Photo by Marsmux through Wikipedia.com

Culion municipality’s tourism office is getting ready to assist at least 16 tourism-related businesses in obtaining their Department of Tourism (DOT) accreditation for next year.

Municipal tourism officer Jubelle Cabatingan said the accreditation is required under Republic Act 9593, or the Tourism Act of 2009, which mandates all lodging facilities, including homestays, to be DOT-accredited before they can operate or remain open.

He stated that the Municipal Tourism Office (MTO) will help the homestay operators to obtain departmental accreditation and official recognition that they have adhered to the minimal requirements for the operation of facilities and services.

“Kapag nakapag-submit na sila ng documentary requirements, i-schedule sila for inspection para tingnan kung compliant sila doon sa mga standards, including health protocols na required ng DOT. Dapat napi-feature ang Filipino culture sa designs nila. And yung health protocols, yon po ang inaral namin last October 18,” he said.

“Isa sa requirements yung training ng homestay, nag-sponsor po kami noong July, libre lang para sa kanila. Ngayon tutulungan namin sila sa pag-ayos ng kanilang mga establishments para pumasa sa inspection. Tutulungan din namin sila sa documentary requirements,” he added.

He said that some tourist facilities are run as lodgings, but they will have to be converted to homestays because travelers stay in the homes of families.

For a homestay to be accredited, the owner has to make sure the rooms are safe, hygienic, and have basic amenities like clean bathrooms and kitchens and a steady water supply.

Cabatingan said they will also help in the creation of a homestay association in their town

“Kaya sa ngayon po ay tinutulungan na natin sila kung paano gawin at i-comply ang mga requirements na ito, syempre gusto din naman nating matulungan sila, malaking bagay po sa ating bayan sa Culion na lahat ng accommodation natin ay kinikilala at accredited ng DOT. Isa rin sa napag usapan natin noong 18 ay ang pagbuo ng homestay association natin,” he said.

To date, only two establishments in Culion is accredited by the DOT, he said.

Culion is an island municipality in northern Palawan that is part of the Calamian group of islands. Until the American commonwealth of the Philippines era, it was a leprosarium. Visitors to Culion can learn about its history at the Culion Museum and Archives, a 1930s structure that stores and displays both tangible and intangible treasures.

The historical Culion Church, built on a promontory and overlooking the sea, is only a few meters away from the museum. The structure, which is part of the Culion Fort, is made up of corals and was constructed in 1740.

Recently, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines Materials Research and Conservation Division (NHCP-MRCD) is restoring the historic Culion town in northern Palawan in accordance with the Local Heritage Conservation Plan.

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is the news correspondent for Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan. He also covers some agriculture stories. His interests are with food and technology.