With its cool climate and its 1,000 meter elevation above sea level, barangay Mantalongon in the municipality of Dalaguete has been known as the “Summer Capital of Cebu.”
But Joe Canton, a former tourism attaché from Mantalongon, said much infrastructure is still needed to make the place live up to the title. The provincial government recognized Mantalongon in a 2006 resolution of the Provincial Board.
“We wanted to promote our place as a tourism destination, but first we need infrastructure to accommodate visitors,” Canton said.
Canton, who also administers Cristo Rey Mountain Park, said he will have a ten-room hotel built in a portion of their family estate this year.
“I was a tourism attaché and I saw good potential for tourism in Mantalongon. If I can promote the country to tourists, why not my place,” said Canton.
Mantalongon is also known as the “vegetable basket” of Cebu.
Its cool climate is ideal for growing lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, herbs and other nursery plants.
Mantalongon is also famous for its Osmeña Peak, a favorite destination for mountain climbers.
Cristo Rey Mountain Park, a four-hectare property filled with pine trees located near the public market, is another popular destination.
Found in the property, owned by Canton’s grandfather Crispin Almagro, are 50-year-old life size statues depicting the Stations of the Cross that makes the place an ideal destination for pilgrims.
Canton said that the mountain park has a temperature of 11ºC at night that drops to between 9 to 10ºC in December.
Mantalongon is the “little Baguio” in Cebu province because of its location and climate, he said.
Hotel construction project that will end in the later part of 2009 is expected to address the need for bed spaces for guests.
Rooms and resort cottages for lease are only available in Poblacion, Dalaguete, at least 12 kilometers from Mantalongon.
Later, Canton said he intends to build 30 cottages equipped with two bedrooms each.
Canton announced his plans to the media on Good Friday. He earlier invited Gilbert Bargayo to play the role of Jesus Christ in the “Pasyon sa Mantalongon”.
“I want this Pasyon sa Mantalongon to be a catalyst to introduce Mantalongon and let people know that we have the facility, weather, ambiance and the vegetables to boast of,” Canton said. Reporter Doris C. Bongcac