Bohol ruins ‘are tourist spots’-A A +A
Monday, October 28, 2013
BOHOL will be making the most out of the damage caused by the recent earthquake, Gov. Edgar Chatto said in a press conference Sunday.
Chatto said the province will become one of the centers for geological tours because of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit last Oct. 15.
He said the five-kilometer fault line in Barangay Anonang in Inabanga can be the highlight of the tour.
The coastlines of Maribojoc and Loon, where a large land mass has risen from the sea, can be future tourist attractions, Chatto said.
“Bohol’s tourism has not been diminished, it has actually been added with so many attractions,” Chatto said.
He said a visit to Chocolate Hills will give visitors a new twist as they will build observation decks to show them “what’s inside the hill.” The earthquake destroyed the viewing decks and damaged some of the hills.
Chatto said visitors to the Chocolate Hills will be given geological explanations on what happened.
The ruins of the century-old churches in Bohol are also seen to attract domestic and foreign tourists, said Bohol Province Tourism Council vice chairman Walter Sultan in a separate interview.
Sultan said that days after the earthquake, travel agency Travel Village and Tours received a number of inquiries from tourists interested to visit the province.
“The damage can be a tourist attraction soon,” Sultan said.
Among Bohol churches that sustained damage were the main churches in Baclayon, Dauis, Dimiao, Loay, Loboc, Loon and Maribojoc towns. These churches were all categorized as national cultural treasures or national historical landmarks by the Historical Conservation Society.
Chato said the ruins can be another tourist destination for Bohol. “The remains of the structures or the ruins are tourist attractions by themselves.”
While others may regard the province as still unsafe, Chatto said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology together with the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences already said the province is safe.
“Tourists have been well informed that when you have an earthquake of that magnitude and you have a fault line that was created, it will not create new movements (earthquakes) of the same magnitude for the next 100 years. This is the stability that Phivolcs and UP Insitute of Geological Sciences have been telling us,” Chatto said.
As for the damaged churches, Chatto said they are coordinating with Catholic Church officials on how to rebuild the centuries-old structures but said the restoration may take years.
“Our churches are heritage churches. We would like to see these churches back,” Chatto said.
Bohol’s tourism sector contributes 20 percent to 25 percent of Bohol’s economy, the governor said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 29, 2013.