THE Municipal Government of Isabela is gearing up for at least 50,000 tourists, mostly local pilgrims, who are expected to come to the southern Negros Occidental town this coming Holy Week.
Isabela hosts the Holy Mountain, which has a 45-foot cross preceded by the 14 Stations of the Cross.
Formerly called the Glory Hill, the giant cross is situated in Sitio Mantuhod in Barangay Mansablay.
The upland destination is being visited by 20,000 to 30,000 pilgrims every Holy Week.
Malabor said with some developments and promotional efforts, the number of tourists visiting the place is expected to increase to 50,000 this year.
“We are preparing for the influx of tourists starting Holy Monday until Black Saturday,” he said. Most of the pilgrims are church groups from nearby towns and cities.
The Holy Mountain is being pushed for development to further boost the tourism industry of Isabela.
The P350 million worth of site improvement and infrastructure development for the Holy Mountain forms part of the total P2.5 billion proposed five-year tourism development plan of the Municipal Government.
The development plan is still up for approval by the Department of Tourism.
Malabor said the local government, using its fund, has implemented initial improvements like additional steps and trails. It also conducted a cleanup drive in the area.
Malabor said that from the previous two-hectare parking space, the town is preparing a seven-hectare vacant lot as parking area this year to cater to the bigger volume of tourists.
“We will also be ensuring the safety and security of the pilgrims,” he said, adding that the occasion has also been providing livelihood opportunities for the locals especially entrepreneurs.