Years of biking for clean air and with over 8,000 participants annually, the 12th Tour of the Fireflies (ToF) continues this April 18 with bikers covering approximately forty kilometers around Metro Manila starting from Tiendesitas, Frontera Verde at Pasig, to Quezon City, Marikina, Cainta, Taguig, Makati, and Mandaluyong. Synchronized bicycle rides are also being staged in Baguio, Bacolod, Palawan, Gensan and Laoag.
Tiendesitas developer and major benefactor Ortigas & Co. and The Firefly Brigade are pushing for the implementation of provisions within the Clean Air Law. Promoting the use of non-motorized transportation aids in the reduction of carbon emissions and will help make our cities firefly friendly again. Tour of the Fireflies (ToF) goes beyond the formula of the usual bicycle advocacy touring and gives a great twist for onlookers who experienced it for the first time this year.
ToF is also an avenue for artsy bikers to show their talent for costume design. Amid the bikers who wear plain jerseys are a select few who breezed around Manila with firefly wings, antennae attached to their helmets, or glaring red goggles that resemble bug eyes. The tour rewards those who show utmost creativity.
The theme for this year is "I Vote to Bike" and encourages participants to ride their bicycles as a form of being makabayan. Highlights of the ToF this year: awarding of 15 Dutch Bicycles to deserving NGOs and POs by the Firely Brigade and Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and a costumed rider contest. The Tour this year was graced by Dutch Ambassador Robert Brinks, Ms. Earth Reigning Beauties, Albert Martinez, Tessa Prieto-Valdez.
Ortigas & Co. has pledged to install bicycle racks in all of its developments as a response to the RACK Project of the Firefly Brigade, a boost to the long term partnership with the Brigade. It also supports the ever increasing interest into biking as an environmentally sensible means of transportation. Apart from the benefits of biking to the environment, bikers acknowledge that as a physical activity, it helps them become healthier and less stressed.
Bunny de la Cruz, long term Tour of the Fireflies participant says he travels daily via bicycle from Commonwealth to North Avenue, and from there takes the train to his Makati office. True enough, Bunny is the kind who can very well ignore some traffic jam reports and who can worry less about parking space and fees.
Firefly Brigade President Ricky Pineda also adds "Riding your bicycle ---- to work, to school or short errands --- is the simplest way anyone can immediatey help fight climate change. And it's alot of fun, too!"
"For nearly eighty years, we at Ortigas & Co. have been espousing and promoting quality living and leisure. Our developments manifest our concern for the environment and the well-being of everyone. In fact, when you see a development by Ortigas & Co., you wouldn't feel as if you're in a congested business district with nothing but cement" says Ortigas & Co. Deputy COO & Real Estate Division General Manager Joey Santos. He adds, "We ensure that greens and open spaces are present in our developments as we help advance the campaign for clean air. We are happy that Firefly Brigade is with us on this."
The Tour of the Fireflies is also staged in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Firefly Lighting, Spyder Optics, Pocari Sweat, 7Eleven, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Men's Health, the Radio Partners and the key local government units in and outside Metro Manila.