First Tourist Rest Area in Mindanao inaugurated in Bukidnon

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon – The Department of Tourism inaugurated the country’s second and Mindanao’s first Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Barangay Tankulan here on Friday, August 4.


THE country’s second and Mindanao’s first Tourist Rest Area in Barangay Tankulan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. (Franck Dick Rosete)


DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco led the inauguration of the P7-million facility that provides convenience and comfort and highlights the provision of clean restrooms for tourists in transit to different tourist destinations not just in Bukidnon but also in other parts of Mindanao.

With this development, the Tourism department fulfilled its mandate to develop other tourist spots and not just focus on famous destinations in the country.

"We did not limit ourselves to supporting those already famous tourism destinations. But the most important thing is to provide support, development, and promotion to our emerging tourism destinations. That is why we’re here," Frasco said in a speech at Manolo Fortich Gymnasium.

The municipal government owned the 1,110-square-meter land for the TRA which will be managed by the Municipal Tourism Office, said Joey Yecyec, municipal information officer.

The TRA was inaugurated 301 days after its groundbreaking on October 7 last year.

The TRA involves a tripartite arrangement between the DOT, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and the local government unit.

According to the DOT, TIEZA – the government’s tourism infrastructure arm – is in charge of the funding and construction of the facility. The DOT serves as the overall evaluator of the project while the LGUs are tasked with its daily operation and maintenance.


TOURISM Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco leads the inauguration and turnover of the country’s second and Mindanao’s first Tourist Rest Area in Barangay Tankulan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. (Franck Dick Rosete)

The Philippines' first TRA was inaugurated in Medellin, Cebu, on July 10.

Medellin and Manolo Fortich are part of the first batch of TRA composed of 10 areas, the others being the towns of Carcar, Carmen, and Moalboal in Cebu, the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte, Dauis in Bohol, Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, Roxas in Palawan, and Baguio City.

There are also 15 more TRAs in the country. But Frasco did not mention where they are.

Manolo Fortich Mayor Rogelio Quiño thanked the DOT for choosing the municipality as one of the pilot areas for the program.

"It would be a huge advancement if we had a (tourism) rest area in order for our tourists to have a nice place to rest, a nice comfort room, and (a place where) they could taste our delicious coffee products," Quiño said.

Bukidnon Gov. Rogelio Niel Roque consider the tourism infrastructure project a "great asset" to the development of Bukidnon’s tourism industry.

"I assume that our visitors coming from the north will find their way here and will have the information they need," Roque said in his speech, thanking Frasco and Quiño for allowing the TRA to be established in Manolo Fortich.

The TRA is one of the flagship programs of Frasco and is grounded in the agency’s vision to provide accessibility and comfort to tourists. The facility will also have information and pasalubong centers that will showcase a variety of local products.

In the later part of the event, the ceremonial awarding of livelihood training and assistance to Kalasanen Mountaineering Club (KMC), a Northern Mindanao community-based tourism organization, and the acknowledgement of 15 DOT-accredited tour guides, were held.

DOT-10 Director Marie Elaine Unchuan, TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid, and Bukidnon Rep. Jose Manuel Alba also graced the event.