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PH's first Tourist Rest Area now up in Medellin, Cebu

In an effort to provide a safe and comfortable stop for weary tourists traveling across the country, the Department of Tourism (DOT) inaugurated the first Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Medellin, Cebu on July 10, 2023.

Medellin, a second-class municipality located 113 kilometers north of Cebu City in the northern part of Cebu province, has become the first local government unit in the Philippines to establish its own TRA. Situated in Brgy. Poblacion, the Medellin TRA spans 300 square meters and offers various amenities, including a coffee shop, a pasalubong and souvenir store, a tourist information area, and free charging stations.

The souvenir shop not only sells local delicacies but also serves as a platform for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to showcase their local products, providing them with additional livelihood opportunities.

The souvenir shop inside the Medellin Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Brgy. Poblacion, Medellin, Cebu where travelers can buy local products from MSMEs in Cebu. Photo courtesy of Department of Tourism Facebook page

Additionally, the TRA features clean restrooms and shower facilities that are free for guests to use. "Every detail of a tourist's journey is important to the Department of Tourism, which is why we have prioritized clean and decent restrooms, as well as information and pasalubong centers," stated Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco during the launch ceremony.

Tourists can also visit the TRA to report safety and security concerns, as well as access travel-related information at the tourism information booth within the facility, free of charge.

Frasco emphasized that the TRA in Medellin will offer comfort and convenience to tourists traveling to the province's northern destinations. "Visitors on a road trip through Medellin can now enjoy this facility, adorned with Filipino-inspired interior and furniture, at no cost," she added.

A Game-Changing Facility

Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo, Jr. warmly welcomed the establishment of the TRA in his municipality, expressing his belief that the facility will attract more tourists to the town, especially after many residents lost their jobs due to the closure of sugar mills amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We recognize the vital role of tourism as the prime moving factor in our local development, particularly as Medellin transitions from being an agricultural town to a promising tourist destination," stated Mondigo during the TRA inauguration.

Although fishing and farming have been the primary sources of livelihood for the locals, tourism has shown great potential for this town, known as the "Sugar Bowl of Cebu," due to its extensive sugarcane fields.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Sec. Christina Garcia Frasco (center) led the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the inauguration of the country's first Tourist Rest Area in Medellin, Cebu on July 10, 2023. She was joined by Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia (3rd from right), Cebu 5th District Representative and Deputy House speaker Vincent “Duke” Frasco (3rd from left), together with other DOT officials, Cebu local officials, and tourism stakeholders. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism Facebook Page
The Underwater Cross at the Medellin Dive Site in Gibitngil Island, Cebu is one of the newest tourist attractions in the town of Medellin. Installed on May 22, 2023, the cross was donated by the Philippine Navy in honor of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines and to mark the town’s journey to become a diving destination in Cebu. Photo courtesy of Giles Anthony Villamor, Municipality of Medellin, Cebu

One of Medellin's latest attractions is the Underwater Cross, installed on May 22, 2023, in the seas surrounding mainland Medellin and Gibitngil Island. The Philippine Navy created and donated the cross to commemorate the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines, marking the town's journey toward becoming a diving destination in Cebu.

Medellin shares borders with the town of Daanbantayan to the north, the Tañon Strait to the west, the Camotes Sea to the east, the town of San Remigio to the southwest, and the city of Bogo to the southeast.

Partial data from DOT-7 revealed that Medellin received 4,450 local tourists and 53 foreign visitors between January and June of the previous year. In 2022, its neighboring town, Daanbantayan, ranked 5th among the LGUs in Cebu province with high tourist arrivals, while the city of Bogo was among the top 10 destinations in the province based on tourist arrivals. (RGC - PIA VII Cebu)

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Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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