ONE OF THE TEN MOST BEAUTIFUL BAYS
IN THE WORLDBy Sophia Hsu
In the cerulean blue waters of the Taiwan Strait lie approximately 90 islands and islets that belong to the Penghu archipelago, also known as the Pescadores (Fishermen) Islands by early Portuguese explorers and Pehoe by the Dutch who followed. Just west of the island of Taiwan, Penghu, the largest of the Pescadores, also known as Gaillardia Island, is home to the city of Magong. Gaillardia, most likely named after Penghu’s symbolic “state” flower gaillardia pulchella, known by several names such as the firewheel, Indian blanket flower, or sundance, which originated in North America and was eventually naturalized in Penghu. With rich and unique flora and fauna, Penghu is the perfect destination for eco-conservation and tourism.
Nominated as one of the World’s Best Secret Islands by Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com), Penghu was also elected to become a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club (world-bays.com). In 2018, Penghu will host the annual Most Beautiful Bays in the World (MBBW) Conference for the very first time. To celebrate and welcome the arrival of this prestigious conference to Penghu, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, in partnership with the Penghu County Government, China Airlines, Eva Air, and the On My Own Corporation, has organized the very first Penghu Cross-Sea Marathon slated for Sunday, November 19, 2017. Local and international participants are invited to join the festivities in their choice of competition: a full marathon (Team Green Sea Turtle), a half-marathon (Team Gaillardia), or the Friendship Run 5K (Team Oriental Skylark).
Design Master Xiao Qing-Yang, a well-known Independent Music Awards winner and Grammy Award-nominated designer, will honor the Penghu Cross-Sea Marathon by overseeing the main visual design of the event as well as designing the graphics. Combining traditional color and culture, the marine life, and the eco-conservation of Penghu, Master Xiao will create the commemorative t-shirts, medals, trophies, and other outfits based on a runner’s needs. The event is fortunate to have such a prestigious designer bringing life and color to the marathon.
Though you might be tempted to keep your eye on the prize, do take the opportunity to soak in the beauty of your surroundings while island hopping on your run. All the races begin on Penghu’s second largest island Xiyu, at the Xitai Visitors Center. While the Friendship Run 5K remains entirely on Xiyu with the halfway point near the breathtaking views from the Yuwengdao Lighthouse. As for the full and half marathons, runners will cross the ocean on foot over the Penghu Trans-Oceanic Bridge and onto Baisha, Penghu’s third largest island. The half marathon will end on Baisha at the pristinely kept Bao An Temple. Full marathon participants will continue on from Baisha to Jhongtun, the eleventh largest island of Penghu, and end their scenic tour on foot on Penghu, the main island also known as Gaillardia. The Penghu National Scenic Area Administration of Taiwan Tourism Bureau, MOTC, invites runners from all over the world to experience island-hopping with their own two feet.
For more information about registering for any of the runs, you can do so online at: www.eventpal.com.tw/phcsm.html for locals. For international registrants without a mailing address in Taiwan, please register here: https://goo.gl/forms/fdXvDpQmAds5EoCz2, and an organizer will contact you after your submission.