The clustered villages of Hapao, Baang, and Ngulunan was the winner of the Search for Best Tourism Village among 28 participants.
Twenty-eight Villages participated and 12 reached the final judging. According to Department of Tourism – Cordillera Regional Director Jovita Ganongan, the participants that reached the final judging were thriving communities with various stakeholders organized in sustaining their villages as tourist destinations. Some privately owned villages that have no other stakeholders were not included in the final list.
Ganongan said, “the search was conducted to ramp up efforts in developing Cordillera as a major tourism destination north of Manila.”
Ganongan said this is heeding the call “to listen to our local and national partners and private tourism stakeholders to understand what are the enabling mechanisms that are needed to be improved in order to ensure that tourism development in the Philippines is not only limited to promotion, which is the DOT’s traditional role but more importantly – tourism product development, paving the way to making the country, the tourism Powerhouse in Asia.”
“Our forefathers are able to preserve and pass on our rituals, our songs, our dances, and our way of life. These are what breathes life and soul into our villages and communities. And we would like to capitalize on this in our pursuit of establishing community-based tourism across the region where tourism activities are community owned and operated, managed and coordinated,” said Ganongan.
Ganongas said that “community-based tourism is a sustainable alternative to ensuring that our heritage will not be exploited but rather appreciated, promoted and protected.”
“When communities take part in an endeavor, there becomes a sense of ownership that will permeate a sense of pride and empowerment. This will pave the way for tourism to become a major economic driver uplifting the lives of each member of the community while ensuring that our culture and traditions are continuously celebrated ensuring its continuity.”
Seven other villages received prize grants. Pidlisan Village as the second placer received Php 500,000.00 plus a trophy and token. Naneng Heritage Village, Tabuk City, Kalinga as the third placer received Php 200,000.00 plus a trophy and token.
Five villages are runners up received Php 100,000.00 each. These are Bila Tourism Village, Bauko, Mt. Province, Pasil Slow Food Community, Dangtalan, Pasil, Kalinga, Marag Tourism Village, Brgy. Marag, Luna, Apayao, Balbalasang Proper “Pasual”, Balbalasang, Balbalan, Kalinga, and La Diyang Haven, Tuba, Benguet.