Tourism chief: Siargao up next for rehabilitation

The Department of Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said they are now eyeing Siargao as the next tourist spot to be rehabilitated.

With the ongoing rehabilitation efforts of Boracay, Palawan and Bohol, Romulo-Puyat confirmed that they are now looking at Siargao as the next on the list. She said, “Siargao is next.”

Image by DOT via Facebook page

Romulo-Puyat shared that during the closure of Boracay last year, Siargao became a popular destination for tourists looking for surf breaks and white sand.

Last year, the DOT said 7.1 million tourists arrived in the country; an all-time high record even if top destination Boracay was closed for 6 months.

Romulo-Puyat explained, “It was because of the discovery of other destinations such as Siargao that tourist arrivals rose to 7.1 million in 2018 from the 6.6 million in 2017.”

The DOT chief said that stakeholders in the popular surfing site are “very environmentally conscious” and are following easement rules that prohibit building structures within a certain distance from the coastline on their own.

Image by Siargao Tourist Information Center via Facebook page

Romulo-Puyat is confident that rehabilitation efforts would not be difficult. She said,”I think it would be easier in Siargao because the stakeholders are very cooperative.”

A month ago, it was announced that Sugba Lagoon, one of the most sought-after tourist destinations on Siargao Island, will be closed for a month.

Alfredo Matugas Coro II, mayor of Del Carmen, said the local government decided to close down Sugba for a month starting last January 10 “as the area needs its well-deserved breather from the flock of tourists that has enjoyed the waters of the lagoon.”

Coro explained, “For one month every year, we allow nature to recover by itself. It’s more like a vacation leave, a time for the waters and its flora and fauna to heal as the lagoon is different compared to a beach.”