MABALACAT, PAMPANGA—Clark is on its way to becoming the capital of two-wheel racing events in the country, while pushing further adventure tourism in Central Luzon.
“This is the most ideal place, which should be declared as the motorcycling hub of the entire Philippines,” Clark Development Corp. (CDC) President Atty. Agnes Devanadera said during the opening of the first Clark International Festival of Speed (CIFOS) held at the Clark International Speedway (CIS) last Friday.
This Freeport and special economic zone, according to the CDC chief, has a strong potential to be a center for motorsports due to its good infrastructure, unique terrain, and secured environment.
“Motorcyclists not only look for the good roads, but also no roads and even jumpy roads. So there’s so much adventure. Our signal is okay, so they can be contacted anytime, anywhere. Since this is a fence community, so it’s safe,” she told the BusinessMirror on a sideline interview.
“While some of the sports are only appealing to the youth, motorcycle is one which appeals even to the senior citizens. So this is one thing that we would like to promote and push. Also, there is so much passion for motorcycles in the Philippines. It has reached a very high-level, considering the number of people using motorcycles,” she added.
Proof of which is the success of the just-concluded inaugural CIFOS organized by Mad Dog Motorcycle Club. Philippines in collaboration with CIS. This three-day event gathered together speed enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies here and from abroad to showcase their racing prowess and stunts to local and international spectators.
“Revenge travel is very real. With the turnout of the tourists here, we can really see that we’re all set again to reintroduce tourism activities. Given the right promotional activities and, of course, connection with all those who are enthusiasts of the said activity, I guess we will not be shortchanged of that promise by Atty. Devanadera,” said Department of Tourism (DOT)-Region 3 Director Richard Daenos.
“I think this milestone event will have to grow year after year. This might be the first event that we could introduce as a way to bring out adventure tourism [in the central part of Luzon],” he noted.
Apart from being a hub for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions or MICE industry, Region 3 has quite a number of tourism products to offer to travelers, whether in terms of waters activities, culinary, and nature trips.
“Motorcycling will be an added attraction and, at the same time, part of another portfolio that we can offer in terms of tourism activities,” Daenos said.
AMID the upbeat outlook on the future of its local adventure tourism, what challenges CDC’s vision to make Clark a haven for motorcycling is the lack of accommodation, per Devanadera. In fact, she cited that their total inventory now stands only at 4,007.
“We need more hotel rooms because when the motorcyclists come to Clark, they always look for accommodation. Now, we’re looking for boutique hotels because these are the no-frills hotels. Motorcyclists usually are not looking for fancy hotels. They just want a place where they can sleep at night,” Devanadera said.
To continue to develop its full potential, she bared that they will start planning a full year-round of promoting, supporting and holding the motorcycle festivals in Clark, particularly in the Speedway, in the first quarter of 2024.
The CDC chief, likewise, revealed that they already discussed with the Kilton Group to come up with an initiative to upskill mechanics or support people who will keep motorbikes in top shape. In line with this, she said that they would ask the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to come up with a training program for them.
Given that motorcycles in the country have so far outnumbered four-wheel vehicles like cars and jeepney, the Department of Energy (DOE) is putting up electric charging stations in Clark for these dual wheel vehicles.
Devanadera said: “We’re in talks with the DOE [regarding this], and they are looking at the first quarter of 2024 for the installation of the fast charging station.”
Industry-wise, the ecozone is becoming a destination of choice for electronic vehicle (EV) manufacturers. She mentioned that there’s already an EV locator in Clark.
“We’re inviting more because we want to be able to have sustainable programs here. We hope that manufacturers of EVs, including motorcycles, continue to come here,” she stressed.