TABANGO, Leyte — This town is looking at sports tourism to encourage participation of visitors to the annual fiesta celebration every Jan. 14 to 15.

This year’s highlight is the 51.5 kilometer triathlon race, which consists of 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike race and 10-kilometer run.

Tabango Mayor Maria Corazon Remandaban said that Tabango 515 Triathlon was originally scheduled in 2014, but due to impacts of supertyphoon Yolanda, they rescheduled the event for this year.

“We hope to sustain this activity with the help of our partners because this would bring a lot of opportunities,” Remandaban said.

Parts of their promotion is to seek assistance from the Department of Tourism and online campaign through its website

Sports tourism is one of the thrust of the region, according to Department of Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes.

“This kind of activity adds-up to the allure of one place to become a tourist destination,” she added.

“It takes a little creativity to come-up with activities that can attract tourist and sports tourism is one we use to invite people to come and visit Eastern Visayas.”

The first 51.5 triathlon race on Sunday was participated not only by athletes in the region, but from Cebu as well.

In the first Tabango 515 triathlon, winners for 18-25 categories were Pito Aviles Jr (1st place) and Marco Dayoc (2nd place); men’s individuals 26-45 were Andy Toniaco (1st place), Rolando Labiste (2nd place), and Roger Baronda (3rd place).

For men’s individuals 46 years old and above, winners were Emmanuel Gopo (1st place) Arman Butad (2nd place), and Panfilo Tabudlong (3rd place).

For women open category, winners were Maria Luisa Martinez (1st place) and Eubhe Regine Abenio (2nd place); sprint distance winners were Ronilo Gonzaga (1st place) Andre Borromeo (2nd place) and Joseph Saldua (3rd place).

Team Mix relay winners were Mary Grace Codinera, Christian Diego and Melvin Picoy (1st place); Reyl Malbas, Cristopher Garado and Ronard Baylan (2nd place) and Jiji Jacoba, Julie Me Corro and Rey Castillon (3rd place).

The town of Tabango is located in the northwest part of Leyte province, rarely noticed due to its location. PNA /