Racing World Series in Ecuador in November 2024.
(RONALD O. REYES)