Gov’t extends rehabilitation works in El Nido

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019   •   1178

El Nido Lagoon in Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – Top tourist destination El Nido in Palawan will not be closed to tourists despite decision to extend rehabilitation works in the island.

The rehabilitation program is managed by an interagency task force composed of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government and Tourism.

On August 4 a 20-day inspection and investigation will commence to determine the owners and which establishments are non-compliant to the environmental law and hold no necessary permits.

Those who fail government auditing will be ordered closed.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año noted however, that it would be impossible to demolish all structures established within the 20-meter easement zone.

“What we want to promote are the islands of El Nido,” Año said.

“Doon dapat pumunta ang mga tourist doon sa sentro (Tourists should be led to the city center). It’s more on commercial ang lodging, accommodation for the tourist,” he added.

Meanwhile, several areas in Bacuit Bay were declared ‘no swimming zone’ due to contaminated water and because the structures there were already by the beach.

These areas are the Corong-Corong Outfall, El Nido Estero Outfall, Masagana Outfall anf Cabugao Outfall.

“Ang Corong-Corong Outfall, ang fecal coliform is now at 99,315. Ang normal is 100, (Corong-Corong Outfall’s fecal coliform (level) is now at 99,315. The normal level is (only) 100,)” noted Tourism Secretary Bernadet Romolu-Puyat.

“Maiintindihan naman nila siguro kung bakit bawal mag swimming, (They would understand why swimming is banned),” she added.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu stressed that this effort of the government is a way to protect the area and so as not to worsen pollution problems in the island such as what happened in Boracay.

“We will continue to stop this because we cannot allow na mag-deteriorate ang El Nido (to deteriorate) into another Boracay,” Cimatu said.

According to DOT, there are about 200,000 tourists that visit El Nido every year. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

Phl bags World’s Leading Dive Destination, Tourist Attraction victory for 2020

Maris Federez   •   November 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Intramuros and the country’s dive sites have once again bagged accolades at the 27th World Travel Awards, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported on Saturday (November 28).

The DOT said the award-giving body has recognized the Philippines as the World’s Leading Dive Destination and Intramuros as the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2020.

“We are incredibly grateful for the recognitions given to the Philippines’ magnificent dive sites and the beautifully-restored heritage site of Intramuros at the 27th World Travel Awards,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

“We will continue to promote sustainable, inclusive, and world-class tourism, especially now as we slowly reopen our attractions to more domestic tourists,” she added.

The DOT said that it is the Philippines’ second time to win the World’s Leading Dive Destination.

It bested eight (8) different dive destinations such as Azores Islands, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Maldives, and Mexico. 

The DOT media release also said that the agency recognizes dive tourism, as well as increased visitor count, extended length of stay, and higher tourism revenue, as one of the key areas for positive industry growth.

The department, on the other hand, reported that it is Intramuros’ first time to win World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, beating fifteen (15) different attractions such as Acropolis of Greece, Burj Khalifa of Dubai, the Grand Canyon National Park of USA, Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania, and Taj Mahal of India, among others. —/mbmf

DOT announces reopening of Siargao Island

Maris Federez   •   November 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Saturday (November 21) the upcoming reopening of one of the country’s premier destinations — Siargao Island.

In an advisory, the DOT said the teardrop-shaped island, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, is set to welcome local tourists to its world-class white sand beaches, natural rock and cave pools, romantic sunsets, and wild water surf sites again on November 23.

The department said this was confirmed by Mayor Cecilia L. Ruson of the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte thru a local executive order.

“This is encouraging news for everyone who loves the sea, especially the surfers. As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for,” Secretary Puyat enthused.

The advisory added that with the resumption of flights to Siargao on December 1, “tourists can visit the country’s most well-known surf spots through Sayak Airport near the barangays of Del Carmen and Heneral Luna and discover a variety of hidden attractions.”

In compliance with IATF directives and local COVID management procedures, the Siargao LGU has set minimum health and safety standards and COVID testing requirements before tourists arrive on the island.

Tourists arriving via Surigao City/Sayak Airport will be required an e-Health Pass with valid ID; Negative RT-PCR result taken within 48 hours from point of origin; a five-day confirmed booking from an accommodation establishment with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the Department of Tourism, and a round-trip ticket/travel details, the advisory further said, as part of the protocol.

However, if the RT-PCR is taken more than 48 hours of departure from point of origin, a negative antigen swab will be required on the day of arrival.

Tourists from the province of Surigao del Norte, on the other hand, will be required an e-health pass with valid ID; certificate from the barangay captain that traveler is not a close contact; confirmed booking from an accredited DOT-accommodation establishment (AE).

Meanwhile, hotels and resorts will be allowed to operate once they completed their business permit; a certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the DOT; E-Health System Registration; E-Health pass or QR code reader and new normal protocols approved by the Municipal Health Office.

The advisory added that curfew will also be enforced from 11:00PM to 4:00AM. — /mbmf

MRT-3 to suspend operations from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The management of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) reminded the public about the suspension of its operations starting Saturday, Oct. 31 until Monday, Nov. 2.

In an advisory on Thursday, the MRT-3 said the temporary shutdown will be implemented to give way to bushing replacement works at the depot and the turnout activity at the Taft Avenue Station by its maintenance provider, Sumitomo-MHI-TESP.

“Parte ng gagawing bushing replacement ng 34.5-kilovolt alternating current (kV AC) switch gear ay ang pagsasayos ng bus tie na nagbibigay ng supply ng kuryente sa depot mula sa Meralco power source nito sa Balintawak at Diliman, at pagkukumpuni ng isang panel na mayroong 12 bushing unit,” it added.

Sa kabilang banda, ipagpapatuloy rin ang isinasagawang pagsasaayos at pagpapalit ng mga turnouts sa Taft Avenue station.

The rail line management further said that the turnout repair works at Taft Avenue Station will also continue.

To recall, the MRT-3 implemented partial operations on Oct. 10 to 11 to give way to turnout repair activities.

“Ang mga aktibidad na ito ay bahagi ng massive rehabilitation and maintenance na isinasagawa sa buong linya ng MRT-3 ng Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries mula sa bansang Hapon,” the MRT-3 said.

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