Tour of Matabungkay (TOM) is reputed as the longest-running and among the most popular amateur cycling competitions in the Philippines.
The renowned October spectacle was established in 2004 as a grassroots race competition by Leviste-owned Matabungkay Beach Resort and Hotel through its former events manager, Mr. Raul Cuevas. At first, it was like a barangay-level and modest race competition for executive riders.
But four years after the TOM’s establishment, Mr. Quin Baterna, the long-time and current TOM head honcho who is an architect by profession, took the helm alongside his brother Jojo Baterna after Matabungkay Beach Resort and Hotel tapped him. Straight away, he upgraded the competition to pattern it after Thailand’s Tour of Friendship. TOM’s main concept is to encourage foreign riders to visit and promote the country overseas. The head organizer even offered junkets for some international sports journalists and scribblers to advertise the TOM in their respective nations. Consequently, the TOM became popular in Asia on par with other cycling tournaments in Asia. It is also being dubbed, the Tour de France of amateur cycling in the Philippines.
For the past years, the Tour of Matabungkay has transcended into an October weekend splendor under Baterna’s incumbency. Since its meteoric rise, it has been attended by expats from Southeast Asia and the Western world. The TOM head honcho has even added a cocktail party to make the TOM more convivial. He also welcomed other presidents of big companies here and abroad. Foreign business executives usually bring their families with them. TOM has since become a family-oriented event too.
By the same token, the Tour of Matabungkay promotes sports and local tourism. It also paved the way for further road improvement within Batangas’ first district, which politically covers Lian Municipality where the Barangay Matabungkay peninsula is situated. Thus, it reportedly ushered in the district’s economic growth as farm-to-market roads blossomed and attracted significant investors.
For that reason, TOM’s well-paved racecourse in Lian Municipality also became part of the course of the 30th Southeast Asian road cycling competitions given its mixed terrain.
Every year, roughly 500 participants from different regions in the country and foreign countries in Asia and the Pacific take part in the three-day rivalry.
Generally, the amateur cycling competition is divided into four stages: individual time trial and road races. The said competition has six categories: Open, 24 to 35, 36 to 45, 46 up, Managers’ and Women’s. It covers approximately 400 kilometers of Batangas national roads.
According to Mr. Baterna, the Tour of Matabungkay has likewise become an exposition of state-of-the-art road bike models never before seen on the road.
When Mr. Baterna was quizzed whether he could extend the race North of Manila, he quickly responded that Vuelta Dagupan, his summer tournament, has been around and conducting summer amateur cycling matches from Dagupan City to the City of Pines for the past ten years.
The TOM is also open to professional riders inactive in their professional career the year they participate in the TOM competition.
Indeed, the TOM remains the country’s reputable amateur cycling competition, raising awareness on the value of cycling in everyday life and encouraging budding cyclists to develop their skills and talent in the said sport.
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