Bontoc, Mountain Province, Philippines—Some noticeable effects of a 100% plant-based diet were already being felt as early as the 2nd day of the 5-day “Project V360: The Bicycle and Vegan Food Trip”. And, shall we say, those effects are truly relieving.
Apart from the noticeable energy boost the cyclists felt during the arduous climbs in Mountain Province, all participants experienced a different kind of “smooth sailing” in their trips to the toilet, while another wondered where her acid reflux went (not that she wanted it back).
It’s been turning out that going vegan for just three days has been quite beneficial not just for cyclists, but even for those not engaging in strenuous exercise.
The “Project V360” has been envisioned to be a 5-day, 500-km adventure tour organized by the advocacy website TessDrive.com and Cycling Adventures and Advocates (Cycad), taking participants through the most daunting, historical, yet picturesque mountain passes in central and northern Luzon: Dalton Pass, Bessang Pass, and Tirad Pass. For the entirety of the tour, only a 100% plant-based diet would be served to all cyclists and support crews. Thus far, the vegan team of chefs from Greenery Kitchen has served vegan or meatless versions of Filipino food favorites such as menudo, sinigang, barbecue, adobo, pakbet and tocino, added with Quorn vegan fishless fingers with dairy- and egg-free soyanaise, and Quorn spicy vegan burgers. All vegetables, fruits and spices have been bought from local markets.
The second and third day of the tour started from the Bayombong-Solano border in Nueva Vizcaya, then taking on the mountain passes of Ifugao and Mountain Province.
“My bowel movement was never better during my many years of riding. Instead of the usual watery stool, my waste just went out straight and true in one go every day for the past three days. I also noticed the change in color. I was also surprised that, for the first time in my experience with long rides, I did not suffer cramps, which I always did when biking in cold temperatures,” said Jojo Carloman, 31.
“When I used to bike with my father during long rides, we would stop for bulalo (cow’s bone marrow stew) by the road side. I felt heavy and bloated afterwards, even after pedaling rigorously for some time. Then I always felt constipated. During my first to third day on this tour, eating only plant protein which really tastes like real meat, the high-fiber content in my diet seems to have solved both that bloated feeling and the constipation. I realize now that a cyclist doesn’t need animal protein,” he added.
Eric Valientes, 56, a veteran cyclist who also volunteered to be part of the tour, described that he felt “no hunger pangs during the long stretches, no reduction of energy in my pedal power, and no smelly after-taste of meat when burping.” Valientes added that, with the help of his wife who hails from the vegetable-rich Ilocos region, he had been increasing his intake of vegetables.
One video documenter said that she hadn’t been taking her medications for acid reflux for the three days that she was into the vegan diet.
The general consensus among the cyclists was that, with vegan dishes tasting like they had during the past three days, they could sustain this 100% plant-based diet if these were made more accessible in their homes and workplaces.
After the first day’s lung-busting run up and down Dalton Pass separating the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya, the second and third days of the tour saw the group taking on the Cordillera mountain ranges, with roads reaching elevations of as much as 2,000 meters above sea level. After conquering the steep ascent of Kiangan, the group had their lunch at the landscaped, manicured open field of Ifugao Museum at the historic Philippine Veterans Administration Office facing the war memorial shrine. Then the group took on the 24-kilometer “killer climb” from Lagawe to Banaue, which concluded with the stop for the second night at the tranquil Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort in Viewpoint, Banaue.
For the third day, the group then pedaled their way to cross into Mountain Province towards Bontoc to check in at the Golden Farm Hotel & Resort, 10 kms shy of the town center. The hotel is also known as the jump-off point for mountaineers climbing Mount Kalawitan, a 12-hour trek to the peak.
All throughout the intervals of punishing climbs and thrilling descents, nature provided the majestic backdrops of mountains and pine forests, with the rice terraces, the so-called “eighth wonder of the world”, seemingly providing the cyclists an alternative path to the mountain peaks.
The “Project V360: Bicycle and Vegan Food Tour” is the brainchild of TessDrive.com and Cycad. This tour seeks to attain the following objectives: 1) Promote a healthy, active vegan lifestyle; 2) Dispel the myth that plant-based foods do not produce sufficient energy for athletic activities; 3) Prove that vegan foods can be as delicious, if not more delectable, as their meat-based counterparts; 4) Dispel the myth that plant-based foods are limited to salads and side dishes; 5) Promote the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and nuts in the Philippines, a country rich in soil nutrients conducive for abundant plant growth, yet its citizens consume the least amount among Asian countries; 6) Promote cycling as a fun, safe, cost-efficient and healthy means to tour the country and its many destinations, and also promote cycling as among the most environmentally sound ways to practice eco-tourism, and; 7) Accommodate vegan-curious tourists who would be adventurous enough to want to try a different cycling tour of the country. The project is also made possible with the support of Isuzu Philippines Corp, and Honda Cars Philippines.
Visit us again for the 4th- and 5th-day updates and pictures!