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Tourism commission lays out heritage walk package for city

By Debra Magallon-Estero

THE Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC) intends to develop a walking tour of heritage sites in the city as a tourism product that can be offered to local and foreign visitors.

“We will give the heritage walk a brand,” said tourism commissioner Tetta Baad during the 888 News Forum yesterday at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

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Dubbed as the Pasiyo sa Kabilin, the activity involves a walking tour to various heritage sites in the city. These include Fort San Pedro, Plaza Sugbo, the Magellan’s Cross, Colon Street, Plaza Hamabar, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino and the Cebu City Cathedral.

Pasiyo sa Kabilin will be launched on June 25.

But Jenny Franco, president of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas) in Cebu, said the group welcomes this development but the CCTC should look into the sustainability of the heritage walk.

“What is being done (to make the heritage walk) a regular tour and (to ensure) that there is continuity after it is launched?,” Franco asked Baad in the same forum yesterday.

To make it sustainable, Baad said CCTC will undertake several measures to help improve and standardize the activity.

The CCTC is planning to organize sidewalk and candle vendors, as well as horse-drawn carriage (tartanilla) owners or handlers, at the heritage sites.

Rehab sidewalks

The CCTC has also asked City Hall, through Cebu City Administrator Francisco Fernandez, to rehabilitate sidewalks where tour participants will pass.

Baad said the commission has also requested City Hall to clean and cover open canals at the sites.

“We also requested for lighting in dark streets,” she added.

Meanwhile, to assure participants of their safety, Baad said tourist police will be stationed in areas included in the heritage walk. “There will be police visibility,” she added.

Baad said tour guides also went through a re-training so that they will not just give standard answers to questions asked by tourists. “They should have a deeper knowledge of history,” she said.

In the long term, Baad said the CCTC will campaign for the passage of an ordinance that will help protect and preserve heritage sites in the city.

The ordinance, said Baad, should limit building expansions and require designs to conform to the overall look of the heritage site.

“This is done all over the world. In Europe, all buildings are done tastefully. They conform to a law (that) does not allow them to disturb the heritage nature of the district,” she said. She added that later on, a red trail will be painted on the streets that are part of the walking tour.

CCTC will also rollout awareness campaigns in the community about the need to preserve the heritage areas. The commission will also involve businesses in the campaign.

After its launch, Baad said all bookings for the Pasiyo sa Kabilin will go through the CCTC as the commission is also open to accepting customized packages.

“For a start, give us a two-day notice,” she said.

The CCTC charges $30 for a standard heritage walk, inclusive of transportation, entrance fees and service fees for tour guides.

For a minimum group of 50, the CCTC offers a package that includes buffet dinner featuring Cebuano dishes and a cultural performance at the Fort San Pedro.

Source: Cebu Tourism

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