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Tour of Hope Bacolod. « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog

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Tour of Hope Bacolod.

Hey all – a last weekend I travelled to Bacolod City on the Island of Negros for a very good cause. My girl friend has been a cervical cancer advocate for some time now with this NON for profit organization called Bravehearts.

Its goal is to bring awareness and educate Filipina’s about Cervical Cancer through free lectures by former miss Philippines Abigail Arenas De Leon as well to raise funds to give free vaccines!

Over the years, they have tied it up with cycling in multi-day bike tours all over the region of Luzon in the mainland of the Philippines. As it’s an effective and inexpensive way to cover large distances, inspire every day people, allow locals and foreigners who join the tour to get an up close view of the Philippines and of course promote a healthy life-style!

Here are some fast facts:

-Cervical Cancer kill’s 12 Filipina’s each day.

-Cervical Cancer is the 2nd most mortal cancer amongst women worldwide with over half a milling new cases and ~250 000 deaths reported each year. Over ~80% of cases occur in developing countries.

-All sexually active women are at risk regardless of age and economic status.

-8 out of 10 women will have HPV in their lifetime but not all will get the Cervical Cancer.

-A healthy lifestyle, screening and cervical cancer vaccination are a woman’s best defense but more importantly, it’s the ONLY CANCER WHO HAS A PREVENTIVE VACCINE!

That’s right, getting 3 vaccine’s over the span of 6 months at approx 60 dollars US per vaccine will protect any sexuality active woman for 10 years where then a ‘booster’ is needed.

While this may appear simple and strait forward – few under-privileged women and even well educated women DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS!

Cervical cancer is instigated by Human papillomavirus (HPV) of which is a sexually transmitted disease that has very few signs of infections until the cancer reaches stage 3 – when it’s too almost late where 80% of females who reach this point will die…

While I am no Lance Armstrong – nor would I want! I support this because there are A LOT of important women in my life – well in EVERYBODY’s life so it only makes sense to do our best to spread awareness that there’s a vaccine that’s readily available to anybody who can afford it! So whatever I can do to promote this, by blogging and ridding my bike cleanly – will only sum up to good things =)

Just note, the vaccine is only effective if given BEFORE HPV is contracted which can have an incubation period of many years so it doesn’t mean that you’re healthy NOW that you will be later…

So go see your local gynecologists, get a papsmear and get vaccinated – it’s a cheap way to live longer of which is key for all those around you!

Anyway, bellow are some pictures of 2 days worth of ridding we did here in Bacolod – its was great! I brought my MTB so that I could have a ‘handicap’ over those with their road bikes on day 1 and then be on fair grounds on day 2.

37 riders ready to go ride the Don Salvador route - one of the most challenging and scenic ride on the Island!

Ridding into the un-known mountain range!

Heading into the final pitch to the top of the pass!

Since there was different abilities and sizes of athletes - we would stop every 20ish KLM to regroup and feed - note the angle of the slope!!!

Our SAG support!

The whole group at the top with the Lion!

Me and Joyette!

After quite a bit of climbing is was mainly downhill back to the city - having an MTB make it a vivid disadvantage due to less hears and a higher/wider stance on my bike.

With Coach Frank indulging in the famous Bacolod Chicken Inasal! It was MASARAP and juicy ;)

Day 2 was 100% mountain bike with a smaller group - just like yesterday I had no idea where they where taking me!

Long and gradual climb that went from Sea Level to almost 3000 FT.

A resort is being built at the bottom of the peaks!

This is possibly the WORLDS BIGGEST right footed flip-flop!

A nice pool as well!

Now we can only go back down - on a different path that we came up =)

This is a cock-fighting breeder's yard! Its big business here in the Philippines - some of the fighting cock's can be sold up to 1000 USD $ depending on size and bread!

My local cycling colleagues!

Having some Lugaw near the end of the MTB ride - its rice porridge, with a hard boiled egg, soy sauce and garlic chips!

The famous street Piyaya's for my back pocket! They are thin, flower made biscuits with muscovato sugar in the middle!

In front of city hall where most of the run races are held!

In front of the local running store Cool Running - isn't that the name of that funny movie of the Jamaican Bob-sled team?

Our hotel had a lap pool on the roof top so I did not miss of beat of training =)

Well all in all I had a good few days thanx to our tour guide Coach Frank – I always like to visit new places and this place in my opinion is the best place in the Philippines for both road and MTB!

Kitakits Bacolod 8)

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