NIGHT CAMPING IN CALAYAB. Beachgoers enjoy camping under the moonlight at the Calayab beach in Laoag City in this undated photo. Calayab village chief Marvelyn Padayao said Thursday (Dec. 1, 2022) there has been a steady rise of visitors to the beach, particularly during weekends and holidays, due to its budget-friendly amenities. (PNA photo by Leilanie Adriano) 

LAOAG CITY – The long stretch of the Calayab beach, located about 9 km. from downtown Laoag, has been drawing local and foreign tourists.

More beach chairs and tables are available for rent and beach volleyball is open for all ages.

Several picnickers opt to spend overnight as they set up tents on the well-lighted shoreline while tanods or barangay police keep an eye on them round the clock.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Calayab village chief Marvelyn Padayao told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the steady rise of visitors, particularly during weekends and holidays, may have been attributed to the budget-friendly amenities being offered in the area, including the provision of free restrooms, a minimal fee for those who wish to take a shower, and a spacious parking lot.

Padayao said its village officials and residents take turns daily to ensure the beach is litter-free.

"An environment fee pegged at PHP20 per visitor is also being collected at the main entrance, meant for the maintenance of its surroundings and other facilities,” she said.

The first-term Barangay chairperson said they likewise formed a cooperative – the Sadiri ti Calayab Cooperative – to manage the collection of cottage rentals and other amenities.

Padayao expressed hope that the steady influx of visitors would continue to provide an alternative source of livelihood and uplift the quality of life of the residents in the coastal barangay with a population of 2,000.

To help micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs and further attract more visitors to the city’s various tourist sites, such as the Calayab beach, the city government is also inviting merchants to join a series of food fairs in the area.

With resilience, creativity, and a little help from technology, community-based tourism will surely bounce back during the new normal. (PNA)