Sitio Lantawan in the upland Barangay of Guimbalaon, Silay City, used to be so remote, not so many people knew where it was.
Today, people come to see the serenely breathtaking view of the rolling green hills, the mountain ranges, the rivers, the hidden caves that natives say were hiding places of Japanese soldiers just before the end of WW II, Pastor Roger Parillon said in a recently released state of the district report from 2010 to 2019 of former Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ. 3rd District).
The Lantawan view is now so popular, local and even foreign visitors come everyday, said Parillon, a native of Barangay Guimbalaon, who said it was made possible because of the paved highway to his barangay built during Benitez’s term as congressman.
The world now knows where Lantawan is, because it is now reachable and accessible since the roads were built, Parillon said.
Parillon, 45, heads about 150 members of the Fresh Christian Church, aligned with the Bethesda Minority International based in Australia. He is not only a respected church leader in the community, he is also very active in barangay activities and projects.
He is a witness to the impact of the infrastructure development in the area,specifically the construction of the Lantawan Road network in Barangay Guimbalaon that now provides access to Barangay Patag, Parillon said.
From a quite remote spot at the edge of Silay, Sitio Lantawan in Barangay Guimbalaon is now evolving into a beehive of eco-tourism activities, as coffee shops, restaurants, resorts, fruit and vegetables stalls have sprouted along the national highway.
But the more vital impact of the infrastructure development, is the people’s access to education and health facilities and livelihood opportunities, he said.
Prices of the local produce have greatly improved and many visitors enjoy buying the fruits, vegetables, rootcrops, and even the silhig paypay (handmade brooms from local grass that abundantly grows in the area), Parillon said.
The forest trees are now better protected as people discover other sources of income, he said.
Parillon used to be a charcoal-maker, too, but he said most men in the area have found jobs in the growing construction projects in the area.
The eco-tourism potential of the barangays of Guimbalaon and Patag in Silay are set to grow and develop more, he said.
Parillon, who thanked Benitez for the infrastructure support, said hopeful development will continue.*
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