Sitio Pungayan, which served as the setting of ABS-CBN’s teleserye “Forevermore,” continued to draw more businesses and tourists in their small and quiet village.
As a thanksgiving event for the success of Forevermore, the network shared its plans to hold a concert on May 10 at La Presa’s setting, which is in Poblacion village.
Although ABS-CBN had not yet applied for a concert permit, but Tuba town mayor Florencio Bentrez was firm on his stand that he would not allow them to hold a concert in their watershed area.
“I have not received any request and I won’t grant it. It’s dangerous. Unsafe. It will draw too many people,” Bentrez said in a text message.
Bentrez also ordered their town’s licensing office to stop issuing permits to small businesses in the area.
Sitio Pungayan inhabitants and other concerned citizens were also unhappy with the thanksgiving event that would be held in their village. They then led a campaign which sought to protect Mt. Sto. Tomas watershed.
Subsequently, the group’s petition prompted ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation chairperson Gina Lopez and ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio to change the venue of the concert.
“Perhaps you are not aware that the area in question is within a critical watershed, one of the last forested areas in southern Benguet, which is an important source of potable water for residents and visitors of Baguio City, including downstream communities until Tubao and Rosario in La Union,” the petitioners wrote in their statement addressing the network.
“[The show’s popularity] continues to attract tourists by the hundreds to the area every weekend since late last year [and] the normal weekend crowd already impacts heavily on this fragile ecosystem, with the garbage left on the mountain and aggravated pollution of Amliang Creek; the trampling of young trees, natural biodiversity, and the crops of the local farmers; the traffic congestion; and the sudden influx of business interests,” the statement continued.
Last Saturday, ABS-CBN announced that it cancelled its thanksgiving event due to environmental concerns. The network also acknowledged the fact that ‘the quiet village has become a tourist phenomenon of sorts, transforming local businesses and attracting unheard-of levels of traffic,’ after it was popularized by their teleserye.