Over 300 swimmers from different parts of the Philippines participated in the sixth Verde Island Passage (VIP) Swimjunkie Challenge in Lobo, Batangas.

The participants showcased their endurance, discipline, and focus in the 2.5 and five-kilometer swim races.

The event was held in Barangay Malabrigo, known for its crystal-clear waters.

“Meron siyang iba't ibang leg in other parts of the Philippines like Camiguin, El Nido, but the swimmers and the organization say that Lobo is the most challenging and it is the biggest in the Philippines,” Vanessa Mae Castillo, Senior Tourism Operations Officer of Lobo, said.

Participants braved the heat and challenging currents to complete the race.

“[The] current was very strong, so maraming nahirapan talaga na makalangoy to finish 2.5 kilometers and five kilometers,” Castillo said.

Kapuso award-winning documentarist and journalist Kara David was among those who took on the challenge.

The event aimed to support the advocacy of protecting the Verde Island Passage while promoting tourism in Lobo.

“We also have the common advocacy of protecting our marine biodiversity, our underwater. So, it was a perfect tie-up between the Swimjunkie organization and LGU Lobo,” Castillo said.

From over 400,000 tourist arrivals in Lobo in 2023, they aim to double this number or even reach one million visitors in 2024.