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NAVAL, Biliran (BDEO) – The five-year multi-funded tourism road project leading to Ulan-ulan Falls in Brgy. Sampao in the town of Almeria is finally completed.
Even in the 1st phase of the said project, Brgy. Sampao has already reaped its benefits when the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) completed the road opening and concreting of 1.48-kilometer two lane road including drainage structure at Brgy. Sampao proper going to Ulan-Ulan Falls under its 2018 funding.
For what seems to be just a small village situated on a mountainous side in the town of Almeria, is now flocked with tourists and the developing economic activities of the said barangay.
Hon. Alberto T. Asumbrado, Barangay Kagawad and Chairman-Committee on Tourism of Brgy. Sampao narrated through an interview of how the said project booms its tourism industry, improved mobility of people and goods and generated income and jobs to its local community.
“Sauna man gud, trail ra to ang agi-an sa mga turista, mo-consumo tu’ siya ug hapit usa ka oras gikan sa barangay proper padu’ng ngadto sa among tourist spot area/ site. Karon dali nalang kaayo sa tanan tungod kay passable na siya sa sakyanan. Dili pareho sa una nga 2.5 meters lang among kalsada bisan ang motor ug multicab nga 4-wheels, maglisud kung magka-tagpo, so dako na kaayu ug kabag-ohan dire sa among barangay”, said Hon. Asumbrado.
(Before the project, the only access of tourists in going to the site is only through trail which consumes almost an hour of walking starting from our barangay proper going to the Ulan-Ulan Falls. Now that, we have this road, accessibility is now easier since it is already passable by vehicles. Compared to our road before which is very narrow with only 2.5-meters wide, we can now really see a big difference because before, even a small 4-wheel multicab and motorcycles can hardly pass through in an opposite direction).
District Engineer Ferdinand A. Briones of DPWH-Biliran said that the completed project under 2018 funding reduces travel time from almost an hour of hiking to just only 5-10 minutes travel through a vehicle ride from barangay proper and another 5-minutes trail down to reach the waterfalls.
From its start date on February 15, 2018, the project was completed on June 02, 2019. Later on this date, tourism in the town of Almeria began to boom because of the accessibility of the tourism site in Brgy. Sampao.
According to Hon. Asumbrado, one of the biggest advantages of the said tourism road is that it has generated income and jobs to the local community.
“When it comes to income, ang income namo dire ang nag-manage is ang barangay. Ang number one nga muhatag ug impact ani ang sa community pud kay gitagaan namo ug dakong balor ang kumunidad nga maoy mubantay sa site then ang sharing is 50-50. 50% sa barangay and 50% sa nag-bantay,” said Hon. Asombrado.
(We have agreed that sharing of income from our collection in tourism will be equally shared to the barangay and to the community managing the tourism site).
Hon. Asumbrado said that the 50% share was intended to help the local community to have the opportunity to earn just by guarding the tourist site and accompanying the tourist guests. He explained that this is done in a rotational basis to give others the same opportunity. The priority beneficiaries are those single parents and students of Brgy. Sampao.
He added that because of the developed road, many business establishments such as restaurants and resorts opened in Brgy.Sampao.
Moreover, the completed road project also provides a safer and faster transport of their farm-produced products such as palay, copra, abaca, root-crops, fruits, vegetables, etc. to the market centers in the progressive town of Naval and to the nearby urban areas.
“Dili pareho sa una kay magbaktas pa tungod kay wala’y sakyanan, karon daghan na sakyanan tungod sa nindot nga kalsada,” said Hon. Asumbrado.
(Now that we have a better road, transportation is no longer a problem, unlike before where everything is transported by foot).
“Dakong pasalamat nako sa DPWH nga nakahimo ug ingon ani nga proyekto,” said Hon. Asumbrado.
(I am very thankful to the DPWH for implementing this kind of project).
The construction/ improvement of access road leading to Ulan-ulan Falls is a multi-year project from CY 2018-CY 2022 under the Convergence program of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The project covers a total length of 7.5-kilometer concreting of existing gravel road and rehabilitation of existing concrete road from the National Road Junction (NRJ) of Brgy. Sabang, Naval, Biliran to Brgy. Tamarindo, Almeria, Biliran all the way to Brgy. Sampao, Almeria, Biliran where the Ulan-Ulan Falls is located. It has a total allocation amount of P228M including the DPWH Regional Office 8 implemented project under CY 2021 funding.
The completion of the 5-year project now provides a better road for more or less 5,000 residents in three Barangays in the Municipality of Almeria namely Brgy. Tamarindo, Brgy. Iyosan and Brgy. Sampao in Almeria town. From a bumpy and narrow existing concrete road, road users will enjoy a wider and safer travel.