Abatan community tours: Bohol convergence at work
Tagbilaran City (27 June) -- The Boholano convergence of efforts and resources again proved its worth when the already-delayed Abatan River Community Life Tours cruised finally last Wednesday.
No less than tourism bigwigs led by Tourism Secretary Ace Durano and Regional Director Rica Bueno uttered their amazement at convergence at work when sampling the waters and hospitality of the communities along the Abatan River.
The project, which was initially conceptualized by a Abatan River Development Association soon found allies with Catigbian Mayor Roberto Salinas and then Maribojoc Mayor Gavino Redulla, who at the time sought ways to develop the tourism potential of the river.
While two heads may be better than one, both leaders realized the magnanimity of the effort to takle the program on their own, they tapped then Congressman Edgar Chatto and Governor Erico Aumentado.
The governor, who openly sought for convergence of efforts to stretch whatever is available convinced initiators to involve the other towns who have the Abatan River as their resource, admitted Salinas, the Abatan River Development Management Council (ARDMC) Chairman, during the launching program held at the Cortes main village center.
The ARDMC formulated the Abatan River Master Plan, which highlights community life tours as its eco-tourism development strategy to sustainably manage the river, community organizer and PROCESS Bohol executive director Emilia Roslinda said.
We developed the multi-stakeholder approach in developing the river to encourage community participation in the conservation and preservation and management of the environment and cultural heritage of the area, she added.
First started five years ago, the idea was to use the river communities, the common denominator among the towns of Cortes, Maribojoc, Antequera, Balilihan and Catigbian as the product. After long series of workshops, consultations and planning sessions, the cluster finally came up with the product we now have, he added.
Congressman Chatto, who put in a sizable amount of funds from his congressional pork said he saw it as a viable initiative showing the river not just as convenient channel for trade, commerce and transport but as a means for people to be proud about their heritage.
Also helping in developing the community life tours were non-government organizations led by Process-Bohol, Peoples Organizations, government agencies, local governments and small entreprenuers in the communities, explained Roslinda during the launching.
The Abatan river Community life tours take you on a gliding boat travel to the length of Abatan river while experiencing spectacular sceneries, rich biodiversity of the river eco-system, unrivaled tranquility and the charming simplicity of the community life. (PIA-Bohol) [top]