Impressed with how the seven towns in Cebu's midwest leveled-up their performances, Gov. Gwen Garcia decided to give an additional P1 million in financial assistance to each of the participating local government units (LGUs).
In her speech during the last day of Suroy Suroy Sugbo - Explore the Midwest, Gov. Garcia announced that Capitol will shell out another P1 million as she is aware of the expenses these LGUs have incurred.
"Mayor Donkoy mitug-an ka nako nga mas dako pa imong nagasto kaysa akong gihatag nga subsidy,” the governor said.
She congratulated all the mayors for rising up to the challenge and thanking them for all the sleepless nights that they gone through.
“Alang sa tanan ninyong kahago, paningkamot and most of all for all the sleepless nights, motabang sa inyong mga gasto ang Province of Cebu og tig P1 million each,” she announced.
The province earlier released P400,000 subsidy to the seven participating LGUs namely Tabuelan, Tuburan, Asturias, Aloguinsan, Balamban, Pinamungahan and Toledo City.
Since day one, the governor said she was impressed of how the LGUs have tried to surpass each other.
“Gani dihang nagsugod, og ako nakurat, didto sa Tabuelan as I reminded them, kamo’y mauna. Remember you set the tone. First impressions will last and the mayor of Tabuelan, (and) vice mayor really stood up to the challenge. Tabuelan came through. Nindot gyud kayo ang presentation sa Tabuelan,” the governor said.
The governor admitted she was initially nervous since the midwest package was last held more than a decade ago in 2011. But her fears dissipated.
“You see when we challenge the Sugbuanon, the Sugbuanon will rise up and show what stuff we are made of,” Gov. Gwen said.
For the last stop of the 3-day countryside tourism extravaganza, Toledo City brought the guests in three different locations and experience.
First, the guests were brought to the Carmen Copper Heritage Center for an educational mining tour on the first and only extractive mining in the province of Cebu. Next, they were brought to the Toledo City Recreation Center for a fusion of the new and old entertainment like hip-hop dance, traditional Filipino dances, balak and chorale singing and a ukulele ensemble.
The event capped off with the guests witnessing the Hinulawan Festival competition where each contestant tried to outdo each other with their movements and precise dance steps.
“When we are asked to level up, we level up beyond expectations. Right now in the whole of Province of Cebu this culture of excellence, pervades, infects and is always the order of the day,” she said.
Provincial Tourism Officer Maria Lester Ybañez said the returns of the Suroy Suroy activity is not based on how much Capitol has earned from the participants' package tour payments.
There are also intangible returns, which is what the program aims for -- to promote the undiscovered destinations, tourist spots, and hidden gems in the Province of Cebu that can generate more economic activity even in the highest mountain barangay of the farthest LGU.
"Mao man gyud na atong goal sa una pa, we create an awareness that these places exist here in our beautiful island province. In other words, the return on investment of this program is the more lasting, it may not be immediate but it will last for generations," Ybañez said.
"We discover these places, we encourage the LGUs or the townsfolk to discover what they have and we help promote them, create an awareness, there will be more economic activity, and then we help tourism stakeholders sustain it," Ybañez added.
As to the immediate return, the towns started earning from the products they sell during the Suroy Suroy activity such as food, fresh produce, and furniture, among others.
Others who placed orders like furniture and bags will get their orders delivered during the R’ Cebu event in the city.
One participant who has been present since the return of the Suroy Suroy in 2019, former flight attendant Leah Cho in a testimonial during the final stop in Toledo City, said being part of the suroy suroy “is not the end of it all.”
“The joining and being part of this is not the end of it all coz when you go home to your family and friends, please share this wonderful experience. Maskin asa pa mo moabot, pangitaon gyud ninyo ang atong kaugalingon,” she said.| ##