Isabela, 2 towns in Luzon, Visayas clinch top prizes in 2024 Tourism Challenge

Frencie Carreon

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Isabela, 2 towns in Luzon, Visayas clinch top prizes in 2024 Tourism Challenge

TOP PRIZE. Isabela City, Basilan Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman receives a symbolic check of P20 million from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. after the city government topped the Mindanao category of the Mindanao Tourism Challenge, while Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco and Isabela City Tourism Officer Claudio Ramos III look on.

courtesy of Tourism Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa

The three top winners receive a prize of P20 million each for their 'excellent' tourism project proposals

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. awarded Isabela City in Basilan, and the towns of Ambaguio in Nueva Vizcaya, and Tubigon in Bohol for winning the 2024 Tourism Champions Challenge on Monday, April 15.

The three local governments received a P20-million prize each from Marcos and Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina Frasco at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Isabela clinched the top prize in the Mindanao category, alongside Ambaguio, Nueva Vizcaya in Luzon, and Tubigon, Bohol in the Visayas. They were acknowledged by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for their “exceptional work and commitment” during the 1st Tourism Champions Challenge.

The local government of Isabela won in the Mindanao category for its project proposal dubbed as the “Lampinigan Sands,” which aims to develop infrastructure and transform a jetty port on Lampinigan Island into a leisure and tourism attraction. The objective is to turn the place into an ecotourism zone.

In the Luzon category, Ambaguio, Nueva Vizcaya secured the top prize for its proposed Ambaguio Skyport, which aims to establish the first local paragliding airport terminal in the Philippines.

Tubigon, Bohol emerged victorious in the Visayas category for its proposed development of the “Enchanted Ilijan Plug of Tubigon.”

Other winners in Mindanao include Davao City (2nd place), Island Garden City of Samal (3rd place), Tagum City (4th place), and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur (5th place).

In Luzon, the other winners are Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro (2nd place), Bolinao, Pangasinan (3rd place), San Jose, Romblon (4th place), and Oriental Mindoro (5th place).

More winners in the Visayas are Badian, Cebu (2nd place), Silago, Southern Leyte (3rd place), Victorias City, Negros Occidental (4th place), and Panay, Capiz (5th place).

The competition aimed to empower communities to champion Philippine tourism, carrying the theme, “Tourism infrastructure for greater innovation and new tourism opportunities.”

Fourteen local governments across the country won prizes, with five in Luzon, five in Visayas, and four others in Mindanao.

Local governments that ranked second received P15 million each, while third placers were awarded P10 million each. Fourth placers received P8 million each, and fifth-place winners were given P7 million each.

Marcos announced that the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), which provided the prizes, approved an additional P5 million for the winners.

DOT regional offices received about 98 project proposals from 90 local governments, all aimed at improving and advancing local tourism spots.

The project proposals were evaluated based on several criteria: resilience, inclusivity, and sustainable development (20%); alignment with the theme (10%); project objectives and their impact on tourism (20%); economic and financial feasibility (20%); sustainability plans (15%); and the quality of presentation (15%). –

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