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Cagayan Valley and Northern Philippine Islands

In Quirino, have your “Basket of Happiness”

Looking for a never-ending joy and happiness from nature and man-made attractions? Find them in Quirino.

In this youngest province of the Cagayan Valley Region is a network of amazing caves that can provide exciting experience for amateur and connoisseur tourists and visitors. These are found in most of the towns of the province.

Starting from just venue for nature-lovers who come to while away their time with relatives and friends, enjoy the serene environment or simply to commune with nature, most of these beautiful caves now serve as suitable venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (MICE) events.

The provincial government, then on, introduced low-impact structures so as not to disturb nature and its environs. Access roads to these caves are now in place to facilitate the coming in and out of tourists. Through the Tourism Road Infrastructure Project (TRIP), a component of the Department of Tourism-Department of Public Works and Highways convergence program to enhance tourism access, the province was granted a total of 4.8 billion pesos from the national government. The road network projects have already been inaugurated and is now being used to the delight of tourists and local residents, Ms. Aurea V. Martinez, Quirino’s chief tourism operations officer, said.

More and more caves are being rediscovered and developed to add to the province’s list of natural attractions for tourists to enjoy.

For the tourism sports enthusiasts, Quirino offers its Governor’s Rapids where kayaking, water tubing, cliff diving, boating and swimming are their best.

At the Quirino Sports Tourism Complex located near the Provincial Capitol Compound, one can enjoy wake boarding, swimming, kayaking, camping, including fish-feeding. The facility likewise features a huge function hall for big events. Restaurant and accommodation facilities are right within the area for tourists and visitors to stay. Today, the sports complex has rubberized tracks and it has become a favorite venue for various sports enthusiasts’ events including Zumba fitness groups and joggers. Recently, the provincial government put up its first-ever Quirino Orchidarium to suit the discriminating taste of plant-lovers. It is located at the Provincial Capitol to complement the beautiful and state-of-the-art buildings and facilities therein.

Martinez said every town of the province has its own festival highlighted especially during the town’s founding anniversary. The mother of all festivals in the province is dubbed as “Panagdadapun Festival” which showcases, cultural and trade fairs, tourism sports events including bike race and funrun, concert, Laro ng Lahi (indigenous games), street dancing competition, parade and. Cultural programs, pageants, jobs fair, tree-planting, lectures and seminars on culture and heritage and others.

“We have been conducting various events as way to promote our province and entice more tourists to come and visit as well as to drumbeat our sports tourism events especially the Quirino Motorismo which is the only motor biking festival in the country,” she said.

Art exhibits have become part of the province’s events not only to showcase local artworks but also to encourage local artists to fine-tune their works of art. There are now a number of members of the IMAQuirino Visual Art Group. (IMAQ stands for I aM an Artist of Quirino).

“Our vigor and enthusiasm continue to peak to make our province the best that it can be as a tourism destination,” Martinez said as she cited the full support of the province’s leadership – Gov. Dakila Carlo E. Cua and Congressman Junie E. Cua and the Department of Tourism.

Recently, the provincial government, with the help of the UP-Planning and Development Research Foundation, Inc. (UP-Planades) completed the Governor’s Rapids Tourism Master Plan and the Quirino Province Tourism Service Center.

“The DOT regional office, with our assistance, have been conducting regular inspections of our tourism facilities as requirement for the accreditation of the province’s primary and secondary tourism enterprises,” she said as she thanked the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) for funding the re-branding project of Quirino to promote it as the next “Destination of Choice”, she said even as she emphasized that the Quirino Tourism Circuit has already been launched for it to realize its tourism brand as “The Basket of Happiness” tourists derive by visiting, revisiting the province, and staying awhile with Quirinians.

As reward for the efforts and initiatives of the province for keeping afloat the tourism industry, it garnered awards such as certificates and plaques of recognition for its Motorismo Festival (a Grand Winner Awardee), ATOP-DOT Pearl awardee for being tourism-oriented LGU in the Philippines, ASEAN Tourism Standards Award Statistics Compliant award, ISO-certified for its tourism initiatives and for its tourism programs and activities considered in the grant of the Seal of Good Local Governance for five consecutive times.

The worldwide health pandemic that likewise affected the country and the province never hindered Quirino and its people to continue working on the local tourism industry, taking to heart and mind the COVID-19 IATF protocols. Booklets on the health and safety guidelines in the operation of tourist attractions given by the Department of Tourism, Region 2 were distributed to all stakeholders in the province.

Those affected by the pandemic especially the prolonged lockdowns were assisted either by providing them with alternative livelihoods or helping them sell their agricultural and industry produce.#PR/RTFAN/#13

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