Celso sets dev’t of tourist spots PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 14:14

Mayor Celso Lobregat recently convened tourism stakeholders to seek ways on how to diversify tourism benefits to the barangays by developing potential tourist attractions such as waterfalls and caves.

Mayor Lobregat initiated the conference following observations on the presence of natural scenic spots, resources, customs and unique cultural traditions in various barangays that can very well help in the promotion of rural or community-based tourism.

These so-called tourist potentials include the Merloquet waterfalls in Sibulao, Udjung waterfalls in Dulian-Bungiao and the caves in Salaan and Manicahan—all in the east coast and the Busay waterfalls in San Roque and the Nancy waterfalls in La Paz—all in the west coast.

The mayor and Councilors Percival Ramos, VP Elago and Eddie Saavedra, some city government personnel and barangay officials recently trekked into the rugged and steep terrain of Dulian in Upper Bunguiao to inaugurate projects and discovered some secret waterfalls that plunge down a narrow drop-off into a natural pool where one can go for a refreshing swim.
Mayor Lobregat said the Dulian waterfalls is only one of the numerous hidden potentials in the rural areas which can provide strong foundation to promote ecotourism or adventure tourism.  He stressed, if developed and promoted properly, these natural resource can bring tourism benefits to the barangays and help create employment.

The meeting, held at the City Hall conference room on December 15, resulted to the creation of a committee aimed to assess and evaluate ecotourism potentials of identified barangays and formulate its development program.

In his executive order creating the committee, the mayor said a community-based tourism is more concerned with the impact on environmental resources, social and cultural sustainability by using tourism as a tool to increase awareness and strengthen the ability of the rural community organizations managing resources with the participation of local people.

The committee, chaired by Mayor Lobregat is composed of City Tourism Officer Sarita Hernandez as executive officer and the following as members—Councilors Myra Paz Abubakar, Vincent Paul Elago, Lilia Nuno  and Rogelio Valesco Jr. representing the Sangguniang Panlungsod; Asst. City Environment Officer Eduardo Bisquera Jr., Asst. Planning Officer Rodrigo Sicat, Rizamay Basing of the General Services Office, Rodel Falcasantos and Christopher Laque of the City Engineer’s Office representing the city government; Bernard Gregorio of the Department of tourism; Evangeline Estoconing of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office; Michael de la Cruz of DENR and Jocelyn Alvarez of the Philippine Information agency representing the national government agencies; Edna Esperat of Mindanao cable TV, Ruben james Rosalado of ABS-CBN, Kates Allas of on-line media, Marilou Silorio of the Zamboanga Adventure Tourism group (ZATERS) and Manuel Paster of the SPELEO group of Zamboanga representing the media and special interest groups and barangay chairmen Pablo Ramos of Sibulao, Salvador del Mundo of La Paz, Bernardo Clemente of San Roque, Perfecto de la Cruzof Dulian-Bungiao, Criscencio Natividad of Manicahan and Regalado Faustino of Salaan representing the barangay sector.

The duties and responsibilities of the committee include the participation in an orientation by the DOT based on the module  for community-based tourism/ ecotourism; assessment and evaluation of ecotourism potentials of identified barangays using an acceptable criteria matrix as a tool prepared and adopted by the committee in selecting priority sites for development and formulation and recommendation for approval by the mayor the site-specific ecotourism development program for the priority sites.

As the need arises, the committee may create and constitute a technical working group to conduct further ecological studies and or environmental assessment on the impact of tourism aspects/introduced developments to the community and environmental resources. — Sheila Covarrubias