Rediscovering eco-tourism in MisOr-A A +A
Saturday, October 5, 2013
IN A tourism summit on Friday and Saturday at Duka Bay Resort in Medina town in Misamis Oriental, Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano together with the other officials in the province, the regional Tourism office, and other stakeholders gathered to launch the province’s eco-tourism program.
The province gears at becoming the leading eco-tourism destination in the country.
Emano is bent to promote the tourist destinations in Misamis Oriental to increase revenues and improve the lives of the poor communities where promising eco-tourism industry is viable.
Blessed with nature’s finest natural parks, beaches, waterfalls, historical places and cultural festivals, the province aims at bringing out the best to lure foreign and domestic tourists.
Misamis Oriental is one of the five provinces of Northern Mindanao region located in the northern coast of Mindanao island. It is bounded on the north by Macajalar Bay, on the west by Iligan Bay, on the south and southwest by the provinces of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte respectively, and on the east by Agusan del Norte.
Emano presented to some 200 tourism-business operators, trade association leaders and local officials who graced the opening of the two-day “1st Misamis Oriental Tourism Summit” the 50 highly potential tourist sites in the province.
However, access roads leading to these areas have to be developed and he will partner with the Department of Public Works and Highways for these.
Department of Tourism Regional director Catalino Chan said Misamis Oriental is ranked 8th among tourist destinations in the region while Cagayan de Oro City tops in tourism arrivals while Camiguin Island and Ozamiz City rank next in a survey conducted by the tourism department.
In terms of foreign arrivals, Chan said Region 10 is ranked 7th throughout the country, and 4th in domestic arrivals.
Emano believes that eco-tourism will bring sustainable income, more jobs and opportunities to the communities.
He said his ambitious project will manage resources following the criteria of 'green economy,' an economy whose environmental impact is kept within acceptable limits yet will create new jobs, support local economy, and reduce poverty.
However, with the limited budget only eight have been identified yet for development. These are Aya-aya Falls in Upper Talacogon, Lugait town; Tugasnon Hot Spring in Alubijid town, Cebu Pacific Flight 387 Shrine in Claveria town, Sagpulon Falls in Barangay San Isidro, Philippine Sailfin Lizard Park in Solana and Agutayan atoll in Jasaan town; Civoleg Falls in Barangay Lonotan in Gingoog City, and Alibuag cold spring in Barangay Duka, Medina town.
Money poured in
Mark Lapid, head of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, also graced the summit.
Impressed with the Emano’s proposal, Lapid assured him of pouring in P48 million to start the development of the identified eco-tourism destinations.
Provincial administrator Edmundo Pacamalan Jr. said the funds would be used to build the roads.
After day one of the summit, guests were entertained at the gala night filled with different presentations from local talents. Sumptuous meals were served while music played. Indeed, it was a perfect venue to unwind and have fun at the beach on a Friday night.
The night ended with magnificent fireworks display signifying a new beginning for the province and the announcement of DPWH’s P1.4 billion fund for the eco-tourism project.
On day two of the summit, the seven stakeholders and those who pledged to develop the identified tourist spots sealed a memorandum of understanding to participate and share in making the projects happen.
Misamis Oriental Electric Service Cooperative I pledged that it would give discounts on power rates to those who will put up and help develop the identified tourism sites.
Emano believes that developing competitive eco-tourism sites will bring in more investors. With more investors better opportunities await the people in the province such as employments and more business ventures.
Chan said the regional tourism office would be the main partner of the province through promotions. It would be the main guide to attain a tourism site following the national tourism standards.
With regard to security, Emano said there would be a dialogue soon in the areas where sporadic clashes between the Maoist rebels and the military occur.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 06, 2013.