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The allure of the ‘Little Maldives’ draws visitors to Surigao Norte.

Due to the continued threat of the coronavirus illness 2019 (Covid-19), limitations have been eased, allowing more local and international tourists to visit famous attractions in the Surigao del Norte town of Claver.

The province was placed on Alert Level 2 in May, but more than a year after the pandemic, site visits to popular locations in town have climbed dramatically.

In an interview on Wednesday, Rizyl Tagapan, Claver’s acting tourism officer, said the Kabujuan Islet, which formally opened its doors to travelers on May 2, is one of the most sought-after tourist spots in the area presently.

In Surigao del Norte, the islet is known as the “Little Maldives,” because its infrastructure is modeled after the Maldives’ various tourist sites.

“The Kabujuan Islet has already had over 500 bookings since its opening,” Tagapan said, adding that the islet is fully booked in June.

The majority of international visitors to the islet are relatives and guests of Claver locals and citizens from surrounding towns and provinces in the vicinity.

The municipality of Claver manages the Kabujuan Islet in collaboration with the barangays of Lapinigan, Panatao, and Urbiztondo.

“We will only accept day trips for the next three months since we are still making arrangements for an overnight stay on the islet,” Tagapan stated.

Following the damage caused by Typhoon Odette in December of last year, certain facilities on the islet have also undergone renovation, she added.

“At the moment, two additional notable places in the town, the Wangke Mangrove Trail and the Bagacay Mangrove Trail, are also greeting guests,” Tagapan said.

Visitors come to relax and enjoy the mangrove paths, which are managed by Barangays Wangke and Bacagay, she said.

“There are huts and other facilities on the paths where guests can stay overnight. Tourists can also go swimming during the day, especially in Wangke,” Tagapan remarked.

“We are continuing to establish minimal health measures in our tourist destinations, such as the use of face masks to protect our tourists,” she added.

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