This year’s Globe Cordillera Challenge 4 broke all records of previous years—has the longest route at 65 kilometers; more than 400 bikers joined; and a young 17-year-old student beat them all to the finish line.
But the biking activity is more than just who’s going to finish first or who can hurdle the challenging trail.
The Globe Cordillera Challenge aims to raise awareness on the state of the mountains which are significantly damaged. The Cordillera Conservation Trust, a non-stock, non-profit organization, which seeks to develop environmental solutions and integrate modern sustainable development strategies to save the mountains.
Many of the bikers are also environmentalist at heart including top finisher Xy James Dacayanan, an engineering student from St. Louis University in Baguio who came with his family. He placed second in last year’s race. This year, he finished the 65-km bike in only 3 hours and 44 minutes just two minutes ahead of second-placer Warren Casil.
“I want to do something to protect the mountains of Cordillera,” Dacayanan says. He also took part in a demonstration in a mall in Baguio to protest the alleged cutting of trees within the mall grounds.
Fifty-year-old Jom Juan has been biking for four years. He has biked to Laguna, Mindoro, Sierra Madre and Subic. He says while this is not the most challenging for him and his group—having conquered the mountainous Sierra Madre—it is difficult because of the scorching weather. Juan is from Project 3, Quezon City.
“This run is for a cause,” Juan says. “We all should take care of the environment and do our part however small.”
The trail looked arduous at 65 km. The trail began at Tublay Municipal Hall (27 km from Baguio City). It’s a climb through Halsema Highway up to the junction at Km 21. From there, the participants descended the 18-km stretch of Ambuklao Dam. The breathtaking view gave bikers the much-needed distraction. The last leg is the “uphill battle” to La Trinidad. The bikers needed to conquer not only rough or slippery roads but also the 1,636-meter climb that navigated through parts of Nueva Vizcaya and Baguio. The 5-km descent capped off the ride leading to where they all started.
“This year’s course was the longest that the Globe Cordillera Challenge has ever done,” says JP Alipio, executive director of Cordillera Conservation Trust (CCT), partner-beneficiary of Globe Telecom for the event. “The feeling on the course was a real immersion into the Cordillera mountains as it took the bikers down to some of the deepest valleys and through the ridges that comprise the mountain range.”
“Consistent with its sustainable business practices, Globe is committed to collaborate with government, non-governmental organizations, and even other private businesses to help protect the environment,” says Rob Nazal, head of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility arm.
Aside from raising awareness of the state of the Cordillera mountains, the Globe Cordillera Challenge also raised funds for the construction of 30 seedlings nurseries through the Roots and Nursery Seedling Program with the help of ICCT which is located in a schoolhouse in Labey, Bokod. This is also one of the first pit stops for the bikers.
“We decided to go back to the basics start with the seed and with the young and grow the forests from there,” Alipio explains. Labey was one of the areas heavily damaged by Typhoon Pepeng in 2011.
At present, students, teachers and parents are looking after the nursery even during the summer vacation.
“This year in June we put those new roots and shoots which they themselves nurtured into good earth in the hillsides surrounding the community,” Alipio says.
Globe Cordillera Challenge is one of the projects of Globe Bridging Communities (BridgeCom). The telecom company partners with non-government organizations and local government units in supporting activities that will benefit the community.
BridgeCom has five pillars: iLead that promotes good governance, iAccess (for social services delivery), iProsper (teaches entrepreneurship), iConserve (protects the environment and sustainability), and iGive (volunteerism).
Apart from adopting Cordillera for its conservation program, Globe also maintains projects in Boracay in partnership with NGOs, LGU, and local businesses to help transform the marine life in the island’s surrounding waters. Globe also adopted the Taal Lake protection program in Batangas. Recently, it supported the Forest Corridor Program in Arakan Valley, South Cotabato, Mindanao to save the habitat of the Philippine Eagle.