Cebu is No. 7 in best islands in Asia
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Allow me to bring you a fresh positive news about Cebu’s tourism growth, when Cebu emerged as the 7th Best Island in Asia, according to the recent survey of Travel + Leisure. Call it unexpected, but thanks to the many new discoveries of tourism destinations ever since we started the Ceboom 30 years ago, when the late Anos Fonacier discovered a lot of tourism potentials for Cebu and later he also found the same things in the island of Bohol. This report had two other islands in the country that also made it to the Top 10 list – Boracay Island (9th) and Palawan (2nd), which also ranked second in the Top 15 World’s Best Islands.

Every year on the World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure said it asks its readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. I have no doubt that these readers visited many islands in the Philippines and rated our islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness and overall value. Travel + Leisure described the islands of Cebu, Palawan and Boracay as “longtime favorites, thanks to top-notch reef and wreck diving, white-sand beaches, hiking trails with waterfalls, and welcoming locals.”

Indeed, our tourism growth has been hampered by our serious lack of infrastructure like wide roads that decongest traffic. But with the return of Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, I know that solving the traffic problem is one of the things she would fix in her new term as governor. New Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella is also facing the same traffic problems and we expect him to find solutions to help traffic in Cebu City. As we wrote last Thursday, the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) is one positive infrastructure project that is expected to solve the traffic problem in Metro Cebu when it is completed in the year 2021.

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A few days ago, 25 people were injured and many homes, churches and other buildings were damaged when an earthquake measuring a magnitude 5.5 according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) struck towns located along the northeast coast of Mindanao and parts of Surigao del Sur at 4:42 a.m. at a depth of five kilometers. The epicenter was traced to Carrascal town in Surigao del Sur where the quake was felt at Intensity 6, as reported by Phivolcs.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Director Ricardo Jalad reported that most of the injured came from the towns of Lanuza, Carmen, Madrid and Cantilan. Most of the 25 injured were brought to the Madrid District hospital, while three were sent to the hospital in Tandag City. Phivolcs regional director Allan Rommel Labayog said the tremor was felt at Intensity 5 in Carrascal and Butuan City, Agusan del Norte; Intensity 4 in Surigao City and Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, and Gingoog City and Magsaysay in Misamis Oriental and in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur.

Phivolcs reported that Intensity 3 was felt in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur; Socorro, Surigao del Norte; Balingoan, Salay, Balingasag, Jasaan and Villanueva, Misamis Oriental; Pintuyan, San Francisco, and San Ricardo, Southern Leyte; and Cagayan de Oro City, while Intensity 2 was felt in Mambajao, Camiguin Island. That the quake reached as far as Camiguin Island and San Ricardo, Southern Leyte shows how huge that earthquake has been. At this point, we should be wary of possible aftershocks after the seven aftershocks reported by Phivolcs.

Once more this brings to mind the question of coming up with evacuation centers in each congressional district that I wrote about since Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (international code Haiyan). While this earthquake did not require schools to become evacuation centers, Congress should prioritize this especially in areas frequently visited by typhoons. I mean it doesn’t have to be done immediately in areas that typhoons do not pass through.

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Just when we thought that the approval ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte last month would no longer be beaten, then we learned that in a survey conducted from June 15 to 21, Pulse Asia showed that the President’s approval rating went a little higher, 88 percent and trust rating of 87 percent. Now is the right time to ask yourself if the ratings of Pres. Duterte were affected by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) who wanted to investigate the huge number of deaths in Pres. Duterte’s war against drugs. I gathered that this report emanated from the small country of Iceland, whose population was only pegged at 340,000! In short, there are more people living in Cebu City than the entire Iceland. Yet they want to investigate our war vs. drugs…a war that all nations have been fighting!

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