GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Islands (MindaNews / 06 February) – A popular tourist destination in Del Carmen town in Siargao Islands has been closed for maintenance and facility upgrade works, town officials said.
Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo M. Coro Jr. said he hopes the public would understand the temporary closure of Sugba Lagoon which took effect on Monday.
Maintenance works were scheduled until February 19 but the local government has not set an exact date for the reopening of the lagoon, Coro told MindaNews on Tuesday morning via Facebook.
“We will use the time to repair and construct new facilities to accommodate growing number of tourists,” he said, adding this will be like a tourism holiday to allow the environment to recover.
“We can do repairs, fix everything in preparation for the bigger crowds during summer season. This cycle is necessary to sustain the area,” he said.
Leilani C. Lipio, municipal tourism officer said via mobile phone on Tuesday that the shutdown aims to mitigate the pollution caused by the growing number of tourists.
She said that last week their sewerage system clogged up and had to be condemned.
She said this prompted the local government unit to close the lagoon for maintenance and rehabilitation works.
She said the number of tourists last year that visited the lagoon reached 31,000.
Lipio said some tourists were surprised by the closure of the lagoon.
But some netizens believed it was time to implement the closure before the problem gets worse.
Lipio said that since Sugba Lagoon’s delicate ecosystem has been put at risk by the growing number of tourists the local government wanted to increase efforts in preserving its beauty.
“We have seen also the problem of food waste coming from the tourists,” she said, adding the selling of food on site may be prohibited once it is reopened to visitors.
Sugba lagoon lies in the island village of Caub, a 30-minute boat ride from the port of the town. One has to navigate through a vast expanse of mangroves to get there. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)