WITNESSING DAVAO ORIENTAL’S PROGRESS AND TRANSFORMATION

Members of the Association of Regional Executives of the National Agencies in Region XI (ARENA) in a group photo together with Governor Corazon Malanyaon at the Pintatagan Welcome Park in Banaybanay town.

Members of the Association of Regional Executives of the National Agencies in Region XI (ARENA) in a group photo together with Governor Corazon Malanyaon at the Pintatagan Welcome Park in Banaybanay town.

City of Mati, Davao Oriental— The association of Regional Executives of National Agencies (ARENA) in Southern Mindanao recently held its immersion activity cum consultation in Davao Oriental. And the top government officials witnessed first-hand the province’s highly remarkable progress and transformation. “Transformative magic of travel is here,” quipped one official as she was mesmerized of the province’s famous Dahican Beach. “This beach beats the world-class beaches of Hawaii. You’ve got the best tourism destinations in the country. So pristine, so promising,” another government official says. The immersion activity cum consultation in Davao Oriental was aimed at deepening the awareness and appreciation of the Davao Region’s top executives of national government agencies on national and local development initiatives and project implementation concerns on the ground, and the strengthening of collaboration and partnership among agencies with the local government units in the province for the efficient delivery of government projects. During the immersion activity which was held on February 4 to 5, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon briefed the visiting top government executives on the province’s development programs, particularly on ecotourism and the rehabilitation projects for typhoon-stricken areas in the province. “ARENA XI conducted Serbisyo caravan in Davao Oriental to assist affected communities in terms of recovery and rehabilitation efforts. Three years hence, the ARENA XI members decided to undertake this immersion activity to witness firsthand the progress and transformation at the community level,” says Maria Lourdes Lim, regional director of the National Economic Development Authority.

A few weeks before its grand opening, the museum at the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park in San Isidro town  was opened exclusively to the regional executives giving them a sneak peak of Davao Oriental's new grand addition to its roster of tourism sites. This highly anticipated site is expected to soon be opened to the public.

A few weeks before its grand opening, the museum at the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park in San Isidro town was opened exclusively to the regional executives giving them a sneak peak of Davao Oriental’s new grand addition to its roster of tourism sites. This highly anticipated site is expected to soon be opened to the public.

The visiting officials were received by Gov. Malanyaon at the Banaybanay Welcome Park and they proceeded to the province’s crown jewel, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, the only World Heritage Site in the island of Mindanao decla3red by the UNESCO. The group then traveled to the provincial capital, City of Mati, to visit the other top tourism landmarks of the province, like the world-class Subangan Museum and the Dahican Beach. The following day, officials visited the road improvement projects and tourism facilities in the Baganga Sunrise Boulevard, the oldest Catholic church in Mindanao, the San Salvador Church and Pusan Point, where the country’s first sunrise is. They also visited the Aragon Dam, the largest irrigation project in Mindanao and the Cateel Riverview Park, including the country’s most beautiful waterfalls, the Aliwagwag Falls. “Expand your perspective by seeing and experiencing Davao Oriental, an eye-opening destination that will help you find what is really most important in life. A wonderful experience awaits you in this province, a place that beguile and inspire, sedate and stir, where the distance between heaven and earth collapse and you will be able to catch glimpses of the divine or the Infinite Whatever as you are united with nature,” says one government executive based in Davao City.

Government executives at the Menzi Beach in Dahican, City of Mati.

Government executives at the Menzi Beach in Dahican, City of Mati.

“The resplendent landscape and seascape of Davao Oriental, a wind-swept province south of Mindanao, will give you an exciting and powerful experience that can change forever your outlook on nature. You will fall in love with its lovely sea and the treasure troves of riches beneath its surface. Its myriad forest, lush mountain peaks, verdant ravines, waterfalls and cool coastal areas down to the coral reefs, sea grass beds, the mangrove forests, plus the lakes and rivers that breeds an impressive array of plant and animal species are the most enjoyable reasons for coming,” says another official. “You surely will be mesmerizingly drawn by the unspoken words of its stupendous beauty and then lost to nature’s wondrous gifts. A magnificent place, Davao Oriental gives you an experience like no other: The transformative magic of travel,” quipped another visiting executive. Qualitatively different from other destinations, Davao Oriental is host to extra-long wild and untamed beaches of white fine sand that enjoy the best view of the mesmerizing infinite waters of the Pacific Ocean. And having the most impressive scenery that directly faces both the Pacific Ocean and the Celebes Sea, the long coastlines of Davao Oriental are sanctuaries of sea cows, whales, dolphins and marine turtles that nest along sandy beaches. Indeed, a most affordable slice of paradise in the Pacific, this province is tucked away from the highly urbanized Davao City, the economic center of Mindanao.   The crystal-clear waters of Davao Oriental’s awesome and serene beaches both in the islands and mainland provides blissful moments for wanderers both the laid-back and the kind that parties on sun-burnt islands. Wildlife viewers and serious nature observers spends unhurried periods of time in areas of unspoiled wilderness to have spectacular encounters with wild animals without too much sweat and inconveniences. In Davao Oriental, you will experience the best animal encounter that provides meaningful environmental lessons. Whale-watching can be a lot of fun. It can be done from land or sea depending on how close the whales or dolphins are to shore. It is always more rewarding when you can come up close. In Davao Oriental, you will be introduced to the astounding diversity of whales and dolphins as the locals regarded them as an important presence with great ecological significance and eco-tourism potential. Plus, you will also be regaled by Dugong or sea cows that abound in the place. Only a very small proportion of the world’s Dugong stocks are found in Philippine waters today. Mount Hamiguitan of Davao Oriental has become the first and only place in the island of Mindanao declared as a World Heritage Site, adding worldwide prestige to a province known as the “sunrise capital” of the Philippines.Habitats of wild animals and plants have already been mapped out so that tourists who wanted to experience the mountain not just for its beautiful pygmy forest and other landscapes can be brought to see plants and animals up close as well. As an example, a Philippine eagle nest located recently could be a perfect spot for local and international bird enthusiasts to visit and see the “jewel of all birds” in its natural state.Mount Hamiguitan represents a complete, substantially intact and highly diverse mountain ecosystem, in a significant biogeographic region of the Philippines. By Ferdinand Zuasola/ Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

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