What's inside Mindanao’s first Tourist Rest Area

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
What's inside Mindanao�s first Tourist Rest Area
This photo shows the interior and the exterior of the Tourist Rest Area in the municipality of Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon.
Philstar.com / Ian Laqui

BUKIDNON, Philippines — When traveling from Cagayan de Oro to Bukidnon or further going south, one can take a break in the Tourist Rest Area (TRA) situated in the municipality of Manolo Fortich.

The TRA is the first of its kind inaugurated in Mindanao and the second in the Philippines after its launch in Medellin, Cebu.

It was featured on the second day of the Philippine Experience Program: Culture, Heritage and Arts Caravans launched by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Northern Mindanao.

Located in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, the TRA is a 51-minute to one-hour drive from Cagayan de Oro City. It is open 24 hours.

The establishment has a pasalubong center or souvenir shop, comfort rooms, a breastfeeding station and a coffee shop.

The coffee being sold, which is said to be made from local Bukidnon coffee beans, costs not more than P100 per cup per 16 ounces.

Among the food offerings include butter cookies and pineapple tart which cost P130 and P150, respectively.

There are also banana chips, turmeric tea, coconut vinegar, tablea and coffee products being sold which cost less than P180 pesos.  

Aside from food products, the tourist rest area also sells different kinds of native jewelry. It also sells ginger oil which is said to relieve dizziness and motion sickness. 

In an interview with Philstar.com, Marie Unchuan, Regional Director of DOT Region 10, said that the TRA is beneficial for both travelers and tourists as it is like a “one-stop shop” for their needs.

“Because the Cagayan de Oro - Bukidnon route has been frequented by tourists, not only tourists but also yung mga travelers natin, it actually serves as a very welcome stop to them,” she said.

(Because the Cagayan de Oro - Bukidnon route has been frequented by tourists, as well as our other travelers, it actually serves as a very welcome stop for them.)

The TRA also contributes to the municipality’s economy significantly as its products are always sold out, according to the regional director.

“Nakita naman nung natin in terms of sales dun sa kanilang products, 'yun naman yata 'yung pinaka-malaking metric na tinitingnan natin. Nauubusan actually sila ng mga products,” Uchuan said. 

(What we have seen in terms of sales of their products, that seems to be the biggest metric we are looking at. They are actually running out of products.)

The DOT has so far inaugurated nine completed TRAs in the country. The ninth is located at President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s home province, Ilocos Norte last May 17.

Marcos said the TRA project of the DOT is a “good example” of the government’s whole-of-nation approach where stakeholders from the public and private sectors work together. He also said it is in line with the administration's push to make the Philippines a "tourism powerhouse." — With Rosette Adel

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