The recent venture of the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Tourism’s (MTIT) in exploring tourist destinations in the island province of Tawi-Tawi is laudable. This is one program that we have appreciated. We know how rich is the Bangsamoro homeland in tourism attractions which are much better in some other ways than those found in the other regions of the country.
In its report on April 11, 2021, the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) said MTIT headed by Minister Abuamri Taddik, explored tourism destination in the island province of Tawi-Tawi.
The region’s information arm said the exploration occurred last March 24, 2021, and it is “aimed to conduct inventory and tour of some potential tourism sites and resources in the BARMM localities, being part of the area assessment and database building, as initial steps to the formulation of Provincial Tourism Master Plan (PTMP).”
The tour was initiated by the Bureau of Tourism of the MTIT in support for the development and promotion of tourism in the island province in coordination with the MTIT-Tawi-Tawi Provincial Office and its Provincial Tourism Office (PTO).
Among the places and sites toured by the ministry according to the BIO include:
1. The historical Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque in Tubig-Indangan, Simunul, built in 1380, which stands as the foundation of Islam in the Philippines;
2. The breathtaking Sangay Siapuh Island Resort, considered by many as the little Maldives of the South. It now stands to be one of the leading eco-tourism products of the “Tawi-Tawi to the World” slogan;
3. The South Korean-inspired Rubber Plantation—now a great potential site for eco-farm tourism;
4. The splendid Bihing Tahik Resort. Its name is local but its ambience equalled almost the best exclusive beaches in the world; and
5. The majestic Bud Bongao Forest Park—the province’s landmark that is a must for visitors to trek to as high as 1,122 ft. and 3,608 steps just to meet the friendly monkeys and see the beautiful scenery of Tawi-Tawi island from above.
While the move was laudable, it would be more appreciated if it will really go across the Bangsamoro region, and not only of exploration but of truly developing the tourism industry. Exploring is one thing, developing is another.
We know the Bangsamoro has unique and wonderful tourist spots. But to develop our tourist spots as a competitive industry is easier said than done. We know the success of tourism solely lies on the stability of peace and order which for decades is wanting in the region and given the day-to-day killings has yet to be achieved.
It is time the BARMM authorities exert concrete efforts for the realization of a truly peaceful community. Only then can tourism industry flourish in this part of the world. PMT