By John Noel E. Herrera
The Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) is expecting over 20,000 visitors from Iloilo City to visit Guimaras province this Holy Week, particularly on Good Friday, April 7, 2023.
CDRRMO Quick Response Team Division chief Darwin Papa said they based the numbers on previous data from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic halted all Holy Week activities.
Data from PCG indicated that over 18,000 individuals visited Guimaras in 2019 to experience and witness its different Lenten activities, including the famous “Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid” and the Worship Festival.
“Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid” is considered one of the famous Lenten activities in Guimaras that showcases the Guimarasnons’ interpretation of the passion and death of Christ.
“Pagtaltal” has evolved into a tourism-cultural attraction, while the Worship Festival highlights the unity among Christian believers in the province.
Papa stressed that many Ilonggos are expected to visit the island this year as the public has already missed the said activities and there will be no health and safety restrictions already.
The Iloilo City Risk Reduction and Management Council Emergency Operations Center has already been placed under “Blue Alert” status and the CDRRMO has already coordinated with the PCG, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and other concerned agencies for security and safety measures during the Lenten season on April 6 to 9, 2023.