Quarantine Violations Force Cebu Town To Close Tourist Site

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The municipal government of Badian, a town 104 kilometers south of this capital, has ordered the immediate closure of the Badian Highlands, a new tourist destination in the area, after photos circulated on social media showing visitors violating quarantine protocols.

Donald Villarin, municipal tourism officer, was accompanied by the town’s police personnel on Wednesday to formally place a notice reminding tourists about the temporary closure of the new attraction.

Early this week, a photo went viral – raising concerns on tourists not following health protocols such as social distancing and wearing of masks. Last July 19, some 300 motorcycle riders converged in the area’s viewing deck, which is about 1,640 feet above sea level.

Villarin told the Philippine News Agency that even before the photo went viral, the local government of Badian already started to lobby guidelines for Badian Highlands.

On Tuesday, Mayor Carmentica Librando Lumain issued Executive Order 22 implementing a temporary closure of the facility, which opened to the public after the town shifted to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) on July 10.

The Badian Highlands offers a spectacular view of the Tañon Strait and the mountains around Cebu’s southwestern area.

Based on their investigation, Villarin said the riders initially wore masks but they removed these when they arrived in the area.

To reach the area, vehicles take the 13-kilometer road that spans barangays Poblacion, Taytay, Basak, Talayong, and Dobdob from the national highway.

The municipal government has yet to provide an exact date as to when the tourist facility will reopen.

The new tourist destination has been eyed to help the town’s economy to recover after suspending all tourism activities as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) back in March.

Badian is home to other popular tourist attractions such as the Osmeña Peak, Kawasan Falls, Kadungaw Peak, and Lambug Beach and some canyoneering sites. (PNA)