‘SUROY-SUROY SUGBO’. Tourists enjoy Cebu's roasted pig (lechon) during the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo over the weekend (April 15 and 16, 2023) in the Camotes group of islands. Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco and Senator Robin Padilla joined the Cebu provincial government-organized guided tour as a way to promote culture and heritage in the countryside. (Photo courtesy of Cebu Capitol PIO)

CEBU CITY – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco and Senator Robin Padilla joined the Cebu Capitol-organized tour Suroy-Suroy Sugbo in the Camotes group of islands over the weekend.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Monday said 132 personnel from the DOT, led by Frasco, joined the activity to benchmark the best practices in promoting culture and heritage as the agency is gearing up for a nationwide tour dubbed as “Suroy-Suroy Pilipinas: The Philippine Experience.”

More than 300 tourists joined the second leg of the tour for 2023 branded as “Enchanting Camotes” formally opened on Saturday (April 15).

The guided tour covered Pilar and San Francisco towns on the first day and the two final stops were in Tudela and Poro towns on the second day.

As the provincial government’s flagship program aims to lure local and foreign visitors to explore culture and heritage in the countryside, Garcia said the “Suroy-Suroy Sugbo” has become proof that despite the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and Typhoon Odette, Cebu’s tourism remains vibrant.

Frasco noted the success of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program as a “model for tourism development nationwide.”

“So successful has it been that we in the Department of Tourism are benchmarking this in the form of a program that we are launching called the ‘Philippine Experience’ which, like the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, aims to give our tourists not just an opportunity to visit our key destinations but also our lesser-known destinations and emerging destinations,” Frasco was quoted by the Cebu Capitol’s statement as saying.

Meanwhile, Padilla, in one of his speeches on the Camotes island tour, said he thought of bringing his experience to his home province in Cordillera, as he pledged that his office is very much willing to fund its realization.

The senator lauded Garcia for the initiative and her determination and vision in promoting local heritage and culture to domestic and foreign visitors.

Camotes group of islands has a combined area of 236.36 square kilometers located in the eastern seaboard of Cebu, southwest of Leyte Island, and north of Bohol Island.

The island group, which is 34 nautical miles off Cebu City, can be reached through a fast craft originating in the capital’s Pier 1 or a Roll-on Roll-off vessel from Danao City. (PNA)