ILOILO CITY, Iloilo - The Department of Tourism in Region 6 (DoT 6) has revived a Iloilo River tour proposal.
"The river tour is envisioned to be included in the cultural tour for visitors coming to Iloilo province and city," said Atty. Helen Catalbas, DOT 6 acting regional director, after the city's hosting of the First Philippine International River Summit last May 30 to June 1.
"It will show visitors Iloilo River role in Iloilo's history and culture," Catalbas emphasized.
The 15-kilometer Iloilo River has long been considered a source of food, livelihood and transportation gateway.
Also, the winding river has played a pivotal role in Iloilo's socio-economic growth, most notably with the opening of the Iloilo Port in the middle of the 19th century, paving the way for Iloilo to engage in international trading.
The R5.4-million river cruise project will be a public-private partnership (PPP) to be initiated by DOT 6 and the Tourism Enterprise Zones and Administration of Incentives (TIEZA).
Catalbas said the river cruise will be an added attraction to the 1.2-kilometer Iloilo Esplanade, the river park project funded by Senator Franklin Drilon and designed by renowned Filipino architect Paulo Alcazaren.
Meanwhile, DOT-6 and TIEZA will have to initiate the building of a prototype boat that will ferry tourists along the river.
The project is still in the conceptualization and planning stage as DOT6 awaits the complete cleanup of the river including removal of illegal settlers and derelict vessels.
Since March 2011, public and private sectors have joined forces in a massive rehabilitation and development work project on the Iloilo and Batiano Rivers traversing Iloilo City and neighboring Oton town.