The local government unit (LGU) of Bataraza will conduct a cultural landscape mapping and development of a tourism master plan covering its 22 barangays after the May 9 elections, to identify and establish culturally significant sites in the town.

Jun Dawili, municipal tourism officer, said Tuesday the project was supposedly started in 2021 but was put on hold due to budget insufficiency. He added that the LGU is mulling the implementation of the project in collaboration with Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation. He also said they will request the assistance of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the Provincial Tourism Office, and the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the purpose.

“Para ang programs namin ay doon naka-base (tourism master plan) kasi like for example sa El Nido, nandiyan na ang tourist, saka sila gagawa ng tourism plan, mahirap na. Almost lahat naman ng barangay dito, pagdating sa culture (meron history),” Dawili explained.

“Ang tourism master plan ang magiging guideline natin para kung may mga development. Sa ngayon, pinasok na ng tourism ang agri so magkakaroon tayo ng identification ng sites. Halimbawa dito sa island, ‘yong ating Putting Buhangin, Pirate’s Island—sa tourism master plan, doon tayo magma-market—kasi ‘yon ang pina-guide book,” he said.

Dawili also said he believes that all 22 barangays of the town have cultural significance, such as Barangay Tarusan, which served as the old municipal government seat after the separation of Bataraza from Brooke’s Point in 1964, and Brgy. Buliluyan where one of the four quincentennial historical markers in Palawan is located.

The marker was presented by the NHCP as part of the province’s significance during the Magellan-Elcano expedition. The discovery of the expedition’s landfalls in Palawan was through the study conducted by Prof. Michael Angelo Doblado for NHCP in 2019.

The LGU will also venture into folk tales like Salampito which is popular in Bataraza, trading system, and collection of artifacts.

“Yong story ng Salampito, babae siya pero nakapito siya ng husband dahil sa power niya—Halimbawa mag-alis ka pero hindi ka paalisin. Umaandar ang barko mo, lantsa mo pero nandiyan ka pa rin, hindi ka makaalis, ganon ang power nila. Iyon (folk tale) ang gusto natin makuha (ang history). Sa cultural mapping and collection ng artifacts,” he said.

He also mentioned that the collection of records to track the culture and history of Bataraza will be challenging for the municipal government due to the diversity of tribes existing in the town. The absence of documentation in earlier times will also be a struggle for the municipal government to track the historical records.

Dawili added that he is uncertain yet on how long will the cultural mapping will run before the establishment of culturally significant sites and collection of artifacts in Bataraza. There is no also final budget yet discussed for the development of the tourism master plan and the cultural mapping, he said.