The provincial government of Ilocos Norte is offering free tours to its popular tourism destinations this Holy Week.
Starting March 24-27, government-owned “SIRIB” buses painted with red will be parking in front of the provincial Capitol from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to transport passengers visiting various church pilgrimage sites here and some tourism landmarks along the way.
Organized by the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO), interested groups and individuals who are visiting the province this week may avail of early reservation or just check the bus scheduled trips.
For northbound passengers, the route and stop over for at least an hour for every destination include the Bacarra church, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and museum and Kapurpurawan Rocks Formation in Burgos, windmills of Bangui and the public beach of Saud and then back to Laoag.
Southbound passengers may also avail of free rides going to the Malacañang of the North, Paoay sand dunes, the UNESCO-world St. Augustine church in Paoay, Ferdinand E. Marcos museum in Batac City, La Virgen Milagrosa Shrine in Badoc, Pinili tourist center and depart for Laoag at 6:00pm.
Also starting at 8:00 a.m., the SIRIB bus will be picking up eastbound passengers in front of the Capitol and transport them to Sarrat where they may experience the so-called Sarrat Heritage Walk all the way to the Sta. Monica Church located in this town.
After that, they may proceed to Banna, Ilocos Norte to try their zipline for a fee, visit the eco-park and tribal village in Nueva Era, have a stopover at the Dingras Plaza and Escoda Shrine and the newly-opened ‘Balay ti Dingras’ which houses traditional Ilokano lifestyle.
In previous years, the INTO again organized free rides for tourists to further promote the province as an alternative destination for pilgrimage during Holy Week and for new and returning visitors to enjoy the beauty of the province, even on a low budget.
For reservations, the INTO may be reached through this hotline number: 0917-550-0946.
Ilocos Norte tourism code, key to local tourism growth
The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) is urging all tourism-related businesses to adhere to the Provincial Tourism Code meant to strengthen and sustain the growth of the local tourism sector, said Xavier Ruiz of Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO).
Passed in 2012, the code seeks to be fully implemented this year as INTO have intensified its information dissemination over the past three years, added Ruiz.
The code pushes for a proper regulation and monitoring process which ensures that travel agencies, hotels, tour guides and other tourism-related facilities will offer the best products and services to tourists visiting the province.
The Provincial Tourism Code centers on the effective development of the local tourism sector, making certain that more jobs and livelihoods will be brought in the province to benefit thousands of Ilocanos.
Governor Imee R. Marcos earlier noted that the tourism sector has been the backbone of the development of Ilocos Norte, adding that this is why the province has a lot to boast for.
The past years have seen the increasing number of jobs in the province brought by the vibrant tourism industry as Ilocos Norte welcomed more than 1.6 million local and foreign tourists last year.
Marcos said that the industry is a “real job starter” which leads to the “inclusive growth” that the province is currently experiencing.
With this, Ruiz called for the cooperation of tourism businesses to prioritize their registration in accordance with the Provincial Tourism Code before the summer completely kicks-off which is the peak season for tourist arrivals in Ilocos Norte.
He also reminded them that a penalty will be imposed for those who will fail to go through the registration and other required processes.
“So far, we have only received few applications with three hotels, two travel agencies and one tour guide. We hope of increasing the number of application this coming summer which will result in the overall improvement of the local tourism industry,” Ruiz said.(PNA)FFC/LGA/JMC