As part of the measures to develop a sustainable local tourism industry in Batanes, the Senate on Monday approved on the third and final reading a bill declaring Batanes as a cultural heritage and ecotourism zone.
Under the bill, the province of Batanes shall be given priority by the Department of Tourism and shall be subjected to the rules and regulations governing the development of cultural heritage and eco-tourism zone.
Sen. Loren Legarda, one of the bill sponsors, said in a press statement that while infrastructure and tourism programs in Batanes are underway, the importance of sustaining the province's natural and cultural heritage will still be a priority.
“The Province of Batanes offers an amazing landscape, composed of stretches of vivid green fields perched above a rugged coastline, rolling hills and a vast blue sky that seems to constantly reach out to the ocean,” she said.
For Legarda, the passing of the bill would prevent untoward impacts of unplanned tourism development in the province especially as Batanes has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of tourists in the past years.
“We do not want this pristine island group to be subjected to abuse and exploitation of tourists, whether intentional or otherwise,” Legarda said.
Batanes is famous for the hills, Marlboro and Naidi, which overlook the coastline of the island.
Some of the other sites worth seeing on the island is the House of Dakay, the oldest house in Batanes that was built in 1887 and the Mt. Carmel Chapel, which is a popular destination for weddings.
Another famous tourist destination on the island is PAGASA's weather station, which offer a 360-degree view of the island. —Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena/ALG, GMA News