Camarines islands voted leading emerging tourist haven

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Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte topped the list of 10 up-and-coming tourist destinations in the country.

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The list is called “Philippine Gems,” a project of Isla Lipana & Co.

Also in the list are Apo Island in Batanes, Biri Rock Formation in Caramoan, Danjugan in Lake Sebu, Mt. Kanlaon, Panglao Island and Tubbataha.

The Calaguas, located in the municipality of Vinzons, emerged as the top choice because of  its pristine beaches—the most popular of which is the Mahabang Buhangin beach, which is made up of a long stretch of powdery white sand.

Alexander Cabrera, Isla Lipana chairman and senior partner said the Philippine Gems project “also steers awareness and appreciation for the country’s pristine and natural sites, even the underdeveloped ones.”

“In our modest way, we aim for these places to gain local and international attention, and in due course, greater economic activity,” he Cabrera said.

The top 10 destinations were chosen from an initial list of 25 culled through online voting from June 26 to September 25.

The firm started with a list of 175 destinations gathered from their employees and online travel bloggers. It was trimmed to 50 and the screening committee agreed on a shortlist of 25 which were opened to public online voting.

Cabrera said the company will help promote the Philippine Gems to spur economic and tourism development in the area.

“After identifying the 10 Philippine Gems, the question is what’s next? The company will also help on the preservation of these sites,” he said.

Philippine Gems, which is part of Isla Lipana’s corporate social responsibility, aims to showcase the country’s “good side” to the world.

RITCHIE A. HORARIO

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