It may take a long while before the town of Loboc can reopen the Loboc River Cruise, one of the province’s top tourism draws, after the town was battered by Typhoon Odette.
Loboc’s chief tourism operation officer Elmer Varquez on Thursday said they were still conducting clearing operations to rid the river of debris which included trees that were washed away by floodwaters when the storm hit Bohol on December 16.
“Nag clearing mi anang mga kahoy na nagbabag sa river na nangatumba mao nay among mga gipang putol ug mga sin na naa pa sa mga riverbanks, cellophane, mga ngana,” said Varquez.
According to Varquez, they may need the assistance from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to retrieve pumpboats and a backhoe believed to have been submerged in the river.
“Matud nila naay backhoe kuno pangitaon pa og asa kadtong nag riprap nag sheet piling naa pa kuno so ngana na dinagko na clearing among gipangayo sa coast guard aron ma identify nila aron ma identify nila ang mga lugar na di maagian,” said Varquez.
According to Varquez, four of the 11 floating restaurants, the river’s main attraction, were totally damaged.
“Naguba gyud, as in naanod, naunlod, nabungkag, ingon ana,” he added.
The tourism officer added that they will conduct a meeting next week and will announce the target completion date of rehabilitation operations in the world-renowned river.
Meanwhile, Loboc’s tourism office was still awaiting feedback from the Department of Tourism and Bohol Tourism Office as to whether or not they will be extending financial assistance or other aid to tourism estblishments in the town.
“Ning hatag ta’g report sa DOT ug sa BTO kay nangayo man sila og report on damage unya nagpaabot pa pud ta og unsy mga commitment sa nga national agency sa mga damages na nahitabo sa atong mga establishment,” said Varquez.
Bohol, which heavily depended on tourism revenues prior to the pandemic, has been trying to resuscitate its slumping tourism industry but has been repeatedly thwarted by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the province and the rest of the country.
Earlier, Governor Art Yap announced that the province lost P15 billion in revenues in just a span of eight months in 2020 while the pandemic affected the livelihood of some 200,000 Boholanos. (A. Doydora)