Mantalongon plans to draw more tourists

Posted April 8, 2008 by prworks1234
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Cebu Daily News
First Posted 09:52:00 03/23/2008

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


The Crucifixion

Posted April 8, 2008 by prworks1234
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Crowd at the Public Market and the Cristo Rey Mountain Park

Posted April 8, 2008 by prworks1234
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Stations of the Cross and Procession from Villa Caridad

Posted April 6, 2008 by prworks1234
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Hotel soon to rise in Mantalongon

Posted April 6, 2008 by prworks1234
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mantalongon in the town of Dalaguete, which is referred to as “Little Baguio of Cebu,” will soon have a facility to answer to the accommodation needs of tourists.

Jose Maria Canton, administrator of the Almagro Estate where the Cristo Rey Mountain Resort is situated, said that a 10-room hotel will be built on a portion of said property.

This despite the fact that barangay leaders, headed by chairman Ruel Reynes, vowed to block any events in the barangay similar to that of the “Pasyon sa Mantalongon” that was staged recently.

Canton said that Mantalongon is a “great tourism potential because of its cool climate and abundant vegetables.” And that they are planning to make the “Pasyon…” a yearly affair to invite more tourist visits in Mantalongon.

“As a tourism attaché once, I had successfully promoted the Philippines and brought in tourists. Why not do the same in my own place?” Canton said.

Mantalongon was declared “summer capital of Cebu” in a resolution of the Provincial Board in 2006. But it was noticed that Mantalongon lacked the infrastructure to house tourists as these visitors and or guests still have to go down, 12 kilometers away, to the Poblacion. The hotel, Canton said, is hoped to be finished by next year.

He also mentioned of the building of two-room cottages at specified areas in the Almagro Estate by private investors.

The Almagros owned 700 of the 900-hectare total land area of barangay Mantalongon.

Canton said his family used to run an abaca plantation in Mantalongon but later on ventured into the propagation of anthuriums when nylon became a tough competition for abaca ropes.

Meanwhile, Reynes who is a relative of Canton, said that he and the barangay council will be protesting any undertakings similar to the “Pasyon.”

He reasoned out that the event “disrespected the activities and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church aside from the fact that the organizers failed to seek permit from the barangay to stage said play.”

In fact, none of the barangay tanods of Mantalongon graced the activity on Holy Friday, supposedly to ensure peace and order there.

Dalaguete Mayor Andrade Alcantara, however, gave instructions for other barangays to send their tanods to Mantalongon to augment the two teams assigned by the town police. — Ferliza C. Contratista/MEEV

Bargayo nails No. 15 in Dalaguete

Posted March 25, 2008 by prworks1234
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By Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 09:49:00 03/23/2008

Cebu’s Holy Week rituals invariably include a real life crucifixion featuring Gilbert Bargayo.

When he performed his 15th dramatic sacrifice on Good Friday, this time in the cool outdoor setting of Cristo Rey Mountain Park in Mantalongon, Dalaguete town, not all locals were happy.

The parish priest of San Isidro Labrador in Matalongon did not approve of Bargayo’s reenactment, said Dolly Salvacion, a nun assigned at the parish.

Crucifixion and public flagellation, some of the bizarre rituals seen on Holy Week, are considered a secular activity and frowned upon by the Catholic Church.

The nun said that if a person wants to sacrifice on that day, that is not the way to go about it.

The “Pasyon sa Mantalongon” was witnessed by close to 6,000 people. The crowd included out-of-town visitors like film school students, both local and foreign.

Dalaguete is located 85 kilometers south of Cebu City.

Mantalongon barangay captain Roel Reynes complained that event organizers didn’t seek the barangay’s permission in holding the activity.

Reynes said promotional campaigns should not take advantage of the Good Friday crowd.

He said traditional church-led Good Friday activities like the procession and Siete Palabras recitation of the last words of Jesus Christ are what’s important. He said the Bargayo crucifixion was an insult to them because it did not show respect for their traditions.

Reynes, however, denied spreading word that he would stop the staging of the Pasyon sa Mantalongon.

The local police fielded ten policemen to monitor the activity.

Police Insp. Reyman Tolentino, Dalaguete police chief, said he got wind of reports that some quarters had threatened to disrupt the event.

“We try to mediate because the organizers (of the Pasyon) and the barangay captain are in conflict,” Tolentino said.

Uncertain of whether to take the threats seriously, event organizers only made Bargayo appear in the first and second stations of the 14-station Way of the Cross.

Doris Mongaya of PR Works, said they were also concerned of Bargayo’s health since he recently recovered from chicken pox.

Another actor took Bargayo’s place in walking the the 1.8 kilometer route to Cristo Rey Mountain Park from the vicinity of the old cross in Villa Caridad.

Bargayo again appeared at the 10th station at the foot of the park. From there, he completed the walk to the highest slope for his crucifixion.

Bargayo agreed to have his 15th crucifixion in Mantalongon on the invitation of Joe Canton, the Cristo Rey Mountain Park administrator, and in cooperation with the municipal government.

A female spectator fainted at the sight of his blood after the nails pierced Bargayo’s feet.

He stayed on the wooden cross for almost 20 minutes.

Bargayo’s crucifixion was staged in Mantalongon to promote public awareness of the park as a pilgrimage site and of Mantalongon as a tourist destination.

She said the park will be developed to make it a tourist attraction.

While spectators gathered to witness the event, hundreds of Roman Catholic believers also gathered at the San Isidro parish church a kilometer away, to attend confession and listen to the Siete Palabras mediations aired over the raid from the Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu City.

Townfolk aso stayed for the traditional late afternoon procession of the Santo Entiero.

Police and barangay tanods were at the church grounds to secure the religious activity.

Despite Some Hitches: Thousands witness two “crucifixions”

Posted March 23, 2008 by prworks1234
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By Wenna A. Berondo and Ferliza C. Contratista
Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thousands of people, including foreigners, gathered on Friday at the Guadalupe Church grounds in Cebu City to witness the reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, while another group of spectators were at the Cristo Rey Mountain Park in Dalaguete town to watch a distinct but similar event.

The Guadalupe crucifixion, a play entitled 11th Buhing Kalbaryo, had Mark Escuyos who, acting as Jesus Christ, was actually nailed to the cross that brought many in the crowd to tears as they imagined how it was for Christ during his time…

Meanwhile, despite security threats and other alleged negative propaganda, thousands witness the 15th crucifixion of Gilbert Bargayo, this time in barangay Mantalongon, Dalaguete town.

Bargayo, a Waray, was nailed past 3 p.m. to give way to the request of the parish’s religious activities. Dalaguete police chief Reyman Tolentin, who sent two teams to secure the event, estimated the crowd at more than 7,000.

Aside from the police force, an instruction was also given by Dalaguete Mayor Andrade Alcantara for barangay tanods from other barangays to augment security. Alcantara was not seen during or after the event as he was also busy with the Siete Palabras of the municipality.

He however gave instructions for his staff, specially the personnel from the Rural Health Unit, to assist in the first ever “Pasyon sa Mantalongon.”

Cristo Rey Mountain Park administrator Jose Maria Canton said except for a few minor ditches, he did not expect the number of the crowd and the attendance of several local members of the press as well as foreign.

Canton, after taking over as the administrator of the four-hectare Almagro Estate, decided to develop and open the Cristo Rey hill to the public. The Cristo Rey is a 2.5-hectare hill that has life-seize statues of the 14 Stations of the Cross spread in different parts. He said it is such a waste that the place, which was mainly used for family affairs, will not be shared to the public.

But people at the Mantalongon Market, where sellers and traders of vegetables converged, said there would have been more if not for the talks on security threats and the alleged fee that was charged for spectators to witness the event.

According to one vendor there were words of disruption to be done allegedly by Mantalongon barangay captain Ruel Reynes, a cousin of Canton with whom he has an ongoing family feud.

Another vendor also said there would have been many who wanted to see the event but they backed out after being informed that a P50 charge will be collected from the spectators.

Reynes, in an interview with The Freeman after the affair said, the “Pasyon sa Mantalongon” was a disrespect to the barangay and the parish. He said the organizers did not even bother to secure a permit from the barangay for consultation and permission.

Reynes said he felt sidetracked when the organizers sought approval from the municipality directly.

Considering that the “Pasyon sa Mantalongon” was an event showing additional tourism potential for Mantalongon not only the area being known as the “Little Baguio”, Reynes said it is no longer necessary.

“Dili na kinahanglan i-promote ang Mantalongon, ilado na tang daan wala pa na,” Reynes said.

When asked for his plans on the upcoming events at Cristo Rey as planned by Canton to have the “Pasyon” a yearly affair, Reynes said they will certainly protest it but will still have to study their moves first.

“Kanang pagpalansang, dili na maoy naandan sa tradisyon sa mga taga Mantalongon,” Reynes said.

Meanwhile, Bargayo, barely a week after having chicken pox, was delighted he was able to make it, reminding the public once again of Christ’s sufferings on the cross to save mankind. —/BRP