Governor Gwendolyn Garcia expressed her gratitude and delight as Cebu Province’s three-day reopening of tourism industry event in southern Cebu ended successfully, blessed with good weather and preparations of the host towns Oslob, Moalboal, and Barili.
“Before anything and anyone else, I would really wish to thank God for such a good weather, sa tanan natong opening. Even though, we were threatened by torrential rains kay kusog kaayo ang uwan somewhere else, but every time mo-open ta at 10 o’clock, the sky’s clear,” she said.
“I was looking at the weather forecast murag rainy gyud kaayo but when we arrived, the sun was out. Mura bitaw’g timailhan ba nga, even the heavens agreed with us that really, we have to reopen the tourism already, because so many lives have been negatively impacted by the closing of our tourism activities,” the governor added.
Garcia led the official revival of Cebu Province’s tourist activities, reigniting its tourism flames, which started with whaleshark watching in Oslob on July 31, followed by the snorkeling, island-hopping, and diving in Moalboal on August 1. The event ended with the launching of the ATV Adventure in Barili on August 2.
Prior to this, the governor conducted a series of consultations and dialogues with the different stakeholders from the national and local government agencies. She also issued Executive Order (EO) 20-A establishing the protocols for tourism activities, and EO 20-B creating the Provincial Tourism Task Force.
The governor emphasized the need to revive the tourism industry as this is the main economic driver of Cebu Province. She added that the reopening is not for leisure purposes, but for Cebuanos’ livelihood.
Garcia especially thanked Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho, who was present for the three-day activity. Cho brought along Cordova’s tourism team and her staff at the Mayor’s Office to do benchmarking, as they will be opening their tourism activities soon.
“Nindot kaayo huna-hunaon nga Mayor Techie Sitoy-Cho actually exemplified what I have been calling for sa atong mga Sugbuanon, magtinabangay ta. Kinsa pamay laing magtinabangay diay kun dili kita ra pong mga Sugbuanon,” she said.
“And by bringing mga 40 or 50 tingali ni kabuok nga gikan sa Cordova, it is such a clarion call for the other mayors, perhaps, to do likewise nga isig tinabangay. Nga, it is really time for us, Cebuanos to join hands and unite, because it is only in our unity can we prove that, yes Covid-19 is here but we have gone through other challenges as well and we have always prevailed. Why, because we are Cebuanos and we help one another,” Garcia expressed in a press conference on Sunday, August 2.
For her part, Cho said she will apply to Cordova what she had learned in the reopening of the tourism activities in southern Cebu.
Cordova town has so much to offer, such as its island hopping, diving, and marine sanctuaries, among others, she said.
Cho shared that because of the pandemic, they have lost so much.
“In one year, P50 million (the estimated income a year from tourism alone), karon may nalang naay P10 million,” she said, adding she hoped the Province’s reopening of tourism industry will continue.
Garcia described the diving in Cordova as “superb” as she reminisced her second dive which happened in Nalusuan Island. Her first dive was in Pescador Island in Moalboal with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004.
Meanwhile, Cebu Province will not yet allow free entry of tourists from Cebu City to its town and cities because of the two’s different risk classification status. Cebu City is under general community quarantine (GCQ) while the Cebu Province is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
“Unless ma-MGCQ sad ang Cebu City. We are just following IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) rules,” Garcia said. (Mylen Manto)