The Lakbay Aral delegates from the municipality of Pio Duran, Albay, on March 16, 2022, at the Provincial Capitol Building in Puerto Princesa City with Provincial Tourism Promotions and Development Office (PTPDO) chief Maribel Buñi. (Photo by Vernon Yumang/Palawan PIO)

The first large group of visitors to arrive in the province of Palawan, two years after tight quarantine measures were established due to the advent of the coronavirus disease, were 65 Liga ng mga Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials from the town of Pio Duran in Albay.

They arrived on March 16 for a six-day Lakbay Aral to learn about the province’s livelihood development programs as well as benchmarking tourism destinations, a statement from the Provincial Information Office (PIO) said. The group was led by Pio Duran Liga ng mga Barangay president Brayan Arandila and SK Federation president Al Timothy Cueva.

Provincial Tourism Promotions and Development Office (PTPDO) chief Maribel Buñi welcomed the delegation on March 16, thanking them for choosing Palawan for their Lakbay Aral to learn about livelihood and tourism initiatives.

She told them they were the first significant delegation from other provinces to visit Palawan since travel had been prohibited because of COVID-19.

“Dalawang taon na ang nakalipas mula nang mahinto ang pagbiyahe ng mga turista dahil sa COVID-19, so ngayon lang ulit namin nararamdaman ang pagdami at pagdagsa ng mga turista,” she said.

“Hindi po namin mapapantayan ang 1.9 million arrivals that we had in 2019, siguro mga ilang taon pa, but eventually, we will, basta tuloy lamang ang pagsunod sa mga patakaran and to comply with the standards,” she added.

As part of their activities, the delegation attended a briefing regarding the province’s development plans under the Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood, and Protection (IHELP) of the Environment, that was discussed by the PIO.

They also visited the Palawan Heritage Center, which houses exhibits describing the culture and history of the province and its inhabitants.

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