GRAN FONDO: Bicol’s Pinnacled Spectacle of 2014

 GRAN FONDO: Bicol’s Pinnacled Spectacle of 2014photo


I was at a beautiful beach, splashing the crystal-like salty liquid all around, sprinting towards the end of the shore. Once I got there, I stepped onto a field of mud surrounded with beautiful colors of flora, and enriched fruits and tubers. I walked a little further and saw a light peaking, when I saw a gigantic volcano with viscous orange escaping from its mouth. I dragged myself around the mass land only to find a road beyond. There I realized: I saw Bicol.

Culture is the birth of an abode, with its innovative artifact of man’s wonders. In this lie the generous inventions of people by their desire to state an identity. History reveals momentous buildings and figures crafted by natives, and remarkable natural sites nurtured by folks. Now, Bicol’s culture is calling you to dwell on its luxury and treasures.

Hikers trek, snorkelers swim, foot travelers tramp, and explorers ramble. Now, cyclers are given the opportunity to see non-ending asphalt and dirt to pedal through, an experience of a lifetime to move and move until you reach somewhere you can never imagine. Mr. Kevin Tiambeng and Mr. Andreco Primero pioneers this fresh event, “Gran Fondo” to be held on December 14, 2014 in the beautiful city of Naga. This event, as adopted from Italian culture, is a mass-participated cycling event, usually a full-on race, or easy ride.  In partnership with TrangkoPH and Trizone Events, Primero elects a racing event with a 120km route from Naga, to Sagnay, Tiwi, Tabaco, and Legazpi sequentially. Participation is open to all. This upcoming prestigious event ought to be unlimited, stress-free, and fun-filled.


Gran Fondo: The Vision of Bicol

HEALTH IS WEALTH ― Bicolanos are in for the promotion of wellness in everyday life. As people are bombarded with society’s routinely days of labor, school, and just mental exhaust, the forerunners exceedingly thought of gathering people out of stress and into calmness. Basically, Gran Fondo aims to bring health as one of the major concerns of the citizens. This is an eye-opener to a maintained exercise-oriented lifestyle as special compensation for the tiring busy days.

Relatively, this event also desires to bring people to social exercise. People are, as Bicolanos call it, “oragon” ― resilient and undyingly high-spirited. A racing event will assuredly boost their social attitude, sportsmanship, perseverance, and pride.

Tiambeng has high hopes for the boom of the event, quoting, “It’s gonna be extraordinary.”


Bicol’s Finest Spots to Trail on

Participants of the Gran Fondo will surely have no regrets. To be able to see a quarter of the whole region in one ride is the dream of many tourists, travelers, or anyone really. Bicol is tremendously enriched with whatever you can think of: mountains, rivers, volcanoes, food, and let us not forget the eye-pleasing and kind-hearted natives. As this race takes place, the cyclists can look at the flamboyant natures of most parts of Bicol encompassed by the race route.

Coincidentally, to welcome the participants with festive vibe will be Naga’s month-long Kamundagan Festival. This is an affair established for a nostalgic feel, a bringing back of Naga’s history and life in the early years, when the city was an intact institution of loving families and friends. Aesthetics is a significant aspect of Nagueňos’ lives, which is why the incumbent Mayor John Bongat promoted lantern making, window dressing, and other contests to encourage the civilians to illuminate the color of Naga and bring smiles to everyone, whether in or out of the city. The city is enveloped with many attractions, like the Plaza Quince Martires, a monument of the 15 Martyrs of Bicol, or the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral which is the largest church in Bicol. In here also is the famous Panicuason Hot Spring Resort. It is located somewhere far and hidden from the main city, which is why people would come there mostly for relaxation or quality time with family and peers. In it drifts godly water refreshing and muscle-easing to the senses.

After a swift exploration of Naga’s beauty, cyclists are to pass by one of the municipalities of Camarines Sur, Sagnay. It is famous for its striking Atulayan Island. Enriched with white ivory sand as variant with the usual brown, the island is well for sight viewing, swimming, and for the modern purpose, instagram posting. There is no excess to electricity or whatnot, and only there are huts to dine and sleep at. Atulayan Island is the epiphany of oneness with nature and nothing else.

From a land of beaches to a land of energy we go. Tiwi is one of Philippines’ crucial source of geothermal power. Ones like NPC Powerplant are the most visited places in the land for its vastness and amazing facilities for generating current. One as well cannot miss the Taqui Cave of Tiwi. Some parts of the cave are grounded with water, and exploring the cave is fantastically dovetailing with swimming. Reconnoitering Tiwi is in need of days, for there are a lot to go to.

Subsequent to Tiwi, cyclers will traverse upon the route leading to Tabaco. San Miguel Island is one of the jaw-dropping places of Bicol. Seemingly, a people-friendly place where you can walk among the shore, ride boats for fun, hop from islands to islands, beaches to beaches, and just relax by yourself or with company. There are many big rocks where you can sit on or walk by. The water itself is magical.

Last destination of the race will be Legazpi. This place is an overly-known place for its natural and cultural cuisine. A hot topic today is the Mayon Volcano which is literally a hotspot for Legazpi, with is perfect cone and evidently great history. Also found in this city is the Wildlife and Albay Park, which keeps 347 animals of 75 species, and manifests a picnic spot in one. Magayon Art Gallery is also a tourist magnet for it caters artists’ originally crafted pieces. Legazpi also developed a waterfront called Embarcadero, which serves to put life to the buoys waited for and jumped out of by locals and foreigners. It is surrounded by restaurants, markets, and even a bowling alley visited by people within Bicol.

Imagine all these riches tacked in one bicycle ride. Visualize every arch welcoming you to these different places and feel its sense of bliss upon every fiber of your being. Let two wheels be the key to a long-lasting experience.



Race Rules and Protocols

Of course, Gran Fondo is to be commenced with ordained guidelines to maintain a smooth flow of the event.


Since the race will be a long one, some tracks will surely be unfamiliar to the cyclists which makes it unsafe. Always be cautious of the road because there will always be unexpected mishaps and dangerous places to pass through. Gran Fondo Bicolandia Route is not recommended for inexperienced riders for its first year launch.


These two are both needed for you to be allowed to join the race. Failure to bring even one will mean disqualification. This rule serves as protection for both the rider and his fellow cyclists.


Most part of the Gran Fondo Bicolandia encompasses main roads, which is why it is strictly suggested that the rider stays on the side of the road to avoid danger and inconvenience from and to the road vehicles.


Cyclists must be respectful of the places they pass through, especially through private-owned and managed landscapes and fields. Do not destroy their plants. That is a basic moral law. Also, give respect to the vehicles by staying at the side and letting them pass by you whenever necessary.


On-bicycle event marshals, motorcycles, and SAG staff will be monitoring the event from the beginning until the end to maintain an order upon the race. The protocols will be strictly implemented by the foresaid in order to avoid maximum delinquencies and unexpected misfortunes.


Basically, the Gran Fondo is no place for commotion-seeking people. Participants are bound to respect and treat each other well to avoid disruption of the affair.


Moral Law implies that it is wrong to throw trash in inappropriate places. No one is allowed to litter because in the event, cyclists are only by-passers, explorers of a place, therefore it is their responsibility to act accordingly as visitors and observers.

Last but not the least, ENJOY YOURSELF.

You will only realize the purpose of the Gran Fondo if you enjoy it. Be happy and treasure this day out of work, school, or anywhere. Relax yourself and laugh with other bikers. Never spoil the day by bringing the stress into the race.


by: Mishael Robles Occiano


GRAN FONDO: Bicol’s Pinnacled Spectacle of 2014

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