HIMAMAYLAN CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The seventh Tour of the Fireflies Philippine leg hosted for the third straight time by this southern Negros city saw an estimated 600 cyclists brave a rainy Wednesday and went on to complete a 91-kilometer swing across four towns and a city under the Fifth District.
The district-wide ride took cyclists from here to the towns of Binalbagan, Hinigaran, Pontevedra, La Castellana for a pit stop, Moises Padilla, and Isabela then back to Bagroy village in Binalbagan, then to the villages of Libacao and Crossing Aguisan in Himamaylan, and ended at the plaza around noon.
First launched in 1999, the Tour of the Fireflies is an anticipated national celebration that campaigns for the conservation of the environment to develop more sustainable communities.
Jack Yabot, one of the founders of the Firefly Brigade, told DNX this year’s Tour of focused on raising awareness of environmental protection and agricultural productivity.
Their previous advocacies were preserving rivers and watersheds in 2019 and honoring the COVID-19 frontline workers as well as advocating for clean air and safer streets in 2021.
Mayor Raymund Tongson said the number of the participants in 2022 was limited because of their strict health and safety protocols resulting in a lesser turnout this year compared to around 4,000 and 1,000 in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
City officials noted around 200 cyclists hailed from Binalbagan, making it the town with the greatest number of participants.
Most of the cyclists were young ones while there were also those whose ages ranged from 60 to 70 years old.
The city offered lunch for the cyclists and raffled off six bicycles as tokens of appreciation.
Tongson added he hopes to widen the scope of the event in the coming years and wishes to relaunch the “Tour of Negros” cycling activity with Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.