The Northern Samar provincial government is preparing local stakeholders for the influx of tourists to the province as the insurgency situation dwindled this year.
Local tourism officials have been undergoing capacity-building activities to enhance the municipal tourism development council’s knowledge of tourism concepts, relevant laws, product development, destination marketing, sustainable tourism, resilience, inclusive growth and tourism planning.
Provincial tourism officer Maria Josette Doctor said they continue capacitating local tourism stakeholders although some areas in the province are threatened by armed rebels.
“We should not sit and do nothing just because there is an insurgency problem in Northern Samar. We are making all efforts to promote our province and it is a good thing if we are declared insurgency-free,” Doctor said in a phone interview Tuesday.
The local tourism office has been posting photos and information about destinations in areas infiltrated by the New People’s Army (NPA).
One of these is the Lulugayan Falls, a 30-meter tall and imposing waterfall inside a dense forest in Silvino Lubos town.
To get to this magnificent beauty will take about 15 minutes trek from the main road just before the town center of Silvino Lubos, down to a narrow path of rich vegetation.
Another destination in town is Isla de Sulong, which offers a delightful experience of overnight accommodation in a tent to an infinity pool with breathtaking views of the mountain.
Recently, officials celebrated the completion of the bridge that completed the new road network leading to Silvino Lubos, a town previously influenced by rebels.
Also included in the promotion list is Pinipisakan Falls in Las Navas, Northern Samar, a four-layered waterfall. Near the falls is the Sulpan Cave, a five-kilometer-length underground cave chamber with giant stalactites and stalagmites.
Several clashes between government forces were reported in Las Navas, a town considered by NPA as a center of their armed struggle in Northern Samar.
The province is also known for historical places such as Palapag, where the first revolution against the Spanish government led by Agustin Sumuroy took place in 1649 to 1650; and Catubig, the place of the four-day deadly siege organized by Filipino guerrilla against American forces in 1900.
Some remote villages in Palapag and Catubig are still affected by armed conflict.
Northern Samar is the most insurgency-affected province in Eastern Visayas, where two active NPA guerilla fronts operate.
The military said although front committees 1 and 15 are still active, they do not control any village in Northern Samar.
Front committee 2, which used to operate on the boundary of Samar and Northern Samar, has been dismantled this year after the capture and surrender of some of its combatants and the recovery of several firearms.
The NPA front committee 3, which operates near the boundaries of Northern Samar and Eastern Samar provinces, has also been weakened after the series of operations by government forces.
The Philippine Army targets to wipe out insurgency in Northern Samar before the year ends. (PNA)