DOT to market Bukidnon as summer capital of NorthMin

But there is a need to augment accommodation capacity and heighten collaborative effort to achieve it, Decius Esmedalla, DOT Northern Mindanao tourism operations officer, told MindaNews.

DOT Northern Mindanao joined the Davao Travel Show 2007 here over the weekend and brought cultural performers from Valencia City for a short presentation on the Kaamulan fest.

He said they have already assessed tourist spots in Bukidnon that will be included in planning out strategies for the possible branding.

He said the move would likely make Bukidnon's annual Kaamulan Festival, considered by the provincial government as its major tourism effort, just an additive.

He said tourists now have more reasons to visit Bukidnon the whole year round. But he said the province's two strong points, its weather and the cultural highlights of Kaamulan, should be cohesive.

DOT presented three promotional brochures on Bukidnon in its display during the travel.

A brochure on the province located it as the "heart of Mindanao” and listed the Monastery of Transfiguration in Malaybalay, the Del Monte plantation in Camp Philips, Manolo Fortich, the Mt. Kitanglad Range National Park, and the Pinamaloy Lake in Don Carlos town as points of interest.

DOT packaged Malaybalay City, home of the Kaamulan festival, as a destination of "cool weather and warm people"  while Valencia City is  promoted as the "City of Golden Friendship."

He cited the Kaamulan festival as one of the most colorful festivals in the region along with those in Ozamiz City and Lanao Norte.

He said the fest's cultural highlights – such as unity in diversity among Bukidnon’s seven indigenous tribes — are what set it different from other festivals.

The indigenous sports competition during the Kaamulan is also a favorite of tourists.

The festival's main highlight, the annual street dancing competition, will be on March 3.  

Esmedalla said they are looking at making Malaybalay City, dubbed by the local government as "A City within the Forest" as a jump off base for other attractions like the springs of Maramag, in the southern part of the province.

But Esmedalla said there are still many things to be improved, although he stressed it doesn't mean the quality right now is bad.

He said there is a need for more cooperation between the government and the private sector effort to boost local consciousness and capacity for the province as a tourist destination.

He cited the lack of hotel rooms as one factor affecting arrivals, especially during the Kaamulan.  

He said the community could help by providing home stay accommodation to augment hotel capacity.

He said residents can prepare at least an extra room or two for tourists and be equipped to provide "bed and breakfast" service.