Midwest Cebu is potentially the most diverse ecotourism destination in the province.
Capitol officials noted this, saying it has not only had the already famed Aloguinsan Bojo River Cruise. But the midwest is also a home to protected landscape and seascape, the nestling places of biodiversity.
Vice Governor Agnes Magpale said the local officials should start right before any tourism activity to develop in the area.
Local tourism officers in the west coast were gathered for a four-day training and workshop on community based ecotourism on September 7-10.
Midwest Cebu is composed of Aloguinsan, Pinamungahan, Toledo City, Balamban, Asturias, Tuburan, and Tabuelan. All 8 towns included in the project are coastal twons and part of the Tanon Strait. Part of Balamban also belongs to the Central Cebu Protected Landscape
Magpale said ecotourism is an inclusive undertaking of the community and the local government unit.
Ecotourism is defined as a responsible travel to natural areas, conserves the environment and promotes the well-being of the local communities.
Cebu Province is not without a model to start the project.
“As far as I am concerned, the only successful community-based ecotourism is the Bojo River Cruise. The success of Bojo River is attributable to very good planning, which we would want to replicate in other towns,” she said.
Gov. Hilario P. Davide III also stated that the province needs to work harder. While many claimed Cebu as premier tourist magnet, tourist arrivals in Cebu only grew by 40 percent in the year 2008 to 2012.
Joselito Costas, Capitol consultant for ecotourism, said the focus now is the midwest because there are less tourism activities in the area.
Costas noted from his rounds in each of the local government unit in the midwest that he has seen a wealth of potential ecotourism sites that are untapped for years.
He cited the crash site of President Ramon Magsaysay in Mount Manunggal in Balamban and the scenic Batawang River of Tabuelan that is perfect for kayaking.
In Aloguinsan, dolphins can be seen. Pinamungahan has several waterfalls and a sandbar while Toledo City has a huge manmade lake, surrounded by mountains.
Tuburan has Molo-Bolo Spring and the picturesque Marmol cliff. Asturias meanwhile has a wetland ecosystem named Lake Buswang.
Costas said that in the next days, the participants of the training and workshop will explore these areas and analyze strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunity.