ALAMINOS CITY, Pangasinan – After a long hiatus due the pandemic, the Hundred Islands Festival is back with its colorful grand parades, night parties, trade fair and food strips, among other exciting activities.
The month-long festival will feature street dance competitions, Light Parade, Talaba Ihaw-Ihaw (grilled oyster) event (March 24), Search for Miss Hundred Islands (beauty queen), singing contests, Miss Gay contest, kiddie shows, agri-trade expo, fun runs, Zumba for a cause and a bonsai show and competition, among others.
The festival coincides with the 22nd Cityhood Anniversary of Alaminos on March 28. City tourism officer Miguel Sison said they will also introduce again the “Drop-and-Pick” scheme to prevent a shortage of motorboats that will ferry guests to the Hundred Islands National Park, which is expected to see a peak in tourist arrivals this Holy Week.
Sison said in the Drop-and-Pick scheme, the guests (group) will tour three islands, then will be dropped off or unloaded at their choice island. The guests will also set the time of pickup while the motorboat they use will go back to Lucap Wharf to pick up other guests and ferry them.
To date, there are 1,055 motorboats accredited with their boatmen having undergone Safety Management Training, he said. “These are anchored mainly at the Lucap Wharf, some at the satellite stations at barangay Bued and at Bolo Beach. Part of their preparation is the inspection of the motorboats, their engine, life vests, and other safety measures,” he added.
Sison said the city’s has set its revenue target income from tourism this year at P40 million. “It’s a big challenge but we are confident we will achieve it as the city has introduced and opened new attractions at the Hundred Islands, not to mention the fact that people are excited to travel,” he said.
A recovery in the tourism sector was already seen in 2022 with a P33-million target revenue from some 300,000 tourist arrivals. From January to March 18, 2023, Sison said their collection has already reached P9.9 million with the number of tourist arrivals at 98,640.
Although, not yet at the pre-pandemic level where they recorded 500,000 tourist arrivals, it is already beyond the record in 2020 and 2021, he noted.
“We look forward to generating more revenue this year. We have enriched our services and projects; we are fixing the ziplines as these were not utilized for two years. Aside from Pilgrimage Island, there is Ramos island which is a product of volunteerism by different sectors. There will also be a gallery of government officials sort of a political-historical museum,” Sison shared.
There is also an interestinjg coffee shop and a view deck at the modern type building atop the island, he added.
Vice President Sara Duterte, during her visit at the opening of the agri-trade expo, commended the Alaminos City government headed by Mayor Arth Bryan Celeste for its commitment and dedication to move his city forward.
“I’m happy to be part of this celebration after the pandemic. Hundred Islands Festival is a timely event to celebrate victories and re-establish Alaminos as the country’s cherished treasure. Let me commend your commitment and dedication that enable you to rapidly revive a culture of high spirits and regain your sense of pride and shared belief in creating a positive outcome through community efforts,” she said.
She cited Alaminos City not only as the heart of Western Pangasinan but also as the first and only leading bearer of national park tourism. “You have preserved HINP for years and continue to build strong consensus to cohesively represent it as an international tourism destination. I am in great awe indeed,” Duterte said.
The Vice President also encouraged fisherfolk and farmers to be part of her advocacy program “Magnegosyo ka, Day,” which targets women, homemakers, and housewives. Monica Pearl Valle, the newly crowned Miss Hundred Islands 2023, has vowed to advocate for the protection and promotion of the HINP. (PNA)