Leyte town seeks P200-M tourism road to draw more visitors

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TACLOBAN CITY: The town of Matag-ob in Leyte province needs at least PHP200 million to build roads leading to their key destinations to attract tourists from nearby Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town, the most visited site in Eastern Visayas region.

Mayor Bernie Tacoy, in an interview Tuesday, said the proposed road projects will open and improve access to Bondari Peak, a mountain range, and the caves in the villages of San Vicente and Bulak.

“We have created alliance with other towns to encourage guests in Kalanggaman to visit other nearby sites in northwest Leyte. We want tourists, especially those coming from Luzon to make their travels more worthwhile by visiting other destinations,” Tacoy said.

Matag-ob is just 19 kilometers from Palompon town center, the jump-off point to Kalanggaman Island. In the first four months of 2022, the island has welcomed 3,954 tourists, the most visited area in the region.

The first proposal is to open a road from Palompon town to Masaba Waterfalls in Matag-ob, a site close to the Bondari Peak.

Another proposal is the concreting of the access road to the 37 caves in San Vicente and Bulak villages, according to Tacoy.

The mayor said money generated from tourism activities will raise the income of the local government.

“In my first term, we focus (on) tourism because we don’t want people to pay more taxes. We need to look for more sources and we see tourism as a good source,” he said.

Bondari Peak is the most popular destination in Matag-ob town. During weekends, the site welcomes 200 visitors daily. It is a 60-hectare mountainous range between the boundary of Matag-ob and Villaba town.

Aside from its breathtaking views on top of the mountainous range during sunrise and sunset, Bondari is an ideal place for camping, hiking, bike trailing, and motocross competitions.

The huge cave in San Vicente, according to Tacoy is comparable to a basketball court, producing calcite minerals leading to the formation of stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave.

The town has 37 caves with some recently explored by local officials, according to him.

Matag-ob is one of the four towns in Leyte province that have forged an alliance to come up with a “circuit tour package” promoting their picturesque islands, breathtaking landscapes, and other natural wonders.

Other towns are Palompon, Isabel and Merida. The creation of a tourism circuit is essential to attain local community economic augmentation

Source: Philippines News Agency