Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Feature: Dagupan’s river cruise getting wide attention

by Danny O Sagun

DAGUPAN CITY, July 1 (PIA) -- This city’s extensive river systems crisscrossing the landscape are now being developed to lure visitors and tourists and thus become a potential rich revenue source.

The River Cruise, launched during the month-long Bangus festival in April, is a wondrous romantic journey along the serene Dawel-watak river featuring lush mangroves, migratory birds, long winding river with clear waters.

Since its launch more than two months ago, Dagupenos and their neighbors and even people from far places have the opportunity to enjoy a free ride which averages about 45 minutes to one hour.

The Dawel-Watak river system, a favorite place for migratory birds because of the lush mangroves on both sides, is bigger and longer than the Loboc river in Bohol, said Mayor Benjamin S. Lim, who, as a successful businessman, has been looking for ways for the city to excel more aside from being a trading, educational and health center in the North.

The river cruise utilizes floating “nipa huts” built on a platform attached to two parallel bancas. A motorboat with a four-horsepower engine and attached to the back part steers the floating hut.

Busy ferrying riders are two huts which can accommodate up to 25 persons and a bigger one that can hold up to 40 people.

Now that that a public docking area was already built along the national road below the Dawel bridge, it is now easier for people to access the area. Before, the privately-owned San Marino dock was temporarily utilized.

The docking area was inaugurated on Friday afternoon.

Riders could not hold their excitement as they make their trip. “Oh! beautiful, what a sight,” is always overheard from them.

Tourism Regional Director Martin Valera joined the initial cruise with Mayor Lim playing host.

The Bangus Festival which itself has been drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly. The festival, which usually opens on the first week of April and ends on May 1, has been made part of the traditional Pistay Dayat (Sea festival).

The mayor said the city’s inner rivers of Dawel and Watak are much greener and more serene than the one in Loboc which has successfully projected its River Cruise project.

He, however, stressed that the most important thing is for the city to be able to create job opportunities for the people.

“The boats are made here in our city so makakapagbigay tayo ng trabaho sa mga boat makers. Then we will hire cooks, waiters, and a person who will steer the boat. At the same time, we will be more conscious in making our rivers cleaner this time kasi ito na ngayun ang minamarket natin,” he said.

Valera expressed confidenced the project will become a hit with the marketing capability of the mayor. (ANL/DOS-PIA 1 Pangasinan)

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