TCC 3rd Place Silago

The proposed project of building an eco-heritage museum in Silago, Southern Leyte was selected as among the top 15 winners of the first-ever Tourism Champions Challenge (TCC), a flagship program of the Department of Tourism to boost the tourism industry in the Philippines.

This project plan is a collaborative effort and hard work of the Municipality of Silago under the leadership of Honorable Mayor Lemuel Honor and the VSU Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management (DTHM) led by the project leader Professor Randy G. Omega with Maureen Joy F. Manadong and April Gayle V. Calunangan. 

The eco-heritage project proposal bagged 3rd place in the Visayas Region and won 10 million pesos from the DOT and its infrastructure arm, the Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

According to DOT, 98 project proposals from 90 LGUs across the country were evaluated, and only the top 5 winners each from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were selected for funding. 

The TCC is a flagship initiative of DOT that was launched last 2023, with the motive of encouraging LGUs to make tourism infrastructure projects that will help in tourism development in the country.

DOT and TIEZA allocated a budget of 180 million pesos for the top 15 TCC winners. However, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. approved the grant to give an additional PhP 5 million to be given to each winner to push LGUs’ infrastructure projects a reality.

Pres. Marcos led the TCC awarding ceremony on April 15, 2024, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. The full list of TCC winners can be found in this link.

The winning eco-tourism proposal

The winning Silago Ridge to Reef Eco-Experience Project (SIRREEP): Promoting Sustainability through Eco-Heritage Tourism is designed to establish a name for Silago in tourism development. 

Silago_TCC_1.jpegPhoto courtesy of the Municipality of Silago 

In an interview with the VSU team led by Prof. Omega, the proposal was to build a state-of-the-art eco-heritage museum to promote sustainable tourism and the preservation of the skeletal remains of marine animals that hold ecological and cultural significance in the town.

“We went to Silago for the assessment together with my students. One of the things we saw during the visit was the skeleton of the largest sperm whale in the country which started deteriorating because of the lack of facility to preserve the remains,” Prof. Omega shared. 

The concept of the project is not only to build a museum to conserve different skeletal remains of marine species in Silago but also to have a visiting center, where there is a display area for arts, a canteen, a souvenir shop, and a conference room for events. 

According to Prof. Omega, this will help provide livelihoods for the people in Silago once the museum is built.

Despite not winning the top prize amounting to PhP 20 million, the Silago team was proud and grateful for making it to the top 5 winners in Visayas among the many proposals submitted to TCC.

They also acknowledged the help of the Department of Business and Management, to Mr. Bryan Gapasin, Loregin Pugosa, and Gracielle Gamotin who helped them conduct the feasibility study to test the social, environmental, and economic value of the eco-heritage museum as part of TCC’s criteria.

Silago_TCC_2.jpegPhoto courtesy of More Silago - Tourism Page 

Mrs. Manadong, one of the project members of the eco-heritage museum hopes that this project will soon be realized to help build the name of Silago in the tourism industry. She further said that they look forward to helping more LGUs and extending their expertise to communities in Leyte.

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