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Army camp in Capiz offers land for tourism

/ 01:12 AM June 30, 2012

The Philippine Army is going into the tourism business, with plans to offer Camp Macario Peralta Jr. in Jamindan town in Capiz province as a side attraction for visitors to the nearby Boracay island-resort.

Headquarters of the Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division (3ID), the 33,310-hectare camp is being considered for development into an ecotourism site, according to Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., 3ID commander.

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The Army, Mabanta said, had been talking with the provincial government’s tourism department and some private businesses, and had received enthusiastic response to the idea.

“Tourists visiting the world-class island-resort of Boracay will now have another option for a place to visit,” Mabanta said in a news conference at the camp on Thursday.

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He said visitors to the camp would not only get the chance to enjoy nature, but also the opportunity to meet indigenous people living there.

5 waterfalls

“Opening the camp to tourists offers the opportunity to tell the world [about] the rich cultural heritage of the [indigenous] people,” Mabanta said.

Declared a military reservation by presidential order, Camp Peralta has most of its natural forest cover and wildlife preserved.

Mabanta said that so far, five waterfalls had been discovered in the vicinity of the camp.

“This is one of the best places to travel to and appreciate what the natural environment can offer,” Mabanta said. “We believe there are more unexplored waterfalls within the reservation.”

The 3rd Division occupies only about 1,000 ha of the reservation, leaving most of it untouched.

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The reservation covers 27 barangays in the municipalities of Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz province and the municipality of Lambunao in Iloilo province.

The 3rd Division has jurisdiction over the entire Western Visayas region and parts of the Central Visayas region.

Its Camp Peralta headquarters is 54 kilometers from Roxas City in Capiz; 88 km from Kalibo, Aklan; and 122 km from Iloilo City.

Hilltop grotto of Mary

Mabanta said the reservation could also offer a nature trek, a two-hour hike through the forest where hikers can take a dip in a freshwater stream that is fed by a 100-meter waterfall that has three basin falls.

Camp Peralta has a hilltop grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an orchidarium and a swimming pool that can also be used for scuba-diving practice.

The camp also has a picnic area with a viewing tower called Kalikasan Nature Park.

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TAGS: Boracay, Camp Macario Peralta Jr., Capiz province, Indigenous people, Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., Tourism, tourism business, Western Visayas
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