It was the day when road noise was pleasing to the ears. The Gensan Drive at the center of Koronadal City was roaring on that gloomy Saturday morning. Thousands of motorcycles with engines ranging from teensy 49cc to muscular 1,200 cc paraded to celebrate the culmination of the weeklong 1st Motorcycle Festival and the highlight of the 23rd Annual Convention of National Federation of Motorcycle in the Philippines!
More than anything else, the thousands of men and women on board their iron horses were there to participate in the ambitious bid of the Koronadal City to break a Guinness World Record on the most number of engines started and most number of horns sounded. There were no drums. No dancing. But the chorus of 3000+ engines set the festive mood of the whole city.
It was a parade in the city streets like no other. It was a total feast for those who fancy motorcycles. It was something new for the city that has already hosted some of the grandest festivals and gatherings in the region, be it national or international.
It was a parade that united thousands from different walks of life with common interest in two-wheeled machines and those with confidence in the peaceful coexistence of people in the city. That’s the real picture beyond that long lines of people and machines.
Naysayers say that the bid was just for prestige and popularity. Some would see it as just a mere gathering of enthusiasts at the city’s expense just to show our hospitality. In the short term view, it could be that…but in a positive way. The prestige and popularity gained by the event and the presence of national and international riders broke negative perceptions and busted the myth of “fear of hostile Mindanao”. It was actually a gathering of thousands of good news multipliers.
In a wider perspective, the gathering gave confidence to investors and tourists and this may usher in more development for the city that tags itself as the convention capital and the gateway to SOX (SOCCSKSARGEN) region’s tourists’ destinations. It’s a kind of showing that “we can organize events this big”, “it’s this peaceful in here”, “we are this progressive and even ready to cater in more developments”. Sometimes, investment is not in the form of infrastructure.
So, did we break the record currently held by India? The official result from Guinness has yet to be announced. But, apart from the Guinness stuff, several records have already been broken. The perception of peace and order issues in the region was broken. The geographical unfamiliarity of outsiders was broken. The fear of us having limitations in hosting grand events was broken.
Apart from the success of the April 29 street event, the learnings gained by local motorists about street safety through defensive driving, road courtesies and traffic regulations, skills trainings and other capacity building seminar-workshops proper values and awareness about relevant laws matter too. This gave deeper meaning to the event. It provided knowledge. It provided awareness among drivers. Kudos to the people behind for pulling off this grand affair, including the unsung heroes, the people behind the side events whom we never see in photos and videos that spread in different media.
Indeed, on that day, Koronadal City was enveloped in street noise! But the noise created by the thousands of motorcycles was a projection not of commotion but of peace that Koronadal city is constantly basking in. It was a call that indeed we are ready for further development in this promising city.
Braap braap!!