WITH the arrival of ‘ber’ months and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, many are considering Baguio City as a top vacation spot. This is the perfect time to enjoy the cold weather of the Pines City.
But travelers should hold their horses. The Tourism Office of Baguio City has a warning.
There are unknown persons advertising “perfect” Baguio accommodation facilities on social media and visitors are advised to contact authorities for free assistance.
“We receive an average of five complaints per day mostly on the expectations from the accommodation,” said Engr. Aloysius Mapalo, city tourism officer.
When tourists transact with a representative from the accommodation facility, they are assured that there is a parking space, an area for cooking, and other facilities to entice them.
However, the clients would sometimes find that these were not true upon their arrival.
The absence of parking is a major consideration by tourists as the city strictly implements the no obstruction ordinance, prohibiting the use of roads, even in the villages, for parking.
Hot water for bathing is also among the most sought-after services by tourists because of the cold weather here.
“We have the visita app(lication) where tourists can inquire, get information and we will assist them if only to assure that the city’s name will not be tarnished by enterprising people who make promises but are not able to provide them,” Mapalo said, adding that anyone can simply Google-search “Baguio Visita” to link up to the city government.
Bogus providers of accommodation establishments have started to proliferate in the city considering the high demand. Baguio receives an average of 50,000 tourists a week, about 30,000 to 35,000 of them arriving on weekends.
Mapalo said the current numbers are higher than pre-pandemic, and even amid the rainy season.
While hotels are available, inns and transient houses have also reopened to recover from the losses brought about by the COVID-19 lockdown.
“If you recall, we were the first to open borders to tourists as early as September 2020 so we were prepared in terms of the observance of the safety protocols,” Mapalo said.
Meanwhile, the official said the city is advocating for responsible travel among the tourists, urging them to manage and dispose of their garbage properly, and follow the ordinances.
“We all do not want to see garbage and we ask the tourists to properly dispose of their garbage. Baguio is also a smoke-free city and we expect tourists to abide. We also strictly implement the no obstruction and illegal parking ordinances aside from compliance to the traffic and road rules,” he said.
He warned that violation of city ordinances has a corresponding penalty.
State pension fund Government Service Insurance System is honoring the top 65 government agencies that have been religiously and accurately paying GSIS premiums and loan payments on time and complying with the other requirements of GSIS.
The activity is being done to celebrate the 65th birthday of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., according to GSIS president and general manager Wick Veloso.
“These exemplary agencies help our lingkod-bayan enjoy the hard-earned benefits they deserve for devoting the best years of their lives in serving our government. We all know that loan balances, if left unpaid, would balloon to unmanageable amounts. This will diminish members’ benefits and leave them with little or no proceeds at all when they retire or separate from the service,” Veloso said.
Under the law, all government agencies must remit to GSIS the contributions and loan amortizations of their employees within the first 10 days of the calendar month following the month to which the contributions apply. They must also deduct the loan amortizations from the monthly compensation of their employees. GSIS has roughly 7,000 remitting partner agencies.
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