Point-to-Point connections to and from Kiangan
By Anthony A. Araos
Being recognized as among the major destinations in Ifugao, Kiangan truly deserves to have a better deal with its facilities related to the tourism industry.
When everyone else puts importance to accessibility to a primary hub in the tourism industry, it then calls for immediate action on the problem of reaching Kiangan in the easiest and quickest time possible.
In line with this goal, I am advancing the idea of pursuing point-to-point connections between Kiangan and Manila as well as Kiangan to Baguio City, as it will be easier for local and foreign tourists to access destinations in this picturesque town.
Right now, there is no connectivity at all. One has to get off in Lagawe from buses negotiating the Manila to Banaue and Baguio to Banaue routes.
If you’re coming by bus from Manila or Baguio and arriving at the Lagawe area near the Ibulao River bridge (or the junction section) or the town proper at about 6 to 7 a.m., you’ll take a tricycle just to reach Kiangan- nearly seven kilometers away and it is quite a discomfort. For a hassle-free trip to Kiangan, why not consider Point-to-Point connections?
A point-to-point connection shall harness the potential market of leisure seeking foreign travelers. Precisely, the reason why you see European tourists flocking to Banaue and it makes a lot of sense. Ohayami Trans buses offer daily night trips servicing the Manila to Banaue route and vice-versa. Likewise, it shall provide more travel options and convenience for Filipino migrant workers from Kiangan and expand investment opportunities. Think about it, it shall largely lead to expansion of tourism, trade and investment opportunities.
All told, the point-to-point connections give Kiangan an edge in domestic and international tourism because most of its destinations can be reached by land in no time at all, without time-consuming transfers.
Point-to-point connection is not just about a bus company’s visibility in Kiangan through its terminal station.
Point-to-point connection is certainly more than that. It is expected to contribute to the improvement of convenience for tourists and increase in repeat visitors. What’s more, it promotes people-to-people exchange between the Philippines and another country. In rural areas as in this town, cultural and educational ties are enhanced by such exchanges through bilateral ties, as we have witnessed in the past. At the end of the day, this is beneficial to Kiangan as it will boost tourism by attracting more foreign tourists to visit the town.
To really boost tourism in this part of Ifugao, we have to provide better accessibility, safety and convenience to tourists. To the town’s new officials, here’s an essential advice: For Kiangan to catch up with Banaue in drawing a huge number of tourists it has to improve its infrastructure and connectivity. In many other towns and cities, radical changes have resulted from adoption of forward-looking strategies to invigorate the tourism industry. Thanks to connectivity, there is a daily Baguio to Mayoyao, Ifugao van trip and there is no need for one to make a transfer trip in Banaue.
The tourism program’s high success rate in the so-called “new destinations” identified by the Department of Tourism is due to connectivity factor. I’ve had some Kiangan officials say things like, “The plan of having direct trips to Kiangan from Manila or Baguio City will never go anywhere.” But I will never, ever accept that because the road there from Lagawe is already well-paved. If one bus company is not interested to operate these routes, I will never say that there are no other bus firms in the business. Speaking of that, I prepared a short list, and ended up instead with a rather lone one of bus companies in the main island of Luzon. Why don’t we look at it? “I will. Thank you so much for taking the initiative and making it look so possible at this point of time,” a friend of mine from Kiangan said. Great things happen when you act. The listing contains interesting information for all.
Let us make Kiangan accessible to the world. It will be easier for tourists from other countries to enjoy Kiangan, with direct bus services between this town and the aforementioned places. A point-to-point connection is a must to ensure that a visit to Kiangan is truly enriching and fulfilling.
Mountains, cliffs, forests and rice terraces joined together to present the spectacular views of Kiangan. Can you see and enjoy it without the trouble of taking the present route? Though we are not able to accomplish this in a week or three, it is possible to attain it just in time for the September 2 Victory Day program celebrations in Kiangan or the Christmas season.
Under the leadership of Mayor Raldis Andrei Bulayungan, the foregoing recommendation should be considered for there is clearly an urgent and compelling reason. I’m forwarding some papers to his office and the Sangguniang Bayan to broaden their outlook of this concern which could be use in legislative work.
Well, I have something to say about this to my friends in Garden City, Michigan when they visit the Philippines next year: “Kiangan is just a bus away from Manila or Baguio City!”
Kiangan is picturesque, historical and cultural. Kiangan’s got it all for the tourists! Let’s get it connected, once and for!
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP)- led by Vice Governor Glenn Prudenciano, and its members, should work together in support of the of Governor Jerry Dalipog because the Governor’s success is the success of the people.
Governor Dalipog, whose life is characterized by selfless service which impacts the lives of the poor, is known for his hardworking trait because he just can’t get enough for petty results to ease the difficulties of the less fortunate. He wants to work for the best interest of the widest majority of the populace. I am fervently praying for his success to address the economic imbalance in Ifugao. I’m hoping that his constituents finally see the day when poverty incidence is no longer sky rise and griping among them. As it is, Governor Dalipog needs all the support of the legislative wing of the provincial government. For one, the SP should infuse significant funds for farm improvements to encourage self-sufficiency. The SP should give top priority to agriculture, the backbone of the national economy.
The SP should also focus its attention on improving the conditions of coffee farmers in Ifugao. Many of them are poor. It is not difficult to address their problems. Legislated action is possible to ensure increased income for all coffee farmers in the province.
Thus, the need to empower coffee farmers and their cooperatives arises. In the past, I met some of them in Haliap in Asipulo town. Likewise, I engaged with some officers and members of the Hojap Multipurpose Cooperative of the same time. Notably, the cooperative’s head Shirley Togtog, whose leadership skills in elevating the cooperative’s status proved to be exceptional.
Being a major cooperative in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and top producer of coffee in Ifugao, the Hojap Multipurpose Cooperative should be adequately assisted by the SP, in particular, and the provincial government, in general. It shall be a rallying point in upgrading productivity among Hojap Multipurpose Cooperative coffee farmer members.
There should be an abundance of love and kindness for coffee farmers among the board members. All they have to do is first see their conditions. No wonder coffee farmers are in such a pitiful state. I am also hoping that Board Member Agustin Calya-en (head of the Tinoc-based Kalanguya Cultural Community Multipurpose Cooperative prior to his election to the said post in the last May midterm polls) around a turnaround should take place. The present and next generation will see the wisdom of Board Member Calya-en extending a helping hand to them as it is so vital now more than ever. Thus, Board Member Calya-en will not waste his vast wealth of experience at the cooperative world the Almighty Creator blessed him for a couple of years.
With the help and guidance of Vice Governor Prudenciano, I am confident that the coffee farmers and the Hojap Multipurpose Cooperative will be instrumental in harnessing the potential of the coffee industry in the province.
Increasing budgetary allocation for the coffee industry will surely have a positive long term in the life of every coffee farmer. Asipulo is a traditional coffee-raising ground in the province. Yet, it received little support from the provincial government.
There is a substantial and growing demand for coffee. Yet, the country’s coffee production dropped. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, output declined from 75,454 metric tons in 2014, 72,341MT in 2015, 68,822 MT in 2018 and 62,077 MT in 2017.
Today, we are already seeing some tangible benefits to coffee farmers brought forth by the Hopjap Multipurpose Cooperative. Ms. Togtog and the other officers of the cooperative have provided the kind of support that made it possible for them to undertake this task with meager resources and in a relatively short time- a chore that would normally require several years to work.
Something is indeed weird in Lagawe!. On another perspective, it’s also absurd to see water delivery trucks roaming around the capital town. Their companies are obviously making a lot of money. That means there is water shortage. Yet, this is already the rainy season. Why? One reason for this lingering problem is that most folks here don’t even know rainwater harvesting system and then essence of putting up catch basins and reservoirs in the main Poblacion area. Even if there is no water for 30 days or so, incredibly stupid folks are not likely to file a complaint. It might explain why the problem persists.
For our food delights corner: Originally located in Lamut, Antre Pizza has opened a second outlet in Lagawe, selling a wide-variety of pizza treats along the main highway at Barangay Poblacion West. It is a great place for take-out orders or simply dining out here. I strongly recommend mushroom pizza. If not, ham and cheese pizza is another good choice. Or go for the traditional Hawaian pizza. Coolers such as soft drinks and bottled mineral water are also available. There are also bite-sized food snacks for all ages from its Tokoyaki Street corner. Again, enjoy the food here each day of the week. One more thing, the prices are friendly to the pocket.
Finally, some thoughts for our readers: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, as the power of death shall not prevail against it.” Matt 16:18
“I lavish My great love on My children.” 1 Jn 3:1
“The presidency is not a lifetime position.” Corazon C. Aquino, first woman president of the Philippines.**