The Ilocos Norte Provincial Tourism Office on Monday sought a resolution of endorsement from members of the provincial board for the development of the 387-hectare Paoay Lake National Park under a Special Use Agreement for Protected Area (SAPA).
Provincial tourism officer Aianree Raquel said the development of the Paoay Lake has an estimated cost of over PHP101 million to be funded by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
A SAPA is issued to enable the productive use of protected areas as defined under the National Integrated Protected Areas Act of 1992 while maintaining its status as a protective area.
Once approved, Raquel said visitors will have a better view and experience of the lake as the Ilocos Norte government plans to buy water vessels powered by an eco-friendly energy source such as solar power.
Guided by the 2020 Ilocos Norte tourism development master plan designed by the Palafox Associates led by world-renowned Ilocano masterplanner Felino “Jun” A. Palafox Jr., Raquel said three stations will be built around the lake to ferry visitors from one place to another.
Station 1 will feature the Paoay Lake Central Station with a tourist center, cottages, and a retention wall to be built, including the provision of a floating dock and the development of a parking area and embankment.
Station 2, on the other hand, will have a clubhouse and boathouse with a floating dock while Station 3 will be developed as a bird watching zone, including a showcase of pinakbet (vegetable) farm and esplanade.
“The stations around the lake will cover around 11,000 square meters as non-motorized water vessels will be procured by the provincial government,” Raquel added, citing the funding for the development of the Paoay Lake has been proposed to TIEZA since 2019 but it is only now that the budget is being tackled by the TIEZA.
“I am optimistic that this time, our funding request will be granted by TIEZA as it is scheduled today by the board,” he said.
Aside from the development of Paoay Lake, the vast Paoay sand dunes have been eyed to be developed to include a tourism center equipped with clean restrooms, a souvenir area, and a convenient ticketing booth for off-road riding and sand boarding.
The proposed Paoay Tourism Center will also be funded by TIEZA to lure local and foreign tourists.
A stack of solar-powered stones and mirror installations are just among the latest attractions at the Paoay sand dunes that tourists could look forward to on their next visit to this northern gateway of Luzon. (PNA)