Sambawan Island, Maripipi, Biliran. Philippines. Photo by Che Ann Parilla

By: Rodrigo S. Victoria

NAVAL, Biliran– The natural underwater beauty of the most sought after tourist destination in the province of Biliran which is the Sambawan Island Dive Camp and Beach Resort, will be more appreciated with the proposal of the tourism department to train snorkelling guides for the area.

Sambawan Island, Maripipi, Biliran. Philippines. Photo by Che Ann Parilla
Sambawan Island, Maripipi, Biliran. Philippines. Photo by Che Ann Parilla

Recently, the regional office of the Department of Tourism in Eastern Visayas in coordination with the Biliran provincial tourism and information office (BPTIO) commissioned the Blue Water Consultancy and Training Services to assess and evaluate the highly valuable community-based tourism product in the municipalities of Maripipi, Kawayan, Almeria, Naval and Cabucgayan.

Luis Mencias and Alex Amable of the Blue Water Consultancy and Training Services together with Patrick Steven Buena, the tourism development area (TDA) manager for Biliran province and some staff of BPTIO started the three-day per town assessment and evaluation of the tourist attractions to be given focus of the five identified towns in Biliran province which started in Maripipi on June 9, 2015.

In a meeting with Sonia Alavera, local civil registrar who is also the designated tourism officer; Marianito Atiga, committee chairman on tourism of SB-Maripipi and Nestor Macorol, private developer of Sambawan Dive Camp and Beach Resort, all of Maripipi, and Buena of DOT 8, Mencias proposed the training on snorkelling guide for Sambawan Island Dive Camp and Beach Resort.

Mencias presented to the group the conduct of a six-day training on snorkelling guide for Sambawan and other identified dive sites in Maripipi town.

Mencias who has 20 years of diving experience and a former expert of the Philippine Commission for Scuba Sports Diving, said that the proposed training on snorkelling guide is open to all Maripipinhons who are interested and willing to undergo the whole day training within six days.

Qualifications required for a trainee are the following: 18 years old and above, physically fit and able to read and write, Mencias enumerated.

He proposed to train at least a maximum of 24 persons for the six-day training on snorkelling guide which he suggested will be given subsidy while they are on training since they will be out in their livelihood.

The trainees on snorkelling guide will also be taught on Buhay Dagat, a holistic concept on how to help preserve the biodiversity of marine life which is the main source of the tourism industry in the area.

In an earlier interview, Biliran Governor Gerardo J, Espina, Jr. promised to allocate a bigger fund for next year to further promote and develop the province’ tourism industry especially that many local and foreign tourists have already took notice of some tourist destinations in the province especially the Sambawan Island Dive Camp and Beach Resort which was recently featured on the front page in one of the national broadsheets in the country. (fj/PIA 8 Biliran)

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