CARCAR CITY, Cebu – The heritage city of the south gets a tourism boost after the turnover of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Tourist Rest Area (TRA) led by First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos, Vice President Sara Duterte, and DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco.
The turnover and inauguration ceremony was also attended by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, Deputy Speaker Duke Frasco, and Carcar City Mayor Patricio Barcenas, and TIEZA COO Mark Lapid and graciously witnessed by Senators Manuel ‘Lito’ Lapid and Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, Jr. last Friday, 27 August.
“As we ventured to fulfill our President’s vision to transform the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia, we made the effort to listen. We listened to our tourism stakeholders, we listened to our tourists, and their concern was common, and that is that to and from the beautiful destinations across the country, they needed a place to rest, they needed amenities, and they needed clean and decent restrooms,” Secretary Frasco enthused.
“Here in the heritage city of Carcar, through the tourist rest area, culture meets convenience. Through the tourist rest area, we can allow our tourists to immediately feel the love and warmth of the Filipino people, of the Cebuanos, through the amenities that we have to offer,” the tourism chief added.
The TRA, situated in Carcar City rich in Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-classical architecture, is the fourth completed facility and the second in Cebu Province that the DOT turned over to local government units (LGU).
To recall, the DOT earlier inaugurated completed TRAs in Medellin, Cebu; Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; and the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS), Davao del Norte last July 10, August 4, and August 18, respectively.
In 2022, upon assumption to office, Secretary Frasco initiated the groundbreaking and development of 10 TRAs in strategic locations nationwide. This initiative aims to enhance the comfort and convenience of travelers accessing the country’s tourism destinations, aligning with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s vision to elevate the overall tourist experience.
Enhanced Convenience for tourists
This tourist facility, catering to tourists traveling to and from Carcar City and nearby areas, offers traveler-friendly amenities such as clean restrooms, a charging station, a lounge area, a shower area, and a lactation room for breastfeeding mothers—all of which can be used for free by tourists.
The TRA in the 5th-class component city creates a convenient one-stop shop for festival delegates and patrons as well as travelers exploring the city rich in Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-classical architecture.
“We are very happy na isa kami sa mga binigyan, we are very privileged and very much thankful for all the support that we received from the national government. Carcar City has been called a heritage zone in Cebu at marami din ang mga turistang pupunta dito to see new things, pati pictures during Spanish and American period, and because of Carcar’s strategic location, it becomes a gateway to the South (of Cebu),” Carcar Mayor Barcenas said on the newly-inaugurated TRA in Brgy. Poblacion.
Completed by the DOT and its infrastructure arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the TRA also features a tourist information area and pasalubong (souvenir) center, offering local crafts and products, including banana chips, chocolate crunch, and Carcar’s famous chicharon, to empower the SMEs in the area.
Forging partnerships for more TRAs
On the sidelines of the inauguration of the TRA in Carcar City, Cebu, DOT Secretary Frasco signed the MOA for the TRAs that will be established in Bogo City and the Municipalities of Pinamungajan, Dumanjug, and Santander.
These additional TRAs are part of the initiative led by Cebu Governor Garcia, who pledged to match the number of TRAs turned over by the DOT to the province. The DOT has inaugurated two TRAs in Medellin and now, in Carcar, with two more to be completed soon in Carmen and Moalboal.
Moreover, a separate MOA was also signed by COO Mark Lapid for the promotion and development of TIEZA’s assets. The agreement is between the DOT’s infrastructure arm and the municipalities of Argao, Dalaguete, and Moalboal.
According to the agreement, Cebu will support TIEZA’s property marketing efforts via the Provincial Economic Enterprise Council (EEC). These high-value assets are anticipated to improve Cebu’s tourism portfolio and package deals while also generating income and employment for the province and concerned LGUs.
Meanwhile, the establishment of sisterhood relations between Cebu and Albay provinces was also formalized through the MOA between Governor Garcia and Albay Governor Edcel ‘Grex’ Lagman.
“We, in the Department of Tourism, fully support this collaboration between local government units cognizant of our President’s priority to ensure that tourism development thrives to strengthen collaboration and engagement,” Secretary Frasco said on the sisterhood agreement of the two tourism provinces.
These MOA signings were witnessed by notable figures such as Senators Lapid and Revilla Jr., Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Undersecretary Terrence Calatrava, DOT Undersecretary Tamano, and other officials from the provincial board and the LGU.
Participating officials in the MOA signings on the TIEZA’s assets promotion partnership included Pinamungajan Mayor Ana Jessica Baricuatro, Dumanjug Mayor Efren Guntrano Gica, Santander Mayor Marites Buscato, Bogo City Mayor Carlo Jose Martinez, Argao Mayor Allan Sesaldo, Dalaguete Mayor Ronald Allan Sesante, and Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron.
Pasigarbo in Carcar City
The turnover of the TRAs and the MOA signings coincided with the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo 2023, the showcase festival of the Cebu Provincial Government held at the New Carcar City Sports Complex where the Cebuanos’ demonstrated their deep affection for the country, as the performances embodied the DOT’s “Love The Philippines” campaign.
“The Pasigarbo sa Sugbo, is our opportunity to show the love that we have for Cebu, for the Philippines. Through our festivals that commemorate our culture as Cebuanos, we celebrate our faith in Sto. Niño and our respective patron saints, and herald the identity of every one of our local government units. All of you, our mayors, our officials, our dancers, choreographers, costume makers, and everyone involved in turning the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo into a reality, you give pride to Cebu. You give pride to the Philippines,” enthused the tourism chief.
“Through your dances, through your festivals, and everything that celebrates our identity as Cebuanos and Filipinos, you give the Philippines and the rest of the world all the reasons to Love The Philippines,” Secretary Frasco added.
The Pasigarbo sa Sugbo is expected to boost Cebu Province’s tourism industry for both domestic and international visitors and is one of the highlights of the Capitol’s 454th founding anniversary.