Once an NPA lair

Tourists enjoying the beauty of the Sulpan cave and coldspring which the local government of Matuguinao, Samar wants to develop as a tourist destination. (MATUGUINAO VIBES)

TACLOBAN CITY– The town mayor of Matuguinao in Samar province is seeking funding from the Department of Tourism (DOT) as it pushes tourism as an income generator.

Mayor Aran Boller said that he had sought P45 million in funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), an attached agency of the DOT assigned for the construction of tourism-related infrastructures.

He said that the amount would be used to develop the Salpan Caves and cold spring located in Barangay Barruz, about three kms away from the town proper.

“We are seeking for a funding assistance from the DOT so we can develop the Salpan cave and cold spring and make it a tourist destination and as an income generation for our municipality and at the same time, help provide livelihood for our people,” Boller said on Friday(Jan.19).

The town mayor said that as part of his development plan to the cave and cold spring, they plan to construct a path bridge, pathway, solar lights, storage area, grouted riprap, and other amenities.

Boller said that he wanted to transform the image of his town from being a haven of the communist group, the New People’s Army, into a tourist destination in Samar province.

“I want Matuguinao to be known not as a terrorism-infested area but as a tourist destination,” the town mayor, who opened the tourism industry of the town in 2020, a year after he assumed the post, said.

Matuguinao, about 62 kms away from the provincial capital of Catbalogan City, boasts of natural cold springs and several caves, many remain to be developed as tourist attractions.
Last year, about 11,390 tourists visited the town’s Matugnaw and Maslog cold springs which generated over P287,000 for the local government.

The town was known to be among the lairs of the NPA in previous years with all of its 20 barangays were said to be under the influence and control of the rebels.

“Now, I am happy that our people have realized the evils of the NPA and are very cooperative with the LGU,” Boller said.