THE town of Balamban is now a hotbed of nature-inspired tourism products.
Recently, business owner and tourism advocate Edwin Ortiz developed another destination in Barangay Gaas named Evo Nature Camp meant to lure adventure seekers to explore and enjoy Balamban’s raw and authentic natural beauty.
“Eco-tourism is today’s new agriculture. Brgy. Gaas alone is rich in resources which has good tourism potential,” said Ortiz.
He was convinced of the enormous potential tourism could bring to a locality especially in terms of job generation and revenues.
Evo Nature Camp is the latest tourism venture of Ortiz. His first was the Adventure Café still in Brgy. Gaas that offers activities like zip lining, wall climbing, rappelling, sightseeing, caving, trekking and throwing plates on “stress walls.”
He owns several properties in the province but he chose to develop his Balamban properties first because of the strong support of the Balamban local government, especially for tourism-related investments.
Up the high lands of Cebu are attractions like Sirao Flower Garden, Buwakan ni Alejandra, Florentino’s Little Tagaytay of Cebu and West 35 Eco Mountain Resort, among many others.
“The proliferation of these businesses mirrors the big potential of that area in Cebu. A lot of people now understand the significance of tourism in a community,” said Ortiz.
On Jan. 11, 2020, he opened the 4.5-hectare Evo Nature Camp that is 32 kilometers away from Cebu City.
“We came up with this kind of recreational venue to promote Brgy. Gaas, and one day put the area in the map as a top destination for nature enthusiasts and at the same time, we are helping the locals get employed,” he said.
Ortiz said Evo Nature Camp is a great venue for outdoor sports activities.
“In fact, the place is designed for trekking, rappelling, camping and glamping or glamorous camping—another prospect addition to its offerings wherein big tents will be put up together with nice beds, food and some snacks to go with it,” he added.
Seeing a big potential for Evo, Ortiz plans to add another adventure activity, which he believes would attract group and solo tourists.
Inspired by his “El Camino” journey abroad, Ortiz said he will soon include nature trails as part of the adventure offerings at the camp.
He sought the expertise of Habagat Outdoor Equipment co-founder and architect Randy Su to develop the activity and market this new tourism product.
“The idea here is to connect all the trails in Brgy. Gaas so people can enjoy a whole day of trekking experience,” said Su.
The planned nature trail can also be used by pilgrims for their warm-up hikes before they head abroad to join days of walking tours, according to Ortiz.
“I like walking. So when I joined El Camino, I visited the cave and the ground zero (in Bgy. Gaas) again and I thought they were excellent spots (for trekking). The trail is perfect for preliminary hikes to the El Camino walk,” said Ortiz, who is one of the highly successful entrepreneurs and C-level executives who go annually for an out-of-the-country pilgrimage walk.
Since it opened, the nature camp has been flooded with inquiries for overnight camping. (KOC)