CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, Aug. 4 — The city government here has laid out plans to develop Buri Island as an eco-tourism destination.
The crafted eco-tourism program will be centered on sports tourism and ecological protection but will be anchored on community development and sustainable eco-tourism principles.
As part of this plan, a people’s organization was created after several residents of the island attended a series of community workshops in July with the assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Dubbed as Buri Island People’s Association, the group is composed of individuals representing the sectors of fisherfolk, women, senior citizens, people with disability, and transport group from the villages of Estaka and Cabugawan.
The organization will be registered with the Department of Labor and Employment.
The group will be at the forefront in the implementation of the eco-tourism project in the island and will be assisted and monitored by the City Tourism, Culture, Arts and Information Office and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office.
“This initiative primarily aims to create alternative livelihoods for the people of Buri Island while instilling environmental consciousness and pride of home,” Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan has said on Thursday.
Buri Island, endowed with white sand beaches, is located 10 kilometers away from the city’s commercial district. It is connected to the mainland by an embankment that serves as bridge in crossing the sea.
Also located in the island is the Catbalogan City Airport and some resorts popular among locals.
Uy-Tan added that tourism development is a focus of her administration and one of the priorities is to make the city as one of the best tourist destinations in Samar Island and in the region.
Recently, the city completed the rehabilitation of Pieta Park built in memory of M/V Doña Paz tragedy victims, upgrading of lighthouse in Mercedes village, creation of a tour package around the city using pedicab, and participation in various tourism fairs outside the region.
Mayor Uy-Tan added that opening of two hotels in the city – the M Grand Royale and Alegro Hotel- also shows that their tourism industry is flourishing and local businessmen and investors are supportive of the tourism program of the local government.
Catbalogan, the capital of Samar province, has a population of 103,879. The city is 112 kilometers north of Tacloban City, the regional capital.