Asturias restarts economy through marine tourism
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - August 11, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The town of Asturias, in the northwestern part of Cebu province, is leveraging on its rich marine resources to attract tourists, as tourism is slowly opening up.

According to Asturias Mayor Jose Antonio Pintor, although the town is a “late comer”, it is committed to grab the opportunities for tourism under the new normal times.

Asturias town opens up with Marine Tourism Cruise, Dolphin Watching and more ecotourism attractions, Pintor announced.

  The town’s first offering is the Marine Tourism Cruise and the Dolphin Watching which is in partnership with the People’s Organization of fishermen and the Asturias Beach House, a local resort in Barangay Owak owned by the former late Vice Mayor Alan Adlawan.

  According to Owak Barangay Captain John Carl Dupal-ag, there are at least 45 fishermen being tapped for cruise and the dolphin watching offering.

  “We officially started this when the Cebu Province was already under MGCQ (Modified General Community Quarantine), although we had dry runs done in the past to make sure that we can cater to the tourists well and give them a great experience,” said Dupal-ag.

  The Marine Tourism Cruise showcases three spots including the Coral Garden in Barangay Owak, the heritage sites in Barangay Looc which are the sea markers Balisang Taas and Balisang Pungkol, and the old mangrove specie present in Barangays San Roque and Langub.

  “Tourists can do snorkeling and kayaking in these areas for only P1,500 per trip maximum of ten in the group,” Dupal-ag explained.

  For the dolphin watching, tourists only pay P150/head and maximum of 10 in one motorized boat that will take them to the Tanon Strait where the dolphins feed in groups.

  Likewise, tourists can book through the website of Asturias Beach House. “We also have rooms here with rates starting from P1,500 single bed to P3,000 for barkada rooms.”

  Pintor said they hope to see more tourism activities in their municipality as it helps create more livelihood for his constituents and generate more income for the local government.

  “This is just the first offering and it has already helped our fisherfolks. Hopefully as we develop more of our ecotourism spots, we can help more of our people here through jobs.”

Asturias is not yet for tourism in Cebu, but they actually have the biggest lake in Cebu that transcends two barangays called Buswang Lake in Barangay Bago and Sta. Rita.

  At present, the local government has installed boardwalks in the area with plans to setup ziplines and other activities in the area to attract the adventurous tourists.

  “There are fish cages there now and a boardwalk and surprisingly we have seen tourists already visiting since the province opened tourism activities to the locals. Soon we will have ziplines and other activities in that area.”

  Aside from the lake, Asturias is also blessed with caves and natural springs including a hot spring in Barangay San Roque. Pintor said they will develop these attractions because they see its potential in driving economic activities in the locality.

  “We would also hopefully see more private sectors here investing in resorts, for one the Asturias Farms, which operates huge swine farm here as well as a modern slaughterhouse has already expressed interest in investing in a resort-type facility here and we will support that because it drives growth and creates livelihood,” added Pintor.

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