New Spin On Philippine Tourism

Places around the world have long featured off-the-beaten-track tours to their roster of ways to experience a country's culture, architecture and history. In the Philippines where adventure travel is gaining momentum, both local and foreign travelers alike are seeing a slew of tour companies that offer different ways of exploring the Philippines.

One such company is Beyond Outdoor Adventures, Inc. (BOA), which offers recreational cycling tours to different Philippine eco-tourism destinations. Founded by cycling enthusiasts and bike shop owners Benjie Lopez and Hans Co, BOA began as a conduit of a Bangkok-based bike touring company that catered to the foreign market. "We were the local leg of that firm for the Philippines as it was their first time to enter the market. Once we got our foot wet in the business, we decided we also wanted to spin it off on our own," Lopez shares.

The dynamic duo - also co-owners of GranTrail Cycles, Inc., a four-branch retail outfit that carries bike brands like Niner, GT and Haro, among others - started BOA almost two years ago, with a 10-day tour that took tourists from Metro Manila to Laguna, Tagaytay, San Pablo, Quezon, and all the way to Donsol, Sorsogon. "We want to promote tourism in a different way," says Lopez. "A lot of people do family trips outside Metro Manila via car, but cycling lends a very different experience. You'll be passing the same roads, but you notice things on a bike that you wouldn't normally notice inside the car or a bus. You can also easily stop and talk to the locals, go into different routes, even go up a hill or mountain, and you find areas that are hidden. It makes traveling more experiential," he says.

Focus On The Local Market

Details that emerged from the Department of Tourism reveal that in 2011, domestic tourism generated P1,019.2 billion in tourism receipts, comprising 88.7 percent of the country's total tourism receipts. This figure is projected to grow by 56 percent (P1,587.3 billion) by 2016, driven in large part by the increase in local travelers, domestic trips made, and expenditure per day.

It is exactly this burgeoning market that BOA seeks to tap. "The thing that we did with Beyond Outdoors is that we wanted to tap the local market. Before, with the tour conduit in Bangkok, we'd have around a minimum of two and a maximum of four tours in a month; and these are often 10- to 12-day tours catered to Europeans. But because there's a slowdown in their economy, that market was hit. So we're trying to rework everything and tap more the local and Southeast Asian market, which we realize is also a bigger market," Lopez shares.

One of the company's strategies was to introduce more day trips and shorter tours in the Luzon area. Currently, the company offers regular tours to San Pablo, Wawa Dam, La Mesa Dam, Nuvali, and Tarlac. It also features longer trips to Bicol, Baguio, Quezon Province, Puerto Galera and Ilocos. Soon, it will introduce a Visayas leg that covers around 250 kilometers of road that it is currently mapping out.

Customized Tours

Going on a BOA bike tour does not necessarily mean less leisure and more exercise - although shedding off a couple of pounds during vacation is icing on the cake. "You don't really have to bike all the way," Lopez assures. "Depending on how strong you are, you can either take the whole route or take on a lighter, more scenic approach. We usually have a vehicle - or two, depending on how big your group is - following our bikers. You can opt to bike all the way or ride in the vehicle," he says.

Tours are tailored to a group's preference. Instead of offering a fixed, full-blown package, Lopez shares that they start with a base budget. "You add on to the base budget depending on the amenities you want to get," he says. A day trip costs as low as P2,500 to P3,500, which already includes bike rental, while an overnighter would cost around P5,500 to P6,000. "It depends on the services you want to add on, and your choice of accommodation," Lopez informs. "We even offer butler services for those who'd want to have someone buy stuff in a local market, etc.," he adds.

While BOA isn't exactly the first bike touring company in the country, it is the first who's trying to professionalize the industry. "A lot of those organizing bike tours are individuals, mostly mountaineers who'd sometimes want to go on mountain bikes during their summit climbs. They do so at their own pace and at their own time. But what we're trying to do right now is to have fixed monthly departures that travelers can check online," Lopez shares.

Every project, Co adds, is also a community initiative. "For every trail we have, we really talk to the locals, the LGUs. Part of BOA's advocacy is to be connected to the local communities," he says, adding that it is this aspect of their bike tours that draws tourists in. "We observed that getting to know the locals are actually the best feature of our bike tours. Most of our guests love interacting with them as it gives them a closer look into the people's culture."

"It's not even the thrust of our local government to push our brand of tourism," Lopez adds. "But we're here because we see its potential, and it's always been our passion and advocacy to promote sustainable eco-tourism. There are plenty of opportunities in the Philippines for outdoor adventure, and while our business model doesn't necessarily include staying at your typical five-star hotel, it definitely enables you to see the Philippines in a different way," he ends.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia delays execution of Filipina drug convict
    Indonesia delays execution of Filipina drug convict

    The execution of a Filipina drug convict by an Indonesian firing squad was delayed at the last minute after one of her recruiters surrendered to police in the Philippines, the attorney general's spokesman said on Wednesday. "The execution of Mary Jane (Veloso) has been postponed because there was a request from the Philippine president related to a perpetrator suspected of human trafficking who surrendered herself in the Philippines," said Tony Spontana, spokesman for the attorney general. …

  • Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather
    Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather

    Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is confident he can beat American arch-rival Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday with the power of God, after abandoning a life he said was packed with sin condemning him to hell. Pacquiao is in top form both in mind and spirit after he traded his boozing, gambling and womanising ways for a devout life of prayer, his spiritual adviser, Jeric Soriano, told AFP in a recent Manila interview. Except the world got to him," Soriano said of Pacquiao's …

  • Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia
    Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia

    Eight foreign drug convicts are set to be executed in Indonesia after losing all appeals for clemency. Here are brief profiles of the inmates, who include two from Australia, one each from Brazil and the Philippines, and four from Africa. Myuran Sukumaran A ringleader of the Bali Nine drugs smuggling syndicate, Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved with his Sri Lankan family to Australia when he was a child. Enticed by the prospect of easy money, in 2005 he helped to organise a …

  • Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict
    Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - The execution of a Filipina drug convict by an Indonesian firing squad will not be delayed despite last-minute appeals by the Philippine government, the attorney general said on Tuesday. Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier met with a migrant workers' group to discuss the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who is one of nine people set to be executed within hours. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco in MANLIA and Gayatri Suroyo in JAKARTA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) …

  • Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone
    Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone

    By Kanupriya Kapoor CILACAP, Indonesia (Reuters) - Nine drug traffickers held emotional farewell meetings with their families at an Indonesian prison on Tuesday, after Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas from around the world for clemency and ordered their mass execution to proceed within hours. "I won't see him again," said Raji Sukumaran, the mother of an Australian who will go before a firing squad along with a fellow countryman and convicts from Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and …

  • Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive
    Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among nine prisoners set to be executed for drug trafficking on Tuesday as she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates. It was Aquino's third personal appeal, after the Indonesian attorney general rejected the Philippines' request on Monday for a second judicial review of the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who her lawyers say merely served as an unknowing mule to drug …

  • Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000
    Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000

    Are you hunting for an affordable motorcycle which you can use for personal use or a family service vehicle? Carmudi PH presents to you some of the cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines today. These budget friendly motorbikes will surely not hurt your pockets, and you may even buy them on the spot instead of monthly […] The post Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000 appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief
    Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief

    Indonesia made final preparations Tuesday to execute eight foreigners by firing squad, as family members wailed in grief during last visits to their loved ones and ambulances carrying white coffins arrived at the drug convicts' prison. Relatives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Australian ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" heroin trafficking group, arrived at Nusakambangan prison calling for mercy for their loved ones, with Sukumaran's sister collapsing in grief. They are among …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options