P5-M budget proposed to make "city in the forest" a tourist destination

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/23 December) — The City Tourism Board has proposed a P5-million initial fund to develop this “city in the forest” as a tourism destination, Erlow Talatala, member of the board and public relations officer of the Northern Mindanao Tourism Council (NMTC) said.

Talatala told MindaNews Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri has endorsed the proposal to the City Council for appropriation.

Of the amount, P1-million is being eyed for the working committee’s preparations to draft the city’s tourism development plan.

He said among the priorities is the management and development of an eco-lodge in Dalwangan.

Malaybalay prides itself as a “city in the forest” or “summer capital” of Mindanao.

There is also a plan to start a “Lechon Baka (Roast Beef) Festival” next year, he said.

Reuel Gallo, another member of the NMTC, said the plan is apt as Bukidnon, known for its cattle, is being marketed as the “Cowboy Capital of the Philippines.”

Talatala said the board will initiate an inventory of tourist spots, establishments, food, culture, sports, handicraft, festivals and events.

The breakdown of the proposed working budget is as follows: product development, P100,000; marketing and promotion, P250,000; Finance Committee, P50,000; infrastructure, P500,000; and planning Committee, P100,000.

The P4 million will be used for expenses in carrying out the 2011 component of the tourism development fund.

The board, Talatala said, is presently at the planning stage of promoting domestic tourism, development of tourism facilities and infrastructure, and at the same time conducting awareness campaigns and adoption of local legislative measures in counter-acting negative impacts of tourism in the province.

Aside from the annual Kaamulan festival, the city has no other main event or tourist attraction. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)