By Mar T. Supnad
Alilem, Ilocos Sur – This mountainous but accessible town is an emerging tourist destination half an hour away by jeepney or motorbike from the municipality of Sudipen.
“We are a backpackers’ and travel lovers’ destination, we have an affordable inn with a money transfer service and within the neighborhood, we maintain several small variety stores, enough to serve the target market,” said Mayor Mar Ruel Sumabat.
“Trekkers and hikers can explore the town’s vast forest including its waterfalls, but the most popular is called Baey Anito or Balay Anito falls,” he added.
An existing highway that leads to the mountains will be included in the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP) criteria, a convergence project together with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) aimed at enhancing access to tourism sites.
DPWH district engineer Jose Ginete Jr., likewise said that two flood control projects in Barangay Dalawa have been fast-tracked to prevent flooding in the area.
Eateries can also be found around town and are open till 7 p.m. on ordinary days and may extend during fiestas special occassions.
Sights, sounds, flavors
A fourth-class municipality with a population of around seven thousand people speaking the Ilocano language and Kankanaey dialect, Alilem is working to boost its tourism potential to spur economic development.
Vast rice fields and terraced mountian slopes with stunning vistas greet and usher in visitors to this rustic, serene town.
Alilem is also known for its vinegar made from quail eggs, as well as other agricultural produce such as sugarcane, red rice, ginger and dragon fruit.
This conservative town is also the home to the Bakun AC hydroelectric power plant which has been producing 70 milliwatts of clean and renewable energy for Northern Luzon since 2001 by tapping energy generated by the Bakun River.
Recently, the Department of Tourism – Ilocos region conducted a Tourism Awareness and Effective Customer Service Seminar, which was attended by 67 barangay officials and local government unit employees.