MORE tourists may soon flock to Olango Island with the launch of an eco-tourism park where one can watch tropical fish in aquariums and stay overnight in a tent, among other activities.
More than 20 families stand to benefit directly from Lapu-Lapu City’s latest community-based eco-tourism program in Sitio Asinan, Barangay Sabang, said Jimmy Glomar, officer-in-charge of the Lapu-Lapu City Cooperative and Livelihood Resource Center.
“The young residents and the women were trained to cook and prepare food for the guests, while the men were trained to tour guests on boats,” he told reporters during the launch last Friday afternoon.
He said 24 families were organized into a livelihood group called “Nagkahiusang Taga Asinan, Sabang Alang sa Kalamboan ug Kinaiyahan.”
Mayor Paz Radaza said the program will help the community protect the environment as well as earn income.
“This tourism product not only highlights our beautiful spots here in Asinan but also provides income-generating activities for the residents here,” she said.
The eco-park is the second community-based eco-tourism project launched by the City in Olango Island, a 15-minute boat ride from Mactan Island.
Last year, the City launched the “Olango My Getaway” tourism project where residents showcase Olango Island’s scenic spots and food through a culinary tour on bike.
“Tourism is the backbone of our local economy. It is one of the prime movers of our city towards development,” Radaza said.
One of the unique features of the eco-park, Glomar said, is that guests are encouraged to plant mangroves.
“We educated the community about the importance of protecting the environment. We are also closely coordinating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to make sure that no environmental law is violated as we go on with the eco-tourism project,” he said.
Glomar said the entrance fee is pegged tentatively at P15. Guests can avail themselves of a tour in the mangrove area on board a boat for P30 for 30 minutes. Those who want to stay overnight can also rent a camping tent for P100 for eight hours.
“We are charging low rates because we want locals and foreigners to visit the community and help the residents and the environment,” Glomar said.
Visitors can also buy local products from souvenir shops set up by the residents. The City spent P130,000 to set up the souvenir shops that sell umbrellas, tables and chairs, Glomar said.
Another attraction in the eco-park is the bamboo bridge that can be used not only by tourists but also by residents who had to wade through the seawater during high tide to get to the main road.
Glomar said guests will not have to worry about security as tanods and police officers can be seen always in the area.