By ROCKY NGALOB
TUBA, Benguet — Residents of Cabuyao complained about garbage and damage to crops left by tourists during the yuletide season in the area of Cabuyao.
An estimated 1 million tourists flocked Baguio city for the holiday season and a huge percentage of these went to visit Mount Cabuyao to witness the taping site of a popular tevelenovela show on a mountain setting in a Sitio La Presa. Actually known as sitio Pungayan, the place was transformed into a tourist destination for telenovela fanatics visiting Baguio.
While the transformation brought some or a periodical increase in livelihood to the residents of Cabuyao, it did not spare the area environment from degradation. Rubin Felipe a resident of the area who manages a pay restroom for tourists in the area said that the sudden influx of tourists brought income to his small business.
However according to Felipe, most tourists deliberately fail to dispose their wastes properly and simply toss their wrappers and leftovers everywhere or anywhere they choose.
Also according to Louisa Catalina the caretaker of the house being used in the said telenovela taping, narrated of tourists climbing over fences meant to delineate and protect plantations which, by the meaning of the fence, is off limits to strangers and tourists. Catalina added, crops were destroyed by tourists wanting to take pictures of the fields or the crops like strawberries and potatoes.
Hand written signages put up the area of the fictional Sitio La Presa instructing and reminding tourists or visitors the proper disposal of their waste. It is either these tourists were unlettered, disrespectful or without discipline because Felipe’s reaction was the signages “seem to have been ignored by most tourists”.
“After the peak last December, we were the ones who cleaned the waste strewn by undisciplined tourists,” said Felipe.
Tanods and a number of policemen were also deployed during the peak of visitor arrival to assist and to enforce order in Cabuyao but it seemed to have little effect, if not none. This because according to Felipe, some visitors appear to intentionally defy authorities’ orders by still scattering waste and going over garden fences despite of the authorities presence.
Some authorities were powerless against nagging tourists according Felipe. He even witnessed tourists shouting at authorities during the bumper to bumper traffic heading to sitio La Presa that happened during the peak.
Local officials however saw that incident as a point for evaluation because it was unexpected but it happened when tourists flocked to Cabuyao.
As Baguio City prepares itself for the annual Panagbenga Flower Festival which is estimated to lure a million tourists again. Residents of Cabuyao said, “We hope necessary adjustments will be imposed and initiated by our local officials soon to avoid the same problems experienced last December”, ended Felipe. # nordis.net