TOURISM Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. lauded mountainside murals at sitios Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap (Stobosa) of Barangay Balili, La Trinidad in Benguet, which was formally unveiled Thursday, June 23.
Jimenez, guest of honor for the unveiling event, wants the project replicated in the Cordilleras.
"There must be a concerted effort of the community to re-dedicate its mountains to flowers and trees part of sustainable tourism activities,” the Tourism chief said.
The house murals are part of the Revitalize Bloom (RevBloom) project introduced by Department of Tourism Regional Director Marie Venus Tan.
One hundred eighty Stobosa houses were painted with vibrant colors depicting flowers and plants endemic to the Valley.
The design was prepared by the Tam-awan village artists, while painting materials used were sponsored by Davies Paints.
The work was a concerted effort from community-beneficiaries with several volunteers from schools, agencies and non-government organizations.
Community leader Gloria Agasen said it was the women of the community who worked hand-in-hand with the government and volunteers in making the project a reality.
"Since our place is now a destination for visitors, we hope that our livelihood will be boosted," she said.
Presently, the Stobosa residents produce knitted bonnets, scarves, mittens, woven traditional attire and handicrafts made of recycled materials.
Some community members are also processing traditional "tapey" or rice wine and "etag" or salted meat, the products are brought to the market or supplied to private pasalubong centers.
Agasen said they are planning to open their houses as retail outlets of their own products and sell directly to visitors.
"Houses across which have good view of the painted houses may also open a small coffee shop as additional livelihood," Agasen said.
Municipal Tourism Officer Valred Olsim said the Provincial Government is planning to build a view deck near the waiting shed of Botiwtiw. (Jessa Mardy Polonio)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 24, 2016.
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