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Garcia on Cebu MGCQ tourism: ‘Waterfalls are for your eyes only’

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 20,2020 - 08:43 PM
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia says she will not allow swimming yet on waterfalls visits but these areas are only for sightseeing. | CDN file photo

A tourist captures the moment in Kawasan falls of Badian town on camera during a more relaxed itinerary of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Getaway in January 2013. |CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Waterfalls, which are among the tourist attractions in Cebu province, will only be for sight-seeing in the first stages of the reopening of the province’s tourism industry.

This was the clarification of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia as she said on Monday, July 20, 2020, that she was set to sign her Executive Order No. 20-A anytime this week, which would set the protocols for the operation of the province’s tourism industry.

In the EO that was not being “refined,” Garcia said bathing in waterfalls was still not allowed as it would need more protocols and measures to be put in place first.

“Sa pagkakaron, dili nato tugotan ang kaligo.  Sight-seeing lang sa. Ang pagkaligo man gud, kinahanglan na nga tun-an nato, kianhanglang naay life guard,” Garcia said.

(For now, we will not allow swimming there. Sight-seeing for now. Swimming there, we would need to study that and that would also require a lifeguard.)

The famous waterfalls attraction in the province include the Kawasan Falls in Badian, Mantayupan falls in Barili, Aguinid falls in Samboan, and the Tumalog falls in Oslob, among others.

READ: Taginis Falls: Moalboal’s hidden freshwater beauty

Recently, the Taginis falls in Moalboal town, also in southern Cebu, has also gained attention from the online community because of its pristine waters and ambiance.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia says she will not allow swimming yet on waterfalls visits but these areas are only for sightseeing. | CDN file photo

Taginis Falls. Photo from Moalboal Eco Lodge

Last week, Garcia conducted a consultative meeting with the tourism industry stakeholders in the towns in the province to discuss the protocols that would be observed for each tourism activity such as the canyoneering in Alegria, the whale watching in Oslob, and other offerings in the local government units that have tourism offerings.

“Ato karon nga gipanday ang mga protocols sa tourism activities nga ato nang buksan subject sa atong pagpirma sa executive order. Gi-refine pa na nato,” Garcia said.

(We are now drafting the protocols of the tourism activities that we will open subject to our signing of the executive order.)

Garcia said the Capitol was still developing the tourism portal that would be used to book for the tourism offerings.

READ: Capitol to develop online portal as it opens tourism industry

The governor reiterated that for the province of Cebu, where tourism is considered as the bread and butter of the economy, the industry should be considered as a livelihood rather than leisure.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak early this year, the tourism industry is among the severely hit sectors because of the fear over the threat of the novel coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown implemented in the different governments worldwide.

Since the late part of May 2020, the Capitol and the officials of towns with tourism offerings have started to meet to discuss about the reopening of the tourism industry because of the blow that it left to several of their constituents who bank on the tourism industry for their livelihood.

“Ako, dako kaayo kog responsibilidad sa katawhan sa Sugbo nga karon, labihan na ang kalisod nga nakita dili tungod sa COVID pero tungod kay gipanggutom na kung di ni managamatay sa COVID, mamatay ni sa gutom,” Garcia said.

(I have a big responsibility to the people of Cebu today. It has become so difficult for them not just because of COVID but because they are hungry — that if they would die of COVID, then they would die of hunger.)

For the time being, Garcia said the opening of the tourism industry in the province would start with those coming from the towns and cities in the province first, excluding Cebu City which continued to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the region./dbs

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