BENGUET towns expressed interest in joining the Ridge and Reef Tourism Corridor program of Baguio City under the Department of Tourism.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, also the League of Municipalities – Benguet president, during a meeting on October 1 said if tourists who undergo stringent requirements going to Baguio City would want to go to Benguet, they must inform the province and ask barangay officials if the tourist destination is open.
The town recently opened level 1300 swimming pools for residents, including mountain trekking sites in Mt. Ulap in Barangay Ampucao, Mt. Pigingan in Barangay Dalupirip and Mt. Ugo in Tinongdan.
La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital town, has yet to confirm whether they will open tourist destinations as it is still pending consultations with the Municipal Inter-Agency Task Force for Covid-19 (MIATF).
The MIATF, during their October 2 meeting, recommended observing how Baguio will manage tourist arrivals and will evaluate its readiness to open from there.
Mayor Romeo Salda said tourist destinations such as Mt. Costa have already opened for La Trinidad residents only while the strawberry farm remains closed.
Valred Olsim, municipal tourism officer, said the slow opening of selected sites in the town is for La Trinidad residents only under strict compliance to safety protocols.
In Tuba, resorts were already opened to residents of Baguio–La Trinidad–Itogon–Sablan–Tuba–Tublay (BLISTT).
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on October 1 met with BLISTT mayors who expressed to join the tourism bubble.
Magalong, who also chairs the BLISTT Development Council, said there will be courses of action that will be made, including the possible development of the Baguio Tourism Council into a BLISTT Tourism Council, with the Department of Tourism as the secretariat.
He said there will be a workshop so they can identify readily available tourist spots.
“Magkakaroon ng series of engagement muna. For the meantime, dito sa Baguio, we will proceed with the opening of tourism,” Magalong said.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier expressed plans to expand the Ridge and Reef Tourism Corridor program to Benguet and other provinces in the Cordillera.