Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur is a well-known tourist destination. An hour and a half’s ride away from downtown Davao City and thirty minutes away from Digos, it is an easy place to visit. Blessed by its geographical location and skilled manpower, Sta. Cruz is aggressively promoting its brand to potential investors and travelers. The town is best known to climbers the world over as a scenic route going to Mt. Apo. For us locals, Sta. Cruz is also home to good beaches, seafood and San Miguel beer.
The newly-founded Association of South Davao Hotels, Accommodations, Resorts and Tourism Stakeholders (ASDHARTS) recently held its 5th meeting at Davao del Sur’s ancient capital last August 26. Seeing the potential for growth and tapping into a growing market, ASDHARTS asked the local government for assistance in finding places to invest. Julius Paner, the town’s tourism officer, offered ASDHARTS the opportunity to internalize the scenic beauty through a guided tour and the use of the town’s training center. The members were more than willing to accept the tourism “product” offer as we cruised along an ISLAND HOPPING AND MANGROVE TOUR at Bato, Tagabuli and Tuban.
The tour started at the small dock in baranggay (village) Bato. Serving as tour guides for ASDHARTS was Roy Molina, a village councilor.The tour is a banca ride through unspoiled mangrove reserves and two islands, Secret Island and Passig Islet. The reserve is a pristine Marine Protected Area (MPA) perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Along the route are the mesmerizing floating fish cages that grow bangus. Secret island is a small, coral island that is akin to the secluded islands of Palawan. Passig islet is a popular vacation destination for a white sand beach. The tour ended for the group at noon.
Those interested to see the tour can avail of a bargain group package. For 300 pesos, five persons can tour the scenery for several hours or even overnight. If you are interested in booking or wish to inquire for additional details, please contact Lea (09095517414) or Roy (09469212443) of the village councils.
As the trip winded down, we left feeling hungry and thirsty. Thankfully, the tourism department was kind enough to invite us for a delicious lunch at the town proper.
The Municipal Training Center is at the heart of old Sta Cruz. The center is a multi-purpose function hall the local government operates. The center is surrounded by old Sta. Cruz with its Vigan-esque vista and the Davao gulf. The Malalag port is even visible at a distance with its silently docked shipping freighters. ASDHARTS was fortunate the local government lent the hall for the occasion.
The potential for future growth permeates through our entire stay. As the province’s most well-developed and organized tourism team, Julius Paner showed the town’s entire portfolio. Other town residents and businessmen also pledged their commitment in ASDHARTS as they partner for future growth in the industry. This is a far-cry from the violent Sta. Cruz of the past known for running gun battles with the government.
During this meeting, pledges were made to support the local craftsmen through purchases, promotion and marketing. The gathering called on new enterprises to strengthen the ranks for similar development that benefits communities. As a private organization, ASDHARTS is taking the lead in developing convergence with other business in the province. Through strategic partnerships with multiple sectors, ASDHARTS seeks to expand and make a difference in the community.
For this event would wish to thank JATSHOPPE for providing insight into the travel business and Organic calamansi concentrate.