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Twin lakes, rice terraces among places to visit in Negros Oriental

MANILA, Philippines — Negros Oriental Gov. Manuel "Chaco" Sagarbarria said that the province is on track to reach their target of half a million tourists this year.

Sagarbarria believed that the beauty of Negros Oriental could compete with neighboring provinces such as Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor.

"Statistics and data show that we are performing well and improving significantly. So if we manage to hit our target of 500,000, maybe by 2025, we can reach a million and achieve double-double growth. This is a goal that we are determined to achieve because economically, like Bohol, they are thriving because of tourists,” he said.

“We have practically the same potential, although they have their unique set of tourism spots, and we have our own. We mostly focus on diving, beaches, resorts, and the lesser-known tourism spots that lack marketing and promotion," he added.

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True to his word, Negros Oriental houses the world-famous Apo Island, a marine sanctuary where you can swim with turtles. Other tourist destinations in the province include the picturesque Manjuyod Sandbar and the enchanting Twin Lakes of Sibulan.

The province also houses Pulangbato Falls in Valencia, Monkey Sanctuary and Kanlaon Rice Terraces, to name a few.

"We are also very hospitable, good food, everything is near, everything is cheap — the usual Negros Oriental theme from tip to tip. From Kanlaon all the way to Basay," Sagarbarria said.

"I've been told by the people who choose to stay here — some from Manila, even if they make so much money there — that they find Dumaguete and Negros Oriental charming because they don't feel rushed here. When they wake up in the morning, they take a walk, they will drink chocolate or coffee. It's not like Cebu or Manila where everything is rushed. So here, I'd say it's a mix of both worlds so it's really unique," he added.

RELATED: WATCH: Swim with turtles, discover marine life in Apo Island, Negros Oriental

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