Cagayan Valley and Northern Philippine Islands

Benevolent Government Worker Paves Way for the Creation of a Tourism Officer Position

It is most likely that one works for his own betterment. . . first. . . with the end in view of desiring to help others. . . . soon. That’s good human nature.

For Ms. Maria Gloria B. Pagalilauan, the designated tourism officer of the local government unit of Solana town in Cagayan, it was a journey of a lifetime to work for the betterment of others.

Ms Pagalilauan was designated as tourism officer of Solana LGU in the years 2016-2021, while she was already filled with many other concerns such as supervising the local market operations, orchestrating community affairs operations of the LGU, and looking into the management of her main task as disaster risk reduction and management officer (DRRMO).

Despite formidable pressures coming from her main function as DRRMO, Glo (as she would fondly be called) made sure that she performed her duties as tourism officer according to the national system of standards for tourism.

Solana was never blessed with even just a single significant tourism industry, nor were the residents inclined to tourism endeavors in the past.

Glo must have been awed and inspired by the more tourism-oriented places she has gone to for either official or personal purposes. Back to her hometown, she realized there’s much potential that Solana has which can be developed for tourism purposes. The town has amazing hills, expansive farm areas, people are inclined to producing delicious “kakanin”, including coconut and peanut candies, cacao balls, exotic foods, plus the much-sought after Pancit. The town likewise produces sweet mangoes (Indian and native varieties), some high value crops and other agricultural products. It also has fish-farms from which products are for home consumption and for sale in town and nearby areas.

So, why not have Solana claim its share of the tourist arrivals from other parts of Cagayan and nearby provinces, Glo pondered. Afterall, the town is passed through when tourists and pilgrims go to nearby Piat, the home of the Queen of the Valley, Our Lady of Piat.

Today, the town has its own developed Solana sign landmark at barangay Maddarulug similar to the Hollywood sign landmark in California, USA. It is visibly located at the highest elevation of the mountain that one coming from Tuguegarao City is awed at its sight. Soon, the town will develop its eco-park near the Solana sign landmark. Works are now underway for the eco-park to become a recreational area that can attract tourists to come visit and enjoy its brand of tourism.

The town’s commercial area now features beautiful stalls. Banks, pawnshops, health and beauty spa and the established food chains are now in place.

A number of local residents with substantial land areas have started developing their properties into resorts and recreational areas.

It was only recently when the LGU had its Devolution Transition Plan for the years 2022-2024 that Ms Pagalilaluan proposed for the creation of a permanent position for Tourism Officer given that Solana is a first class municipality citing the provisions of RA No. 9593, otherwise known as the “Creation of a permanent position for tourism officer for provinces, cities and municipalities where tourism is a significant industry”.

Plans worked out so well and in due time that the town’s full devolution plan will now be implemented. President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed EO No. 138 providing for the implementation of full devolution as a result of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the Supreme Court.

Thanks, too, to the Joint Memorandum Circular of the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of the Interior and Local Government which provides for the guidelines on the preparation of the Devolution Transition Plans of Local Government Units.

Mayor Jennalyn Pagalilauan-Carag created the plantilla position for Tourism Operations Officer I of Solana and is now occupied by Ms. Jheremae Caleda De Polonia, the then LGU Human Resource Management Assistant who served the position for 6 years. Ms. Gloria Pagalilauan now serves her position as DRRMO full-time. (DOT 2)

Solana is blessed with areas that can be fully developed into tourist attractions. The Department of Agriculture – Southern Cagayan Research Center – Cagayan Breeding Station which is also a DOT-Acccredited farm site is located in Solana. #PR/RTFAN/#10

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