BALER, Aurora – The municipal tourism office here has expressed its readiness for the influx of tourists, especially this coming "Undas" and the holiday season.
Riza del Rosario, chief of the Baler municipal tourism office, said in an interview on Tuesday that traditionally, residents-students, friends, relatives, and families go home and visit cemeteries and memorial parks to honor their ancestors during the celebration of "Undas" or All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
They also expect local and foreign tourists to flock to this capital town of Aurora to spend their Yuletide holidays, she added.
Del Rosario said in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), they would implement a comprehensive plan for peace and order this coming holiday to ensure the safety of the people.
“The PNP will implement Oplan Kaluluwa and the additional manpower for security will come from the Philippine Army’s 91st Infantry Sinagtala Battalion, tanods, and other force multipliers,” she said.
She noted that security would be heightened in cemeteries, public transport terminals, churches, tourist spots such as the Quezon Memorial, San Doña Aurora house, Ermita Hill, Museo de Baler, Sabang eco-tourism area, and other crowded places.
Del Rosario reminded that every tourist/visitor shall pay a sustainable eco-tourism development fee (SEDF) amounting to PHP100 with a 20 percent discount to senior citizens and persons with disability under Municipal Ordinance 2018-035.
Exempted are children seven years old and below; residents of Aurora upon presenting either their residence certificate, voter’s ID, or any government ID; government officials who come to Baler to perform an official function; and visitors who arrive for scientific/academic research with prior consent and authority of the local government unit of Baler and upon presentation of a letter of endorsement or mission order signed by his/her agency head.
Del Rosario said payment for SEDF tickets may be done at the municipal tourism office, municipal treasurer's office, Baler transport terminal, Museo de Baler, and Doña Aurora Aragon Quezon house.
Meanwhile, tourist arrivals in this town reached 43,140 from January to September this year.
Del Rosario said the top five in the list of accommodations with high tourist arrivals are Costa Pacifica, Aliya Surf, Bay’s Inn, Carlito’s Inn, and El Teodoro Transient.
She said they expect the local tourism industry to bounce back in the succeeding months after the removal of restrictions brought by the pandemic.
“Promotion of Baler continues wherein we have a 2022 Surf & Music - A Pilipinas Surfing National Leg and Music Festival on October 26-31. We will promote Baler in Subic and Clark this November and we will be having a cultural show, band, and other activities this December,” she added.
Data showed that from January 2011 to September 2022, there was a total of 997,003 tourist arrivals in terms of destinations at the Museo de Baler, Doña Aurora House, Tourism Office, and Ermita Hill. (PNA)