Visayan Longboard Trilogy: An Unexpected Discovery

posted in: Travel | 3

Visayan Longboard Trilogy Header Image

Poblacion, Oslob is a sleepy town. I’ve lived here for the last 7 months, working with a marine conservation group called the Large Marine Vertebrates Project Philippines (www.lamave.org).  We study the infamous whale sharks of Tanawan, a barangay (barangay<municipality<province) further down the national highway.  Aside from the whale sharks and a few spectacular waterfalls, there’s not a whole lot going on in Oslob.  Poblacion – the main town – has a market, a church, and a main road.  That’s not to say it isn’t beautiful.

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I’m hoping that the introduction to this post will convey some of the surprise I experienced upon hearing of a downhill longboarding competition coming to the town.  I longboard back home; nothing special, it’s more of a way of cruising round and chilling out than anything intense.  It was subsequently pretty excited to hear of an event happening in town, especially something I was interested in.  However, I was skeptical at first, thinking it was probably going to be some amateur enthusiasts – not dissimilar to myself – until I heard which road they were riding…

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Cebu island is an odd shape, much longer than it is wide.  Like many of the islands in the Philippines, it is volcanic in origin, with evident high-cresting mountains in it’s centre.  There’s one main road running the circumference, accommodating the cruising bikers, the meandering tricycles, and the mental ‘Ceres’ public buses.  There are a few other offshoot roads in the towns and villages, but nothing too major.  Except for one other.  There’s a quick route over the mountains, linking the East and West sides of the island.  The last time I tried to grab a ride over the mountains in order to save a few hours on my way to nearby Moal Boal, the normally care-free motorbike drivers refused as it was beginning to go dark.  These guys normally fly round blind corners on the wrong side of the road whilst carrying all seven of their family members.  My excitement for this longboard competition grew considerably.

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A quick bit of Googling later, and I was super stoked for the 2nd stage of the 6th Visayan Longboard Trilogy to make its way to Oslob.  The biggest and longest running Asian longboarding event starts off on the neighbouring island of Siquijor, hits Oslob, then passes on to Car Car.

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We trekked up the road, whose steepness I couldn’t quite capture through my lens, and found that most of the town was out, and – as always in the Philippines – the rum was flowing.  If it doesn’t look like a whole bunch of people in the photos, that’s because it isn’t.  The strangeness of this event being in this tiny town never washed off.  As we walked on, drenched in sweat from the scorching sun, we were passed by more and more competitors heading up via moto to the whoops of the watching ‘crowds’.  And what goes up must come down.

 

 

 

 

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This gives you an idea of the speed these guys are going.
This gives you an idea of the speed these guys are going.

 

 

 

 

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It was a great event to stumble upon, and one you aren’t likely to find in any guidebook.  The Visayan Longboard Trilogy normally runs around April each year, so if you’re in the area be sure to check it out.

3 Responses

  1. Anna Heath

    Gorgeous photos! I’m going to leave you alone more often… 🙂

  2. right on! cool piece and photography!

    • lukepenketh@gmail.com

      You would’ve loved it Mark! Such excitement in the town.

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