NAVAL–The local government here is eyeing more tourists to visit picturesque Higatangan Island this year with intensified promotion in a bid to make it one of the region’s top destinations.
Naval Mayor Gerard Espina voiced this optimism days after the first Higatangan Summer Festival, which had drawn about 4,000 visitors to the island with white beaches and exotic rock formations.
The island is also blessed with long stretch of coral sandbar, lagoon, a cave near the shoreline, an ideal site for sunrise watching, and a watch tower.
“The festival is a litmus test for our tourism and investment promotion in the town. I am more happy and overwhelmed by the turnout of people in the island,” Espina told reporters on Friday.
The local government held the festival on April 30 and May 1 with activities such as kayak competition, kite flying, boat race, body-building, mat weaving, beach volleyball, henna tattoo, beach volleyball, concert at the beach, and many more.
“We want to have a vibrant tourism industry in the town and for more investors to come to generate more employment for the locals,” Espina added.
The local government introduced a home stay program with a charge of PHP150 per person.
The mayor asked village officials to engage the community to help maintain the cleanliness of the island.
Higatangan Island, which is part of Naval town, is separated from the main Biliran Island by a narrow channel located in the north west tip of Leyte. The name Higatangan is derived from the word “atangan” meaning to wait for.
The tourist haven can be reached through a 45-minute boat ride from Naval port. The town is about 116 kilometers away from Tacloban City, the regional capital. There are regular trips to Naval from Tacloban and Ormoc City in northwest Leyte.