What started as a private birthday gathering with the then-congressman Ronald Singson's closest riding buddies has now turned into one of the largest annual gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the Philippines. Many big bike motorcycle clubs now include this event on their riding calendars as the last hurrah for the year, just in time before the Christmas holidays.
The Historic City of Vigan is a good 406 kilometers north of Manila. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is one of the few towns left in the Philippines whose old structures have been kept mostly intact. The city is also famous for its cobblestone pavement and unique architecture of the Philippine colonial era which fuses Native Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial Spanish architecture, all of which are still abundant in the area. Many tourists flock to the city to experience going back in time. Vigan is also famous for its food delicacies, like the empanada, sinanglao and most especially, its Vigan longganisa (sausage). In May 2015, Vigan City was officially recognized as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities, together with Beirut, Doha, Durban, Havana, Kuala Lumpur and La Paz.
Lunch stop at Villa Gloria Beach Resort in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur hosted by the town's mayor, Chavit Singson.
The ride to the Historic City of Vigan is no joke as the 400-kilometer ride can be tiring if not on a proper bike. Thanks to BMW Motorrad Philippines who made sure that we would ride to Vigan in the most enjoyable way, we were handed over brand-new units of their flagship model, the R 1250 GS HP. Our group was composed of Gil Balderas, BMW Motorrad Director and Toto Villanueva who's not only one of the few BMW Motorrad Certified Instructors but also one of the key organizers of this year's Ilocos Sur Invitational Ride. We were also joined by friends from the media like Aris Ilagan, Maynard Marcelo, vloggers Jmac Motovlog, and Mike and Nelly from the travel vlog, Making It Happen.
This year's Ilocos Sur Invitational Ride is one of the biggest according to the organizers, led by Cong. Bonito Singson. They estimate that more than 1,500 riders were in attendance, with some coming as far as Davao City in Mindanao.
Good food, good hospitality and best of all, the nice ride to the Heritage City of Vigan is something to look forward to every year. Mayor Chavit Singson of Narvacan was so impressed with the rider turnout that he promised that he will be raffling off a brand new car for next year's Ilocos Sur Invitational Ride delegates.
It is no doubt, that the new R 1250 GS' performance is superior to its predecessor, the R 1200 GS, which we took to the mountains to train with Aris Cuevas as he represented our country for the first time at the International GS Trophy last year in Mongolia. Watch out for our full review of the new R 1250 GS soon.