Cabatuan have identified Tourism Sites during recent Tourism Mapping
Upland towns in Iloilo identify potential tourist sites

Cabatuan Airport (Iloilo International Airport)
Cabatuan, Iloilo, Philippines
By Elsa S. Subong, Thursday 22nd of March 2012

ILOILO CITY, March 22 (PIA) – The upland municipalities of Alimodian, Leon, Maasin and Cabatuan in Iloilo have identified tourism sites that are potentials for visits, during a recent tourism mapping activity.

These upland municipalities are within the Tigum-Aganan watershed area, groomed for its ecotourism potentials.

In a report from the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) which assists the municipalities, there were 16 potential sites initially identified.

In Alimodian, these sites are the Agony Hill, the Seven Cities, where Tinagong Danao, Umingan Plateau, Farm Terraces, and Lico Waterfalls are.

In Maasin, the sites are the Waterfalls within the Maasin Watershed Reserve forest classified as Protected Area, Putting Bato, Paet Salt Spring, Dam site in Daja, adjacent to the Mahogany Park, the Bamboo Processing Plant and the Gines Hill.

In Leon, there is Barangay Bucari which has a “Baguio City-like” climate and scenery with its pine trees lined atop a plateau, conducive for picnics, hiking and bird watching.

It is also in Bucari where high value crops like broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, carrots and some herbs and spices are planted abundantly.

The municipality of Cabatuan meanwhile is distinguished by its historical value, starting with the Cabatuan church, also known as the Iglesia de San Nicolas which is made of red bricks, the Pamul-ogan Hill, the home of Aetas in Cabatuan, the Cabatuan leaf Arc, a structure shaped into a banana leaf which also symbolizes the Cabatuanons’ pride, the Chicken Tinuom Dish, in banana leaves.

CUI Manager Benjamin Luz said they are helping these communities develop capabilities in tour guiding, nature trekking and other related skills as preparation should these sites open their doors to adventurers and tourists.

Luz said this is also in line with the on-going study that seeks to harness the ecotourism potentials of these towns for economic development and sustainable environmental management anchored on the objectives of the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Bioregion.

In the recent focus group discussion initiated by the convergence tourism group led by the Department of Tourism, the Department of Public Highways, Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board, the participants were able to reveal their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

The FGD was participated in by representatives from the transport group operators, the local government units, hotel and restaurant owners, travel tour operators, and community-based organizations.

Luz said the dialogue was part of the initiatives to create the right structures at the local level, like support facilities, services and accessibility for the development and growth of local tourism sites.

He added that through the combined efforts of government agencies, the private sector and other partners, standards can be created for uniform accreditation, fares, and for the creation of a municipal tourism office, with permanent officers and ultimately, for LGUs to legislate ordinances that would protect and conserve identified ecotourism sites. (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

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