The Cagayan Valley Regional Tourism Council (CVRTC), in its unwavering commitment to boost local tourism and economy, held its second quarterly meeting in the municipality of Lal-lo, Cagayan on October 20,2023. The meeting was presided over by the newly elected CVRTC Chair Ruth R. Padilla, who has been instrumental in steering the council’s vision towards sustainable tourism.
The meeting was attended by notable figures including the CVRTC Vice Chair for Tourism, Culture, and Arts, Cecilia La Madrid Dy, and the Vice Mayor of Lal-lo ,Cagayan, VM Maria Olivia Pascual,who were both past Chair of the Region’s tourism council.
The CVRTC, a collaborative assembly of private and public stakeholders, is on a mission to develop and promote tourism as a significant socio-economic activity. The goal is to generate local employment, stimulate economic growth, and ensure that the benefits of tourism reach a wider segment of the population, with the assistance of both public and private agencies.
One of the key highlights of the meeting was the official turnover of responsibility and documents to the new chair of CVRTC, Ruth Padilla. As she accepted the role, Padilla emphasized, “This is a significant responsibility, and I am committed to fostering sustainable tourism in our region. Our collective efforts can create a substantial impact on our local economy and the lives of our people.”
During the meeting, Norway Saludares, the council’s Vice Chairperson for Tourism Marketing and Promotion, presented a project proposal for a film festival in Region 2, dubbed the “Tworismo sa Lambak Film Festival.” This innovative initiative seeks to bridge the worlds of cinema and tourism, harnessing the power of film to highlight and promote the Cagayan Valley region, famed for its natural beauty and cultural diversity.
Chair Ruth R. Padilla expressed her support for the initiative, stating, “Innovative and collaborative programs like the Tworismo sa Lambak Film Festival are crucial in showcasing the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the Cagayan Valley. They not only promote tourism but also create job opportunities, stimulate local businesses, and foster a sense of pride and ownership among our communities.”
The festival encourages filmmakers to explore the vast possibilities of the Cagayan Valley as a compelling backdrop for their cinematic endeavors. It also promotes collaboration between filmmakers and local communities, encouraging engagement with local experts, storytellers, and artisans to ensure authenticity in their projects.
Saludares cited the movie “You’re My Boss,” filmed in Batanes, as an example of how film can boost local tourism. The proposal for the “Tworismo sa Lambak” Film Festival has been referred to a committee for further study and recommendation prior to approval.
In addition to this groundbreaking initiative, the CVRTC plans to conduct a regional tourism expo next year, hosted by the province of Nueva Vizcaya. The expo, which is expected to coincide with the tourism month celebration in September, is another strategic move to promote tourism and stimulate economic growth in the region.
Following the meeting, the council members were given a tour of some of Lal-lo’s notable tourist spots, including the Sto. Domingo de Guzman Parish Church, also known as the House of Sto. Domingo, a significant landmark from the Spanish colonial period in the city of Nueva Segovia. They also experienced a ferry boat tour on the Cagayan River, also called as the Rio Grande de Cagayan, the longest river and the largest by discharge volume of water in the Philippines. The river, with a total length of approximately 505 kilometers and a drainage basin covering 27,753 square kilometers, traverses the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, and Nueva Vizcaya.
The tour also included a pass by the Magapid Bridge, locally known as the Golden Gate of Cagayan. This bridge is one of the only two bridges in the province that run across the mighty waterway of the Cagayan River.
Lal-lo, known as Ciudad de Nueva Segovia during the Spanish colonial period, was the seat of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia before it was moved to Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Currently, efforts are underway to regain its Spanish-era city status. Recently, the provincial government of Cagayan, under the leadership of Gov. Manuel Mamba, planned to make Lal-lo the provincial capital of Cagayan again, further highlighting the region’s rich historical and cultural heritage. /rmi
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