November 3, 2016
Ozamiz was one of the original four Mindanao cities, along with Davao, Zamboanga and Cotabato, when development of the country’s second biggest island was just starting to be felt. It was formerly a Spanish town called Misamis, a name people say came from the Subanon word "Kuyamis”, a coconut variety. It grew because of the presence of a Spanish garrison called Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion del Triunfo, constructed in the 17th century to control pirates from nearby Lanao province.
Why is Parojinog-Echavez very active in promoting Ozamiz tourism? “It is my advocacy and close to my heart. We’ve seen how tourism changed the lives of many people in Ozamiz. I want my people from all walks of life, from a lowly vendor to an investing entrepreneur benefit from tourism. We want to create opportunities for my constituents,” Parojinog-Echavez says with passion.
To do that, the lady vice mayor is focusing on infrastructure as priority. “Roads leading to many Ozamiz tourist destinations are being improved. We moved mountains and earth to have the city airport (unused for 13 years) reopened to spur tourism and business growth in the city. Now, it is capable of accommodating Airbus aircrafts. We hope to see night flights to the city soon,” she excitedly says.
Other places worth visiting: Bukagan Hill has a view of the city, Panguil Bay, the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur. There are four iron bells at the top of Bukagan Hill, each weighing 7 tons. They were installed in Bukagan Hill and officially inaugurated on July 16, 1948.
Conversation with Umali and Northern Mindanao Tourism Operations Officer Decius Esmedalla gave us many interesting views. Both stress the need for tourism sustainability. “We must not exceed our carrying capacity and we should have control mechanisms in preserving our tourist attractions for future generation. We should not only think about the business side like what is now happening to some Philippine destinations that are under threat because of overcapacity,” Esmedalla says.
Is Ozamis ready for the world? Rommel Natanauan, DOT Creative Specialist says, “Ozamiz City boasts of beautiful natural attractions, rich cultural heritage, properties primed for farm tourism, adventure and reacreational facilities, aside from being exempted from typhoons. The city’s tourism potentials, as well as the readiness of its people, together with the Subanon tribe, Ozamiz, indeed, like the Dragon fruit, is ripe for tourism.”