BAGUIO CITY | The Cordillera office of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) has a word of warning to tourists coming up to Baguio City for the holidays: stay away from La Presa.
Apparently, Sitio Pungayan at Mt. Sto. Tomas in Cabuyao, Tuba, Benguet — the set of the hit ABS-CBN telenovela “Forevermore” — remains a tourist attraction more than two years after it concluded in the summer of 2015.
At the peak of the show’s popularity in 2014, La Presa — as the village was named in “Forevermore” — lured thousands of tourists, causing congestion and the accumulation of garbage. The local government built a road to accommodate the deluge, but the felling of trees sparked outrage from environmentalist groups.
The toll on the environment prompted the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) in September 2014.
In March 2015, two months before the soap would end, the Court of Appeals issued a Permanent Environmental Protection Order (PEPO).
According to an advisory, the DENR is one of the agencies tasked to implement the PEPO, which bars tourist activity in Sitio Pungayan.
“As per existing rules, there should be a prior written request addressed to the DENR-CAR or CENRO Baguio. If request is granted based on a valid ground, conditions are laid down therein to be strictly observed,” the DENR stressed.