LEGAZPI CITY – Almost 54,000 local and foreign tourists visited the island province of Catanduanes during the observance of Holy Week early this month.
In an interview on Monday, Carmel Garcia, Catanduanes Tourism Office chief, said the tourist influx of 48,466 same-day visitors and 4,893 overnight guests, both domestic and foreign in the "Happy Island" showed the island province has become one of the top destinations in the Bicol region.
“We are grateful for the significant influx of tourist arrivals during the Lenten season and the long weekend here in Catanduanes, as revealed by the consolidated data from the 11 municipal tourism offices, accommodation establishments, and tourist attractions in Catanduanes," she said.
She noted that Catanduanes' rich cultural heritage is deeply rooted in its Catholic traditions.
Garcia said the province celebrated Holy Week with various religious events that attracted pilgrims and tourists, like Visita Iglesia (church visit) in the historic St. John the Baptist Parish in Bato town, and the miraculous image of Our Lady of Sorrows in Barangay Batong Paloway in San Andres, among others.
“This makes Catanduanes a destination like no other, where the blend of faith and nature during the season offers travelers a rare and cherished opportunity for a meaningful and spiritually enriching journey," she said.
Garcia said diverse attractions and offerings are major draws for tourists.
"In Virac, pristine beaches continue to be top destinations, as Twin Rock Beach Resort and beaches along the coastline of Mamangal, such as Sunset Coast, Mamangal Beach and Oliver’s Riff Mamangal Beach Resort, attracted visitors from different parts of the Philippines and beyond. Fleur de Lilies Glamping Farm and Yahay Farm also attracted visitors for its serene backdrop for leisure," she said.
In San Andres town, beaches and spring pools have emerged as popular destinations, with Amenia Beach, Toledo’s Hide Away, and Emmalyn’s Paradise Resort being the notable attractions.
In Caramoran, water-related attractions also garnered appeal, with Toytoy Beach and Awinis Falls being the top destinations.
In Pandan, picturesque landscapes and beaches have been the principal attractions while in Gigmoto, the magnificent Nahulugan Falls stood out as a prominent tourism highlight.
In Baras, the breathtaking highlands and captivating beaches enticed tourists such as Puraran Beach, the pioneer tourism attraction in Catanduanes, as well as Lampitaw Beach, East Coast Beach Resort, and the majestic Binurong Point.
In Bato, water-based attractions like the Sacahon Beach, Maribina Falls, and the recently reopened Carorian Wonders became prominent tourist choices.
San Miguel River Park emerged top destination for kayaking, water-tubing, and other river-based activities.
In Panganiban, Enerking Garden Resort emerged as a top pick for tourists who wanted to soak up the sun and enjoy the refreshing cool spring water.
In Viga, the overlooking Summit View Park remains a popular attraction among tourists who want to witness the early sunrise views and sea of clouds.
Bagamanoc town with its unique black sand beaches, became a magnet for visitors.
Garcia said the Provincial Tourism Office worked closely with local communities and other stakeholders to maintain a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.
"Tourist assistance desks were also established by the Catanduanes Provincial Tourism Office and other municipal tourism offices such as San Andres, Pandan, and Baras to ensure visitors are provided with necessary information and guidance during their stay in and visit to Catanduanes," she added.
In a statement, Governor Joseph Cua said Catanduanes’ tourism industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience and is making significant strides toward recovery.
“Catanduanes has once again proven to be an enriching destination for travelers during the observance of the Holy Week and long weekend. We are pleased to see the growing popularity of Catanduanes as a premier tourist destination, and we are committed to promoting and preserving the beauty of our island paradise," Cua said. (PNA)