The Kauswagan Challenge started with purely mountain bike races organized in the late 1990’s as a tribute to the local war heroes of the WWII. Traversing the terrain of the mountainous parts of Palo, Leyte, the race through time, has evolved into a more adventurous event, incorporating a series of outdoor sports activities, such as Trail/Off-Road Marathon, Duathlon, Paddle Races, and the 12-24 Hours Adventure Races.

During its inception years, the event was just being organized by the Leyte Gulf Off-Road Biker’s Association (LGORA) and eventually, as the event evolved, the same became a multi-organization endeavor and has been organized by sixteen (16) civil society organizations contributing and counter-parting resources so that the event may push through every year. The alliance of the said sixteen organizations is now known as the Palo United for Environmental Resource Sustainability Alliance or PUERSA.

On October 2009, the Municipality of Palo was among the municipalities chosen to host an event synchronized with the global call in relation to the Millennium Development Goal to end poverty in the year 2015. From a simple bike competition and outdoor challenge, the Kauswagan Challenge adopted its new meaning; that is, the literal English translation of kauswagan, “development.” The activity was conducted by a series of events and a merger of three major outdoor competitions, which are: The bike race competition, Laro ng Lahi, and the non-stop 24-hour adventure racing. In partnership with National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Lihuk Bisaya Movement and the United Nations – the KAUSWAGAN Challenge 2009, was hosted by the municipality of Palo in sync with the global event against poverty, STAND UP, TAKE ACTION, End Poverty Now! The event was conducted as a 3-day event showcasing all expressions of the arts, immortalizing the true culture of the Eastern Visayas, including among others painting and photo exhibits, cultural dance, orchestra, poetry reading and song renditions. Another highlight was the adventure race around the Municipality of Palo, Leyte that was joined in by 25 teams who came not only from the province of Leyte but as well as from the Biliran and So. Leyte Provinces. The event signified the acceptance of the challenge to stand up against poverty. The event ended with a concert at the Palo Public Plaza with performances from the Palo Ambassador’s Orchestra, Dancers and Choir, the Palo Rah Rah Rousers, Forum Band, Kulahig, Bolingling and Karasak hill 522.

From then on, the Kauswagan Challenge embraced its literal meaning that is, “Development” Challenge and every year the event carries an advocacy campaign—from Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s “I AM FREE” drive to Foster Plan Philippines’ “I AM A GIRL” campaign. This year, in partnership with GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA, the Kauswagan Challenge 2018 carried the advocacy for a Safe Environment adopting GREENPEACE’s campaign for CLEAN ENERGY and CLIMATE JUSTICE.

Open Kauswagan Challenge Official Website