The Department of Tourism has conducted inspection on the condition of the Kalabato hot spring located in Barangay Bocawon, La Paz, Leyte which is being promoted by the local government as one of its tourism draws. (DOT-8)

LA PAZ Leyte – A newly-identified tourism destination of this town is sure to attract more tourists with the completion of a road network connecting it to the center of this town.
The construction of the road network leading to Kalabato Hot Spring, located in Barangay Bocawon, was made possible through the Tourism Road Infrastructure Projects (TRIP), a project convergence between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
TRIP promotes rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and community-based tourism covering road projects leading to airports and seaports and tourism destinations that will further boost tourism development.
The hot spring Brgy. Bocawon, which is within the area covered by the Mahagnao Volcano National Park, a protected area encompassing 635 hectares land area from this town to Burauen and McArthur, is about eight kms away from the town center.
Kalabato is a rock-like formation that got its name from the hot water that springs out at its top with a shape similar to a “kalabasa” or squash and “bato” or stone, thus its name.
These geologic formations line at the bank of Gimiranat River by the foot of Mt Malacagang in Bocawon.
“So far with what I have seen, I am satisfied with what they had done and you can see that connectivity really matters. Before, half of the time you have to spend in the vehicle and half of the time you have to walk,” DOT Regional Director Karena Rosa Tiopes said after visiting the site with DOT staff and La Paz town Mayor Angel Sia.
Before the road was constructed, the hot spring could be reached by a ‘habal-habal’ ride of almost an hour.
After the two lanes concrete road with two bridges was finished tourists accessibility to the hot spring become easier. At least 100 meters leading to the hot spring from the mount of Gimiranat River was left untouched in the implementation of the TRIP road.
Tiopes said that maintains the naturalness of the site.
Tiopes added that she also appreciates the design of the pool where tourists may dip which is partly cemented.
However, she is recommending relocating the kiosk constructed near the hot spring to make the area exclusive for wellness purposes while dining and other activities must be done in another site.
“We also told the barangay chairman as well as the mayor that whatever development they do in the near future, they should try to work around the greens, meaning they do not cut down everything just to give way to structure. They just do clearing and work around building their structures to maintain the green,” Tiopes said.
It was learned that aside from the hot spring and lush forest, monkeys, tarsiers and various types of bird species could also found in the area.
The local government and the organization that runs the operation of tourism activities in the hot spring must also observe carrying capacity to prevent damage and preserve the natural beauty of nature, Tiopes said.
“That area is a protected area. It is imperative that they set a limit, carrying capacity has to be computed,” she said.
“It’s not a matter of attracting more and more people but giving quality experience and probably attracting a right market to earn something for the community,” Tiopes added.(ROEL T. AMAZONA)