Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Joselito “Boboi” Costas yesterday said the recent launch of the “Big 5” ecotourism destinations in south Cebu was “just the start” of sustainable tourism efforts in the province.
“The Big 5 was just the start. After the launch last October 20, the Province will focus on the north and prepare/train the next batch of towns which have communities that show commitment to learn more about eco-tourism and develop potential in their area,” he said.
“There will also be eco-sites to be developed in the north. In fact, the (tourism office) team has conducted trainings in other sites. Ocular inspections and surveys are being done,” he said.
So far, 25 towns have actively participated in the province’s Community-based Ecotourism Project for the midwest, south and north phase.
The Big 5, the first batch launched last month, comprises Alcoy, Alegria, Aloguinsan, Argao, and Boljoon in the south.
For Alcoy, home of Cebu’s remaining forest and the native songbird Siloy, bird watching and a nature trek await visitors.
In Alegria, farm to table tourism is highlighted, offering a lunch of freshly picked organic vegetables at the farm.
In Aloguinsan, the international award-winning Bojo River Cruise, is a popular paddleboat tour through mangroves, complemented with a glass bottom boat along the coast and a trip to Hermit’s Cove beach.
You have to sample tablea (cacao served as a hot drink), torta cakes and tuba (coconut wine) in Argao’s Culinary Tour, which is capped with a visit to a hablon weaving center.
Boljoon’s itinerary includes a tour of its fortress church complex, which is one of Cebu’s oldest and listed by the Philippine government as a National Cultural Treasure. A visit to the church museum and bell tower shows a glimpse of its pre-Spanish heritage.
“These towns were included in the Big 5 because they have capable community-based associations ready to undertake ecotourism ventures.
These are also towns, aside from 20 other towns, which are recipients of the Cebu Community-based Ecotourism Project funded by the Cebu Provincial Government,” Costas said.