La Paragua Services Corp., 111 Solid Road, barangay of San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City, province of Palawan, Philippines, Phone +63 48 434 4464, Fax +63 48 434 4465, E-mail iparagua@mozcom.com    Municipality of Quezon development plan

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

I     BACKGROUND

The Tabon Caves Complex in the Lipuun Point Reservation, Quezon, Palawan was identified by the 1991 Philippine Tourism Master Plan as one of the priority areas for development in the Philippines. In 1996, it was again identified by the Regional Tourism Master Plan for Southern Tagalog (Region IV) as one the areas for priority development in Region IV.

After signing a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Tourism in June 1997, TAM Planners Co. stated work on the preparation of the Detailed Tourism Development Master Plan for Tabon Caves (DTDMP-TC). The project was completed in about a year, culminating with the submission of the Final Report in July 1998.

Objectives of the Project

The main objective of the Project as stated in the terms of Reference prepared by the Department of Tourism is:

To come up with a Detailed Tourism Development Plan for the Tabon Caves Complex that will provide the framework for developing tourism in the study area with the primordial aim of preserving/conserving the archaeological and pre-historic site and its environmental resources while creating opportunities for economic growth. The end in view is to develop and establish the Tabon Caves Complex as a major tourism and archaeological destination.

II     THE STUDY AREA: Lipuun Point Reservation

The Tabon Caves refer to a complex of caves located in the Lipuun Point Reservation where numerous archaeological artifacts have been discovered. The artifacts found belong to different periods ranging from 30,000 years ago to the 14th century AD, and the most celebrated archaeological find is the fossilized human remains discovered in the cave known as Tabon. Although there is only one (l) cave named Tabon Cave, all the caves in the Lipuun Point Reservation have also been collectively known as the Tabon Caves. There are approximately two hundred (200) caves in the reservation, thirty-three (33) of which were found to have archaeological and anthropological significance. To date, only seven (7) caves are open to the public.

From the main Tabon Cave, fossilized human skeletal remains including a frontal bone with brow, nasal bones and portions of the mandible (lower jaw) were discovered and later collectively given the name Tabon Man. A careful study of the immediate environment suggest that the bones were part of a concentration of quartz implements with a date of 22,000 to 24,000 years ago, making them the oldest known human remains from the Philippines.

Of the twenty-nine (29) caves then known in Lipuun Point, about sixteen (16) were excavated. Subsequent to these, occasional excavations had been extensively excavated. Subsequent to these, occasional excavations had been carried out by other foreign and local anthropologist as well as by advanced students in archaeology who were duly supervised by their instructors. The National Museum’s Archaeology Division estimates that only twenty five percent (25%) of the archaeological sites have been excavated, leaving still much of the area for the future archaeological expeditions.

In April 1972, the Lipuun Point Reservation was declared a Museum Site Reservation by virtue of Proclamation No. 996, and this is the primary reason why most of the reservation has remained undisturbed. The 138-hectare reservation lies along the western coastline of Southern Palawan. It belongs to the municipality of Quezon, which is situated 140 kilometers southwest of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan. The natural terrain in the Lipuun Point Reservation is predominantly rugged, being a combination of steep hills and limestone cliffs. The highest portion of the reservation lies a approximately 215 meters above sea level. In general, the steeper slopes are found on the northern and eastern portions of the reservation. The most predominant slopes-category lies within the 30-50% range, which take up 451,812 square meters or 32.74% of the total land area of the reservation.

On some spots of the reservation’s karst forest where there is thinner soil, tree sizes are stunted except for several species of ficoids. Mangroves found in the eastern and western sections of the reservation represent the prevalent forms of coastal vegetation in the area. There are several wildlife species that have been known to exist at Lipuun Point and these include the Tabon bird, the Philippine macaque, the monitor lizard, the Palawan hornbill, the Palawan bearded pig, the Palawan stink badger, the Palawan porcupine, the Palawan malcoha, and the Palawan yellow rumpled flower pecker.

At the shallower coastal regions, the dominant benthic characteristics are seagrass beds, and algae communities found associated with dead coral and rocks. At the deeper regions, soft and hard coral cover exist, which as home to several large species of fish, and which also constitutes a potential dive site in the area.

To date, the Lipuun Point Reservation is still best accessed by boat. From the port of Quezon, it is a forty-five (45)-minute boat ride to Liyang Cave, the designated entrance of the Tabon Caves Complex. There are no docking facilities at the designated drop-off point near the entrance and during low tide, pump boats have to dock several meters away from the shore, requiring to wade to reach the mouth of Liyang Cave. There are no roads in the reservation, only concrete walks, footpaths and trails.

There used to be alleging roads, i.e., the Tinio Road, along the southern boundary that linked the reservation with the Poblacion of Quezon but most of it is presently impassable for vehicles and will thus require rehabilitation and upgrading to make it an all-weather access road.

Water supply, drainage and sewage systems are totally absent in the reservation and the only possible source of domestic water at the Lipuun Point Reservation is ground water. Aside from the water problem, the reservation also suffers from the absence of power and reliable telecommunications system.

III     PROFILE OF THE HOST MUNICIPALITY : QUEZON, PALAWAN

The municipality of Quezon can be found in the southwestern portion of Palawan Island. It is bounded, on the northeast by the town of Aborlan, on the east by Narra, and on the south and southeast by Brookes Point and the new municipality of Espanola, respectively. With a total land area of 94,921 hectares, Quezon is the largest municipality in the province of Palawan. In comparison, the total land area of the town is about one and one-half (1.5) times the size of the Metropolitan Manila Area (MMA).

About ten percent (10%) or 9,500 hectares of the municipal land is a coastal plain located on the western section and bounded by Malanut Bay. Flatlands make up about 33% or 31,650 hectares, while 31% is hilly and the remaining 26% is mountainous. Most of the barangays are located along the coast except for Kalatagbak, Pinaglabanan and Malatgao.

Because it is located in the southwestern part of the Philippine archipelago, Quezon town is rarely visited by typhoons, making the area ideal for a variety of institutional, commercial/livelihood and leisure activities. In certain parts of Alfonso XIII (the Poblacion of Quezon) aquifers are at thirty meters to one hundred meters (30m - 100m), where subterranean caves are situated in between.

Environmental Resources

The combined types of landforms in Quezon, Palawan are diverse enough to host several types of habitat situations which support varied types of biotic resources. The Planning Team invariably encountered any of these major habitats, i.e., mangrove swamps, primary tropical forest, karst forest, secondary growth forest, existing brushland, nearshore areas, rattan concession stands, etc.

Primary forests are still intact in some areas, especially towards the reservation and mangrove areas. Vegetation on the islets and smaller island ecosystems around the area differ slightly from those present in the main island province. Some of the species commonly encountered in these islets include talisay, ipil-ipil, maluco, pigweed, etc. The habitat of most birds in the area range from the upland regions to the lowlands, and going as far out as the island ecosystems. The more common endemic and/or endangered species include the Palawan peacock pheasant, the blue-napped parrot, the talking mynah, and the Philippine cockatoo. Meanwhile, due to the recent forest fires in the Barangay of Sowangan, Quezon, a recent survey of wildlife revealed a marked reduction or complete absence of several significant wildlife species.

Mammals and reptiles found in the southwest areas of the province of Palawan, including the Quezon area, are also the same threatened and endangered states of existence. As implied by their status, sightings of these species in Quezon are minimal if not rare.

The seagrass and algae areas grow in patches or in lush beds along extensive reef flats. High coral cover was observed in the reef crest areas located at the north-northwest side of Sidanao Island, midway between the Tataran Island and the northern side of Lipuun Point; and midway between Sidanao Island and Lipuun Point, facing the entrance to the Tabon Caves.

Infrastructure and Utilities

Roads link the municipality of Quezon with Puerto Princesa City and the other municipalities of Palawan such as Brookes Point down south, Espanola to the west and Aborlan and Narra to the North. The total road network of Quezon reached 237.572 kilometers in 1996. The road network in relation to Quezon’s total land area of 949.21 square kilometers accounts for a road density average of only 0.250 kilometers per square kilometer.

Jeepneys and buses are the primary modes of public transportation connecting Quezon with Puerto Princesa City, Aborlan, Narra, Espanola and Brookes Point. The bus system is adequate at present but has to be upgrade to cope with future traffic demand. Air-conditioned coasters or vans serve the Quezon-to-Puerto Princesa City route, jeepneys serve inter-municipal transport and service routes, while tricycles are used for daily travel within the Poblacion and to nearby barangays.

The absence of a municipal port in Quezon has forced bancas and pump boats to dock along the coast of Malanut Bay when the tide allows it, to unload their fish catch or to ferry tourist and passengers to and from Lipuun Point and the nearby islands. There are no reliable means of sea transport due to the absence of regularly scheduled passenger ferry services and in most instances, passengers have to hire fishing boats at daily rates to get to and from Lipuun Point and the nearby islands.

The abandoned airstrips located Balintang in Isugod and Ilian in Pinaglabanan may be rehabilitated in the future once Tabon Caves becomes a more popular destination and a demand for a faster mode of transport such as small passengers' aircrafts emerges. There is even a former heliport at the southeast peak of the Lipuun Point Reservation and potential landing areas for helicopters at the sandbar areas west of Lipuun Point if such a need arises.

The relatively low power consumption in Quezon is attributed to the frequency of power outages and the absence of industries and commercial establishments with huge power requirements. Power is distributed by the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO), the sole distributor in the province of Palawan. Of the fourteen (14) barangays in Quezon, four (4) are currently being served by the NAPOCOR with some 716 residential and 128 commercial customers.

As of December 1995, Quezon has a total of 3,219 water supply facilities of which 3,208 units were classified as Level l (communal water point source) and 11 units as Level ll (communal faucet system). In addition, approximately 15 percent of the total household had their own shallow wells/deep well water facilities.

The existing telecommunications facilities in the municipality include telegraph and telex, domestic satellite services and a television station. Moreover, there are the Philippine Telephone Corporation (Piltel) operating station, a Provincial Radio Communications System for faster linkage with the provincial capital and a Public Calling Station (telephone), a post office, BUTEL service, and JRS door -to-door delivery.

Economic Situation

The people of Quezon are engaged in five main occupations namely farming (65%), fishing (12%), business (9%), employment (8%) and the gathering of forest products (6%). In terms of employment participation, 46% of the town population are employed, 6% are unemployed, and the remaining percentage does not belong to the labor force.

There are 20,810 hectares of agricultural land area in Quezon town of which 74% or 15,553 hectares are considered cultivated. About 22% of the agricultural land is irrigated, while 20% is rain-fed.

Rice is the municipality’s principal agricultural produce and it is regularly traded in Puerto Princesa City. Copra, on the other hand, is shipped to Snadakan in Sabah, Malaysia, in exchange for imported products, which are sometimes smuggled back into the country. Industrial activities which include rice mills, furniture making shops, welding and repair shops, agricultural machine shops, sawali-weaving, rattan craft and ice-making are light to medium in character.

Socio-cultural Profile

The population of Quezon has been growing at a rapid rate, growing at an average annual rate of 5.65% in the previous decade. In the period of 1990 to 1995, however, this has slowed down somewhat. Consistent high fertility through generations assisted by in-migration has increased the population rapidly. To be consistent with the conservationist ethic of eco-tourism, densities must be maintained at low levels.

Malaria consistently rates as the primary cause of deaths reported through the years and is also one of the principal causes of morbidity among the local population. In addition, pneumonia and diarrhea are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. These diseases are indicators of the poor and unsanitary living conditions of the populace.

The prevailing ethnolinguistic group in the area is the Palawan, sometimes referred to as the Palawanon, in their language. The Palawanon is a nomadic people who live in the hinterlands, although there is a settlement in Barangay Panitian. The Palawanon has been the most easily assimilated of the Philippine indigenous peoples as the modern Palawan are physically indistinguishable from the lowlanders.

IV     TOURISM IN SOUTHERN PALAWAN

Tourism Trends

The projections of total tourist arrivals for Palawan presented in the Region IV Tourism Master Plan are presented in Table ES.l. Projections for foreign tourist arrivals only and domestic tourist arrivals only are shown in Tables ES.2 and ES.3 respectively.

Table ES.1 Projected Total Tourist Arrivals in Palawan (1996-2010)

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2005 2010
Low Estimate 16,211 17,491 18,909 20,443 22,102 32,277 47,137
High Estimate 16,515 19,076 21,761 24,543 27,427 43,606 63,446
Average 16,363 18,283.5 20,335 22,493 24,764.5 37,941.5 55,291.5
Rounded No. 16,400 18,300 20,300 22,500 24,800 37,900 55,300

Source: Region IV Tourism Master Plan

Table ES.2 Projected Foreign Arrivals in Palawan (1996-2010)

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2005 2010
Low Estimate 6,538 7,090 7,688 8,337 9,041 13,186 19,232
High Estimate 6,842 8,675 10,540 12,437 14,366 24,515 35,541
Average 6,690 7,882.5 9,114 10,387 11,703.5 18,850.5 27,386.5
Rounded No. 6,700 7,900 9,100 10,400 11,700 18,900 27,400

Source: Region IV Tourism Master Plan

Table ES.3 Projected Domestic Travelers of Palawan (1996-2010)

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2005 2010
Estimated Travelers 9,673 10,400 11,221 12,106 13,061 19,091 27,905

Source: Region IV Tourism Master Plan

In the Quezon area, it was learned that the Filipinos outnumbered all foreigners combined in terms of visitors value by 10:l. It was also determined that 95% of the visitors to the cave complex were Filipinos with students constituting the largest segment.

Table ES.4 shows the National Museum’s records of visitors arrivals in the Lipuun Point Reservation for the past 10 years.

Table ES.4 Recorded Number of Visitors to Tabon Cave (1988-1996)

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
No. of Visitors 3,112 2,904 3,664 3,981 5,020 9,003 7,990 6,499 7,546

Source: Region IV Tourism Master Plan

V     APPROACH TO TOURISM MASTER PLANNING

The Planning Team adopted a comprehensive planning approach that would yield the best master plan possible. Such an approach enabled the Planning Team to formulate a master plan that was responsive to the needs of the Study Area and one that could truly be implemented. The approach could be summarized as follows:

VI     KEY ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE MASTER PLAN

Tourism Marketing Issues

Aside from the inadequate marketing efforts, other weaknesses that have contributed to the low visitation of Tabon Caves include the lack of infrastructure and utilities, undeveloped tourist destination, lack of accommodation facilities, and the limited access of the Lipuun Point Reservation. Some of the threats that may hamper the marketing of tourism are the environmental degradation in Quezon and the competition from other established tourist destinations in the province.

Infrastructure and Development Issues

The needed land, sea and air transportation systems that would bring tourists to and from the Study Area are either absent or are in dire need of improvement. Essential infrastructure that support these transportation systems (e.g., inter-modal terminal, docking facilities, access roads) are also missing.

The utilities and services (e.g., power, water, communications, sewerage and drainage, and solid waste disposal) that would make the lives of residents and visitors more comfortable would also have to be given more attention.

In the Lipuun Point Reservation itself, the inadequacy of utilities, facilities and amenities have caused inconvenience to tourists.

Land Use Issues

Legal Issues

Although the 138-hectares Lipuun Point reservation has already been declared an important cultural site by virtue of Presidential Decree (P.D) 996, it does not provide for the use of any part of the reservation for tourism purposes. The Lipuun Point Reservation is not currently listed as a Tourism Development Area (TDA) under the 1992 National Physical Framework Plan (NPFP) since only parts of Northern Palawan are listed.

The National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) per Republic Act (R.A) 7586 does not clearly define the status of Lipuun Point Reservation, i.e., if it is a protected landscape and/or a resource reserve or neither. Possible future amendments to the NIPAS Law must specify important archaeological sites such as Lipuun Point as a distinct category of protected areas.

Institutional Issues

The administrative and operational aspects of running the fully developed tourism facility at Lipuun Point shall entail institutional arrangements that may fall under the following categories:

Socio-Cultural Issues

The rapid growth rate of the population poses a threat to the municipality’s capacity to respond to the social and economic needs of its constituents. To be consistent with the conservationist ethic of eco-tourism, densities must be maintained at low levels.

Malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia are the highest causes of morbidity and mortality. These diseases are indicators of the poor and unsanitary living conditions of the populace. They also suggest weakened immunity systems from malnutrition.

There is a great need to upgrade education and training in the municipality not only to raise the low levels of educational indicators but also to meet the expected demand for educated and well-trained personnel to fill tourism-related jobs.

Environmental Issues

The impacts on the environment may be categorized into two types. They are:

If tourism development is to be controlled, plans have to be formulated, guidelines and standards for critical coastal areas have to be created, and rules have to be written, implemented, and enforced by governments. These should be based on knowledge of social and environmental carrying capacity, and proven methods of visitor management (Clark 1991).

Tourism development activities stress the environmental balance in a variety of ways, such as the release of pollutants to surface water, air, and land resources. Eco-profile studies are then required to determine the environmental quality and carrying capacity of any tourism development, in order to anticipate the types of development controls necessary in planning for the area (DENR, 1994).

Eco-profiling is not just an environmental baseline study or resource inventory, but also a characterization of the carrying capacity of the air, water, land and people resources. The eco-profile is characterized in terms of the environmental quality and resource uses that are valued in an area. The carrying capacity analysis, therefore, compares the existing environmental conditions to a set of indicators limits to determine the amount of additional stress each resource can absorb.

Such an understanding of the environment implies the concept of carrying capacity: the critical limit which the natural environment and social, economic and cultural systems can support without leading to an irreversible breakdown of such systems. The carrying capacity will subsequently be compared to the land-use plan of the municipality. Conflicts between the carrying capacity of the tourism area and the land-use plans of the municipality will be resolved, and the appropriate planning variances maybe applied.

For any tourism plan, any development on land will inevitably cause stress on the natural and social environment. What is important is to keep such stress within a manageable level, thus allowing the ecosystem to regenerate itself.

Archaeological Issues

The following are the initially perceived development needs, issues and/or areas of concern for the archaeological sector:

VII     TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK

Vision

The vision statement for the tourism development of Tabon Caves is as follows:

The Tabon Caves Complex will be a world-renowned archaeological and cultural tourist destination by the year 2010, it will have a sustainable tourism that would bring about social, economic as well as environmental benefits to the God-fearing and peace-loving people of Quezon.

Goals

The goals set to achieve this vision area:

Forecasts for Tourist Arrivals

Two sets of forecasts were developed to arrive at a range of the probable number of visitors to Quezon. One forecast is on the assumption that there would not be any intervention on the Tabon Caves area (Table ES.5) while the other forecast if based on the assumption that most of the recommendations of the DTDMP-TC would be implemented according to the time specified (Table ES.6)

Table ES.5 Forecast for Visitors Traffic to Quezon, Palawan (without intervention)

Foreign travelers Domestic travelers total
Year Low High Low High Low High
1996 163.5 171 200 200 3,500 3,500
1997 177.5 217 200 200 3,800 3,800
1998 192 263.5 200 300 4,100 4,200
1999 208.5 311 200 300 4,400 4,500
2000 226 359 200 400 4,700 4,900
2005 329.5 613 300 600 6,900 7,200
2010 481 888.5 500 900 10,100 10,500

Table ES.6 Forecast for Visitors Traffic to Quezon, Palawan (with intervention)

Foreign travelers Domestic travelers total
Year Low High Low High Low High
1996 163.5 171 200 200 500 500
1997 177.5 217 200 200 500 500
1998 192 263.5 200 300 500 600
1999 12,510 18,660 12,500 18,700 34,300 40,500
2000 13,560 21,5400 13,600 21,500 37,100 45,000
2005 19,770 36,780 19,800 36,800 54,200 71,200
2010 28,860 53,310 28,900 53,300 79,100 103,500

The visitors arrivals in the Lipuun Point Reservation recorded for the years 1988 to 1996 (Table ES.4 Recorded Number of Visitors to Tabon Caves) were utilized as historic data base to forecast walk-in traffic to Tabon Caves up to the year 2010. Two sets of projections for walk-in traffic were prepared. One set of projections is for a scenario wherein nothing new is introduced to promote or improve facilities in the Study Area and the other scenario explores the introduction of component programs and projects included in the Detailed Tourism Development Master Plan. The difference between the two projections manifests itself in the year 1999 when some of the programs and projects shall have been implemented. See Table ES.7.

Table ES.7 Projected Walk-In Traffic to Tabon Caves

Without intervention With intervention
Year Walk-In Visitors Rounded Number Walk-In Visitors Rounded Number
1988 3,112 3,100 3,112 3,100
1989 2,904 2,900 2,904 2,900
1990 3,664 3,700 3,664 3,700
1991 3,981 4,000 3,981 4,000
1992 5,020 5,000 5,020 5,000
1993 9,003 9,000 9,003 9,000
1994 7,990 8,000 7,990 8,000
1995 6,499 6,500 6,499 6,500
1996 7,546 7,500 7,546 7,500
Growth rate 10.34% Growth rate 10.34%
1997 8,326 8,300 8,326 8,300
1998 9,188 9,200 8,326 8,300
Growth rate 10.34% Growth rate 20.00%
1999 10,138 10,100 11,025 11,000
2000 11,186 11,200 12,165 12,200
2001 12,343 12,300 13,423 13,400
2002 13,620 13,600 14,812 14,800
2003 15,028 15,000 16,344 16,300
2004 16,583 16,600 18,034 18,000
2005 18,298 18,300 19,899 19,900
2006 20,190 20,200 21,957 22,000
2007 22,278 22,300 24,228 24,200
2008 24,582 24,600 26,734 26,700
2009 27,124 27,100 29,499 29,500
2010 29,930 29,900 32,549 32,500

Spatial and Non-spatial Strategies

Spatial and non-spatial strategies were formulated to accomplishment the objectives set in the tourism development framework. The spatial strategies are:

The non-spatial Strategies are :

VIII     TOURISM DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Land Use and Tourism Development in the Lipuun Point Reservation

The Lipuun Point Reservation, by virtue of its having been proclaimed as a site museum reservation, is classified as a conservation area in the Municipal Land Use Plan of Quezon. For the Detailed Tourism Development Master Plan for Tabon Caves, a General Land Use Plan for Lipuun Point was prepared to be more site specific. This General Land Use Map designates two types of land use zones for the reservation, namely the “Tourism Activity Zone” where tourism activities and their support activities will be allowed, and the “Conservation Zone” or areas which are highly sensitive and where any form of development is discouraged. The municipality of Quezon also has a Community-Based Coastal Management Program (CBCMP) that ensures the protection of the municipality’s coastal resources.

The Tourism Development Plan for the Lipuun Point Reservation envisions a highly educational archaeological tourist destination as well as a wildlife and ecotourism reservation. To realize this objective, a tour of the reservation has to be somewhat structured with each stage designed to be an experience that is both informative and thrilling. All visitors to the Lipuun Point Reservation will have to secure ticket passes for the boat shuttle to the reservation and the guided tour of the caves at the National Museum in the Poblacion. This will ensure that all the visitors will get a background of the archaeological and ecological value of the caves. An orientation video depicting the sights to expect and the proper behavior to observe in the Lipuun Point Reservation will also be shown.

Since there are too many caves in the reservation, it is physically impossible for a tourist to view them all in one day. Not all caves are accessible at present but some of them will be provided access in the future. The caves name Sarang l, Sarang 2, Bukwan, Tayaw, and Wasay will all be provided access and support facilities in the second phase of development. There are about five basic tours developed by the Project Team using Liyang Cave as the main entrance to the Lipuun Point Reservation. Other potential points of entry include Tawa-tawa, the old logging pond area, and the entry point that would be brought about by a rehabilitated logging road. The initial five basic tours can be implemented immediately since they all use Liyang Cave as the main entrance and only include caves that currently have access.

The stages/component projects for the whole Tabon Caves tourism experience which have been conceptualized are enumerated below.

Tourism Development in the Periphery

There are several islands and sites in the Quezon mainland which can be developed, marketed and integrated with Tabon Caves as part of tourism circuits. See ES.8.

Table ES.8 Tourism Attractions in the Periphery of the Lipuun Point reservation

Tourism site Attraction and activities Location/accessibility
Mini-Underground River Picnic grounds, rests and recreation Adjacent to the National Museum, Poblacion
Lanipga Falls Picnic grounds, nature appreciation 6 kilometers from the Municipal Hall
Sidanao Island white sand beaches, sites for skin and scuba diving 40 minutes by pumpboat from the Poblacion
Tataran Island white sand beaches, sports fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving 30 minutes by pumpboat from the Poblacion
Double Island sites for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving 15 kilometers north of the Poblacion
Potetan/Tidepole Island primary forest 14 kilometers from the Poblacion
Tamlangon Island white sand beaches for swimming, coral reefs for scuba diving, nature observation 13 kilometers north of the Poblacion
Tabon Village Beach Resort rest and recreation, offers boats for island hopping, sports fishing, and scuba diving 3 kilometers from the Poblacion
Malapakun Island swimming and fishing 1 hour by pumpboat from the Poblacion

Proposed Infrastructure and Utilities

Additional infrastructure and utility systems proposed for the Lipuun Point Reservation include an archaeological grounds protection system, toilet facilities, sewerage systems, a water supply system, a solid waste management system, a communications system, and a security system.

For the Poblacion and its immediate surroundings, projections indicate that there are enough accommodation facilities until the year 2010. New rooms may be needed by the year 2005 but only when tourist arrivals reach the projected numbers of the high growth scenario. Most of the present tourist accommodations, however, would have to be upgraded to cater to high-end tourist markets and foreign tourists.

Although a new dumpsite has already been identified for the municipality of Quezon, a comprehensive solid waste management that deals with recycling, storage, collection and siposal has yet to be formulated.

IX     RECOMMENDED TOURISM CIRCUITS

A tourism circuit is a set of tourist destinations, which because of their contiguity or proximity to each other, conformity to a central theme or complementary nature, has evolved or has the potential to develop into attractive tour packages. There will be inter-municipality circuits (circuits that involve attractions within and outside of the municipality of Quezon) and intra-municipality circuits (circuits that take place entirely within the municipality).

Inter-municipality Circuits

The following inter-municipality circuits are recommended for tourist who have two or more nights to spend in Palawan.

Intra-municipality Circuits

Based on the province’s dominant imagery of rain forests, natural scenery and cultural heritage, Quezon and Tabon Caves could be promoted as the perfect combination of all these attributes plus more. An intra-municipality circuit involving two attractions would, therefore, entail at least two days. The most popular attractions and activities in the municipality of Quezon that can be integrated into a circuit area:

X     POLICY IMPLICATIONS

Tourism Marketing Policies

Quezon is basically a trading destination with minimal holiday/adventure traffic at present and these are manifestations of the town’s low level of economic development and activity. The proposed policy is to focus the offering of Quezon and/or Lipuun-Tabon towards the adventure, sports and educational vacation experience, anchored on the area’s archaeological and natural resources.

The potential local and foreign target market (traffic) must include sportsmen, adventure trekkers, special interest groups with leanings towards archaeology, and excursion and day visitors to the different areas of interest like the museum, archaeological sites and island beach areas.

Currently, the low level of traffic could be attributed to the difficulty in access as well as the non-development of attractions, facilities and activities and the resultant minimal promotion of the area in the tourism mainstream of Palawan. In spite of paved access roads to the Abo-abo area and beyond, the relative lack of airports, ports and telecommunications facilities in southern Palawan have resulted in more tourists electing to stay in Puerto Princesa City or proceeding to destinations in the northern Palawan areas. This blase on promoting southern Palawan must be modified if the objective of expanding the tourism base is to be met.

There is need to strengthen the marketing organization of the municipality in order to effectively compete in the highly competitive tourism market arena. The municipal tourism office (MTO) or council should assume the dominant role in the promotion of Quezon as a holiday, educational and adventure destination. Assistance should be secured from the provincial, regional and national levels to widen its promotional coverage.

The private sector, composed of the tour operators, accommodations and transport operators and the business sector should support the initiative of the local tourism office particularly in the delivery of services and investment placement in order to develop and to continuously improve products and services.

Land Use Policies

Since the Lipuun Point is declared a reservation and conservation area, all other types of land use activities introduced in the area are considered as non-conforming and/or incompatible. In the formulation of the Detailed Tourism Development Master Plan, it is inevitable to introduce non-conforming uses into the reservation but these projects or activities must be subject to an initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA) where applicable.

Land use planning for the Lipuun Point Reservation should extend beyond its territorial limits to include the surrounding areas. For the identified component projects such as the renovation of the existing National Museum in Quezon, the upgrading of the existing wharf at the Poblacion, the proposed access road, etc. it is important that the land use of the immediate vicinity be planned accordingly. Likewise, areas within visual range of travel routes between designated tour stops will have to be considered in the land use plan as this will preclude unwanted land uses that are incompatible to the promotion of tourism and the specific purpose(s) of the project.

Infrastructure Policies

The Municipality of Quezon must recognize the importance of the transport sector in its economic development and must therefore strive to improve accessibility and mobility within the town and work towards the improvement of its linkages with Puerto Princesa City and the other municipalities of Palawan. To promote tourism, access to Lipuun Point Reservation shall be provided by land, sea or air transport. Access to tour destinations shall be safe, convenient and reliable for the tourist in particular and the public in general.

The municipality of Quezon shall make provisions for adequate domestic water supply and the supply of potable water of acceptable health standards. Usage of septic tanks and the required waste-water treatment facilities shall be promoted in order to protect the environment and the vital ecological system.

In anticipation of the tourists who will be attracted to the Lipuun Point Reservation and who would stay in accommodations in Quezon, it is imperative that uninterrupted power supply is made available, but this must operate within environmentally acceptable standards. Improvement of the existing telecommunications services must be prioritized to equally improve the types and quality of services to tourists who will visit the area.

Legal and Institutional Policies

The proposed development strategies and plans must satisfy the various standing legal and institutional policies that relate to development planning projects, to wit:

Socio-Cultural Policies

The present Philippine population policy (approved in 1987) recognizes the linkage between population and development. In addition to fertility reduction, emphasis was placed on other issues such as family formation, the status of women, maternal and child health, child survival, morbidity, mortality, population distribution and urbanization, internal and international migration, and the population structure.

The promotion of Lipuun Point as a tourist offering necessities the maintenance of low population densities. In its attainment, the rate of Poblacion-Alfonso XIII’s (and the entire municipality’s) demographic growth must be lowered. The strengthening of the local family planning program, along with the other aspects of reproduction health, is recommended.

Continual upgrading of skills for the tourism industry at managerial and staff levels and the social preparation of the community are also critical to the success of the Tabon Caves tourism development.

Environmental Policies

In order to sustain the tourism attractions in the area, carrying capacity must be ensured through methods minimizing visitor impact. These must in turn be translated into policy statement and regulations for implementation to complement the master plan, particularly those aimed at sustaining coastal eco-tourism development and promotion.

The biodiversity of the Lipuun Point reservation and Palawan in general reflects its uniqueness. To date, a complete accounting of the Lipuun Point’s or even Palawan’s biodiversity is still wanting, but evidence shows that the observed endemism is highly significant to merit consideration in the Tourism Development Master Plan. After site appraisal and secondary data research, the Study Ream believes that the Lipuun Point Reservation’s biodiversity is its most valuable natural tourist resource. Because of its importance relative to tourism activities, biodiversity will be used as the major consideration for establishing an ecological carrying capacity figure.

XII     SUPPORTING PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS

Summary of Programs and Projects

Various programs and projects essential to the proper implementation and the eventual realization of the Detailed Tourism Development Master Plan for Tabon Caves (DTDMP-TC) have been developed. These programs and projects have been categorized according to their estimated period of implementation. The three specific time frames are short-term (1999-2002), medium-term (1999-2007), and long-term (1999-2012). The programs and projects to be implemented in the short-term are summarized in Table ES.9. The total estimated cost for all the short-term programs and projects of the DTDMP-TC is about 80.5 million pesos.

Table ll.l Short Term Programs and projects

/// Project Title Location Estimated Cost (PhP) Implementation Fund source
Tourism Development
TD 1 Renovation of National Museum Poblacion, Quezon 3,000,000 NM NM, DOT
TD 3 Viewing Deck for Tabon Cave Tabon Cave, Lipuun Point Reservation 1,000,000 NM,DOT or PTA NM, DOT
TD 4 Stairs and Viewing Deck at Manunggul Cave Manunggul Cave, Lipuun Point Reservation 450,000 NM, DOT or PTA NM, DOT
TD 8 Hanging Bridge Ecotourism trail, Lipuun Point Reservation 50,000 NM, DOT or PTA NM, DOT
TD 9 Tree House Ecotourism trail, Lipuun Point Reservation 200,000 NM, DOT or PTA NM, DOT

INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE LIPUUN POINT RESERVATION

Infra LP1 Waste water/sewage Treatment System Restroom Areas, Lipuun Point Reservation 1,500,000 DOT, NM DOT, NM
Infra LP5 Jetty and Boardwalk at Liyang Cave Liyang Cave, Lipuun Point Reservation, Quezon 20,000,000 DOT, National Museum or BOT/JV DOT, National Museum, private sector investors

INFRASTRUCTURE IN QUEZON

Infra Q2 Asphalting/Concreting of 10km. Road from Abo-abo to Poblacion Abo-abo to Poblacion, Quezon 12,000,000 DPWH Maybe funded by the DPWH once it has been recognized as a priority project
Infra Q4 Upgrading of existing Bus terminal into an inter-Modal Bus Terminal Existing Bus terminal, Poblacion, Quezon 2,500,000 The Inter-modal terminal maybe constructed and operated by the LGU while the commercial spaces may be built and operated by Local entrepreneurs Funds from the municipal government and the private sector
Infra Q5 Provision of Road Directional signs Along the major roads in Quezon 45,000 DPWH, DOT DPWH, DOT
Infra Q7 Uninterrupted Power Service in the Poblacion Poblacion, Quezon 3,500,000 Local Government Unit DOT, with LGU or interested private entity
Infra Q8 LWUA Water Supply project Poblacion, Quezon 15,000,000 LWUA contractors LWUA loan

LAND USE

LU 1 Preparation of a Land Use Plan for the Municipality of Quezon Quezon, Palawan 1,000,000 Municipal Government Local Government Funds
LU 2 Reforestation of Sultan Hill Sultan Hill, Quezon, Palawan 1,800,000 PENRO, DENR Municipal Government DENR funded

SOCIO-CULTURAL

SC 1 Social Dialogues as Social Preparation for Tourism Development Quezon, Palawan 150,000 Municipal Tourism Office, DOT Municipal Tourism Office, MTC, PTC, DOT
SC 3 Education on Sexuality and Gender, Race and Ethnicity Quezon, Palawan 500,000 DOT, Palawan State University, Municipal Government DOT, Palawan State University (PSU)
SC 4 Training Program for Tour Guides Poblacion, Quezon 500,000 Palawan State University Palawan state University (PSU), National Museum

ENVIRONMENTAL

Env 1 Biodiversity Baselining Lipuun Point reservation and immediate Surroundings 2,000,000 NM, PCSD,PAWB, UP Diliman, UP Los Banos Grants, Technical assistance Equipment
Env 2 Environmental Baselining Program Lipuun Point Reservation and immediate Surroundings 3,000,000 PAGASA, Bureau of Soil and Management, PCSD, PAWB European Union, US-AID, JICA, AIDAB, AUSAID, IDRC

MARKETING

Mktg 1 Cooperative Marketing Activities Quezon, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, DOT Regional/Foreign Offices 1,700,000 Municipal Government, DOT DOT region IV, National government Agencies
Mktg 2 Web Page for Tabon Caves in the internet Puerto Princesa for Palawan ISP, Manila for DOT ISP 1,000,000 Provincial Government, DOT UNESCO
Mktg 3 Public Relations for the different Government Information Offices Puerto Princesa and Central Offices of the Various Government Agencies 50,000 PIA Various Government Information Agencies
Mktg 4 Hosting of Special Events Tabon and Quezon area 1,600,000 Provincial and Municipal Government, DOT region IV Provincial and Municipal Government, DOT region IV
Mktg 5 Advertising Placements and Feature Articles Singapore, Hong-Kong and USA 10,000,000 The Government and Private Sector The Government and Private Sector
Mktg 6 Promotion of the Area Wilderness, and Beach areas of Tabon Caves and Quezon Minimal Cost The Municipal Government The Municipal Government

ARCHAEOLOGICAL

Arch 1 Archaeological Assessment Liyang Cave, Tabon Cave and Tawa-tawa area, Lipuun Point Reservation 1,300,000 National Museum DOT, National Museum
TOTAL 80,595,000

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS

A financial analysis based on assumptions for rate structure, cost of operations, and tourist arrivals was undertaken to determine the financial viability of implementing the tourism development master plan. The objective of financial analysis is to assess the financial viability of the proposed improvement and development of the Lipuun Point Reservation as a major tourism destination.

The financial analysis is based on the revenues and expenses and the cash flow. Following are the assumptions used in the financial projections:

The financial internal rate of return (FIRR) measures the effective utilization of the total investment employed in the project and shows the compounded growth of investments within the project period. The rate of return was computed based on the present value of cash inflow and outflow and the FIRR results compared with the cost of capital of 14%. As shown in Table ll.4 the FIRR before financing charges is 16%. Hence, the project is considered financially feasible.

XII     PROJECTED IMPACTS

The influx of tourists into Lipuun Point who may simultaneously engage in a number of activities will have a significant impact on the carrying capacity of the study area’s resources and environment. The trend towards rapid urbanization in the municipality of Quezon may increase due to the development of tourism and this may encompass the expansion of existing human settlements and waste disposal areas.

Such expansions directly threaten the ecology of the Lipuun Point Reservation, albeit the reservation may be at some distance from potential developments in the municipality proper. To avoid the ill effects of urbanization, a zoning ordinance at the municipal and barangay levels must be formulated. In particular, the law enforcement capability of the local government unit must be strengthened.

During the construction of the proposed access road to link the Quezon Poblacion with Lipuun Point, the clearing of some vegetation, mostly mangrove tress south of the reservation, will likely occur strict regulations have recently been passed, pertaining to the banning of unregular clearing and harvesting of mangrove trees. During the construction phase, exposed soil becomes prone to erosion, and runoff may eventually wind up in the coastal waters of the area. It is therefore necessary that construction of the road, along with the clearing of the mangrove trees, be undertaken in a phase approach.

To fully maximize the availability of pristine beaches located on islands around the reservation, particularly those located in Tataran and Sidanao Islands, their programmed development is proposed to augment tours to the Tabon Caves Complex. These beach developments will also function as support facilities in the promotion of SCUBA diving in the Malanut and Nakoda Bay areas.

Major considerations for the archaeological and socio-cultural impacts of the proposed developments must be given due attention in the plan implementation.

XIV     IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TOURISM MASTER PLAN

Existing Institutional Mechanism for Planning and Implementation

The key national government offices that shall be involved in the planning and implementation of the tourism development master plan for the Lipuun Point Reservation include:

The key infrastructure agencies that could be involved in the development of the Lipuun Point Reservation, its environs and the other key identified priority development areas within the Municipality of Quezon shall be:

The key non-infrastructure agencies that could be involved in the development of the Lipuun Point Reservation, its environs and the other key identified priority development areas within the Municipality of Quezon shall be:

Important stakeholders under the present plan include:

Basic Legal Considerations for plan Implementation

Any plan implementation activity for the Project must consider the laws and authorities that regulate the exploitation of the Lipuun Point reservation and the Tabon Caves Complex, to wit:

To orchestrate all these varied public sector agencies and corporations that may be involved in the project is the Department of Tourism (DOT), which shall act as principal Project Proponent. Its corporate arm, the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), shall be tasked with rallying and encouraging the private sector to participate in the project.

The private sector is allowed to undertake any item in the project, and businesses that are not assumed by the private sector can be established and operated by the PTA.

Institutional Mechanism for Plan Implementation

The review of the laws and authorities impacting on the Project leads to the conclusion that not one entity - be it public or private sector - has the capacity or jurisdiction to implement the master plan. Any venture, therefore, must involve two (2) or more parties. Not all the parties described above, however, need to be formally included in a joint venture agreement that would implement the master plan for the Lipuun Point Reservation.

The indispensable parties to the joint venture agreement to develop all or parts of the Lipuun Point Reservation shall be determined on the basis of the private sector’s participation in the management of the project, the utilization of private sector assets for the project, and the private sector share in the income of the project’s operations. Given this premise, the indispensable parties are the DOT through the PTA and the National Museum.

The proposed organization for master plan implementation must assume that all the required authorities have already been secured, i.e., zoning clearance, development/building permits from the LGU, the Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) from DENR, etc.

The laws and authorities that are the guidelines and mandates of the principal parties to this project also determine the best avenues for raising funds. The funding for the project can come from several sources - private or public, local or foreign. Moreover, there are several modes of raising funds or financing technologies that can be employed singly or in combination: direct investments (as with BOT), equity, loans, donations, grants and the flotation of bonds and securities.

The idea funding technology is the issuance or flotation of securities by the PTA whereby the proceeds of the sale of the instruments shall be committed to building and putting in place the various project items described in the master plan. The success of this strategy, however, depends on the viability of the business plan for the Lipuun Point Reservation as a tourist destination.

Investments Incentives for Tourism Development

Assuming that a substantial portion of the required development funds will be directly and substantially sourced from the foreign public and/or private sector, with the R.A 7042 (the Foreign Investment Act) or the BOT Law and its variants as the primary investment instruments, some of the incentives that can be made available for master plan implementation may include tax exemptions, income tax holiday, tax credits and possible additional deductions from taxable income.


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