THE Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 is planning to “aggressively promote” Boljoon, Oslob, Santander and Samboan (BOSS) as prime destinations in the South.

DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo told Sun.Star Cebu that although Cebu Province has already started promoting the areas through the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, the department will re-introduce it as a clustered product.

“Before, these areas are promoted individually. Now we will be selling it as a cluster,” said Montecillo. She said this will be a new tour package that tour operators can offer to both foreign and domestic tourists.

Montecillo said the clustered product is a combination of eco- and cultural-heritage tourism, which Europeans and Chinese are sure to appreciate. She said these towns have beautiful parks, waterfalls, dive spots and museums.

Old church

Boljoon, one of the oldest towns of Cebu, is popular because of its old church. The Boljoon Church is believed to be the oldest remaining original stone church in Cebu that is well preserved. The fifth class municipality also has a good view of the Bohol Strait.

The other towns also offer natural attractions, said Montecillo. Oslob, which is known for the whale sharks or butandings, has already created attraction from local and foreign tourists.

“We already have the go signal for Oslob. We’ve got the approval of the Regional Development Council on the condition that the study on the environmental impact would continue and that tourists will be properly monitored while doing the whale shark feeding activity,” she said.

The town of Santander, which is located at the southernmost of Cebu is famous for its proximity to dive spots like Apo Island, Balicasag, Pescador Island, Sumilon and Siquijor.

The Samboan town, on the other hand, has rich culture heritage and natural attractions. Among its heritage buildings are the St. Michael Archangel Church, which is one of the oldest Spanish-built churches in Cebu. The church has a facade made of coral stones. Also in the town is the Samboan World War II Volunteers Monument, which was built in honor of volunteers fighting for country’s freedom.

Montecillo said they are already offering this clustered product to tourists and they are also pursing efforts of further improving the tourism services.

She said that as part of their continuing assistance, they have already started conducting enhanced frontline service training in the areas. DOT 7 will also pursue improving the itinerary of the clustered product.


“Our office is really bent on wooing tourists to visit the south because of the beautiful sceneries,” said Montecillo.

She said these areas can be alternate destinations for tourists who weren’t able to pursue trips in the northern Cebu because of the strong typhoon that hit some tourist destinations like Malapascua and Bantayan Islands last year.

Montecillo said the USAid recovery plan for northern Cebu is scheduled this month.

Last year, DOT 7 assisted in the tour package development of Argao. The new tour package involves Argao’s cultural, natural and historical attractions such as the river cruise at Taloot Mangrove Forest, trek to Talisay and Liki Springs, historical walking tour and tuba wine making. The agency also conducted workshops for members of the community to officially become tour guides and members of the newly-organized Argao Tour Guides Organization.

Cebu logged two million tourist arrivals, up by 9.35 percent from January to October last year.