BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Tourism (DoT) of the Cordillera Administrative Region is now geared towards developing a program for a community-based rural tourism (CBRT) as disclosed by Regional Director Purificacion Molintas during the first semestral tourism officers’ conference here July 24.
According to Molintas there is a demand for both domestic and foreign tourists for community tourism where visitors could integrate more on the daily activities of rural communities like in planting or harvesting seasons.
“Through the CBRT, visitors are able to know more about the communities’ culture and practices through participatory integration,” said Molintas.
One important aspect of the CBRT is the homestay program where tourists are encouraged to stay in DoT-accredited households instead of getting hotel accommodations.
“Many families are interested to open up their homes for this program and be accredited but there should be a community consent before one could be recognized,” said Molintas.
She added that one requirement to be accredited for this program is proper training like in the field of customer service, which the department provides.
Molintas cited the experience of Barangay Tinongdan in Itogon, Benguet as a model community for a barangay-level tourism.
Unlike the common practice where it is the provincial or municipal offices that manage the local tourism industry, Brgy. Tinungdan’s tourism is managed at the barangay level.
According to Tinungdan Barangay Captain Norberto Pacio, “this way we get to involve the people more and at the same time the income generated from this is directly benefiting them.”
At present, five households are accredited for the homestay program with a rate of P50 per night per person. Fees for tour guides and porters are pegged at P400 per day.
The barangay offers outdoor activities such as mountaineering in Mt. Ugo, which is becoming famous for climbers from as far as Manila.
The site of the Binga Dam is offered for picnickers. They are also on the initial stage of promoting part of Agno River located in their barangay for kayaking. # Cye Reyes