Camiguin is where you should be this summer, says DOT
by Jorie C. Valcorza
Cagayan de Oro City (19 April) -- “THE Philippines is not only Boracay, it’s not only Baguio, it’s not only Cebu, but there’s a small place where people are so warm, friendly and hospitable; where the air is so fresh it even cleanses your spirit; it’s the best place to unwind! Go to Camiguin! Just go with the flow, that’s the best way to enjoy the island.”
This was the statement of Regional Director Catalino A. Chan III of the Department of Tourism, Region 10, as he invited everyone to spend summer in Camiguin, the region’s top eco-tourist destination, during the recent “PIA Mobile Talakayan” in Mambajao, the capital town.
Chan proudly announced that the island-province of Camiguin was recently declared by the World Beaches Association as the number one among the top 12 beaches in the world and the only one in Asia.
Aside from this distinction, Chan said, the Island was recently proclaimed as the 6th best dive site in Asia and is recognized as one of the top 10 domestic destinations.
“This is because other than its beautiful beaches and tourist spots, local officials are working to protect the environment and maintain its peacefulness. In fact tourists can walk around the island in the evening without hesitation,” Director Chan said, adding that Camiguin’s peace and order condition has remained relatively stable and conducive to tourism over the years.
Chan also said that while Camiguin is part of Northern Mindanao, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo included it in her Super Regions blueprint for tourism development, making the province part of the Cebu-Bohol-Camiguin triad tourist destination in Central Philippines.
This triad destination, he said, is very accessible via roll-on, roll-off ferries plying the Central Nautical Highway, which is part of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway project implemented by the government to link up all major destinations from Luzon to Mindanao.
“More roll-on, roll-off ferries are operating on the Benoni (Camiguin)-Balingoan (Misamis Oriental) route at 18 trips a day. Tourists find it more convenient to bring their vehicles. We are also working to catch more tourists coming from Cebu and Bohol,” Chan further said during the “PIA Mobile Talakayan.”
Governor Pedro P. Romualdo, in a separate interview, revealed that President Arroyo released P87 million for the improvement of the Balbagon port in Mambajao as part of the effort to bring in more tourists from Cebu and Bohol.
He said improvement works on the port will start anytime this month.
“More funds are coming for the development of the Benoni (Mahinog) and Guinsiliban ports. President Arroyo had been true to her word and released the amount she promised for the (Balbagon port) project during her last visit to the Island,” Governor Romualdo added.
In the same forum, Chan also announced that Camiguin now boasts of “Class A” resorts and facilities, offering amenities that range from horseback riding, scuba diving, mountaineering, and to the so-called “path to waterfalls.”
Director Chan also noted the strong legislative support in the tourism industry, citing Camiguin’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s recent effort to link up with the legal division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to review and implement proper policies in the coastline areas.
Jesus D. Pacuribot, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on tourism development, said they are now reviewing existing ordinances pertaining to the island’s dive sites in a bid to further protect the coastline eco-system and boost the island’s tourism industry.
Meanwhile, tourist influx has been consistently increasing every year. Provincial Tourism Office records reveal that tourist arrival in 2006 was posted at 244,135, exceeding the preceding year by 3,574. (PIA-MisOrOccCam i-Net) [top]