SANTA ANA, Cagayan: It is time to pack up for the United States (US) reality television series Survivor after completion of its four-month 27th season filming in this coastal town’s Palaui Island and in Callao Cave in Peñablanca town.
The engineer Julian Jovy Gonzales, Santa Ana-based Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) officer in charge, said that close to Survivor’s 500-member cast and crew and some local counterparts bid farewell at Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort on Sunday.
Gonzales said the CEZA has facilitated the 27th season of the Survivor production here “to further promote tourism and investments in the once-obscure fishing town.”
In 2012, the Palaui Island’s 7,415-hectare national government-protected marine area was named as one of the top 10 beaches and islands in the world by the Go travel website of the Cable News Network (CNN); it is inhabited by more than 200 families, mostly of the Aeta or Agta tribes.
Now, Palaui Island is in CNN’s Top 10 Best Beaches in the World beating other beaches in some of the most popular destinations in the world such as Greece, Trinidad and Tobago, Madagascar, Brazil, Barbados and Mexico, placing even higher than El Nido in Palawan (14th) and Puka Beach in Boracay (84th).
Local officials here, however, said that many of the reality TV show’s production staff and crew members have continued their stay in Santa Ana to spend a few more days of their vacation.
Hotel and accommodation industries, which hosted the entire Survivor’s production staff speak of more than a hundred million of pesos income for the four-month Survivor’s activities in the area.
Mayor Darwin Tobias said the town’s tourism will not die with the exit of the Survivor.
“Our tourism industry has already been thriving because of this town’s various natural and unexplored wonders including fine white sand beaches and mangroves,” Tobias said.
Tobias, however, has acknowledged the Survivor’s contributions to the municipality in tourism promotion as well as in extending short-term employment and livelihood to their constituents.
“The Survivor’s stay in Santa Ana has boosted further the town’s popularity in the world’s tourism map. There is no doubt, we will soon be at par or even better than those being touted at present as the country’s tourism gems,” Tobias said boasting of the town’s beautiful and scenic features.
Meanwhile, Benjie de Yro, information officer of the Philippine Information Agency regional office, said that at least three major international filmmakers were also considering Northern Cagayan as film production sites.
De Yro said the filmmakers have identified Palaui Island and Cagayan’s other tourism sites like the Callao Caves in Peñablanca town for their film projects.
He said the three inter- national film producers are Columbia Pictures, 21st Century Fox and Golan Films, which is part of Cannon Group of America companies.
These film makers were behind international hit movies by Hollywood stars like Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Daniel Craig, Toby Maguire and many more.
Joan Taguba, president of the Santa Ana Hotel and Resort Owners Association, said that after Survivor’s filming here, “these Hollywood production would be a promising season for the town once again, especially for our local tourism.”