STA. TERESITA, Cagayan, Mar. 5 (PIA) — This town takes pride of the ecotourism potential of the numerous caves and cone karst formations as it highlights its Namunit Hills and mountains in this year’s 3rd Namunit Festival and 6th National Ecotourism Festival on March 7-13.
With this year’s theme “Tanap, Turod ken Kabanbanatayan, Kinabaknang ti Naikaparsuan, Ayaten ken Saluadan”, Mayor Lolita Garcia said the festival aims to conserve and preserve Santa Teresita’s natural resources.
Namunit Hills, which according to Garcia, is Northern Luzon’s answer to the Chocolate Hills in Bohol which she believes, are of great tourism potential just like the latter.
Since the town launched the festival in 2013, Garcia said the arrival of tourists here significantly increased citing that there were at least 20,000 tourists in 2017 compared to 7,000 in 2013.
“The festival has helped not only our municipality but the entire region when it comes to tourist arrivals,” Garcia said.
She said from an income of more than P2 million since the start of the festival, the town now claims over P15 million of reported income in 2017.
For the past years, the town had earlier featured the Laguna De Cagayan (formerly Bangalao Lake), migratory birds, Bakong (Hanguana malayana) and 54 caves, which according to foreign cavers are “world-class”.
“We have to go more aggressive in the coming years,” she said citing that Sta. Teresita might be left behind if it will slow down.
Garcia said considering the fact that Sta. Teresita is the youngest and just a small town in the province, it is incumbent for them to double their work in the promotion of their ecotourism industry alongside with its other resources and products.
On the other hand, Nida dela Cruz, municipal environment and natural resources officer-designate, said researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Museum of Natural History (UPLB-MNH) conducted an observation activity last year and came up with four species.
Dela Cruz said the update whether the four species are new will be presented next week to the LGU. (ALM/MDCT/PIA-2)