Camiguin Island’s annual Lanzones Festivals launched on Sunday, October 18, as an online event amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Camiguin is among the top 10 island province tourism destinations in the country, with close to a million tourists visiting the province annually.
The 41st Lanzones Festival this year went online and continues to showcase the island’s iconic fruit.
The Lanzones Festival is a hallmark event in the Philippines, and happens every October. With the abundance of arts, heritage, culture, food, natural wonders, and of course, its sweet lanzones, Camiguin should have been the Island to be at this time of the year.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, halted all the grand plans for the 2020 celebration. With movements restricted and mass gatherings discouraged, staging a festival as spectacular as it used to be would have to wait.
Raking in the hype this year is the Buwahan (local name for Lanzones) TikTok Challenge where solo, duo, and family tiktokers show-off how to safely celebrate the festival at home. A first for Camiguin, the Aggama Ki Ta Paksoy Design Competition aims to bring fresh and contemporary expressions of the traditional wear called paksoy.
Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said that the island’s losses is expected to reach P2 billion this year.
“We only recorded 80 thousand tourists this year, that was in January and February before COVID-19 happened,” Romualdo said.
“We were expecting 900 thousand tourists this year especially during the peak seasons and of course, the Lanzones Festival,” Romualdo added.
During the Holy Week alone, close to 100 thousand tourists flocks to the island, known for its waterfalls, hot and cold springs, volcanoes, white sand beaches, and the famous White Island.
To reinvigorate the island’s tourism sector and its security, the provincial government is now establishing its own RT-PCR test laboratory, which is expected to operate before the year’s end.
Clean Camiguin Playbook
The provincial government’s plans are in line with the national government’s move to re-open the economy.
“The Provincial Government of Camiguin has established effective recovery protocols and developed meaningful action plans that optimize a holistic approach in its recovery efforts, way ahead of any reopening plans,” Romualdo said.
Romualdo said that the provincial government has established the “Clean Camiguin” protocols for the island to re-open to tourists.
The province created the “Clean Camiguin Pandemic Response Playbook 2020,” a compilation of essential guidelines.
“The Provincial Government of Camiguin’s banner program on sustainable and responsible tourism proves most relevant today as we prepare to gradually reopen our doors to visitors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Romualdo said.
The playbook consists of protocols on public safety; response actions to follow the national mandate on Test, Trace, Treat; adaptive measures and tourism new norms; public access procedures; guidelines for tourism related establishments as issued by the Department of Tourism (DOT); and a road map to a clean, resilient and sustainable destination. It aims to provide direction and guidance to host communities, business stakeholders, national and local government leaders, and tourists.
“We are carefully striking a balance between health, economic, and environmental concerns. This is to ensure that our transition into the New Normal becomes the heart of a long-term vision in keeping the island resilient towards global risks such as over tourism, climate change, and health emergencies,” added Romualdo.
Clean Camiguin affords visitors to the island province, known for its extraordinary ecosystems and pristine natural environment, a manifesto for the New Normal in tourism envisioned to be safe, secure, and seamless as it continues to provide authentic and meaningful experiences.
Tourism is a primary source of revenues and jobs in the island. – Rappler.com