LIAN, Batangas — Matabungkay, a popular five-kilometer white sand beach situated here, is looking to regain its position as the country’s top beach resort and tourist destination in one to two years, according to its chief local leader.
Lian Mayor Isagani Bolompo said the local government plans to avail of a P75 million to P100 million loan from Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), half of the amount will be used to finance tourism initiatives.
“We will set up a tourism information office. We have already started social preparations, we have talked to resort owners here in Matabungkay. To become world class, people should be hospitable, respectful to tourists. And the tourists expect that they are well secured; we will set up CCTV (closed-circuit television) and everything… for the safety of swimmers and lifeguards,” he said in a PNA report of Leslie Venzon.
Bolompo said it also intends to fix the rates of resorts owners to avoid pricing changes by travel agents.
He said the barangay will also impose an environmental users’ fee similar to those of other tourist spots like Palawan and Puerto Galera in a bid to further develop the Matabungkay Beach.
To protect water quality at the beach, the Mayor said they will purchase a P3-million sanitizer that will clean the sand.
Apart from implementing these new initiatives, Bolompo said the barangay hosts various festivals and events that give reason to local and foreign tourists to continue visiting Matabungkay.
These are the yearly Balsa (bamboo beach raft) Festival and the Tour of Matabungkay, a cycling event participated in by 600 foreign riders like from Europe, United States and Australia.
Bolompo said Matabungkay will also hold a Halo-Halo Festival to attract more tourists.
Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert made out of mixed beans, fruits, nata de coco, among others, filled with crushed ice, milk, purple yam, leche flan and sometimes ice cream.
Moreover, Bolompo said that apart from the Matabungkay Beach, an added attraction of Lian municipality is the Talim Island located in barangay Luyahan which is being developed into a dive site.
Bolompo believes that tourism-related activities can provide livelihood opportunities crucial to reducing the municipality’s poverty threshold to single digit.
“There are investments coming in. One (investor) is planning to set up a five-star hotel,” he said.
Bolompo said these planned tourism initiatives are aimed to be completed in one to two years.
Matabungkay, one of the 19 barangays of Lian, is about 115 kilometers south of Manila that is accessible by land