Bike Festival highlights Iloilo’s rich heritage sites
by Tara Yap : Manila Bulletin

Iloilo City – Aside from being an environmental and sports event, the recently-held First Iloilo Bike Festival also put focus on Iloilo as a city replete with heritage sites.

Over 3,000 bikers who took part in the launching of the Festival, which is planned to be a series of biking events, were afforded a glimpse of both familiar and unfamiliar sites in the different districts of the city.

The March 30 Festival launch ride started and ended at Megaworld Corp.’s Iloilo Business Park, which used to be the old airport site in the city’s Mandurriao district.

From Mandurriao, the first stop for the bikers was Jaro district, home to many of Iloilo’s oldest and most prosperous families reside.

Stops in Jaro included the Lizares mansion which is now the Angelicum School – Iloilo; the over two century-old Casa Mariquit house; the old Jaro municipal hall which is now the Jaro Philippine National Police (PNP) station; Jaro Plaza, Metropolitan Cathedral, Jaro Belfry, the Sanson-Montinola Antillian House, and the Nelly Garden mansion owned by the old-rich Jison family.

From Jaro, bikers proceeded to La Paz district, passing along two educational institutions, one of which, the Redemptorist’s St. Clement’s Church, was where the first novena mass in the Philippines was held.

Crossing Forbes Bridge, the bikers proceeded to Iloilo city proper, passing Museo Iloilo, Casa Real which was the old Iloilo provincial capitol, the iconic Arroyo Fountain, Calle Real (JM Basa St.), Plaza Libertad, Iloilo Customs House, Iloilo City Hall, and Fort San Pedro.

The bikers then made their way to Molo with the district’s Gothic architecture- inspired St. Anne parish church.

For the last stretch of the biker’s ride was spent going through Mandurriao passing through the Iloilo Esplanade and making an exit to Diversion Road to go through the new bike lanes just built by the city government.

Bike Festival guest of honor was Ilonggo native of Iloilo, Senate President Franklin Drilon who announced that the road expansion project he has been initiating with the Western Visayas office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-6) will include more bike lanes.

Also present during the launching of the Bike Festival were environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Festival executive director Ronald Raymond Lacson Sebastian, and Jennifer Palmares-Fong, head of marketing for Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park.