The local government unit (LGU) of Bataraza plans to develop access roads to its agro-tourism sites in a bid to boost its local tourism industry.
Sanggunian Bayan member Laurence Amores said that the LGU is in the process of concreting a road in Barangay Bulalacao, which is the capital of the town’s production of pineapple fruits.
“Nilo-look forward naman na this year or next year kasi kino-complete pa natin ang infrastructure like concreting ng road para to invite, encourage tourists din na pasyalan. Kasi sa ngayon, ang concern ng tourists natin ay accessibility. The more accessible ang isang destination, the more tourists din ang pupunta,” he said.
Aside from improving the accessibility of the site to tourists, the LGU is also working on improving the farm-to-market road for farmers producing pineapples. Most of the growers are Pala’wan farmers, coming from elevated areas and mountains, who walk for hours to bring down their products.
Amores added that the LGU is also in partnership with national government agencies to acquire the needed budget for the agro-tourism site.
The provincial government also looked into the potential of the town’s pineapple industry to develop into an agro-tourism site during this year’s Pinya Festival. The provincial agriculture office said it would establish and strengthen local groups of pineapple farmers through the assistance of the Municipal Agriculture Office of Bataraza.
The office will also locate and construct a learning site that will be utilized for farm tourism in collaboration with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the provincial tourism office.
The LGU also entered into a public and private partnership with the Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) for the pineapple landmark being built in Bulalacao. The idea of the landmark is to be operated as a community-based tourism site, he added.
It exhibits the practices of the mining company, the production of pineapple farming in Barangay Bulalacao, and the culture of Pala’wan. The CBNC is in charge of keeping the operation running until the barangay council is ready to take over.
“Magiging income generating sya for the barangay. Sa ngayon nagko-collect ng fees na pumapasok sa trust fund ng barangay. Babalik lang ‘yong certain percentage or amount sa pineapple landmark for the maintenance, the rest ay sa personnel ng barangay. Gusto ata gawin ng CBNC na little by little ay mailipat sa barangay Bulalacao,” he said.
The pineapple landmark can also accommodate gatherings and events as an alternative venue in Bataraza.
“Ang Bataraza ay recently lang nagkaroon sa tourism unlike in the north na ang potential nila ay ang laki. Dito sa part ng Bataraza, for local tourist lang, ‘yon lang muna ang kini-cater natin,” he said.