The Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 2 closely collaborated with the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and the Environment in the Tropics (UST GS CCCPET) to calibrate the gradual opening of Batanes to the tourism industry.
The five month preparation was postponed successively due to climatic, manpower, election and flight adjustments. Through the initiative of Ms. Fanibeth Domingo, DOT Regional Director who oversees tourism in Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, the program ‘Breathtaking Batanes’ will finally take off amongst the municipalities of the archipelagic province namely Basco, Mahatao, Ivana, Uyugan, Sabtang ad Itbayat. Assoc. Prof. Eric Babar Zerrudo, Ph.D., Director of the UST GS CCCPET, conducted the Cultural Heritage Tourism Capacity Building Seminar-Workshop last July 11-15, 2022.
The seminar-workshop was held to orient the stakeholders on the fundamentals of heritage conservation and tourism and to develop seminal heritage-based tour circuits in different municipalities. The program was opened by Provincial Administrator Juan Caballero who represented Gov. Marilou Cayco. Other key representatives were Ms. Hegel Vallones (Provincial Tourism Officer), Ms. Ann Balles-Viola (Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member), Ms. Tessa Vargas Castillejos (Head of Batanes Cultural Council), Ms. Ruth Pacana (Head of the Batanes Contractors Association), Mr. Protogenes Galarion (Head of Fundacion Pacita), Mr. Byron Peralta (Sangguniang Bayan Member of Uyugan), Mr. Jack Lord Labrador (Sangguniang Bayan Member of Basco), and Mr. Jonel Villa (Sangguniang Bayan Member of Itbayat).
This seminar-workshop gathered an assembly of 40 Ivatan cultural heritage stakeholders. New areas of collaboration were raised throughout the assembly. The UST GS CCCPET will conduct the Church Heritage Seminar-Workshop to develop the faith tourism circuit of South Cagayan. It will also collaborate with the Batanes State College (BSC) through Archt. Syra Valiente, a CCCPET project alumnus, on the documentation of Ivatan houses, construction methodology and materials conservation under the forthcoming DOST NICER HEI network program. The Municipality of Sabtang will conduct a cultural heritage mapping project under the Center for possible nomination to the World Heritage Convention.