At least four hotels will commence operation in the first quarter of next year to complement the influx of tourists visiting this “city in a forest”, City Tourism Council (CTC) president Felisa Torres said on Thursday.
Torres said the first hotel is the 100-room Sheridan Hotel of the Wyland Group of Hawaii.
The Sheridan, a five-star hotel, is located in sitio Sabang, barangay Cabayugan, which is near the site of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, an underground river reputed to be the longest known navigable underground river in the world, she said.
The three other hotels are the 80-room A&A hotel in barangay San Miguel, owned by a group of Filipino-Chinese businessmen, represented by Antonio Onghocgan; 68-room Microtel Hotel in barangay San Manuel, owned by Teddy Pena; and a hotel in barangay San Pedro, owned by businessman Engr. Tederico Teotangco.
”We are now more than ready to accommodate more tourists”, Torres said, adding that tourism players in the city joined the pronouncement of Mayor Edward Hagedorn’s readiness to go full blast on tourism promotion with the completion of some major tourism-related facilities.
With more hotel rooms, she stressed, they could accommodate more foreign and domestic tourists while they enjoy the different tourism sites in the city.
She said the city has introduced four new tourism sites.
One such is dolphin watching being managed by Barangay Tulingan, a group of fishermen living in the surrounding barangays of the bay, organized and assisted by the ABS-CBN Foundation to help in protecting the cetaceans.
Another is the Iwahig River, which snakes its way within the area of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF), also known as “prison without walls.”
The river is best appreciated at night due to its glow because of hundreds upon hundreds of fireflies and nocturnal beetles that during courtship produce intermittent lights from luminescent chemicals in their abdominal organs.
The third is the climb Ugong Rock in Barangay Tagabenit. The rock formation, which once served as home to a Batak family and a resting place to others who go to the mountains to look for food, is slowly gaining popularity as a worthy alternative side trip to visiting the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP).
The fourth is at a river at Sitio San Carlos in Barangay Bacungan, where a floating restaurant can be found and the half finished boardwalk, which leads to another lush mangrove forest.
Torres said they are set to open three tourism sites next year so that visitors will have more points of interests.
Previously, Hagedorn refused to attend any tourism convention abroad so he could entice more foreign and local visitors, but the city has inadequate hotel rooms to accommodate them.
Starting this year, Hagedorn is ready for a massive tourism promotion as he aims to bring in 600,000 tourists in three years.