DOT eyes pump boat tarps as tourist attractions

DEPARTMENT of Tourism Regional Director leads the launch of Oplan #LoveGuimaras Assistance Package (OLAP) last Friday at Parola Wharf in Iloilo City. The program aims to revive the tourism sector of Guimaras which is reeling from the Aug 3 sea tragedy that claimed 31 lives. Among its projects is to adorn tarpaulin covers of motor boats with attractive paintings. Related story on page 2. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

The tourism department is planning to adorn the canvass or tarpaulins covers of Guimaras motor bancas with colorful paintings to serve as tourist attractions.

The project, which will undergo consultation with sea and land transport stakeholders, is part of Oplan #LoveGuimaras Assistance Package (OLAP) that was launched last Friday at Parola Wharf.

OLAP is an initiative of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas in partnership with the provincial and local government of Guimaras and private tourism stakeholders. It aims to promote Guimaras as a safe and convenient tourist destination following the negative impact of the Iloilo Strait tragedy last Aug 3.

Isa sa ginatan-aw naton amo ang pintahan ang mga canvass kag ang sakayan sang mga tourist destinations sa Guimaras,” DOT-6 Regional Director Helen Catalbas said in an interview on Friday.

According to Catalbas, they will still consult with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), motor boat owners, and other stakeholders regarding the proposal.

“Kon maghumlad na ang trapal, konsultahon ta ang mga tag-iya, PCG, kag ang MARINA kon pwede ta na himuon nga canvass kay papintahan ta ang mga trapal nga na sang mga tourist attractions sang Guimaras, ina ya kon indi makapadugang bug-at kag kinahanglan ang gamiton nga pinta indi flammable, or fire resistant nga pinta,” she explained.

Catalbas emphasized that the proposed painting of canvasses and motorboats will only be for those who are willing to join the project.

“Wala ni pilitay, ang gusto lang magjoin sa project nga ini kay himuon ta nga sailing canvasses ang aton mga pumpboat kag tan-awon ta kund diin pwede pintahan kon sa sagwa, sa sulod ukon sa trapal,” she said.

The regional director said the sunshine effect of the paintings will be attractive and will project a very happy travel atmosphere in Guimaras especially for tourists.

Last week, MARINA already issued a memorandum allowing the use of tarpaulins and canvass in motor bancas with a set of specifications.

Pump boats are allowed to install canvass or tarpaulin with the following specifications: the height of tarpaulin or canvass should be 1.8 meter; the length should be 50 percent of the length of the motor boat; the width must be 80 percent of the width of the boat; and the angle of deflection must not be more than 15 degrees from the horizontal line.

Before this, Marina implemented strict protocols on motor bancas plying the Iloilo to Jordan and Buenavista, Guimaras (vice versa) routes following the Iloilo Strait tragedy which claimed the lives of 31 passengers.

The conditions were: all tarpaulins/canvass of motor boats shall either be rolled-up or removed; motor bancas shall carry passengers up to 75 percent of their authorized capacity only; motor banca operations are limited only to fair weather conditions; and boat trips are only allowed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Aside from the painting of canvasses, Project OLAP prepared a series of activities that will last for about one year for the purpose of reviving the tourism industry of Guimaras.

Last Friday, the project kicked off with a distribution of hundreds of colorful umbrellas to the motor boat associations plying from Iloilo to Guimaras and vice versa.

Ang katuyuan para mapabalik naton sa madasig nga panahon ang turista kag ang nadula nga income bangud sang sea tragedy sang August 3. OLAP because behind the clouds may ara pa nga nagasiga nga bright nga adlaw nga gina-symbolize sang colorful umbrellas nga gamiton sang aton mga pasaheros nga magatabok sa Guimaras. It’s going to be a one year of series of activities nga iconduct sa Guimaras para nga mangin attractive liwat ang isla para sa mga travelers,” Catalbas said.

The activities under the project OLAP that will undergo consultation are:

  • January 2020- United Colors of Guimaras: A Fashion Show
  • February 2020- Fall in Love with Guimaras: A Familiarization Tour for Travel Agents/Tour Operators
  • January 2020 United Artists of Guimaras: An Art Exhbition in support to Iloilo-Guimaras Paraw Regatta
  • March 2020- Launching of Market Day Tourism
  • April-May 2020-Support for Manggahan Festival
  • June-July- Launch and operation of sunrise/lunch/dinner cruises

“What started out as a mere quick response to the casualties and survivors of the Guimaras tragedy has now grown into a campaign and this is going to end on October 2020. Guimaras is one of the eight LGUs under the watch of DOT-6. Just like any other national government agency in the region, when one of your LGUs is suffering, the DOT cannot just sit down, relax, and watch your stakeholders suffer for an indefinite period. We have to do something, to get back what we have lost,” Catalbas said.