By Antonio Manaytay with Elvie Villarido-Manaytay
Sandbar, corrals, and white sand in an island resort top the must-see list tour package of Payao town in Zamboanga Sibugay.
The town has hidden beautiful spots for tourists to see, Mayor Joeper Mendoza told The MINDANAO SUN.
Top of the must-see tourism spots of Payao is Pandilusan Island, 14 kilometers off the mainland.
The three-hectare island is about 30-minute ride by outrigger.
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Mendoza said the local government plans to purchase a new outrigger, and two speed boats to ferry the tourists.
These new water crafts will be available soon, he revealed.
While in Pandilusan Island, the tourists can snorkel, swim or dive into clear pristine water.
Floating cottages will soon be put up where tourists can fish and grill their catch right there in the cottage.
At present, the local government has started the construction of function hall in the island.
Pied Imperial Pigeon and more
Aside from the pristine water, white sand, and corrals, the island is also home of around 400 Pied Imperial Pigeon. (READ: Pandilusan Island in Zamboanga Sibugay town is home to balud-puti).
Mendoza has already instructed the island settlers not to hunt the bird.
“I think balud-puti can only be found in Payao,” the mayor intimated.
The bird is common in Southeast Asia, including east to the Philippines, homing in on forest, woodland, plantations, mangrove, and scrub.
From the island, the tourists can go “island hopping,” said Mendoza.
A sandbar jutting out of deep and clear water is only a 10-minute ride from the island going back to the town proper.
The over 100-meter long sandbar is also a perfect place to frolic and swim.
From the sandbar, there are a number of corrals jutting out from the water during low tide.
“It is fun to see these natural wonders,” Mendoza said.
At present, quarantine restrictions have affected local tourism.
Gov. Wilter Palma, in the executive order he signed on October 15, had temporarily closed “beach resorts, swimming pools, waterfalls, caves, and trekking sites.”
Palma issued the order amid spike of COVID-19 cases in the province.
As of October 23, the province has recorded 69 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases. Some of these cases are locally transmitted.
The restriction, however, did not stop Mendoza to plan ahead in developing the tourism program of the town.
“We are moving ahead with the plan,” he intimated.
The town, he said, will be ready with its tourism package once the provincial government will relax the restriction.