From grassland to top tourist destination

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


FROM grassland to TAN—or Tourist Attraction of Negros.

Ricardo Tan had never thought the grassland property he reluctantly purchased a few years ago at Sitio Campuestohan in Brgy. Cabatangan Talisay City would turn into, well, a top TAN.

Cano Tan, as he is fondly called, was beaming with happiness and pride yesterday during the grand launching and blessing of his prized property named the Campuestohan Highland Resort.

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Some 300 guests, including Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and nine mayors of Negros Occidental, as well as prominent personalities in the business community, attended the occasion.

“I bought this property without even seeing it because the owner was begging me to buy it. (At first) I was not interested in this property. But since the owner was already crying, I felt the compassion in me and told her to talk to my lawyers to determine whether her papers were in order,” he shared this story to the guests.

“Our original plan was to put up a vacation home here,” he said.

“I lost in the election in 2010 when I ran for Congress. One Sunday, my wife (Nita) and I decided to visit the place and see how we can do about it. The road was highly impassable, even our 4 x 4 pick up surrendered. We walked a kilometer to reach this place and what I saw was tall grasses and cogons. I called up some of my leaders in this barangay and asked them if they could recommend people who can clear this area. Days passed and the area was cleared and when we got back here, I was overwhelmed with what I saw—a panoramic view of Panay and Negros where one can see the activities in land, air, and sea. The fog was a new experience and indeed, the place has its tourism potentials,” he said.

Tan is former councilor of Bacolod and former assistant secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

The couple decided to develop the place because the scenic view was a sight to behold. “We saw our province in full color and action.”

The couple first developed the road, which proved to be very difficult. But the hardships did not stop them because they want to develop the place into something that every Negrense should be proud of. It took them four months and 400 truckloads of volcanic soil to pave the road.

They made nights into days in working for every development plan they had.

By the grace of God, Tan said, everything went well.
“With our determination, I believe we could do it. I am a person who never stops trying, who never stops dreaming and a person who always puts his foot on the ground but keep his faith in God,” he added.

Development

They built the first giant Log House and then the Dolphin Pool. Even with the initial developments done in the place, Campuestohan went viral in social media and was regularly featured in mainstream media. People come here even if the place is not yet fully developed.

They developed a giant playground which was imported from abroad. It was made of hard quality plastics. They also constructed a stonehenge where super heroes are strategically placed.

They later built the Bonita huts, giant Gorilla (King Kong), the chief security of the resort, and a footprint-shapeD 3D swimming pool, rope course, 4-lane skybike, giant shoe-shaped bath house, and the Dolphin pool, among others.

“With this development, I told my friends that sometimes, it pays to be stubborn. Many of our friends gave negative feedback when we consulted them. They said, why waste your money, time and effort in a dead place? If I had listened to them, thousands of people would have been deprived of enjoying this beautiful resort, a place where they can bond with their family and friends,” he said.

“At Campuestohan, we offer everything in its premium quality. This is not only a highland resort—it is a pride of Negros Occidental. And we will strive to maintain the image of this place. We will see to it that this place will always be a source of pride as a tourist destination. We aim to to make this as a top highland tourist destination in the country,” Tan said.

Campuestohan Highland resort is considered as the crown jewel of tourist destination not only in the province and region but in the country.

Smiles

“We are so happy to see smiling faces of our guests. It makes us so proud and happy that, in our own little way, we make people happy. We make Ilonggos proud and we have proven to many people that we in Negros can compete and position ourselves in the tourism map of the world.

“Every nice word we hear is music to our ears. It is the source of our strength and inspiration. It further motivates us to continue and do more.

“A happy guest makes Campuestohan Highland Resort, a happy community and this makes us also more driven and motivated to think of many things that will further improve and entice our guests,” Tan said.

Destination

Marañon, in his speech yesterday, said Campuestohan has become a family destination.

“We should encourage local tourism because that will be the mainstay of this industry. As our economy grows, the income of our people also grows so they will have more income to spend for tourism,” he said.

Talisay Mayor Eric Saratan said they hope Talisay will find its place in the tourism map of the Philippines.

He said they came up with a roadmap and they are happy that Tan has been part of it with the development of the Cabatangan, Sitio Campuestohan area.

For his part, Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella said, “I congratulate Cano and Nita and their family for adding one more resort to Bacolod and Talisay. The opening of more resorts is important for Brgy. Alangilan because it will not only remain a vegetable-growing barangay but will also become a tourist destination.”

Elsa Leonardia, who represented her husband, Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia, said the congressman describes Tan “as a man who saw tomorrow.”

“Bing hopes this is going to be an anchor project for further development of the area especially in terms of tourism development. He has secured the approval and the release of P240 million for tourism roads, which are mainly prepared for the Granada-Alangilan areas,” she said.

The project will be implemented within this year, she added.

Mrs. Leonardia said Congressman Leonardia made sure that the roads will reach the boundary of Talisay and Bacolod. 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez has also promised to take care of all the roads in the Talisay side.

At the grand launching yesterday, Tan stood proud of his achievements, with the full support of his wife, Nita (whom he called as his only ‘tiger’), his son Ralph Richard, daughter-in-law Patricia and granddaughter Rafa.*

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 27, 2014.

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