SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Cyclists from different North Luzon provinces –La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan– including Manila participated in a bikeathon last Sunday in an effort to promote adventure tourism in this city, particularly centered on the famous 20-hectare La Union Botanical Garden in an eastern barangay.
At least 82 registered cyclists started the race in front of the City Hall here and dared the “challenge route”– 16 kilometers of flat, cemented roads, steep, hilly terrain, passing through the villages of Cabaraoan, Tanqui, Lancuas, Birunget, Sibuan-Otong, Masicong, and Cadaclan, where the “garden of all gardens” is situated.
Some of the cyclists fell and sustained injuries, but they overcame the difficulties while enjoying the magnificent view of the city from the mountains.
The racers also participated in the tree planting activity held within the “garden,” which is also called zoological because of the presence of various animal species therein, like monkeys, iguana, birds like mynah, eagles.
Located eight kilometers away from the city proper to the east, the botanical garden, inaugurated in March 1996, is the first of its kind in the country, with themed parks for various tropical and desert plants that bear local and scientific names. More than 20 years ago, Japanese Peace Corps Volunteers planted mangoes in the area, and are now fruit-bearing.
The activity was organized by the city government through the City Environment and Natural Resources Office in partnership with the Fun Cycling Club. Erwin Beleo/NPN-northboundasia.com