Trips to the Cebu destinations of Bantayan and Malapascua are now available albeit with some limitations, an advisory from the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas said.

DOT 7 Regional Director Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said ferry operations in Bantayan have returned to normal a few days after super typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) wrecked havoc in the Philippines.

Tourists may avail of special trips to Malapascua, Montecillo added in the advisory.

The DOT, in another statement, said it is one with the nation in expressing its deepest sympathies to the families and victims of Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons that made landfall in recorded history.

It added it is focusing on ensuring the safety of tourists and focusing at the same time on restoring tourism income for Philippine attractions at the soonest possible time.

Philippine attractions

Since the towns that were severely affected are located in the provinces of Leyte and Eastern Samar, as well as a few places in the Southern Tagalog Region (particularly Coron in Palawan), tourism attractions in other parts of the Philippines continue to operate, the statement added.

Whether it is to visit the beach, go on a gastronomic tour, or take a historical trip, tourists may avail themselves of this and many other Philippine tourism activities, the DOT said.

The Philippines, it added, is “home to some of the world’s great tourist sites and adventures with its unparalleled natural wonders, spectacular beaches, world-renowned heritage sites, modern shopping complexes, rich biodiversity, culture, and history.”

Top Visayas destinations continue to be accessible through their ports of entry: Boracay Island through Kalibo and Caticlan, Cebu through the Mactan Cebu International Airport, Bohol through the Tagbilaran Airport, Iloilo through the Iloilo and Bacolod Silay Airports, and Puerto Princesa, Palawan through the Puerto Princesa Airport.

Cebu destinations

In Cebu, Montecillo said tourism facilities like resorts are in the process of rehabilitation, accommodation facilities are limited to 22-room Anika Island Resort in Bantayan and 27-room Malapascua Exotic Island Dive and Beach Resort. Both island, she added, are still dependent on fuel-driven generator sets.

The Philippines remains a safe and fun destination for all tourists, the DOT cited.

“Tourism continues to be one of the major contributors to the economy, playing a significant role in rebuilding lives and businesses in communities. We rely on our partners, both in the private and public sectors, to embark on initiatives that will help us achieve normalcy and sustain the tourism growth, particularly in the affected destinations,” the DOT advisory added.

Its overseas and regional offices are also on standby to assist potential travelers and those already in the country for travel information.

Local tour companies are in constant communication with their counterparts abroad to provide updates on the situation.

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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