Paskuhan Village to give way to cultural-trade center
- Ding Cervantes () - June 18, 2003 - 12:00am
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — The long-mothballed Paskuhan Village here, reputed to be Asia’s only year-round Christmas theme park, is finally folding up to give way to a trade and cultural center.

Christmas lanterns are being discarded at the park built along the North Luzon Expressway here during the Aquino administration, to pave the way for its conversion into a "Philippine Cultural Village" for Central and Northern Luzon, said Ronaldo Tiotuico, Region 3 director of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

"It’s going to be not only a cultural village, but also one that could boost small-scale businesses of the poor," he said.

The new cultural village is slated to open this August with a series of activities hosted by the four regions north of Metro Manila.

The nine-hectare Paskuhan Village was built to attract foreign and domestic tourists, capitalizing on the reputation of San Fernando as the country’s "Christmas lantern capital."

However, it has been tagged as a "white elephant" for failing to generate income, especially after the consular office of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which issues passports, moved out about a year ago.

Before the consular office transferred to Clark Field, the Paskuhan Village used to earn a measly income from the P40 entrance fee from each passport applicant.

Except for parking fees, the new village would be open to the public for free. Stallholders would also not be charged, but they would be required to share 10 percent of their profit with the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), Tiotuico said.

"This means that even balut vendors now have a chance to do business in the new village," he said.

Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon, Tiotuico said, envisions the new center to be a "showcase of North Philippines’ history and culture, its array of colorful festivals and street performances, including indigenous arts and crafts, food and delicacies."

"It will be the venue for the region’s cultural exhibits as well as a trading post and center for culinary arts," Tiotuico added.

Jointly working on the Paskuhan Village’s transformation are the DOT, the Philippine Tourism Authority and Nayong Pilipino, in cooperation with local governments, regional tourism councils and private tourism stakeholders.

Tiotuico said the "North Philippines Cultural and Historical Village" would be an "important generator of jobs" by showcasing the "best of Central and Northern Luzon, Cagayan Valley and the Cordilleras."

He said the village will host weekly, if not daily, festivals and special events, regional and provincial "travel marts," trade expositions and food festivals.

The new village will have a museum, multi-purpose hall, a center for Capampangan artists and a house of prayer.

Among the festivals to be featured regularly in the village are the Pista’y Dayat, Viva Vigan and Bangus festivals of Region 1, the Pavurulun and Bambati festivals of Region 2, the Sinukwan, Tanduyong, Ilonggot, Malatarlak, Pawikan, Singkaban, Mardi Gras and Suman festivals of Region 3, and the Panagbenga, Gotad Ad Ifugao and Gran Cordillera festivals of the Cordilleras.

CAGAYAN VALLEY AND THE CORDILLERAS CENTRAL AND NORTHERN LUZON CLARK FIELD DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM FESTIVALS GOTAD AD IFUGAO AND GRAN CORDILLERA PASKUHAN VILLAGE TIOTUICO VILLAGE
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