Valerides founder, other local entrepreneurs also recognized
BAGUIO CITY, 16 March 2022 — Mayor Benjamin Magalong received for the City of Pines the distinguished recognition of the Mobility Awards as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the Luzon region in 2021.
Mayor Magalong expressed his gratitude to the organizers for their visit, saying the city will strive to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists as it advances the city’s “shared roads” concept along with establishing more bike lanes. “Baguio will go for gold,” Magalong pledged during the turnover ceremony at Baguio City Hall last Monday.
“We challenge Baguio City’s government, its businesses and citizens to further elevate cycling and active mobility as priority initiatives of this great city. You now have the momentum and we would not be surprised to see you as gold awardees in the near future,” said Celine Tabinga, national convenor of the Mobility Awards.
Joining Tabinga in the ceremony were representatives from Mobility Awards co-organizers: The Climate Reality Project (TCRP) Philippines branch manager Nazrin Castro, communications officer Kristine Galang, Luzon coordinator Aimee Oliveros, and youth cluster representative Keith Sigfred; Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) lead climate policy analyst Danica Supnet; and regional partners Joebel Gurang of Daily Cycle Movement Baguio (DCMB) and Djiennivi Orsal of Team Next Generation (TNG) – WAEWA Baguio Cycling Team.
Baguio’s city engineering office proposed the “shared roads” concept in July 2021, an initiative to put up more bike lanes in the city, allowing residents to cycle safely alongside motor vehicles. The proposal was released in response to the massive and still worsening traffic congestion in the city. The number of private and public vehicles currently at 57,000, based on 2019 data from the mayor’s office, continues to increase. The Magalong administration allocated PHP 18 million to set up bike lanes in four major roads in Baguio under the shared roads initiative.
In November 2021, the Mobility Awards announced the winners of its nationwide leg, with Baguio City receiving the bronze rank and emerging as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in Luzon alongside Naga City, which ranked silver.
Baguio locals Valerie De Guzman and Vince Dangiapo were recognized as Padyak Champions in the awards for their outstanding work as cycling couriers. Valerie De Guzman founded Valerides, a delivery service provider supporting local farmers and small entrepreneurs in the city, which helped her bag first place in the category.
In celebration of International Women’s Month this March, De Guzman hopes to inspire fellow women, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship, to excel and not limit themselves to the biased expectations of society.
“Ang lagi ko namang iniisip, maging inspirasyon sa ibang mga riders at sa ibang tao, na kaya talaga ng babae. Na-aapply ko ito sa Valerides, yung daily challenges ko is of course ‘yung pagbubuhat at paglalagay ng 10 to 15 kilos na packages doon sa bike. I feel empowered talaga every time na may dala akong package sa bike and then nakikita ako ng ibang tao along the way. Nakikita nila na kaya ng babae, (I always wanted to inspire other riders and other people, and let them know that women can do anything. I was able to apply this in Valerides, where my daily challenge is to lift and board on my bike packages weighing around 10 to 15 kilos. I really feel empowered every time I have a package to deliver and that people can see me along the way. They can see that women are capable),” she said.
De Guzman added that Baguio is a safe haven for women-bikers-turned-entrepreneurs, expressing hope the city can also serve as an example for other LGUs. “Wala naman akong na-experience along the way na discrimination and hindi naman ako nagi-gitgit dito since one of the friendliest bike cities ang Baguio, (I have not experienced any form of discrimination so far, I do not recall as well any issues in road sharing since Baguio is truly one of the friendliest cities for cycling),” she said.
Padyak Champion second placer Vince Dangiapo, owner of 7DA Errands by Bicycle, underscored the need for initiatives like the Mobility Awards to promote the shift to cycling not just as a hobby but as part of everyday life.
“We have shown everyone that anything is possible through hard work, innovation, dedication, and resilience. We have shown that bicycles are not only for sport and recreation, but also a perfect alternative for mobility and transportation,” he said in a Facebook post after receiving the award.
De Guzman and Dangiapo also received gifts such as Harley masks and a buri basket pannier from individual supporters.
The awarding ceremony is a jumpoff point as award organizers visit more awardees, including Iloilo City and Mandaue City in the Visayas region, and Davao City and Gingoog City in Mindanao.
The Mobility Awards is organized by ICSC, TCRPt Philippines, MNL Moves, 350.org Pilipinas, and the Pinay Bike Commuter Community, in partnership with the League of Cities Philippines and 27 regional partners – including DCMB and TNG-WAEWA Baguio Cycling Team – across the country. For more information, visit mobilityawards.ph.
AC Dimatatac, Media Coordinator
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FEATURE PHOTO: Nazrin Castro, Branch Manager of The Climate Reality Philippines presented the bronze award to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in Luzon last March 14, 2022. Convenors of Mobility Awards met with local government officials of Baguio City to present them with the award as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the Luzon region in Mobility Awards 2021 last March 14, 2022. (c) JJ Landingin/ICSC