Warning! Prepare for a lot of W’s people! These guys who hail from the friendly city of Davao are firm believers of apat-dapat or 4 is the way to do things, thus the name WapatDC. The W in their collective name means weird, wise, wonderful wanderers and walastik (somehow fantastic). Though we do have our reservations of putting in the same sentence weird and wise, no doubt, these cyclists are way wacky in choosing their group’s name.
The self-proclaimed 4 wise men of the south convene 3 to 4 times a week to train. They were all triathletes and that was the common thing for them. Whacked out, they started to expand their territorial claims in the region. Mike Aportadera came up with the idea of Exploring Mindanao One Pedal at a Time and presented it to Department of Tourism for endorsement, which they got and have been very supportive of their cause.
So far, these are the whooping major routes that they have covered:
Davao to Buda (Bukidnon – Davao Road)
Davao to Tagum
Davao to Mati
Digos to Don Marcelino
Davao to Cagayan de Oro
Tagum to Bislig/Hinatuan
Digos to Gen San – Koronadal – Lake Sebu
They have several advocacies actually:
“We want to establish and/or give more focus to certain bike routes around Mindanao.”
“We want to share with the public some of the beautiful sites around Mindanao.”
“We want to show to the public that Mindanao is good place to bike and it’s SAFE.”
“We want to promote a healthy lifestyle and get more people to spend more time outdoors!”
Each ride is special, for different reasons, they say. Sometimes they are drawn by a place’s landmark, such as the Enchanted River in Hinatuan, or the challenge of a distance such as their Cagayan de Oro trip, or some unexpected pleasant surprise along the way, like in Don Marcelino, or even just because it’s the perfect road for pedaling, such as the route from General Santos to Koronadal to Lake Sebu.
Their ride to Lake Sebu is one of their most love rides, due to it’s perfect mix of flats, climbs, rolling inclines, breathtaking views of pineapple plantation, mountains and even a bustling city but with very few cars on the road. The people are warm, which totally contradicts the misconception about Mindanao being a dangerous place.
“There’s always a different point of view that one gets when cycling that you don’t normally have when you in a vehicle. When you’re on a provincial road riding a car, yes the green is always appreciated, but when you’re on a bike, there’s more to take in. It’s slower on a bike (most of the time ;)) – true, but you get to absorb mother nature and all her beauty more. Not only are you exposed to the green longer, but you also feel the wind, breath in the fresh air, and notice more things like different plants or trees. Also, you have a more intimate experience with the swells of the road and this adds another layer of texture in your travel, something you will definitely miss when you take the same road in a vehicle.” they explain
Davao is one of the nicest and safest cities to live in, not just because of the strict implementation of policies, but because the people here have discipline and more importantly, has pride, in their city. That’s why they continue to uphold the policies the local government have implemented. Is it safe for cyclists here in Davao? Oh yes! Sharing the road is evident here and it’s nice that the cyclists don’t get honked at when biking. There is mutual respect, and by the way, it’s not only true to Davao, but to all the places they have been to so far in Mindanao.
The WapatDC advices on doing a research when planning a bicycle trip, knowing beforehand if the condition of the roads you intend to blaze, if passable or not, the elevation, stores for buying provisions and refreshments. Ask the counsel of those who have been in that area. Google Maps is recommended as a good tool, though it wouldn’t tell you everything. Personal experience is better, knowing that a recon ride will also help train you for the ride. If the route has a lot of hillclimbs, then climbing a few hills first will prepare you for the main journey.
hey also know that you have to love what you’re doing. Biking long distances is no joke, and at time will test you will, especially if the conditions are not ideal, like an extremely hot weather of if the terrain is not friendly. It’s so easy to just pack your things up, get on the support vehicle, and call it a day. It’s the passion for riding that gets you through.
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