For more than half a century now, a lowly original Filipino homemade four-wheeled bamboo and wooden cart called ligiron is still the undisputed downhill king in Valencia, Negros Oriental. Despite the modernity in transportation and a significant improvement on road conditions in the area, this ingenious contraption is still the favoured means of transportation for most Valenciahanons. They use it to carry their produce down the hilly slopes to the market.
And as if the ligiron is destined for greatness, an unexpected turn of events brought it into the mainstream. From the lowly everyday hauler, now the ligiron has transformed into a mighty downhill racer thanks to environmentalist Nicky Dumapit.
From the moment he got his butt into one, he was immediately hooked. It didn’t take long after that momentous event for the ligiron to be resurrected and improvised into its current racing form. Since the first Ligiron Race in 2013, the annual event is slowly catching the eyes of extreme sport enthusiasts worldwide. The new “King of the Downhill Trail” has now an international following.
Organized by Nicky Dumapit and his group, Lipay ang Kalibutan Community, the first ligiron racing event came as a surprise according to him. He never expected to see more than 20 ligirons showing up for the event. The ligirons at the time were made using just one design. Riders should have a good pair of feet to aid in the steering and braking of the ride. But as its popularity continues to rise, modified ligirons can now be seen in recent races. Some of them even have brakes and shock absorbers already.
And although there have been no reported major injuries among the participants, some racers have come up with ingenious ways of protecting themselves already. This only shows the love and dedication of Filipinos for the one and only extreme Filipino sport enjoying a worldwide acclaim to date.
As a proof of its continuing fame, Valencia, Negros Oriental tourism office has finally acknowledged ligiron’s significance to show support in this year’s Ligiron Race, which was held last 20-21 May 2017.