The Antique Mountain Bikers Association Inc. held the 4th Autajay Aningalan Ascent bike race to raise funds for the establishment of a biodiversity corridor between the isolated forest of Sibalom Natural Park (SNP) and the large contiguous forests of the Central Panay Mountain Range (CPMR).

With the theme “Race, Restore and Reconnect – Sustaining Biodiversity”, the event was comprised by two bike races in two days. On the first day, May 27, bikers from different regions of the country joined the 62 kilometer road race from Guinsang-an, Hamtic to Aningalan, San Remigio 875 meters above sea level. On the second day, it consisted of a tree planting activity in the watershed area of Brgy. Aningalan followed by a 15 kilometer cross-country race joined by German Ambassador Gordon Kricke.

The event was supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Deutsche Gessellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH- under the Forest and Climate Protection Panay II (ForClim) project funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). ForClim aims to conserve the last remaining block of natural forest of CPMR to protect its biodiversity as well as enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

Present during the press conference held last May 27 were Hon. Rhodora J. Cadiao, Hon. Gordon Kricke (German Ambassador), Former Governor Sally Perez, Dr. Klaus Schmitt (Principal Advisor, ForClim II Project), Dr. Earl Autajay (President, AMBA), Mr. Jessie L. Vego (Asst. RD, DENR6), Ms. Katrina Kendall (Miss Earth England 2015), Mrs. Mirza G. Samillano (Chief, Technical Services Division, PENRO), Mr. Anthony Evangelio (OIC-CENRO).

Gov. Cadiao thanked the organizers of the event for the help that they have given to the province and the support from Germany through Ambassador Kricke, hoping that there will be more projects to come for the province.

The establishment of the biodiversity corridor between SNP and CPMR is important to allow exchange between isolated animal and plant populations to sustain their viability; particularly the endemic ‘Big Five’ species of Panay – the Visayan writhed-hornbill (Aceros waldeni), the Visayan spotted deer (Cervus alfredi), the Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), the Panay Monitor Lizard (Varanus mabitang), and species of the parasitic plant genus Rafflesia (R. lobata and R. speciosa).