If you happened to be at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in the morning of November 29, 2019, you probably saw the long convoy of spectacular big bikes heading north. Despite the threat of Typhoon Tisoy, more than 2,000 big bikers from the different parts of the country took part in the 6th Ilocos Sur Invitational Ride initiated by the Ilocos Sur government, with Wheeltek as major event sponsor.
Here’s a little backgrounder on this big-bike gathering: It actually started with a small group of riders heading north in the month of November to celebrate the birthday of then-Ilocos Sur Representative Ronald Singson. But word about the Singson’s extraordinary hospitality spread around, prompting more riders to join the yearly event.
So, instead of waiting for an invitation from Ronald Singson et al, participants just post on Viber groups of motorcycle clubs saying: “Count me in.” As years passed, the Ilocos Sur Invitational Ride became one of the most successful moto-tourism undertakings in the country.
You have one year to plan before the 2020 event. And here are 10 reasons why you shouldn’t miss it:
1) You’ll get to see big bikes galore.
This is one gathering where you will likely find the most exotic motorcycles of different makes, engine displacements, and categories. Despite the big-bikes parade, there’s no sign of discrimination. Brotherhood prevails.
2) There’s a quick history lesson.
Vigan City has been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO for its rich historical background. Because of this, both the local government and the national government ensure that the structures and landmarks are always well-preserved.
3) Lodging is not a problem.
Being a well-established tourist destination, Vigan City is blessed with many hotels and lodging houses. If you’re looking for the best accommodations, however, book a room in advance for big events like this.
4) It’s a good time for bike shopping.
Big motorcycle brands have become aware of the Ilocos Sur Invitational Ride, so they make sure their booths at the venue showcase the latest models. Some manufacturers even offer quick maintenance services on the spot.
5) There are lots of fun games and prizes.
Thanks to all the sponsors supporting the event every year, the participants get to enjoy different parlor games in which the winners score exciting prizes. Even better, motorbikes are also raffled off.
6) The local food is so addicting.
Vigan longganisa, empanada, and bagnet are just some of the popular Ilocano fare that will make you keep coming back to this place. Here’s a little reminder: For those suffering from high blood pressure, don’t forget to bring your maintenance medicine.
7) Meet the Singsons.
We all know the Singsons are one of the country’s most powerful political clans. During this event, you’ll get the chance to meet the Luis ‘Chavit’ Singson and his brother Bonito, along with the former’s sons Ronald and Ryan. They’re actually nice people, so be ready with your phone camera for a quick selfie.
8) The roads are flawless.
The distance from Manila to Vigan City is roughly 420km, which takes around seven hours to cover at a relaxed pace. Riding to Vigan is less stressful because of the well-paved roads and the long, long tollways that shorten the travel time. On these long stretches, activate the bike’s cruise-control system and have a bit of a breather.
9) Come rain or storm, we ride.
This year’s event missed Typhoon Tisoy, which wreaked havoc in many parts of Luzon, by a hair strand. Even with the threat of this fierce weather disturbance, which was initially reported to hit the region during the weekend of the event, the riders hit the road knowing they can seek refuge in countless lodging places along the way.
10) It’s the perfect time to ride with your partner.
Who else will you best enjoy the good roads, good food, and good destination with? We’ve seen a growing number of couples as well as father-son, brother-sister tandems riding to Vigan for bonding sessions. This is good for the riders’ image and well-being.
See you next year!