BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The southern Negros city of Himamaylan grandslams its hosting of the Philippine leg of the Tour of the Fireflies this year as the cycling event returns for the third time to the southern Negros city but with a route that will cover the entire Fifth District.
City Hall officials told DNX the 94-kilometer route will take bikers from the Himamaylan City Hall to Binalbagan town to Tuguis in Hinigaran town to Pandan to a pit stop in La Castellana town to Moises Padilla town then to Isabela back to Bagroy in Binalbagan town back to Libacao in Himamaylan to Crossing Aguisan and the finish line at the City Plaza.
Himamaylan Mayor Raymund Tongson told DNX the twin advocacies of environmental protection and agricultural productivity will take center stage for this year’s ride.
First organized by the Firefly Brigade in the National Capital Region (NCR) in 1999 to preserve the existence of fireflies, the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) took the brigade’s model and held the first Tour of the Fireflies in Manapla town.
The tour is now held annually across the province with different themes hosted by various cities and towns but the goal stays the same – advocate for the environment and biking.
Himamaylan City Mayor Raymund Tongson decided in 2019 to host the race, which started from the Provincial Capitol Lagoon in Bacolod City to the Himamaylan City Hall, a race focused on saving the rivers and watersheds in Negros Occidental.
For the second time in 2021, Himamaylan City was chosen to host the tour once again with a different theme: a ride dedicated to frontliners relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging the use of bikes as alternative vehicles.
The route took bikers around villages in the city with had two different courses, the beginners and endurance.
Only a thousand bikers took part, and COVID-19 safety measures were strictly imposed to control the spread of the virus.