STA. MARCELA, Apayao Our beloved province is already a full grown lady, it is time to parade her beauty.
This is the key statement of Governor Elias C. Bulut, Jr. during Sta. Marcela’s own version of celebrating the 24th Founding Anniversary of Apayao that coincided with the unveiling of the monument of his late father, Hon. Elias K. Bulut (EKB) at the Bacut Lake Tourism Complex and Nature Park here.
Bulut in their plan to boost the tourism industry compared the province to a pristine lady ready to be introduced and be known to other places and to foreigners due to its vast virgin forest still intact popularly known as the “last forest frontier of the North.”
“Ti probinsiya tayo ket kasla balasang nga lumaslasbang. Masapul na met ti agpapintasen tapno maamwan ken makita ti kaaduan (Our province is like a lady, getting prettier. She also needs to groom herself for others to know and see her).
The celebration of the 24th founding anniversary of Apayao came with a twist as the usual one-week festivity featuring float and dance parade, “Dayag ti Apayao” pageantry, agro-fair and other lined-up activities in a particular place were temporarily set aside to give way to the celebration by all municipalities scheduled in different dates with the introduction of one possible tourism destination and/or a park to be visited.
According to Bulut who will be the next Representative of the Province, there is a need for the leaders to come together and plan what would be the next programs and projects in line with the need to sustain the upsurge of economy of the province.
“We have to seat down after election and plan. Let’s unite and lay good programs for the next 10 years for our province,” Bulut said.
Cong. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang accepted the challenge as the next governor and vowed to sustain or even improve the valuable works of the current administration steered by her brother. In promoting the tourism industry, Cong. Leah centered in the need to protect and preserve the environment.
“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cannot do it alone. We need to contribute in the reforestation as every resident of Apayao has the responsibility of protecting the environment,” Cong. Leah underscored.
The representative of lone district of Apayao also expressed her concern on how to sustain the waters of the Bacut Lake, a man-made lake which was envisioned by Hon. EKB to be a prime tourist destination of Apayao. She dared barangay officials including the Sanguniang Kabataan to participate in the preservation of the natural resources by enacting laws in their barangays prohibiting the cutting of trees.
The celebration of this year’s founding anniversary with the theme, “Apayao @ 24: Harnessing inclusive growth building resiliency and promoting cultural legacy through tourism” highlighted the discovery of tourist spots which the Bulut sibling and other local leaders had brave to trek. In Kabugao, they visited the Gololan Falls and the EKB Memorial Park at Brgy. Calliat. on February 10.
In the Municipality of Conner, the Bellang Cave and Blue Lagoon at Sitio Liwan, Barangay Ili was introduced. In Pudtol, the people were mesmerized by the replicas of prominent tourist spots displayed in the Municipal Hall and also enjoyed the fresh water of the Hutungan Hidden Paradise.
For Luna, the blessing and turn-over ceremony of the Tourist Information Center at Barangay Quirino was made along with the blessing and inauguration of the new Municipal Agriculture Office Building at Poblacion before going to the Bayugao Falls.
In Flora, the celebration started with a motorcade featuring the concretized road going to the inner most part of the municipality. Then a cook fest ensued afterwards at the Ardo Park which Gov. Bulut pledged to give funds for its improvement during his first term in the congress. Meanwhile in Sta. Marcela, it conducted a fashion show after the unveiling of the EKB Monument.
Mayor Rolly Guiang expressed her gratitude to the leaders of Apayao for attending the occasion particularly the late EKB having envisioned Sta. Marcela’s Bacut lake not only a provider of water for farmers but also a tourist destination.
“Dakkel unay nga panagyaman ko nga adda tao nga nangitakder tapno maragpat tayo ti kasasaad tayo ita. Agyaman tayo ti banwar tayo a ni Apo EKB (I am much indebted for the person who bravely stood just to get where we are now. Let’s thank our hero EKB),” Guiang added.
BY GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN