TAGBILARAN CITY, April 24 (PIA)--Feeling it has been left out in the tourism bandwagon, Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap swings to an aggressive tourism push to position the city not just as a way point but a major tourism destination.
"We wish to promote Tagbilaran, not just as a way-point for tourists, we are ready to receive the tourists," Mayor Yap declared at the Kapihan sa PIA last week.
Declared by law as the site of the historic blood compact, Tagbilaran City's tourism however could not jump off beyond the pier-Sandugo shrine circuit, with not much effort going into it in the past.
Mayor yap now promises more.
SAULOG street dancing
Already making a strong presence with this year's Saulog Streetdancing competition which marks a significant event in the fiesta season, city leadership has succeeded in generating full city district participation.
Still a generic street dancing showcase, city streetdancing observers are certain that the street performance could become a legitimate city jump-off to the province-wide Sandugo streetdancing festival.
Everything anchors on Saulog: a celebration of thanksgiving to the patron Saint Joseph the worker, and dance steps at least should depict in any creative way pagpanguros, panukdok, panipilya and paghalad, explains Fiel Angelie Araoarao-Gabin.
This could also make the Saulog Dance different from the rest of the streetdances in Bohol, observers noted.
A few minutes off Tubig Dako in Taloto, is Mabaw reef, yet Tagbilaran City's best underwater showcase. Home to a good assortment of soft and hard coral cover, Mabaw is the city's newest declared marine protected area for coral reef conservation by virtue of City Ordinance no C-191 dated April 2006.
Now a strict no-take zone, the marine sanctuary has been a refuge to various marine species, corals, fish and invertebrates.
By protecting our source of food, we keep this safe for the next generation, Mayor Yap said.
Now opened for recreational diving and snorkeling, Mabaw is also the city's premier coastal marine resource information center.
Mutya sa Tagbilaran
Also becoming a tradition is Mutya sa Tagbilaran, an annual beauty and brains competition that put fair ladies from the city's 15 districts to pick out the city's main ambassador of goodwill, environment and tourism.
Already making waves this early, Mutya sa Tagbilaran aims to make sure that the city is represented in the major beauty competitions needing its representation.
Last Friday, the Mutya ng Tagbilaran Pageant and opened to a huge crowd at the Bohol Wisdom Gym.
Also in the City's tourism development priority is the Tagbilaran City Heritage Walk: an interactive walk which would be using the St. Joseph Cathedral Complex and Sitio Ubos as the tourism hub of activities.
Major points of interest are the coral stone cathedral, the century old provincial capitol, the Escuela de Ninos now occupied by the national museum, the restored Inang-angan and the old stone houses at Sitio Ubos community center.
Earlier this year, Tagbilaran City, with its partners went into cultural mapping to determine which areas in the city can be developed further into new sites and destinations.
At the recent mapping, the city mayor said he did not know that one former barangay chairman in Mansasa District happens to be a sculptor and another former barangay captain in Manga as a respected boat builder.
Also in Manga, the city government has listed the Reputanas as a reputable guitar makers and music craftsmen whole skill in guitar crafting is comparable with international music instrument makers. (rac/PIA-7Bohol)