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Ecija’s Mt. Williams eyed as PH mountain-biking capital

Aurelio M. Umali
Gov. Aurelio M. Umali, Vice Gov. Emmanuel Antonio M. Umali and San Jose City Mayor Mario "Kokoy" Salvador lead the first joint site inspection of the scenic Mt. Williams in Bgy. Floresta which is being eyed as the "country's mountain-biking capital." Photo shows the local officials along and several others at the jump-off area before their climbing the 578-meter-high mountain. Photo by STEVE A. GOSUICO.

SAN JOSE CITY – Efforts to develop and convert Mt. Williams in this city into a potential adventure-eco-tourism destination dubbed as the “mountain-biking capital of the Philippines” are currently underway.

One-hundred fifty personalities from the city and nearby areas led by Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio M. Umali, Vice Gov. Emmanuel Antonio M. Umali, and City Mayor Mario “Kokoy” Salvador, along with other provincial and city officials, visited the “wonder nature-trail site” on October 9, Friday here.

Aside from the Umali siblings and Salvador, also seen riding their mountain bikes going to the top of the mountain trail here were Vice Mayor Glenda Filemon, members of the city council, provincial board member Joseph Ortiz, ex-PBMs Macoy Matias, actor and provincial food council (PFC) spokesman Rommel Padilla and provincial tourism officer, Atty. Joma San Pedro.

The activity was joined by Lupao Mayor Alex Rommel V. Romano, provincial police officer-in-charge Col. Marvin Joe C. Saro, Lt. Col. Heryl C. Bruno, city police chief, and PFC consultant Ferdinand “Dindo” Dysico.

City tourism officer Darmo A. Escuadro said Mt. Williams in Bgy. Floresta here is a so-called “hidden nature’s paradise.”

He added that it is a 14-kilometer-long trail that features breath-taking sceneries and challenging climbs accessible by hiking, mountain-biking, and MTB or enduro-riding. Other scenic side trips to the area are three “unexplored” waterfalls called the Banabac Falls, as well as the Santol and the Banbanaba Falls.

Escuadro said they also plan to include in the proposed development of Mt. Williams the putting up of so-called “Garden In The Sky”, an envisioned flower-landscaped attraction resembling that of the Sirao Flower Garden in Cebu City.

He added the joint inspection made by the provincial and the city government was a “giant step” towards the development of the area into the “mountain-biking capital of the country.”

Salvador said Umali and the provincial government support the initiatives to develop Mt. Williams and other potential tourism sites in the city.

Escuadro said those who visited Mt. Williams went up in batches to preserve social distancing protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that it was actually a “route-mapping” activity in preparation for the launching next year of the provincial government’s tourism project called “Ready, 3-2-One Go.”

The city tourism chief, who is also the president of the Association of Tourism Officers of Nueva Ecija (ATONE), said “Ready, 3-2-One Go” refers to a comprehensive tourism development plan by the provincial government to identify and develop each adventure-eco-tourism potential site that can be found in the province’s 32 towns and cities, with “3-2”, referring to the 27 towns and five cities and “One” under one province which is Nueva Ecija.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Steve A. Gosuico
Past President, Nueva Ecija Press Club, Inc.