A local tour guide in historic Culion recently hosted virtual walk tours of the town’s tourist attractions to connect with travelers in the country and around the world while they are sheltering in place due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Hermie Villanueva, a tour guide in Culion, is employing social media platforms – Google Meet, FB Live and Messenger, and Zoom, to perform his virtual walk tours for travelers who love to go back to their town but could not do so at the moment as their tourism operations have not re-opened.
Villanueva said that despite the connectivity problem, he is managing because it is important that domestic and foreign tourists who have already visited them do not lose Culion in their future travel plans.
“Medyo hassle lang talaga ang signal, pero sinubukan talaga natin na lahat ng sites ay mapuntahan natin at mai-live para makita nila, lalo ‘yong mga dating nakapunta na ng Culion at gustong balikan ito pero hindi pa puwede dahil sa restriction na ipinatutupad,” he said.
Villanueva’s virtual walk tours bring his audience to view famous sites in Culion such as the Old Tenement Housing, where the first organized leper colony under the American military government was set up in 1920; the Old Teatro (American-designed theater); Glorieta, an old small eight-side stage in the middle of the housing; Old Distribution Building built also in 1920; Town Hall, the first concrete building constructed in 1912, that also serves as a courtroom and administrative office; Old Leper Hospital which is now the Culion Sanitarium and General hospital (CGSH) with a museum, and the Cathedral originally served as a defense fort in 1740.
He said Culion is interesting as a tourism destination because of its history as a former leprosarium in 1906 until the American commonwealth.
“Marami ang nakaka-miss sa Culion at marami ang nagme-message sa atin dahil sa walk tour na ginawa natin. They’re very thankful na nasilayan nila muli ang Culion virtually,” Villanueva added.
He said his virtual walk tour also reconnects former residents to Culion who now live in other provinces.
“Culion is a very historical municipality in Palawan, and I want to not lose the love of our countrymen in Culion. Hopefully, we can all view it using social media, he added.