BAUKO, Mountain Province – Mayor Abraham B. Akilit expressed disappointment over the delayed rehabilitation and upgrading of the historic Mount Data Hotel which has affected the influx of foreign and domestic visitors wanting to spend the night in one of the coolest places in the country.
The local chief executive said he had been frequenting the office of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to follow up on the proposed rehabilitation of the government facility but he had been informed that the supposed field validation for the project has yet to be scheduled.
Last year TIEZA took over the management and operation of Mount Data Hotel after the expiration of the memorandum of agreement entered between the agency and the provincial government, and the hotel was subsequently closed for operation to pave the way for the proposed rehabilitation of the facility for it to conform to current standards of tourism-accredited hotels.
“We cannot understand why TIEZA has not yet scheduled a field validation of the Mount Data Hotel for quite some time now. We really need the hotel to be operational the soonest to cater to the board and lodging requirements of the growing number of tourists visiting the different tourist spots in the different parts of the province,” Akilit stressed.
He added the operation of the hotel will definitely be a big boost in enticing more foreign and domestic visitors to spend a longer time in the province because of guaranteed decent accommodation and considering the fact that it is strategically situated near famous tourist destinations in Sagada, Banaue, and Ifugao among others.
The Mount Data Hotel is part of the country’s history because it served as the venue where the historic Mount Data ‘sipat’ was enter into and signed on September 13, 1986 by former President Corazon C. Aquino and former rebel priest Conrado Balweg of the Cordillera Bodong Administration – Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA).
According to Mayor Akilit, one of the important components of the rehabilitation of the Mount Data Hotel is the inclusion of a museum that will serve as the display area of the tokens exchanged between the concerned parties of the ‘sipat’ and other materials relative to the rich history of the Cordillera, among others.
Akilit explained that based on previous meetings with TIEZA officials the hotel will be managed by the state-run Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) while the Bauko municipal government will take charge of the museum and other outdoor recreational activities that could be established within the government facility.
He admitted there is not enough lodging facilities in the municipality to cater to the rapidly increasing number of tourists wanting to visit the scenic destinations not only in the municipality but also in the different parts of the province as well as neighboring provinces, and is why it is best for the government to ensure the operation of the hotel to provide increased accommodation for visitors wanting to stay longer in their desired destinations.