Does the name Marc Soong sound familiar? For decades now, the name Soong has become synonymous with high-end sports cars and premium SUVs—brands like Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Marc Soong is a certified car nut, but lately, he finds himself spending more time on motorbikes than four-wheelers.
What’s he up to? Well, his passion for riding has allowed him to better enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the Sierra Madre mountains as he traverses the rugged trails from his family’s vast family property in Tanay, Rizal, up to the boundary of the Quezon province.
Soong sees the enormous potential of Tanay in terms of tourism. This has prompted him to gather his friends who are experts on 4x4 vehicle off-roading, mountaineering, trail riding, and other outdoor activities. Being a riding enthusiast, his main objective is focused on developing the place as the country’s new hub for moto camping.
“We have off-road trails that require different levels of riding or driving skills,” says Soong. For this, he has lined up several experts: Dennis Javier for vehicle off-road training, Toto Villanueva for adventure motorcycling, Mel Aquino for enduro/trail riding, and Manny Batungbakal for trekking, mountaineering, and camping skills.
His moto camp will not be exclusive to riders—it will be open to mountaineers and trekkers, too. Adventure and outdoor needs shop R.O.X. is in charge of the camping equipment. For the P2,000 camping fee, each guest shall be provided with a tent and a portable cooking set. And with Batungbakal on the team, Soong expects members of the UP Mountaineers to be a regular fixture at the campsite.
Bikes for rent will also be available from P3,500 to P5,000 per day. Not far from one of the campsites is a police-accredited firing range where campers can safely hone their shooting skills.
In order to preserve the area’s natural setting, Soong vows to promote eco-tourism by providing residents a source of livelihood—either as tour guides or porters. This will also be a good opportunity for the locals to showcase their indigenous products and homemade delicacies. “We want to give back something to the local communities,” he stresses.
Soong plans to get the ball rolling by January 2021. Sounds promising? As of now, he has one major obstacle to hurdle: The unpredictable COVID-19 health and safety protocols being implemented by the local government units. “We’ll play it by ear,” he says. “What we can do now is prepare, start the laying the groundwork for the project.”
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopBikes.ph. Minor edits have been made.