MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Local tourists have started to visit Caohagan Island that is located off mainland Mactan Island.
And this is a good sign for island residents, who also earn from preparing their meals, attending to their needs, and even for those who sell food and souvenir items.
But Barangay Captain Ranilo Abayan said they would continue to look forward to the day when foreign tourists would also return to their island-barangay.
Caohagan Island may be reached after a 20- to 30-minute wooden boat ride from mainland Mactan. It is a fishing community that takes pride in its white sand beaches, marine sanctuary, and nearby dive spots.
The Japanese national, who owns the approximately four hectares island, used to charge P200 per head for visits.
“Pero sukad nag pandemic wala nay kolekta sa entrance,” Abayan said.
(But since the pandemic, no entrance fee is collected.)
He said that the free entrance policy is helping bring back tourists into the island.
“Local tourists ang kusog karon. Sa wala pay pandemic, ang mga foreigner,” he said.
(Local tourists are the ones visiting the island today. Before the pandemic, the visitors were mostly foreigners.)
Abayan said that their population of 798 residents mostly depend on fishing for their livelihood, but some of them were able to earn extra from tourist visits.
And with the availability of solar power on the island starting on February 2021, an increasing number of residents are now able to put up their water vendo machine and even sell drinks for their visitors. /dbs