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Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte—President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., together with Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, led the inauguration of the ninth completed Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in the country, located at the President’s home province, Ilocos Norte, Friday (May 17).

I am very happy to be here, of course, because we are here inaugurating the first of many planned Tourist Rest Areas and Im particularly grateful to our Secretary that the first one [for Northern Luzon] that she chose to build was here in Pagudpud, here in Ilocos Norte,” the President said in his keynote address, noting that the TRA project of the DOT is a “good example” of the government’s whole-of-nation approach where stakeholders from the public and private sectors work together.

This TRA is an important initiative for us as we want to transform the Philippines into the tourism powerhouse in Asia,” he added, citing as well the steep competition of the Philippines vis-a-vis its neighboring Southeast Asian counterparts like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and South Korea.

Ilocos Norte received more than 3.5 million same-day visitors in 2023, and around 515,000 domestic and foreign tourists stayed for longer in hotels and in resorts, according to the President.

It shows that we have the attractions; we have the products; and we have the people to make it happen. I am truly proud to call this land my home as it continues to draw critical acclaim here and abroad,” the President said, noting that “these are not only a testament to the beauty, the culture, the attractions, and of course, the hospitality of Ilocos Norte, but also the commitment of our LGUs to develop and to promote tourism in the region. So, I enjoin everyone to ensure the success of our tourism initiatives [and] make the experiences of our travelers safe, convenient, and memorable.

We hope for that continued support for all the tourism programs across the archipelago, and we will show that not only do Filipinos love the Philippines but we can tell our foreign friends, guaranteed, you will love the Philippines. Let us work together to build a Bagong Pilipinas where we give our people the life that they deserve,” the President said.

For her part, Secretary Frasco thanked the President for supporting the construction of TRA in his hometown, evident of his full and unequivocal support to his vision of improving the overall Philippine experience of tourists in the country.

I would like to express my profound gratitude to our President, whose vision for tourism would see the Philippines transcend and transform into a tourism powerhouse anchored on the strength of the Filipino identity, culture, and heritage. Very early on in his administration, the President gave a very clear directive that if we want the Philippines to elevate its status of tourism services, if we want our guests to stay longer and come back again and again, we must take care of our tourists. As we have campaigned for our friends from all over the world and all over the country to love the Philippines, so too must we love our tourists. This tourist rest area is a manifestation of that love. Daghang salamat, Mr. President, for setting forth this vision for tourism,” the tourism chief said.

“These tourist rest areas are not mere rest stops. They are comprehensive facilities that prioritize the convenience of every tourists journey. The TRA project, along with the flagship programs of the Marcos administration, aligns seamlessly with the President’s vision of transformation towards a Bagong Pilipinas—a Bagong Pilipinas where tourism is anchored on the strength of the Filipino identity, where the Philippines competes globally.  As the country inaugurates this tourist rest area, let us unite and celebrate and look forward to more milestones that will uplift our tourism sector as we bring prosperity to our nation and provide more livelihood and employment opportunities to our fellow Filipinos. Together with our President, we will continue to build a stronger and more vibrant tourism industry that showcases the value of our culture,” the tourism chief added.

In a message, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta-Marcos, who represented Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc, also extended her gratitude to President Marcos and Secretary Frasco.

This is the achievement as a result of a collaborative effort driven by the shared passion for enhancing Pagudpud’s appeal to visitors from near and far. Our vision is for Pagudpud to be recognized not only for its natural beauty and exceptional quality of service and comfort we provide to our guests. The rest area is strategically located to ensure that it meets the needs of our visitors, while also showcasing the local culture and attractions that make Pagudpud unique. On behalf of Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc and the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting the advancement of the tourism sector and continuing to prioritize the wellbeing of our people and our visitors,” the provincial official said.

The TRA was conceptualized by the DOT under the helm of Secretary Frasco, in partnership with DOT’s infrastructure arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and is a flagship program under the Marcos administration identified as a priority within the tourism sector’s development.


The first TRA in Northern Luzon

Strategically located along the Saud Bay, the TRA in Pagudpud town is the first of its kind inaugurated in Northern Luzon.

The TRA Pagudpud boasts a scenic view of the award-winning Saud Beach, which is dubbed as the “Boracay of the North” and named as among the 25 Most Beautiful Beaches in the world by the prestigious Travel & Leisure (T+L) publication in 2021.

The facility also caters to tourists who plan to visit and do other activities at the Kabigan Falls, Patapat Viaduct, Blue Lagoon, Bantay Abot Cave, Sabang Beach, Dos Hermanos Island, and Pannzian river.

Visitors coming from neighboring municipalities Bangui and Burgos, which hosts the famous Bangui Windmills and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, respectively, can also drop by the TRA Pagudpud.

Among the first batch of TRAs that were broken ground in 2022, only the TRA Pagudpud received an alteration on its roofing material and design. With the Ilocos region known for its well-preserved ancestral and heritage houses, the tourist facility blends well with the region’s tourist offerings, and stands out for its unique features that cater to both practicality and local aesthetics. The building’s roofing was made of anahaw, a traditional material in the Ilocos Norte region, offering a distinctive look while serving a functional purpose as it helps prevent excessive heat buildup within the interior of the building, enhancing the comfort of visitors.

Moreover, the strategic elevation adjustment of the building near the beach showcases thoughtful design and consideration for environmental factors. By raising the structure, the interior is safeguarded from potential high tides, ensuring that visitors can enjoy the facility without disruptions caused by natural elements.

With an interior similar to the other TRAs established nationwide, the TRA Pagudpud boasts an information center, coffee lounge, free use charging stations as well as clean restrooms with showers. A breastfeeding room is also dedicated to lactating mothers. Local products such as mushroom chips, bagnet chips, tamarind candies, virgin coconut oil, juices like mulberry, tamarind, dragonfruit, and tamarind, wines from dragonfruit and bugnay, as well as weaved bags, blankets, and table runners from Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are also displayed for sale at the TRA.

Apart from featuring artworks of local artists, the TRA Pagudpud is also the first tourist facility to receive an official marker unveiled by the President himself.


Enhancing the overall Philippine tourism experience nationwide

The other completed TRAs that have been turned over to recipient local government units (LGUs) are located in the towns of Medellin, Moalboal, Carmen, and Carcar City in Cebu, Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon, Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) in Davao Del Norte, Roxas in Palawan, and Dauis in Bohol. The 10th TRA, located in Baguio City, is expected to be inaugurated by the 3rd quarter of 2024.

At least twenty more TRAs will be constructed and strategically placed at San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan; Lobo, Batangas; Brooke’s Point, Palawan; Tabaco City, Albay; Lagonoy and San Jose, Camarines Sur; Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental; Tubungan, Iloilo; Jordan, Guimaras; San Remigio, Antique; Tacloban City, Leyte; Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat; General Luna, Surigao Del Norte; Lingayen, Pangasinan; Sabtang, Batanes; Guiuan, Eastern Samar; Initao, Misamis Oriental; Bontoc, Mountain Province; Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulu.

Joining the occasion are DOT officials Undersecretaries Shahlimar Hofer Tamano and Ferdinand Jumapao, Assistant Secretary Gissela Marie Romualdez-Quisumbing, DOT-1 Regional Director Jeff Ortega, and TIEZA Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mark Lapid.

Local chief executives who also joined the TRA inauguration were Adams Mayor Rosalia D. Dupagen, Currimao Mayor Edward T. Quilala, Dingras Mayor Joefrey P. Saguid, Bacarra Mayor Nicomedes C. Dela Cruz Jr., Carasi Mayor Robella G. Gaspar, Batac Mayor Engr. Albert D. Chua, San Nicolas Mayor Angel Miguel L. Hernando, Sarrat Mayor Remigio B. Medrano, Paoay Mayor Shiella A. Galano, and Solsona Mayor Joseph E. de Lara, and heads of travel and tourism associations in the region.



President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. delivers his keynoted address during the inauguration of the first completed Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Northern Luzon, at his home province, Ilocos Norte, Friday (May 17).

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco delivered her message during the inauguration of the Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Friday (May 17).

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco unveil the Tourist Rest Area (TRA) marker installed inside the newly inaugurated tourist facility at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Friday (May 17).

A facade of the newly inaugurated and ninth Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in the country strategically located along Saud Bay in Pagudpud town, Ilocos Norte.

Published:May 17, 2024

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