La Trinidad tourism is alive
By Danilo P. Padua, PhD
Two years of Covid 19 pandemic knocked down the tourism industry around the world. It brought untold miseries to those directly involved in the industry. Its drastic effect, naturally was more felt in less-developed countries like the Philippines.
A resilient economy, coupled with the indomitable spirit of people, could certainly rebound from such a debacle sooner than most. That is now happening in our country.
It’s no wonder then that tourism in La Trinidad had sprung into life. It is now alive and kicking. According to Jude Yonzon, a staff of the municipal tourism office, tourism in the municipality had picked up 100%, or its status is already similar to the time just before the pandemic set in.
As proof, the La Trinidad tourism week 2022 had just been celebrated (Sept 26-30, 2022). Part of the Tourism week celebration include Tourism Summit, Product Fair, Musical Performances, Art contests, Exhibits, Forum and Tours.
The tourism summit program which was graced by the newly-minted DOT-CAR regional director, Jovita A. Ganongan and highlighted by presentations about Diversifying Agro-tourism, model for changing a community image showcasing Shilan Tourism, and another presentation of the experiences of Admiral Farm Park as it weathered adversities and rose admirably.
The Tourism Week celebration is really quite interesting as it showcased new things. A variety show was organized for the musical performances involving various cultural groups from the youth, the La Trinidad municipal employees association, and also the Wangal School of Living Traditions. The performances started with the old ones and gliding to the new generation dances and songs like hip hop. The youth singers and dancers performed KADARING, a tradition in La Trinidad “to invite ancestors to celebrate and enjoy with us”. Certainly this is a good way to give due respect to a tradition that could be further enhanced in the years to come. This could be introduced in a grander scale maybe during the Strawberry Festival?
There was an original song competition purposely for local tourism but the participants who submitted their compositions were very few so the tourism office decided to extend it so more contestants could be accommodated. Maybe there was lack of advertisement and promotion about it? Or, maybe very little incentive was being offered?
It is so nice to be treated with actual or live paintings by about 14-painters (men, women, kids) in the art contest. You can see their techniques, how they use colors and their brushes, their strokes, and how they color their works. You will be awed as their “masterpieces” come alive right in front of you. It’s a pity there were no audience on hand to appreciate it. Per Jude Yonzon, finished paintings will be exhibited in the municipal museum that is undergoing completion. I hope there is enough budget to finish it. Maybe, the concerned town officials could source out more funds from the National Cultural Center for the Arts (NCCA).
It was great to know that at least 15 tour operators from Regions I, II, and III came to discuss possible tourism business collaboration with La Trinidad. The group was coordinated by Mr. Enrique Esguerra, owner of the ESGALA TOURS.
Mr. Valred Olsim, the L.T. municipal tourism officer, was happy to relate that the operators appreciated the various tourism sites in the town that they toured. They committed to promote them in their tour packages.
This is the way to go, inter-regional cooperation in the promotion of tourism. This is one of the best ways to really upscale tourism activities. In the process, it will bring better economic opportunities and more livelihood choices.
The tourism office mentioned some of the new major tourist attractions in La Trinidad as follows: Newly-opened gardens such as Garden Nen Enis, and Dar Jane’s in Shilan, Dario Montes Sunflower farms, Living Gifts in Alno, Sadjatan in Wangal, Abong nen Romy, also in Wangal, Kiyomi’s farms, Mt. Tayaoan, and Rocky Mountain cafes where tourists can view the Trinidad Valley while sipping and enjoying the aromatic Benguet coffee. The strawberry farm, they say is still the main attraction. The La Trinidad Tourism Guide brochure indicates the other important tourist attractions, including restaurants.
Mr. Olsim intimated that their office is studying how to improve and make more attractive to tourists and participants, the four major festivals in the town: Strawberry Festival, Coffee festival, Highland Vebetable Festival, and Flower Festival (still to take off really)
With the assistance of councilor Belmer G. Elis, Valred Olsim, Jude Yonzon and Ronnie Domogo conceptualized and planned the recent Tourism Week. I gathered, Mayor Romeo Salda and Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan, gave their full support to the successful holding of the event.**