SouthCot pushes for dev’t of new tourist sites

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 July) — South Cotabato officials are pushing for the development of various new and emerging tourist attractions as it moves for the establishment of the area as Region 12’s banner tourist destination.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the local government is currently working on the entry of new investments in tourism facilities and other support infrastructure to enhance the development as tourist destinations of several natural attractions and related resources in the province.

She said these tourist attractions are mainly located in the municipalities of Lake Sebu, Tupi, T’boli and Banga.

“These are alternative attractions that have potentials becoming big to emerge as top tourist destinations when properly developed,” the governor said.

In Lake Sebu town, the provincial tourism office has been pushing for the inclusion of the Kofnit Cave in Sitio Lambila of Barangay Lamfugon and the bird watching area of Sitio Kanco in Barangay Lamlahak into the province’s tourism circuit.

The two areas are among the sites within the Allah Valley Protected Watershed that are being developed by as eco-tourism attractions by the Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance (AVLDA).

AVLDA, which is an environmental body established by the local governments of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, spearheads the protection, conservation and management of the critical Allah River and its immediate environs.

The alliance had received separate grants from the national government and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to facilitate the development of the two eco-tourism sites.

“Lake Sebu is our focal area because of its uniqueness and it has already been established as a tourism center not only in South Cotabato but even abroad. It has name recall and brand when it comes to tourism promotion,” Fuentes said.

In T’boli town, the governor said they are developing crater-lake Holon (formerly Maughan) as an adventure site.

She said they are also establishing a “mining route” for tourism in T’boli featuring the mining villages of Kematu and Desawo.

“We already started with jewelry making and we’re planning to expand this route further,” Fuentes said in a press conference.

For Tupi town, she said the provincial government is enhancing the tourism potentials of the tarsier sanctuary in Barangay Linan by developing the area’s road networks.

The governor said she has initially discussed with officials of Banga town for the establishment of an adventure river cruise along the Banga River.

She said they are initially looking at putting up floating restaurants and boating facilities in a dam within the river.

“I recommended to the mayor to go to (Loboc town in) Bohol to study its river cruise attraction there and hopefully adopt them in his area,” Fuentes added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)