By Izza Reynoso

SUBARAW FEST. A scene from the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival held on Nov. 11, 2023 in Puerto Princesa City. The event celebrates the Underground River’s inclusion in the New 7 Wonders of Nature list. (Photo courtesy of Puerto Princesa City Government)

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – The tourism sector here just received a post-pandemic boost when an annual event celebrating the city’s majestic Underground River was nominated for the Philippine LEAF Awards’ Outstanding Festival Category.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron told reporters on Monday that fresh publicity to be generated by the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival’s nomination will further cement Puerto Princesa’s reputation as a destination for eco-tourists worldwide.

It can be recalled that the Subaraw event has been held every Nov. 11 since 2011 to commemorate the Puerto Princesa Underground River’s inclusion among the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

“I’m pleased to inform you that we have been nominated as one of the finalists in the Philippine LEAF Awards. It’s closely affiliated with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). We were nominated by an NCCA representative, and there will be fierce competition among various festivals,” he said.

One winner will be selected for each of the three geographical regions — Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, it was explained.

In the Outstanding Festival Category, Subaraw will be competing against 10 other finalists, all representing Luzon.

Bayron said the Covid-19 pandemic put the annual celebration of Subaraw on hold along with the city government’s other tourism initiatives, severely affecting the industry’s revenues.

He expressed confidence that the revival of Subaraw will once again spotlight Puerto Princesa as one of the country’s premier tourist destinations.

The Philippine LEAF Awards is an award-giving body dedicated to recognizing and celebrating outstanding achievements of Filipino Artists in the fields of live entertainment, arts, fashion, and festivals.

The theme of this year’s awards is “Tertulia at Parangal 2024 (Gathering and Honors).” (PNA)