ALAMINOS CITY, July 3 (PIA) - A more attractive Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) in this city is now open to the public after three months of non-operation due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mayor Arth Bryan Celeste said with Pangasinan's transition to the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status, the city government of Alaminos will slowly but surely re-open the famous tourist destination in consonance with protocols and guidelines.
"The COVID-19 pandemic did not blur my vision para lalong pagandahin at paunlarin ang turismo sa ating siyudad. As we re-start the tourism economy, visitors will not be disappointed. Welcome to the newly restored Hundred Islands National Park," Mayor Celeste said during the re-opening ceremony.
Celeste said HNIP will only be opened for first district locals and tourists at least for the first two months and will soon open for the entire province or region subject to the COVID-19 situation in the coming months.
"MGCQ status does not mean we are already safe from the virus. Hopefully mai-open natin ang Hundred Islands to the entire province but that will depend on the COVID-19 situation," Celeste told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
TSP. Mayor Arth Bryan Celeste (center) poses with the visual artists of the Tanghalang Sandaang Pulo (TSP) who painted the 3D mural at the HINP for free. (VHS)
Some 1,000 tourists will be accommodated at a time or 50 percent of its original capacity in line with the guidelines.
Strict health protocols, as well as contact tracing, will be implemented.
As part of the restoration of the HINP, Celeste said the city government has collaborated with the Tanghalang Sandaang Pulo (TSP) and Nippon Paint to mount a three-dimensional mural along the wharf to make the area more attractive.
"As Lucap wharf serves as a gateway to the islands, we thought of making it more attractive with the 3D art mural with designs na tatak Hundred Islands," he added.
Some 30 stalls of souvenir shops are also back in business at the park giving livelihood to more families.
SOUVENIR SHOPS. Some 30 souvenir shops are also back in business with the re-opening of the HINP. (VHS)
Meanwhile, Tourism Officer Miguel Sison said the security, monitoring and health team including the Task Force Isla are present 24/7 for the protection of everyone.
Sison said the lockdown due to COVID-19 greatly affected the tourism economy in the area which coincided with the peak season for tourism like the Hundred Islands Festival, summer time and the Holy Week where the estimated loss of the industry can be pegged at Php25-million.
On the other hand, his office is also thankful for the benefits that the lockdown has offered.
"Nakapagpahinga ang island at ang tubig. Hindi na-pollute ng tao, ng ingay. Na-preserve ang pristine beauty ng HINP," Sison said.
Sison said maintenance of the HINP is continuous even during the lockdown and a regular study of water quality is being conducted which proves that it is very fit for swimming and adventure. (JCR/AMB/VHS/PIA Pangasinan)