Eco-adventures in Samal, Mt. Apo push for Visit Philippines 2015

Oct. 10, 2014

DAVAO CITY – Tourism officials will highlight eco-tourism and eco-adventure events in Davao Region in the second episode of its Big Davao Fun Sale, after shopping mall and hotel executives pointed these out as the actual attraction of the city and the region than shopping alone.

The two events were introduced on October 8 during the launching here of the Department of Tourism’s Visit Philippines 2015 with tourism, owners of hotels, resorts and tour services.

The region’s strengths on the new focus would be encouraging them to be done in resort Samal Island, just several minutes off the Davao Gulf, and Mt. Apo, whose eastern foothill is the venue of the annual Boulder Face Challenge.

The Visit Samal Islands campaign is a bid to invite foreign and local tourists to explore the white sand beaches, marine life and beaches in the island located 14 kilometers from Davao City.

The campaign, according to Tourism Undersecretary Art Boncato, aims to position Samal as “an island destination at par with Camiguin and Siargao”, both popular destinations for their islands and beaches.

Samal Islands also boasts of the Monfort Bat Cave, home to the Guinness Book of World Record’s most populous bat caves, and diving and snorkelling sites.

The Visit Samal Island campaign is now on its third year, and carried by the Samal Resort Association and the Tourism Council of the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos).

The International Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge is now on its eighth year, and would be held on April 25-26 next year.

Boncato described the boulder challenge as a “unique extreme game, more than a triathlon,” as athletes have to race across Mount Apo in 24 hours in four disciplines – trekking, mountain biking, white water tubing, and running.

The record-holder of the Boulder Face Challenge was 13 hours won by a team from Davao del Sur.

The event was opened for international athletes in 2012 which drew athletes from ten countries who are engaged in extreme adventure.

Boncato said they are inviting 30 teams of local and international athletes.

He credited local retailers and resorts owners for pushing the idea of eco-adventure than the shopping offer alone.

“We credit their input to the Big Davao Fun Sale. They told us that reasons why people come to Davao is not for shopping but for the great eco-adventure the city offers. That is why the Visit Davao Fun Sale will be a promotion of the whole Davao City,” he said.

The two events would be supported still by the Visit Davao Fun Sale, a takeoff from the DOT’s Davao Big Fun Sale last summer.  Boncato said they are repeating this event next year because tourist arrivals increased by 22 percent in this period.

The Davao Fun Sale is a shopping galore of big discounts. It would also offer feature tours in popular nature destinations in Davao City.

Domingo Ramon Enerio III, chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board, said they are eyeing the inclusion of Davao’s Kadayawan Festival held every August.

The festival’s showcase of indigenous tribes’ dances and cultures from Mindanao could make it the focal point of the DOT’s promotion in August.

“We have seen how this historical event has risen, and we ask the DOT to highlight this as a cultural event for the month,” Enerio said.   (Tyrone A. Velez/


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