By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Tourism has approved measures seeking to declare certain parts of the country as ecotourism sites and tourist destinations.
The panel, chaired by Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez passed House Bills 5072, 5229, 5230, 5231, 5332, 5333 and 5720.
House Bill 5072 seeks to declare the Bucari Area in the province of Iloilo as ecotourism zone to be known as Bucari Ecotourism Zone.
“Bucari has a temperature comparable to that of Baguio City and vast areas of forests consisting mainly of pine trees. It is an area with breathtaking scenery, with 21 waterfalls, beautiful flora and fauna, and numerous mini rice terraces,” Iloilo Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta, author of HB 5072, said.
House Bill 5229, meanwhile, declares Passig Islet, which is located in Barangay Bato in the municipality of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, as an aqua-ecotourism site.
Davao Del Sur Rep. Mercedes Cagas, who authored HB 5229, said Passig Islet is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the province because of its serene environment, clear water, and white sand.
“An aqua-eco park resort, the islet boasts of an astonishing ambiance of tropical leisure, could easily become a good choice for travelers and locals who want to engage in aqua-ecotourism activities such as nature viewing, bird watching, swimming, picnic, photography, and camping,” she said.
Cagas also authored House Bills 5231 and 5230 which seek to declare Balutakay in the municipality of Bansalan in Davao del Sur and Kapatagan in Digos, Davao del Sur as eco-tourism sites, respectively.
She cited that Barangay Balutakay is one of the areas in the country with high coffee production potentials.
Salinta Monon, the “last Bagobo weaver” and a National Manlilikha awardee, lives in Balutakay.
“The declaration will promote the preservation of the knowledge and technique of weaving the traditional Bagobo-Tagabawa textiles which has been on the verge of extinction for years,” Cagas said.
Meanwhile, Kapatagan, which is positioned at the foot of the prominent Mount Apo, is “a breathtaking volcano that has been the subject of many local and international publications, she said.
House Bills 5332 and 5333, meanwhile, declare Madlom Cave and Sangaran Cave in Quezon, Palawan as tourist destinations, respectively. The measures were authored by Palawan Rep. Frederick Abueg.
House Bill 5720, authored by Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao declares Iligan City as a tourism development area.
“Iligan City can offer a variety of tourist destinations for travelers looking for the “off the beaten track” or unusual tourist attractions that are scarcely offered currently in the market,” Siao said.
Dubbed as the “City of Majestic Waterfalls”, Iligan City houses magnificent waterfalls like Maria Cristina, Limunsudan, and Tinago Falls
Siao said his city also has a dozen natural springs in Timoga-Buruun, forested mountain of Mt. Agad-Agad, pristine forest of Rogongon and Digkilaan and coastal areas ready to be tapped for development.
“Iligan City is an ideal gateway to usher in visitors to the many splendid attractions that Northern Mindanao has to offer, including an educated population and low crime rate, ” she said.