The southern town of Bataraza is eyeing to lure more tourists this year with the completion of a P1.9 million Cultural Heritage Center (CHC) which will house important historical artifacts, culture, folklore, and other traditions of the town.
Bataraza mayor Abraham Ibba inaugurated the facility Monday in Barangay Marangas, expressing confidence it will boost their tourism sector.
“Number one ngayon sa big economy ‘yong tourism office. So ngayon talagang nag-ii-start na tayo dito sa Palawan del Sur. ‘Yong pumupunta ng Balabac lahat dumadaan [talaga] dito, meron din sa Bataraza area sadyang pumupunta,” Ibba said.
The construction of the center started in 2018. It was completed within a one-year period, he said.
Bataraza caters to an average of 30,000 visitors annually and having the building could serve as their “tourism office” which will have a greater impact on the industry, Ibba added.
Ibba said they hope to invite more investors who would be interested to put up lodging inns and pension houses to accommodate more tourists and visitors.
“Palagay ko kung hindi man natin malampasan ang northern Palawan, mapapantayan natin five years or 10 years from now. In fact, napakarami ng mga investors ang pumupunta sa atin dito sa Bataraza, kasama ang Buliluyan. May mga mag-i-invest sa mga five star hotel,” he said.
Ibba said they are now coordinating with government agencies in putting up facilities such as electricity and water to entice businessmen.
Mary Rose Caabay, chief administrative officer of the Palawan Provincial Culture and Arts Office (PPCAO), said the provincial government will help Bataraza in raising the people’s awareness on the importance of their own history and culture.
“Kami sa aspeto ng kultural, kami po ay nandito upang mabigyang giya at suporthan ‘yong ating mga local government units, upang mas maintindihan natin ng mas malalim kung ano ang kahalagahan ng kultura at kasayasayan sa tinatawag nating tourism development,” Caabay said.
A cultural inventory and cultural development plan, which is one of the functions of this center, she said is very important for every local government to submit to PPCAO.
Engr. Alma Valledor, the municipal planning development officer and focal person of the town’s Gender and Development (GAD) office said the budget for the center was sourced from the municipality’s GAD budget and
approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Maribel Buñi, provincial tourism officer said they are optimistic that Bataraza will soon be one of the top five tourist destinations in Palawan.
“Natutuwa kami. Sana ito ay simula lamang at makita natin ang bayan ng Bataraza na sana nasa top five tourism destinations sa lalawigan ng Palawan,” Buñi said.