Provinces partner to boost tourism

TOURISM SITE TOUR: Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur officials in a group photo at the Aliwagwag Eco Park in Cateel, Davao Oriental, with the majestic Aliwagwag Falls serving as a backdrop.

TOURISM SITE TOUR: Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur officials in a group photo at the Aliwagwag Eco Park in Cateel, Davao Oriental, with the majestic Aliwagwag Falls serving as a backdrop.

DAVAO ORIENTAL – Several months after settling boundary disputes, the neighboring provinces of Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur are now seeking to ‘break the borders’ as they bid to enhance bilateral cooperation that would boost both their tourism sector.

Sharing the same tourism highway called Davao Oriental-Surigao del Sur Highway Tourism Belt, officials of both provinces believe that by adopting common actions and by complementing each other’s efforts and resources, the aim for tourism growth and competitiveness for both areas can easily be pushed.

Surigao del Sur Vice Governor Manuel O. Alameda, Sr. said that linking both provinces can be a great advantage, particularly in widespread promotion, which the two provinces are progressively working on.

Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon expressed her support to the proposed linking strategy, saying that both provinces should become united in efforts of establishing this tourism corridor.  She pinpointed both territories’ unique attractions as well as the good connectivity as additional advantages to this joint endeavor.

With Surigao del Sur taking the first move on this linking strategy, its officials had crafted a resolution for the creation of the Davao Oriental –Surigao del Sur Tourism Highway. They listed several potential strategies and schemes that can be adopted by both provinces, thus, serving mutual interests.  These include submitting a request to the Department of Tourism to officially establish this tourism highway and to facilitate extensive promotional efforts through the conduct of exhibits and production of promotional materials. The proposal also entails requesting the Department of Public Works and Highways for the establishment of rest areas along the national highway between the two provinces, production of road signage detailing distances of tourist destinations, and street lighting along the highway.

“Through the integration of our tourist destination, we can entice more tourists to stay longer in both provinces and provide a wide variety of attractions for them to see,” said Surigao del Sur Board Member Conrad Cejoco.

Visit at the Cateel Rivierview Park and Memorial Shrine

Visit at the Cateel Rivierview Park and Memorial Shrine

While both government units are bounded by law to limit expenditure, Surigao del Sur officials urge their counterparts in Davao Oriental to also pass a similar resolution which would tap and secure funding support from national agencies, particularly the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for possible tourism infrastructures for both areas.

Cejoco added that efforts on linking is not a new concept as both provinces are already interconnected by trade and industry, as well as culture, dialect and even familial relations. “This is now the time to reaffirm and renew these ties between our provinces,” he said.

Backing this proposal, Gov. Malanyaon, also noted ‘the need to start right with our development’. She emphasized setting the standards to attract the private sector to invest, thus, increasing economic enterprise of the provinces.   “While we want to continue to attract more visitors, we need our provinces to create a kind of development that our people can truly patronize and at the same time continue to provide a good experience for the growing numbers of tourists.”

Anchored to this belief, the provincial government of Davao Oriental initiates development of eco-tourism sites and parks, setting the foundation for world-class development standards of tourism-related projects. These include Subangan Provincial Museum in Mati City, Pintatagan Welcome Park and Dalan sa Cruz Shrine in Banay-banay, Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park and Riverview Park in Cateel, Sunrise Boulevard in Baganga, Pacific View Park in Boston, Mt. Hamiguitan Eco-Park in San Isidro, Pusan Point in Caraga, and Cape San Agustin Eco Park in Governor Generoso.

In March 2015, the neighboring provinces of Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur had signed a ‘Compromise Agreement’ signifying the closure of the long standing boundary dispute involving some barangays on the borders of the two provinces. The inking of this agreement was led by Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon and Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel held in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. By Karen Lou Deloso/ Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

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