By Roi Lomotan
CANLAON CITY, Negros Oriental (PIA) – The city government of Canlaon takes steps to boost its eco-tourism program.
City planning Officer Doris Flores, in a meeting with the members of the Association of Negros Oriental Public Information Officers (ANOPIO) recently disclosed that Canlaon City faces some challenges in promoting its tourism destination and its eco-tourism programs.
Some development issues in tourism include the lack of investors, facilities and financial resources to develop potential tourist sites. The city government also has no tourism slogan as of now.
Flores explained that the city government prioritizes human development programs like education and health services that’s why it lacks funds to develop the city’s tourism destinations.
“These are the key development issues we encounter in Canlaon City. Nevertheless, we really strived hard (to promote eco-tourism),” Flores said.
Canlaon City is located in the northern part of Negros Oriental near the famous Mt. Kanlaon with a total land area of 16, 662. 59 hectares. According to Flores, the city is dubbed as the “Summer Capital of the Visayas” because of its cool weather condition.
“Many would contest this but it is just because in the history of the Philippines, Canlaon City got the title first,” Flores told public information officers.
Some of the tourist attractions of Canlaon City include Sudlon falls that features a 33ft. high waterfalls surrounded by lush flowering plants.
Another is Padusdusan Natural Slide which offers an adrenaline-rushing ride on the natural boulder slide filled with cool waters. Other attractions include the century-old Balete tree in Barangay Lumapao and the OISCA model farm which displays sprawling terraced riced plantations and man-made lakes and forests.
The OISCA model farm also is also a site to visit to learn some organic agricultural practices in the city.
On the other hand, Canlaon City also owns the 8% of the total land area of Mt. Kanlaon which is more than 24, 000 hectares. Majority of the land area is owned by the neighboring province which is Negros Occidental.
However, according to Flores, this is not a disadvantage to them because most people think that the city owns the whole volcano since they almost have the same name.
Makawiwili Peak is the perfect place to view Mt. Kanlaon from Canlaon City. Flores also noted that 17 out of the 55 endangered species are found in the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP).
As a response to the challenge of promoting these eco-tourism sites, Flores shared that the city government already made talks with the Department of Tourism for the construction of five viewing decks in the oriental side of MKNP.
The budget for this project is pegged at P140 million and will undergo the public-private partnership program of the government.
Aside from this, the city government also submitted a request to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) central office for the construction of roads going to MKNP.
The request was submitted to NEDA central office because the road project will cover some areas of Negros Occidental which is not under the supervision of NEDA-7.
Moreover, the city government also initiated Barangayan” project which aims to inculcate the importance of planting trees to the residents of the city living near Mt. Kanlaon. Residents are given incentives once they plant trees and they have make sure that the trees they planted will grow.
The local government also conducts capacity building to its residents to help them make “Bantay-Kalikasan” officers.
But more importantly, the city government is emphasizing environmental protection as its thrust on eco-tourism.
Flores explained the viewing decks for example aims to limit the intrusion of people in the protected areas of the forest. This is a way to protect and not to scare the animals with the presence of humans.
The city planning officer underscores that the city government believes that taking care of the environment is an essential factor in sustaining eco-tourism. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA website on Aug. 21, 2015)