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The Natural Trail Trek in Baclayon, Bohol
« on: May 31, 2009, 06:21:21 PM »
By Sunday Post

Historic Baclayon was at the center of a high-profile activity, covered at that by national media,  when it opened its doors yesterday to the gateway of big-time tourism.

As a tourist destination, Baclayon boasts of its centuries-old church, heritage houses and whale and dolphin watching adventure.

A new tourist attraction called Nature Trail Trek is the latest addition to the town’s must- see places. This land  tour is complete with buggy rides, concededly the only one of its kind hereabouts.

Yesterday’s opening ceremonies of the Baclayon Tourism Center saw the presence of big names in business and the movie industry.

The occasion marked the blessing and turnover of the multi-million Baclayon Tourism Center funded by the benevolence of the cash-rich Ayala Foundation and Bezo Recreational and Aquatiic Activities of Bohol (BRAABO)

The guest list of the affair was a virtual who’s who in Philippine society.

Leading the pack was Ben Chan of Bench and German philanthropist Hans Schoof of Peacock Garden Luxury Resort and Spa.

Bea Zobel de Aylala, Jr.,  the benefactor of  the tourism center and his partner Joel Uichico in Baclayon’s tourism promotion efforts, joined actors Richard Gomez and John Pratts. Gomez’ wife Lucy Torres was also present to complete the cast of Bench models.

Lifestyle and society editors also came in full force. There, to cover the big event were Miles Roces and company, Oudine Santos, Karen Santos, Teresa Cecilia David, Marie Louise Barretto, Beri Revelindo, Marge Enriquez and company, Herwig Tysman and company, Chaco Molina, Geoff Rodriguez, Jinno Rufino, Tisha Silang, Gretchen Fullido, Louies Arsenio Lopez, Audrey Carpio, Katrina Holigores, Anton San Diego, Anton Mendoza, Maurice Arcache, John Jasper Lucena, Francisco Sarmento.

The guests stayed at Peacock Garden Luxury Resort and Spa and Bohol Coconut Palms Resort, all in Laya, Baclayon.

Provincial Board Member Yul Lopez and Bien Unido Nino Rey Boniel also attended the inauguration.

The new tourism center located in a reclaimed area at the back of the town hall serves as the latest contribution of BRAABO to Baclayon.

Mayor Alvin Uy and V-Mayor Marilyn Uy welcomed the guests and visitors.

Represented by Bea, Jr. as chairperson and  Uichico as director and general manager, BRAABO executed a deed of donation with the local government unit of Baclayon, represented by Mayor  Uy.

In the deed of donation, Ayala was cited for her charitable interest in the development and preservation of Baclayon and for having contributed to the LGU in the past through charitable and philanthropic acts.

The new landmark rising in Baclayon’s municipal hall complex will house a dive shop that will be run by BRAABO for a period of ten years starting from its opening date.

The center’s over-all operation will be managed by a tourism officer appointed by the mayor.

Baclayon, in return, can maximize the tourism activity center to enhance its potentials as a tourist destination town in Bohol.

BRAABO made an initial release of P4.1 million to fund the civil works on the center. Subsequent releases amounting to about P2 million stretched its cost to almost P6 million.

The first phase of the project covers the construction of the main building, while the second phase consists of the building of the storm quarters. Landscaping of the building site, a reclaimed area in the town’s “baluarte”, fall in the last phase.

As an add-on, the dive shop caters to those who want to buy or lease diving equipment, paraphernalia, gears and the like. It also sells souvenir items.

Uichico also proved the Pamilacan Island Tourism Livelihood Multi-purpose Cooperative lucky as he turned-over during the blessing ceremony, some life jackets, fire extinguishers, and first-aid kit to coop members who can use them in whale-watching.

Earlier, BRAABO had also funded the review of boat mechanics and operators when they applied for licenses with Marina.

Ayala and Uichico were also elated that Baclayanons appreciated their offer to help the local government unit develop the town’s tourism industry through the Baclayon Tourism Activity Center.

Gomez, for his part, said Baclayon has been lucky enough to have Uichico as adopted son who has big plans for the town’s tourism industry.

Meanwhile, Ayala Foundation vowed to provide a radar system worth half a million pesos for Pamilacan Island.

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