Not usually known as a tourist destination, an unprecedented surge in tourism has graced the 4th District with numbers having “more than tripled.” Local chief executives and administrators have attributed the influx to renewed pushes for tourism and infrastructure around the protection and rehabilitation of heritage sites and traditions.
Barotac Nuevo Mayor Bryant Paul “BP” Q. Biron believes that a collective cultural identity in the 21st century is integral to this combined success. Barotac Nuevo’s latest accomplishments include the construction of the Tamasak Arena where the first Tamasak Festival will soon be held, the modernized and eco-friendly Market Mall, and the Ina Farmers Learning Site and Agri Farm. With these latest attractions, locals and tourists are reminded of their histories while building a strong and stable economy from the ground up.
“With how our tourist attractions were developed and marketed, we’ve witnessed incredible numbers coming in. The pandemic has made it very hard on the economy. We’re happy we’re getting this opportunity to show more people the beauty of Barotac Nuevo, ” said Mayor BP Biron.
Dumangas Vice Mayor Ronaldo “Onal” Golez, whose municipality boasts the famous Curvus Cafe, Costa Buena restaurant, and the newly constructed Dumangas Coastal Boardwalk, shares the sentiment that tourism is key to rebounding from the pandemic. In an interview, Mayor Onal Golez has this to say of his approach to tourism:
“Tourism is not only helping us develop and protect our natural heritage – but it’s also fairly sustainable and family friendly. We were able to communicate that message to the rest of the world”
Passi City Councilor Andrei Pantin wants to highlight what makes each locality distinct and special. “(Passi City) was never known to be a tourist attraction but with the latest developments, we’re seeing new faces everyday,” he said.
Heading the committee on tourism, Councilor Pantin proudly brandishes the Passi City Agcacarao Mountain View farmstay as testament to eco-tourism and the celebration of culture and natural heritage.
Anilao Mayor Nathalie Ann Debuque is in agreement that “tourism has considerably helped in economic growth as well as environmental protection”. The Balunos Mountain Resort in Anilao is the latest attraction to gather large crowds looking for a break from the busy city. Alongside the Marine Protective Sanctuary, both flora and fauna are the centerpieces for tourist attractions in Anilao.
Noteworthy is the 4th District’s Bugal Sang Kwarto Distrito initiative under Congressman Ferjenel “Ferj” Biron which has pushed for tourism since Day 1. These leading municipalities – and the rest of the 4th District – will continue developing eco-tourism in their respective locales in 2024 and the years to follow. After having been mostly known as an agricultural district for several decades, only now is the 4th District getting recognition for its staggering efforts at cultivating nature alongside modernization and cultural celebration. They do so in their own unique and thematic ways befitting the colorful spectrum of the 4th District’s people.