TACLOBAN CITY – The local government unit of Maripipi in Biliran province expressed its gratitude to cruise operators for choosing their town as a destination for the Coral Adventurer cruise ship.
Nestled in the northern part of Biliran province, Maripipi is the only town separated from the province and is known for its Sambawan Island, a marine sanctuary and island beach destination that has captured the hearts of local and domestic tourists.
The arrival of Coral Adventurer on Thursday (Nov.2) makes it historical and special for Maripipi being the first town in Biliran province to be included in the cruise itinerary in the Philippines since Eastern Visayas became a part of the cruise tourism map back in 2013.
Town Mayor, Joseph Caingcoy, expressed his gratitude for including Maripipi of the cruise destination.
“We are very thankful for the travel people who manage this cruise because the purpose of this travel focuses on cultural, lifestyle, and livelihood of the island. Through this visit, the visitors will learn what our way of life is,” he said.
Just like in their previous stops in Biri and Capul Island, the 73 guests aboard the Coral Adventurer, predominantly Australian nationals, had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural richness of Maripipi.
Upon their arrival at the town’s port, the group embarked on a journey of cultural discovery.
They visited the nito weaving community of Agutay, where residents demonstrated their traditional livelihood by processing a unique fern species into various products, including handbags, hats, table mats, fruit trays, food covers, baskets, and decorative items.
The group also explored Casibang village, where residents engage in pottery making, an age-old industry that once served as the island’s primary source of income, supporting families and children’s education.
In Casibang, the guests witnessed the traditional materials used in pottery making and the manual process involved in producing ceramic products, from clay preparation to molding, air drying, and cooking.
The foreign guests were also treated to traditional and festival dances throughout their stay in the town and had the opportunity to savor local delicacies such as “sinaging,” a traditional food made from pounded banana and young coconut, biko (rice cake), and nilupak.
The adventure continued as the group explored Sambawan Island, taking a dip in its pristine waters and discovering the wonders of this marine sanctuary.
Mayor Caingcoy hinted at the possibility of more such visits, stating, “If they experience the best tour in Maripipi, those who manage the cruise tour said that they might bring another set of cruise guests next year.”
Even before the arrival of the Coral Adventurer in Maripipi, Department of Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes had already announced another cruise ship visit to the municipality by May 2024. This second cruise ship belongs to the same cruise line that owns the Coral Adventurer.
“The principal of Coral Adventurer had already informed us that they will be bringing another set of guests next year to Maripipi because they were so happy with what they saw in the town,” she said.
Prior to the cruise ship’s arrival, the local government unit and the tourism department conducted several training activities to ensure that everyone involved in the welcoming process was well-prepared to provide an outstanding guest experience.
After Maripipi, the Coral Adventurer set sail for Babatngon town in Leyte province for its guests to explore the municipality and the city of Tacloban, the capital of Region 8. Their journey will then take them to Cuatro Island and Canigao Island before they head to Tagbilaran, Bohol.
Upon their return, the cruise ship will explore the beauty of Eastern Visayas, with visits to Kalanggaman in Palompon town and diving sites in Padre Burgos, culminating in a visit to the island town of Limasawa in Southern Leyte province. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)