At least P1.5 million will be shelled out by the 150 participants of the three-day BIMP-Mindanao Ride for Peace which starts today.
“We are going to ride through places in Mindanao that are not often visited by locals and tourists alike,” said biker Jimmy Gomez during a press conference with the bikers yesterday at the Marco Polo Hotel.
The event, which is now on its third year, aims to promote peace, tourism and investment in Mindanao by bringing riders from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to travel around key points in Mindanao using their motorbikes.
“We are riding to promote peace in Mindanao but this is not to say that there is no peace in Mindanao,” Gomez said. Rather, he added, we are telling Asia that there is peace here and that it is one of the best places in Asia to travel by motorcycle.
Riders all the way from Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia have shelled out $8,000 or roughly P40 thousand for the shipment of one container containing ten motorbikes. The almost 23 foreign riders would have spent an estimated more than P8 thousand for the shipment of their motorbikes from Sandakan, Malaysia to Zamboanga which is their entry point.
“Each rider will spend at least P10,000 for the whole three-day travel from Davao to Zamboanga,” said Eduardo Tombo, event chair. He said the group had minimal sponsorship which helped them with some miscellaneous expenses, he added.
The bikers are expected to travel 1,700 kilometers of land from Davao to Zamboanga, with overnight stays in Cotabato City, Dapitan and Iligan before proceeding to Zamboanga City. The Philippine bikers will then travel the whole 1,700 kilometers back to Davao after they send off their foreign counterparts in the Zamboanga port.
The bikers will be passing by Datu Paglas, Camp Abubakar, Malabang, Ipil, Pagadian and some other areas that no Mindanaoan would brave traveling even by car during the early days of Mindanao as a war-torn area.
Tombo said the Philippine bikers will return the favor by joining the foreign riders in Pontianak during the Big bike Festival in Borneo in May next year.
The BIMP-Mindanao Ride for Peace will be highlighted by the donation of a multi-purpose building at Camp Abubakar in Maguindanao.