June 23, 2010
The Abatan River Community Life Tour as a new eco-cultural tourism destination in the province of Bohol was launched on June 23, 2010 at the Main Ecotourism Village Center, Salvador, Cortes by no less than Secretary Joseph Ace Durano of the Department of Tourism. Highlighting the big event was the showcase of ecotourism activities which include cultural collectives, bird watching, kayaking, trekking, camping, and the Abatan river community life tour.
The Abatan river which traverses the municipalities of Cortes, Maribojoc, Antequera, Balilihan and Catigbian, is bestowed with natural environment and unique landscapes, a place where Bohol’s significant history also took place. Hence, added attraction is the cultural tourism activities such as visits to historical sites and monuments, attending performing arts and other cultural events.
The component LGUs grouped themselves in order to sustainably manage the abundance of Abatan River. The formal convergence took place when these five LGUs signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2005 reinforced by the issuance of Executive Order No.19, Series of 2005 by the Governor of Bohol, Erico B. Aumentado, mandating the creation of the Abatan River Development Management Council (ARDMC) currently chaired by Hon. Roberto L. Salinas, the municipal Mayor of Catigbian. Other members of the council are the national government agencies, non-government organizations and peoples’ organizations.
In 2008, the Council has formulated and adopted the Abatan River Conceptual Master Plan which highlights community life tour as its ecotourism development strategy to sustainably manage the Abatan River. The multi-stakeholder approach in developing the Abatan River aims to encourage community participation in the conservation, preservation and management of the environment and cultural heritage in the area while generating income from their alternative source of livelihood.
This initiative embarks in complementation with the provincial government’s vision in making the province of Bohol as a prime eco-cultural tourism destination. This opens a huge opportunity in developing ecotourism facilities and services that would help meet the province’s demand due to annual influx of eco-tourists. Its eventual results are expectedly translated into augmenting income of the local communities and sustaining local revenue generation of the concerned LGUs. Most importantly, it also veers the tourist’s interest to experiencing the essence of eco-cultural tourism in the northern part of Bohol aside from the existing tourism spots.
The Abatan River Community Life Tour is a banner program of the ARDMC in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority (TIEZA), Department of Trade and Industry, the provincial government of Bohol with the incessant support from Cong. Edgar M. Chatto, elected recently as the new governor of Bohol. The Abatan River Community Life Tour is managed by the Project Management Office (PMO) lodged at PROCESS-Bohol. By JGE