DUMAGUETE CITY, (PNA) -– Despite intense Magnitude 7.2 earthquake that rocked Dumaguete City and other parts of Negros Oriental and Central Visayas on Tuesday, the Provincial Tourism Office has reported that an initial survey showed little or no damage at all to major tourist destinations in the province.
Maritone Mascardo, OIC Tourism Officer, submitted a report during Wednesday’s meeting of the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) attended by various heads of offices and other government line agencies for an evaluation of damages brought about by the earthquake.
The meeting was also to assess the destruction wrought by the unprecedented massive flooding that hit Bayawan City, Basay, Sta. Catalina and other areas last October 6.
In her report to the PDRRMC, Mascardo said the tourist destinations inspected include the Protected Seascape and Landscape and world famous dive destination, Apo Island; the Mabinay Caves including the Bulwang/Crystal Cave and the Pangliwan Cave, the Mabinay Spring, Hotel and Zipline; the White Sand Bar in Manjuyod; and the Dolphin and Whale watching industry in Bais City.
In Apo Island, reports say there were no damages in the resorts and neighboring houses with only mild to moderate tremors felt. However, the Coast Guard suspended all pumpboats and other sea craft traveling to that world renowned dive spot.
No records were immediately made available as to the status of the coral reefs in Apo Island, which was already decimated by a large percentage by previous typhoons that hit the province in 2011 and 2012.
Over in Mabinay, a mountain town famous for its caves, minimal damage was reported by the tourism office.
At the Bulwang/Crystal Cave, facilities were intact and no injuries were reported as tourists visiting the cave at the time of the tremor were still at the information center and had not entered the cave yet.
Cave guides, meanwhile are still conducting an inspection of the Panligawan Cave for cracks while at the Mabinay Spring, Hotel and Zipline, four cabanas were spared by the earthquake and in fact the resort is fully booked with tourists.
Also, the famous zipline has withstood the earthquake although operation had stopped when the earthquake struck Tuesday morning.
Cottages at the White Sand Bar in Manjuyod have not exhibited signs of destruction or impairment and no tourists were at the site during the earthquake.
As to the Dolphine and Whale Watching activity in Bais City, no damage was seen or reported in the coastal area with one rental boat of the local government was on dry dock and eight other boats had no booking on that day.
Mascardo said the Twin Lakes in Sibulan and Lake Balanan in Siaton have yet to be assessed and inspected as communications to authorities in the area were impeded at the height of the Magnitude 7.2 quake that was followed by more than 1,000 aftershocks in the succeeding days.