Cultural Convergence and Tourist Convenience: Heritage City of Carcar Welcomes DOT’s Tourist Rest Area (TRA)
In a vibrant ceremony led by First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos, Vice President Sara Duterte, and DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, the Department of Tourism (DOT) officially handed over the Tourist Rest Area (TRA) to the enchanting heritage city of Carcar. This monumental event, attended by esteemed figures including Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia and Senators Manuel ‘Lito’ Lapid and Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, Jr., signifies a significant leap in boosting tourism and enhancing traveler experiences in the Southern Philippines.
Secretary Frasco, at the turnover and inauguration ceremony, expressed the department’s commitment to fulfilling President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s vision of transforming the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia. “We listened to our tourism stakeholders, we listened to our tourists, and their concern was common—to and from the beautiful destinations across the country, they needed a place to rest, amenities, and clean and decent restrooms,” said Secretary Frasco.
Situated in the heritage-rich city of Carcar, adorned with Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-classical architecture, the TRA is the fourth completed facility and the second in Cebu Province turned over to local government units (LGU) by the DOT. Other TRAs were inaugurated in Medellin, Cebu; Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; and the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS), Davao del Norte in July and August.
The Carcar TRA, a convenient one-stop shop for festival delegates, patrons, and travelers exploring the city, provides essential amenities such as clean restrooms, a charging station, a lounge area, a shower area, and a lactation room—all accessible for free by tourists.
“This tourist facility, through the TRA, creates a synergy where culture meets convenience. Tourists can immediately feel the love and warmth of the Filipino people, of the Cebuanos, through the amenities that we have to offer,” Secretary Frasco added.
The TRA is not just a rest area; it is a platform for local empowerment. Completed by the DOT and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), it features a tourist information area and pasalubong (souvenir) center showcasing local crafts and products. Banana chips, chocolate crunch, and Carcar’s famous chicharron are among the offerings, empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the area.
Furthermore, Secretary Frasco, alongside Cebu Governor Garcia, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for additional TRAs in Bogo City and the Municipalities of Pinamungajan, Dumanjug, and Santander. This initiative, aligning with Governor Garcia’s commitment to match the number of TRAs turned over by the DOT to the province, emphasizes the strategic collaboration between national and local entities to enhance tourism experiences.
A separate MOA was signed by TIEZA COO Mark Lapid, formalizing the promotion and development of TIEZA’s assets in partnership with the municipalities of Argao, Dalaguete, and Moalboal. This collaboration aims to improve Cebu’s tourism portfolio, generate income, and create employment opportunities.
The ceremony also marked the establishment of sisterhood relations between Cebu and Albay provinces, reinforcing collaboration in tourism development.
Secretary Frasco concluded, “Through your dances, festivals, and everything that celebrates our identity as Cebuanos and Filipinos, you give the Philippines and the rest of the world all the reasons to Love The Philippines.”
The turnover and MOA signings coincided with the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo 2023, the showcase festival of the Cebu Provincial Government, adding a festive flair to the celebration of the DOT’s commitment to tourism development.