DAVAO CITY (PIA) - Jose Abad Santos Mayor-elect Jason John M. Joyce aims to market his town to tourists, as the town's natural attractions is comparable to renowned Bali in Indonesia.
"When I went to Bali last year, I discovered that it looks like Jose Abad Santos," Joyce said. "We have cliffs and breathtaking views, we have wonderful beaches, too."
"Jose Abad Santos is an exotic destination, which I'm sure will attract tourists when the people discovered the beauty of the town," he added.
With 76,000 people and designated a first class municipality in Davao Occidental province, Jose Abad Santos boasts of cliffs that have spectacular panoramas of the Davao Gulf and Celebes Sea, something similar to Bali with its cliffs and sunsets.
Joyce said that instead of sunsets, Jose Abad Santos is a perfect site to catch breathtaking sunrises.
He said the town has indigenous culture which he hopes they can tap as this will "provide additional livelihood" to the indigenous peoples of the town.
Among the attractions of Jose Abad Santos include rock formations, white-sand beaches, pebble beaches, snorkeling and dive spots, waterfalls, grasslands and forests.
The town is also rich in history as it has quaint old houses belonging to Spanish and American settler families who established haciendas and plantations in the town.
Jose Abad Santos, once part of the town of Malita, was opened to American settlers by the American colonial government in the early 1900s.
The local government has developed a baywalk along the poblacion and a 100-feet statue of Christ the Redeemer situated along a cliff which is reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer Statue.
Joyce was the town's vice-mayor before winning the top municipal post in the recently concluded elections.
He said one of his priority programs as local chief executive is developing the tourism potentials of Jose Abad Santos.
"I will be coordinating with the Department of Tourism and also I will harness the power of social media in promoting the town," Joyce said.
Joyce said he will be allocating P1 million to P2 million to build toilet facilities and lodging structures for tourists.
He said they are also targeting to jumpstart a homestay program for billeting guests such as those being practiced in Siargao.
They are waiting for the road development to be completed which would connect the town to the rest of the province with an all-weather road network, he added.
"For now I will be packaging the town as an adventure destination, the Bali of the Philippines," Joyce said. (PIA-XI)