The Department of Tourism (DOT) opened the Philippines’ first Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in the Northwestern town of Medellin in Cebu last July 10, 2023.
Located in Barangay Poblacion, the TRA spans 300 meters and is adorned with Filipino aesthetics and architecture. It serves as a pitstop for travelers, with useful amenities including a cafe, a souvenir shop, charging stations, and desks.
This will also serve as an information booth for tourists to share their concerns or access different travel information free of charge.
The DOT wanted to focus on all aspects of a traveler’s journey, so facilities like restrooms and shower rooms were a big priority during the construction.
Aside from tourists, the TRA can benefit small-scale businesses, letting them sell or promote their products to travelers. You can purchase a ton of local delicacies and hand-made accessories at the facility’s pasalubong center.
The facility’s opening ceremony was attended by Frasco, Cebu representative Duke Frasco (her husband), her mother, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, and Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr.
MORE TRAs TO COME
15 more TRAs are expected to open around the Philippines as part of Frasco’s flagship program.
At a public forum in Manila, Frasco mentioned that TRAs will have a unified design, highlighting Filipino architecture. She assured Filipino locals and travelers of its quality amenities and an adequate supply of essentials.
The tourism secretary has since broke ground 10 tourist rest areas in Ilocos Norte, Baguio City, Cebu, Palawan, Bohol, Davao del Norte, and Bukidnon.
An additional 15 TRAs are to be built since several local government units, as well as large corporations, have expressed their interest in collaborating with the DOT to build these structures.
There will be a total of four TRAs in Cebu Province, with the three other facilities opening in Carmen, Carcar, and Moalboal. However, Governor Garcia has expressed her intentions to fund TRAs outside of those planned by the DOT.
Bogo, Medellin’s neighboring town, will have the first government-funded TRA in the province. Garcia mentioned that there is a possibility for more to come, as she intends to expand the project to other cities and municipalities.
Meanwhile, the Medellin TRA was a welcome addition to the Northwestern town, with Mayor Mondigo Jr. saying that it will definitely boost its tourism sector.
Mondigo Jr. was grateful that his town became the first recipient, noting that it can also provide many more jobs to its residents. Many Medellin natives have lost their livelihoods due to the sugar plantations in the town closing down since the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will also offer a better place to hang out and relax while travelers explore the town, as Medellin has several tourist destinations that have attracted both foreigners and locals alike. These include the Bamboo Forest, the Sugar Aisle, the Gibitngil Sandbar, and the many snorkeling and freediving spots in the area.