Issue of February 16, 2020
Mt. Province
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CAR LGUs cancel festivals, suspend tourism events
by Ofelia C. Empian

TEMPORARY CLOSURE -- This flower-filled landscape at the Haight’s Place and Sakura Park in Paoay, Atok, Benguet was affected by the temporary closure of all tourism sites in the municipality in response to the call of the Department of Health for local government units to take necessary precautions against the Covid-19. -- Harley Palangchao

Three crowd-drawing festivals in the Cordillera were cancelled while various local government units in the region have suspended their tourism activities due to the threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 or Covid-19.

This year’s celebration of the Strawberry Festival in La Trinidad, Benguet and Ayyoweng di Lambak ed Tadian of Tadian, Mountain Province was cancelled while the province of Kalinga had to forego the conduct of a grand event earlier planned for its Bodong Festival.

Mayor Romeo Salda of La Trinidad issued an executive order cancelling the celebration of the Strawberry Festival 2020 in March after the executive committee heeded the advice of the Department of Health urging the public to avoid participating and organizing crowd drawing events.  

The municipality of Tadian also cancelled its 12th Ayyoweng di Lambak ed Tadian celebration on March 5 to 8 after a meeting with its municipal health board, Department of Education, and LGU representatives.

In Kalinga, Gov. Ferdinand Tubban cancelled on Feb. 11 the remaining events for its 25th founding anniversary and 4th Bodong Festival from Feb. 12 to 14.

Tubban said it will be rescheduled to a later date after consultation with proper agencies while the main event of the Bodong Festival on Feb. 14 was conducted but with a simpler program.

The municipalities of Kabayan, Kapangan, and Bakun in Benguet; Sagada in Mountain Province; and Balbalan and Pasil in Kalinga announced that all tourism-related activities in their areas are temporarily suspended.

Kabayan closed all of its tourism sites, including Mt. Pulag, and suspended tourism activities effective Feb. 24, as Mayor Faustino Aquisan in an executive order urged all tourists starting Feb. 12 to Feb. 23 to declare their non-travel history to countries affected with Covid prior to being allowed entry to the town.

Sagada has clarified the mystic town is not on a lockdown but  all its tourist spots, except the privately-owned spots, are closed to the public.

Balbalan and Pasil also temporarily suspended its tourism activities. 

Baguio City also reset its Baguio Flower Festival with the grand opening parade moved to  March 21 and the grand street dance and float parades to March 28 and 29, respectively.

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