Thursday, August 27, 2015

APEC organizers ask Boholanos to 
accommodate spillover tourists

TAGBILARAN CITY, August 26 (PIA)--On the reality that tourist destinations can possibly lure delegates of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), authorities rolled out orientation and information dissemination to local information Officers to prepare communities for the foreign and local guests. 

This is so that everyone can be prompted as to helping make the Bohol sortie of these tourists as memorable, and worth remembering. 

Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Louisella Lucino said they had taken the initiative to brief the Information and tourism officers about the possible official or incognito coming of APEC delegates spilling over on rest and recreation breaks from the over 500 meetings held in three locations in Cebu from August 22 to Sept 6. 

Lucino, who was joined by the APEC task group on Emergency Preparedness Deputy Commissioner Vic Tomasar and Office of the Civil Defense ARD Ver Neil Balaba, told information officers gathered at the Jjs Sea Foods Village that about 3,000 APEC guests are already accounted for in Cebu. 

Beyond the 3000, APEC also brings in between 90-7000participants and delegates to finance, structural reforms, transportation and energy meetings spread out between September 7 to October 17, Lucino advised. 

These delegates brought with them accompanying staff and some family members, effectively ballooning the number to over 5,000 and triggering a spillover from the three hotel venues the APEC picked in Cebu, explained Lucino at the orientation.

APEC has 21 member countries sending in foreign heads of state and their business officials in the Philippines as the country hosted the 2015 meetings and conferences.

And while the meetings in Cebu are expected to keep delegates focused on the activities, police authorities who are in the protective services and Very Important persons (VIP) security have reported break-away groups who have come to Bohol, without officials APEC sanctions.

"We need our people to know that we are also hosting the spill-over in Cebu, considering the proximity of the islands," PSupt Lorenzo Batuan, Camp Dagohoy's Operations Officer and key Bohol APEC contact person said, during the forum. 

As such, we let APEC know that we are a hospitable people, full of warmth and are accommodating, Batuan, who also leads the security and Apec protection services when the delegates are in Bohol. 

We wish we could know them, but some APEC delegates kip some meetings to come to Bohol incognito, and pinpoint where they are, we wish Boholanos can be of help, as we always do in receiving these guests and handling them memorably as they pass through our province, adds Lucino.(rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Antequera tour gets 
tourists planting rice 

TAGBILARAN CITY, August 26 (PIA)--For the eco-tourist who may not have had any experience of how back-breakin it can be, a local government unit in Bohol decides to open a farm adventure that would emphatically tell people why we must conserve our rice. 

In Celing Antequera, LGU authorities deemed it meaningful for a tourist who may have more than enough food at home. 

"This part of the tour gets tourists into a brief time in the farm and lets him feel for himself the fun or the lessons in it," summed up explained Mayor Jose Mario Pahang, who personally accommodated the tourism stakeholders out to evaluate new ecotourism products included in the Eco-tourism Bohol program. 

It may be recalled that with the soon completion of the Panglao Airport project, tourist would be coming in droves to Bohol, as project proponents claim. 

Bringing them out of Panglao, off the usual Chocolate Hills tour circuit, would help spread the benefits of economic growth in tourism, explained Sinichiro Tanimoto, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sustainable Environment for Panglao Project (SEPP) team leader. 

With this, JICA and local ecotourism council capacitated communities to mold new tourism products, and Antequera put up something like a real immersion into a farm where tourists can try riding carabao sledges, plowing, stepping on a paddy and planting rice. 

I have never really tried this, and after getting a few seedlings from a bundle and planting it, I realized, the some was real. Planting rice is never really fun, says Cristopher Boncales, a Bohol tour guide and one among the JICA team who decided getting the feel of planting may enhance their tour spiels and story telling skills. 

You bend to plant and you pick a rhythm while making sure you have them all in a line formation is really tough, adds Connie Calatrava, another tour guide. 

The tour actually asks tourists who are adventurous enough to strip of their shoes and socks and step into the muddy paddy bringing a bundle of rice seedlings to plant. A community tour guide assists the tourists and instructs them of the proper way to do it. 

We planted not even a line in the paddy and it was a harrowing experience imagining how it would be after filling the whole rice paddy, tour guides excitedly shared their experience, while sipping cold coconut juice after the activity. 

A single bunch of rice seedlings, when tended right, fertilized and irrigated properly, can produce over 10 kilos of rice, when the harvest is good, farmers at the site shared. 

Planting, happens to be just the beginning of a long and tedious process of getting a milled rice from a germinated grain. 

With the pain and the hard work, it is always a neat lesson tourists can have that wasting rice is really huge, considering the trouble farmers go through, just to have us cook the food we serve on our tables, tour guides said. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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