After a hearty meal or long hours of travel, part of every tourist’s itinerary is the essential need for rest areas. The Department of Tourism (DOT) is strengthening its resolve to make every trip more comfortable with the promotion of more rest areas around the country.
 
“As visitors flock to our tourist destinations, the need for accessible and clean public rest rooms arises. People come to places like Batanes to relax, breathe some fresh air, and unwind but if they cannot find a clean toilet, this discomfort may affect their pleasant stay. As part of the Filipino brand of hospitality we take into consideration the holistic needs of our guests including these rest areas,” DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo said.
 
The DOT, in collaboration with the World Toilet Association (a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide), the Provincial Government of Batanes, and with the sponsorship from the Suwon Municipality Government of Korea and Korea Toilet Association, will carry out a public toilet flagship program in Basco, Batanes following the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the said parties.
 
            Representing Secretary Teo, DOT-Region II Director Virgilio Maguigad, Governor Marilou Cayco, and World Toilet Association (WTA) Chief Manager Sungyeon Nikki Kim formalized the agreement after a series of site inspections of the picturesque Naidi Lighthouse and the provincial park last Tuesday. 
 
The WTA has chosen the Philippines among its developing country members for its Public Toilet Construction Support Project this year alongside Cambodia, Lao, and Bangladesh.
 
WTA will provide PHP1,750,000.00 (USD35,000.00) for a traditional Ivatan house-inspired toilet to be built at the provincial park of Basco, Batanes for the benefit of tourists and locals alike.
 
The proposed rest room design will reflect the traditional Ivatan architecture with cogon roof, nickel ceiling, and the trademark stone-finish both for functionality and aesthetic purposes. An independent water tank and solar panels were also proposed for the project, with cubicles designed for the senior citizen and differently abled.
 
The million peso toilet project will start construction in May and is expected to be completed by November with the inaugural ceremony to be attended by WTA President Tae-young Yeom and its Board Members scheduled in December.
 
Batanes Governor Cayco revealed that a total of seven million pesos is allocated this year for building five public lavatories and renovating two others within the province of Batanes specifically in public spaces like the markets, eating establishments, community centers, tourism attractions, heritage and conservation sites.
 
Currently, the DOT has accredited 26 rest areas within the country with six in Region II. Accredited rest areas in gasoline stations require proper ingress and egress located along a major highway or road, adequate parking, rest room,  visible signage, courteous staff, and sundries shop.
 
“Toilets and rest areas can be considered as the basic unit of sanitation which is integral in waste management and environmental protection. In order to promote responsible tourism in the country, we need more of these facilities first,” Secretary Teo reiterated.
 
DOT further plans to roll out a nationwide awareness campaign to recognize outstanding public rest rooms that comply with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Public Toilet Standards in time for the World Toilet Day late this year.
From left: DOT-Region II Regional Director Virgilio Maguigad, Governor Marilou Cayco, WTA Chief Manager Sungyeon Nikki Kim and DOT’s Marian Obispo during the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the WTA Public Toilet Construction Support Project in Basco, Batanes

Batanes Provincial park where the Ivatan house inspired-toilet will be built

WTA Chief Manager Sungyeon Nikki Kim taking photos around the Batanes Provincial park
DOT-Region II Regional Director Virgilio Maguigad, Governor Marilou Cayco, and Provincial Engineer Carlos Falces led the site inspection of the Provincial Park
Suwon City Public Toilet Senior Officer Daseul Park and WTA Manager Kim inspecting the other proposed site, the Naidi Lighthouse
On-going construction of the public toilet beside the Naidi Lighthouse