Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Davao Businessman Eyeing Investors For P15M Cable Ski Park

Campo Agua: future site of cable wakeboarding facility in Mindanao

Campo Agua in Sirawan, Toril, Davao City may just become the venue of Mindanao’s first cable wakeboarding facility if the vision of owner and manager Kenneth Valderama is realized.

“We are looking for investors who would be willing to invest at least P15 million for the construction of a cable wakeboarding park here in Toril either on a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) scheme or other method,” Valderama said. He said he already has the land but an investor is needed to provide the equipment.

The Valderamas own a 13-hectare property right where Campo Agua Resort is located but the latter only occupies about 2.4 hectares. Of the total land used, 400 square meters have been allotted for the pool, 2 hectares for the fish ponds, 3,000 square meters for the boating lagoon and some space for the crocodile farm.

Campo Agua Resort is being marketed as an interactive water playground for kids with open slides, tunnels, mushroom showers, water hydrants which can be controlled by the kids and spray boardwalks. The area development started way back in 1999 but the restaurant and the resort was built only in 2002.

The resort already offers lots of activities for parents and children aside from swimming. They can go fishing and have their catch cooked by the restaurant for a minimal fee. The fish will also have to be weighed in and paid per kilo.

“We also sell hito (both fingerlings and the table sizes) for those who want to start their own hito farms; the fingerlings are priced at P2 to P5 per fingerling (which can take four to five months before they become table sizes ready for frying or roasting),” he said.

While the resort is doing great and is becoming a favorite spot not only for swimming but also for those who want to have their birthday or other parties in a resort, he said he still wants to expand and make it a center of entertainment for Dabawenyos and even for the whole of Mindanao.

Valderama’s passion is however to see the place transformed into a tourist destination through the construction of a cable wakeboard facility. “Grabe ang hatak sa mga foreigners ng mga ganitong lugar so it will really be feasible for those who will invest in it,” he said.

What was known worldwide before was only wakeboarding which is a sport that required a person (who is attached to a skateboard-like board called well, a wakeboard) to be pulled by a boat and allowed to ski in the water. Cable wakeboarding on the other hand, is also wakeboarding but this time, the person does not require a boat but an overhead cable system.

Cable wakeboarding has been considered a favorite sport and hobby by foreigners for a long time now. However, this extreme sport became famous in the Philippines only recently, thanks to movie star and cable wakeboarding aficionado Aga Mulach who included some cable wakeboarding shots in one of his recent films.

The Philippines is not however a stranger to cable wakeboarding since it has two cable wakeboarding facilities located in Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur (CamSur Watersports Complex) and in Balibago, Calatagan (Lago de Oro). There are more than 140 cable wakeboarding facilities worldwide, 60 of which are found in Germany. The two facilities are raking in dollars and pesos thanks to the local and foreign tourist arrivals.

The Department of Tourism is always on the lookout for the establishment of new tourism products for Davao and for Mindanao. This is one private sector initiative that deserves support from the government.

With an improved peace and order condition in the area plus a lot of push, Valderama’s dream of seeing a cable wakeboard facility right in Campo Agua’s location may become a reality sooner than he thinks.(published, THE EDGE, April 2008)

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