Amid concerns about water quality in certain areas of Puerto Galera, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on Friday said aside from swimming and water sports, Oriental Mindoro hosts a wealth of attractions that offer various activities for tourists to enjoy.
Adventure-seeking tourists for example, can hike up Mt. Malasimbo, enjoy the scenic Tamaraw waterfalls, which is just one out of the many breathtaking waterfalls in Oriental Mindoro, explore the Puerto Galera Mangrove Conservation and Ecotourism Area, and visit the Iraya Mangyan Village to immerse in the rich and colorful culture of the Iraya Mangyan tribe.
Additionally, there are other cities and municipalities in Oriental Mindoro that also have a wide range of tourism offerings that await visitors.
Tourists needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the Metro can opt to relax by the river and go on a picnic at the Infinity Farm in Baco which just takes an hour of land travel from Puerto Galera; go on a food crawl in Calapan City or visit sites such as the Silonay Mangrove Conservation Ecopark and Oriental Mindoro Heritage Museum; go walking, biking, or jogging around Naujan Lake; trek to Talon Falls or see the famed heritage houses in Pola; and go on a culinary tour in Pinamalayan.
“The Department of Tourism (DOT) notes that while the joint statement of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) advised against consumption of water in affected areas of Puerto Galera and which the DOT also relayed to the public, the DOH in a subsequent announcement advised against partaking in recreational water activities in the said affected areas though without attributing the contamination directly to the recent oil spill. Therefore, we wish to highlight the plethora of offerings that this beautiful town and province has to offer particularly to nature lovers and adventure seekers,” Frasco said in a statement.
“Paramount of course is the safety of tourists while giving importance to the need to balance the life and livelihood of the people,” added the Tourism chief.
Frasco also stressed that the DOT defers to the DENR and the DOH in making the recommendations on the allowed operations in Puerto Galera based on scientific evidence and environmental and health standards, emphasizing that the health and safety of the public always come above all else.
The DOT, she noted, is grateful for the tireless work of the provincial and local government units of Oriental Mindoro, and that the department in line with the Marcos administration’s whole of government approach towards helping the province throughout the crisis, is ready to assist affected tourism workers and front-liners should the destination be closed or tourism activities be suspended.
“In addressing the needs of tourism stakeholders, we look not only at the primary tourism enterprises but also the secondary enterprises as well as the entire tourism value chain involved including all of the informal and indirect employment generated in the areas such as, for example, the vendors, the boatmen, the ‘pasalubong’ makers, the dive shops, divers, among others,” Frasco said.
The DOT chief said that following the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to ensure assistance for losses in livelihood, the department is providing training and livelihood programs as well as other forms of assistance in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to qualified beneficiaries.
This, she said, is a way of providing alternative means of livelihood as tourism-related activities continue to be affected by the oil spill situation in the province.
The tourism chief also announced that on April 24, the DOT shall commence its training programs for affected tourism workers and community-based tourism organizations that can provide them with alternative livelihood such as Farm tourism: Urban Farming; Tourism Micro Retail: Beadwork and Lei making; Food Tourism; Kulinarya Training; Health and Wellness Tourism: Hilot Training, and Basic Haircutting Training. (PNA)