41st Lanzones Festival goes online

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    The island province has found a way to make the much-anticipated 41st Lanzones Festival still fun and memorable, thanks to the Internet.

    THE coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has changed the way the Camiguinons live their lives as well as celebrate their festival.

    This year’s edition of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest of the sweetest lanzones went online.

    Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said by tapping various social media platforms, the local government brought the festival directly to every spectator’s home.

    Camiguin prepared online competitions such as the Handurawan Online Photo Contest, Digital Cover Poster Design Contest, Paksoy Design Contest, Camiguin Vlogging Contest, Buwahan Tiktok Challenge, and Ag Adorno Ki.

    Romualdo said the celebration of the festival strictly followed safety and health protocols, with the townspeople and travelers able to participate virtually.

    “People can only go out of their houses to get access to essential goods, services, and activities,” he added.

    A pop-up shop that sells certified sweet lanzones of Camiguin is set up outside the office of the Department of Tourism-Region 10 in Limketkai Center.

    The province also put on sale its assorted products and delicacies through its Ugmad Online.

    “People may not be able to be physically present in the province of Camiguin, but they can always stay connected,” Romualdo noted.

    At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the island is among the first to come up with protocols to address threats, imposing travel restrictions in and out of the island as well as establishing a robust contact tracing system to prevent the COVID-19 spread.

    However, not everyone appreciated the province’s immediate actions which were criticized for being over-reacting, Romualdo said.

    Despite several complaints lodged against the province, Romulado said they “have forged ahead, keeping in mind that the health and safety of every Camiguinon is always a top priority.”

    He assured that Camiguin remains one of the safest places amid the pandemic.

    Romualdo also mentioned that the province has long realized that given its limited resources, “the best and only way to survive this disease is for the entire island to adopt the new normal.”

    The provincial government has closed the island’s tourist attractions despite losing a considerable amount of tourism revenues.

    Although local tourism underwent a downturn, Romualdo said the closure has given the province a chance to improve the island’s facilities and be friendlier.

    He added the island is preparing for a gradual, safe and responsible tourism comeback.

    Testing laboratories and acquisition of health and medical equipment are being negotiated by the Department of Health and the province.

    While these take a little time and a huge help from the national government, the province rolled out the “Clean Camiguin” campaign against COVID-19.

    This pandemic response playbook consists of protocols on public safety, guidelines for tourism-related establishments, and a roadmap toward a clean, beautiful, resilient and sustainable Camiguin.

    “We will operate our tourism attractions in a more environmentally sustainable and responsible way,” he said, as soon local tourism restarts.