BAGUIO CITY — For a country which call toilets as “comfort rooms,” this may sound foreign: rest area.
Since the phrase “rest area” is more familiar with other foreign tourists, the Department of Tourism decided to call the restrooms that will be built near tourist spots in the Philippines as “rest area.”
DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco led the groundbreaking Monday of the first tourist rest area (TRA) in Luzon — near the famous Lion’s Head along Kennon Road here in Baguio City.
Last month, the DOT has also broken the grounds of four other TRA’s — two in Cebu, and one each in Bukidnon, and Samal, Davao del Norte.
This is the first time the government would be spending infrastructures for public rest areas. Usually, gasoline stations host the public rest areas in major thoroughfares such as South Luzon Expressway and North Luzon Expressway.
Secretary Frasco said building TRAs is part of the vision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to enhance the overall tourism experience all over the country.
“This year, the intention is to give our tourists convenience as they go along their journey understanding that the experience is not only at the destination itself but also the journey itself,” Secretary Frasco said.
The rest area will also feature a “pasalubong” center that will showcase a variety of products made in the Cordillera region.
The plan also includes setting up an information center, and a view deck for the visitors wanting to drop by the area and have a view of the whole stretch of the scenic zigzag road from its highest elevation.
Frasco hopes the TRA would boost the tourist initiatives of the local government and all the stakeholders in Baguio City.
“When in Baguio! Suroy-Suroy nya mo diri puhon!” wrote DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco in her Facebook Page.
Since the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, visitor arrivals to Baguio City have shown a consistently increasing trend. The first 10 months of 2022 posted growing tourist traffic to the city, with more than 474,000 visitor arrivals recorded.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and TIEZA Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mark Lapid signed a memorandum of agreement to seal the partnership between the city and TIEZA at the Cordillera Convention Hall of the Baguio Country Club .
Under the agreement, the TRA will be constructed by TIEZA and upon completion, the Baguio local government unit (LGU) will then take charge of the operations and maintenance of the facility.
The City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) said TIEZA will fund P7 million for the tourism facility. The Baguio City Government meanwhile will provide the counterpart fund worth P5 million.
Magalong said that when DOT and TIEZA offered its commitment to the establishment of tourist rest area, they did not hesitate and grab the opportunity. Such establishment he said is a great help to the full revival of the tourism industry of Baguio.
She said that in the coming days, they will be in Bohol, Palawan, Ilocos Norte and back again in Cebu.
photos courtesy: DOT, Christina Garcia Frasco FB Pages