* Bohol town offers adventure tourism

Gestart door Kano, zaterdag 9 oktober 2010, 02:43:44

Vorige topic - Volgende topic


Bohol town offers adventure tourism

Inquirer Visayas 22:05:00

BOHOL, Philippines — Feel like flying over a 450-meter-wide gorge, or plunging 70 meters down into another 200 meters deep, or swinging over rocky wall cliffs with wind whistling in the ears in an adrenalin-pumping adventure?

This is the experience in Danao, an interior town in Bohol that now claims a big chunk of tourists who visit the province for a different kind of adventure.

Bohol has never failed to attract visitors the whole year round with its natural attractions, including Chocolate Hills, often considered the eighth wonder of the world.

They also just can't get enough of the white-sand beaches in Panglao, diving spots that teem with rich and diverse sea life in Balicasag, mountains and forests which are home to rare flora and fauna, rivers that have floating restaurants in Loboc and Loay, and falls scattered all over the island.

Danao, 92 kilometers from the capital city of Tagbilaran, does not offer beaches or dive spots, but its mountain ranges offer a breath-taking gorge, rugged terrain, a winding river and caves that make it ideal for an adventure trip.

Extreme adventure

To improve its economy through tourism and erase the stigma of being a rebel haven, the municipality led by Mayor Tom Gonzaga came up with "E.A.T. Danao," a tourism concept. "E" stands for extreme, economic and educational; "A" for adventure; and "T" for tour.

The "Es" define the kind of tour that one can enjoy at Danao Adventure Park in Barangay Magtangtang. Tourists can try Extreme Adventure Tour Danao, Eco Adventure Tour Danao, or Educational Adventure Tour. The first offers the most famous among the tourists which are the "suislide" and plunge.

The "suislide" is a zip line over the gorge in Magtangtang using a cable and a special trolley system. The tourist is fastened with a harness or into a seat and made to lie on his stomach with arms free to hold a camera or spread wide like wings or emulating a superhero flying over a gorge. Below is a magnificent view of Wahig River, lush mountains and white rock walls.

Crossing the 450-meter expanse allows one to experience the magnificence of God's creation in less than a few minutes. The trolley on the other side of the gorge brings tourists back to the park.

The plunge, or canyon swing, enables one an entirely new appreciation of life, but it requires courage. Being dropped into a 200-meter-deep canyon and swung from side to side within the 300-meter-wide gorge is not for the faint of heart.

The ride entails getting fastened to a seat harness and attached to a cable. One can hang upright or upside down, plunged 70 meters, swung and launched on a 100-meter-diameter pendulum swing.

Jerome Labra, municipal tourism officer, says safety checks are made daily on all equipment and installations. "We also have periodic emergency rescue training, not just for the park, but also for disaster management and calamity preparedness," he says.

The Extreme Adventure Tour also offers river tubing, Danao's version of river rafting in which inflated tire interiors are tied to each other for a "snake ride" on the Wahig. Kayaks are available, too.

In "root climbing," visitors grip on the roots of a "balite" tree in the 60-foot ascent. What makes it challenging is having to navigate up in wet sneakers as one has to wade across the river to reach the tree.

Bouldering, rappelling and spelunking are other treats. The park offers three caves declared safe for exploration by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The Kamira Cave, a 477-meter-long cavern that takes at least 45 minutes to explore, is home to bats and freshwater crabs, and to an abundance of stalagmites and stalactites.

To gain entry, one climbs down a rope to the cave floor. The cave is pitch-black without a torch. Exploring means wading through icy cold water, swimming underneath to get to the other side, and crawling to avoid destroying the stalactites. The Eco Adventure Tour involves river and mountain trekking, and biking.

Visitors on a 30-minute trek follow a trail lined with ropes on both sides to serve as hand grips and leads to a deck for a sunrise or sunset view over the mountain ranges and rolling hills, and to glimpses of Wahig River weaving in and out of boulders and crevices.

Another rendition, the economic tour, is a field trip to Danao's farming and fishing areas. Danao has set up an area for scientific and organic farming of vegetables and fruits. Farm produce goes to Danao Accommodation Center where visitors can stay overnight.

A homestay network has been set up for those who want a cultural experience.

Educational tour

A tour of the historic sites–Francisco Dagohoy Cave and Dagohoy's historical marker–is another treat. Francisco Dagohoy was a Boholano folk hero who led the longest Philippine revolt against the Spaniards. A native of the neighboring town of Inabanga, he used the caves and hills of Danao as his refuge.

Discussions are conducted on how to best preserve the town's environment, cultural heritage and sustainable agriculture.

"We get at least 90 percent local tourists in Danao. Marketing is directed to increase foreign tourists. May and December are the busiest," Labra, the park manager, revealed.

Ma. Weina Saguid, the booking officer, says about 5,000 guests were booked in August and 12,000 in July. Summer is the busiest season, with visitors reaching 19,000 in May.

The park opened in July 2006, offering spelunking and trekking activities. In 2008, it offered the "suislide" which brought in the visitors. The plunge was opened in 2009.

Then Tourism Secretary Ace Durano launched the place in 2009, which has since accommodated 250 tourists per day.

For information on how to get there and rates of tour packages, visit www.eatdanao.com.
Daar waar de regenboog eindigt daar zal ik nooit komen totdat ik daar ooit zal zijn