We are pleased to report that we have finished the Tourism Development Plan for Norzagaray, Bulacan.
Norzagaray presented us with the opportunity to develop three specific sites - Bakas ni Bernardo Carpio, Bitbit Bridge, and Pinagrealan Cave. We felt it was an interesting opportunity given its close proximity to the metropolis - being a mere 1-2 hours away from Quezon City, it can become a hub for adventure and outdoor sports for residents in the northeastern corner of Metro Manila.
Pinagrealan is historically significant, as it had been used as a hideout by the Katipunan during the Revolution, and by others at various points in our nation's history. A key intervention we proposed was the landscaping of the surrounding area with proper trees, and the introduction of proper signs and markers, to help a visitor understand and appreciate the historical significance of the cave. Safety equipment and guidance is of course, essential to any caving experience.
Bitbit Bridge, on the other hand, crosses the Angat River, and leads into a watershed protected area that is controlled by the National Power Company for the management of both the Angat and Ipo Dams, which provide water for the metropolis. The bridge spans a portion of the river which has relatively wide banks. We proposed the development of two campsites - one along the river, and one higher up the slope and within the watershed. Crucial, however, to the success of the campsites would be ensuring that these areas remain waste free, low-impact, and that programs for guests - ranging from planned hikes and outdoor adventure sports, to campfire side entertainment - are put in place to ensure visitors will have more than a camp to experience.
Finally, the Bakas ni Bernardo Carpio site is an interesting rock formation (on which the legendary figure of Bernardo Carpio left his footprint) located just outside the town proper, in the channel of the river. We saw this site as a way to manage and direct the growth of the urban core of the town by creating an esplanade along the river, together with parks, open sports facilities, and small commercial and retail establishments. This would open up a section of the town for new commercial and residential development, catalyzing the construction of a convention center and hotels, as well as events spaces.
We also proposed a number of other innovations to ensure that tourism grows but is also linked to a better urban environment for the municipality. We look forward to the town's implementation of and growth arising out of the plan.