The University of the Philippines Cebu College held its first Haruhay Fest last March 2013 which was a culminating activity for two undergraduate psychology classes: Introduction to Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. A press conference was held to announce the event to the public. The students made small signs demanding certain aspects of a livable city, such as: bike lanes, quality sidewalks, potable water, free quality education, public libraries, and mental health care programs — simple tangible proofs of livability that are basic in most humane societies. Surprisingly, certain media people responded negatively to the campaign, alluding to the students a sense of entitlement for a Livable City. With such a paradoxical response from a purportedly enlightened media, the students became more impassioned to pursue their fight for a livable city that nurtures the quality of life and the mental health of its citizenry.
The early morning kick-off activity was a Walk, Skate and Bike ride which was surprisingly attended by about 150 longboarders, wakeboarders and bikers. The positive response of the Cebuano public awakened the psychology students to their power in beginning the process of change.
The success of the student-led Haruhay Fest landed on the front page of a local newspaper and this served as an inspiration to continue on with the dream of a Livable City. When the semester finally ended, some of the students met up to plan for a fun ride on bikes. What started out as merely “lingaw-lingaw” (for fun) radically evolved into the conceptualization of a weekly themed bike ride promoting the Cebuano culture — Tindak Sugbo.
As a group of psychology students who were teeming with passion to participate in promoting a more sustainable way of life in Cebu, this opportunity to “pedal towards sustainability” officially marked the foundation of the Psychology Volunteers on Bikes—and likewise cemented their tagline. Mentored and guided by their psychology teacher who is also a permaculture practitioner, the eventual formation of the group became the training field for the eight pioneering psychology students who chose to make use of what they learned in school to help push forward what the entire community deserves — sustainability and livability. The themed bike rides evolved into a bike awareness campaign promoting the bicycle as a tool for mitigating climate change and as a social equalizer. The campaign started as an exhibit last August 2013 at Ayala Center Cebu organized by the Psychology Volunteers on Bikes together with R.O.X., and converges and celebrates local Cebuano bike culture that encompasses biking for sustainability, creativity, health, sport and recreation, culture, work, livelihood and technology.
The Psychology Volunteers on Bikes celebrated the start of their second year with another season of Tindak Sugbo themed bike rides, this time getting more people to join the campaign. This brought together the growing bike community of Cebu, and they are now working to influence public policy to create the Tindak Sugbo Shared Priority Bike Lanes Ordinance.