DOT support to boost ARMM tourism in Tawi-Tawi
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has vowed full support to the tourism program of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), particularly the “Cradle of Islamic Philippines” in Tawi-Tawi.
DOT Assistant Secretary Eden Josephine L. David said she shares ARMM’s “vision of showcasing the authentic Filipino” in the backdrop of Muslim Mindanao, and uplift the livelihood of its people.
David said she sees bright prospects for ARMM’s tourism industry. “With improved accessibility by sea and air connectivity via Zamboanga (find hotels), we can help develop and turn the area into a major gateway and hub for cruise ships,” she said.
The DOT official, who recently visited Tawi-Tawi, lauded ARMM local tourism department’s efforts under the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Vision 2025 and the Joint Tourism Development (JTD) Cluster is the development of the Philippine-EAGA (P-EAGA) Community-Based Eco-Tourism (CBET) Sites.
On behalf of DOT Sec. Wanda Tulfo-Teo, Assist. Sec. David assured support for the Western Mindanao region’s tourism development projects in line with the DOT’s “Go South, Go Mindanao” campaign.
DOT-ARMM Secretary Ayesha Dilangalen said a tourism plan set to be launched this coming June is geared towards enticing hotel and restaurant operators to provide basic services to domestic tourists.
“We are pushing for community-based and sustainable eco-tourism because we want our locals to be involved, as well as benefit from the visitors’ experience here,” said Dilangalen.
The ARMM official is also vouching for the faith-tourism to flourish, particularly in Simunul Island, where the country’s first mosque was built by Sheikh Karimul Makhdum, a site frequented by pilgrims from nearby provinces and neighboring Malaysia.
Also known as a sacred site is the Bud Bongao, home to holy shrines and tombs of the datus and Sheikh Makhdum’s followers.
The Sama and the Tausug, are known to climb to the peak to pray for healing and their children’s good health.
Tawi-Tawi’s emerging tourist destinations include Panampangan Island, which offers white sand beaches, palm and coconut trees and clear blue waters perfect for picnics, water sports adventures on its famous sandbar, the longest in the country.