DO you know that Cebu has been ranked as the second Friendliest Island in the World for 2016 by the New York-based travel magazine Travel + Leisure? And then last week, it was ranked second Best Island in the World in the Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards?
This was announced by Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Joselito “Boboi” Costas during the launching of Cebu’s Big 5 and the Capitol’s quarterly magazine 1521 last week.
The Provincial Government has been promoting community-based tourism in five southern towns: Alcoy for its bird-watching and nature trek, Alegria for its wellness and adventure tours, Aloguinsan for its Bojo River Cruise, Argao for its culinary tour and Boljoon for its heritage tour.
I had a chance to visit the Nug-as Forest back when I was a consultant for then governor now Third District Congresswoman Gwen Garcia.
I didn’t see any of the endangered siloy, also known as the Black Shama, or hear its long and uninterrupted melody, but I remember taking many selfies before frequent selfie-taking became a mental condition right at the forest’s edge just to show people that, you know, I was there.
I couldn’t explore the 1.6-hectare protective area with its many birds and whatnot because the ground was slippery and the trail was treacherous for someone weighing over 200 pounds, but I did walk a few meters into the forest for a quick look around.
Even back then, the Gwen administration actively promoted tourism through its Suroy-Suroy program and “had completed work in documenting and preserving tangible and intangible heritage sources” while the country had just embarked on heritage preservation.
It was nice to see that the current administration set aside politics to take up where the Gwen administration left off.
And I have to give it to Boboi and the rest of his team for doing a fantastic job in selling the province to the rest of the country and to the world.
So how did I end up at the Capitol Social Hall last Friday, almost eight years since I last set foot on the building?
Well, I was invited.
You see, the 1521 magazine had commissioned me to write about Argao, my grandparents’ hometown, and I was curious how my words looked on paper. So I went.
And oh, they told me I had to sign a contract or something if I wanted to get paid for the article.
I managed to take a sneak peak at the magazine and its contents, but boy, and I’m not one to toot my own horn although in this case I will have to make an exception so I’m tootin’ away.
I’m not sure yet what the Province plans to do with the magazine, but if you do see it on the stands buy it.