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Heat index in Samar areas soars to 'dangerous' level

Tacloban City—The heat index in Samar provinces has reached a dangerous level on Monday, prompting the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration to ask residents to stay indoors during midday this dry season.

The state weather bureau reported a 43.6 degrees Celsius heat index in Catbalogan City, Samar and 41.1 degrees Celsius heat index in Catarman, Northern Samar.

A heat index that is above 41 degrees Celsius is considered a “danger” level, according to PAGASA. Residents of “danger” level areas are likely to experience cramps and heat exhaustion while heat stroke is probable for individuals with continued activity, said PAGASA Tacloban station chief Mario Peñaranda.

“Our advice to the public is to stay indoors as much as possible from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily since the body needs water to keep cool. We expect the heat index to increase due to dry season,” Peñaranda said.

Heat index are human discomfort that gives the “apparent” temperature or what humans perceive or feel as the temperature affecting their body.

High air temperatures and high relative humidity will give high apparent temperatures or indices. Full exposure to sunshine can increase the heat index by eight degrees Celsius.

Peñaranda said despite the high heat index in Samar provinces, some parts of Eastern Visayas experienced rains due to the easterlies.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism regional office here is calling on local government units to offer sports tourism activities to attract more visitors in their areas.

Sports events can bring in more visitors than other tourism activities since players would come in groups  to compete in an event, said DOT Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes.

“We are very much supportive of entity or organizations that promote sports tourism. The activities they do can generate more arrival in the area. More arrival means more income for those who are in the mainstream tourism industry,” said Tiopes in an interview Tuesday. 

Sports tourism falls under MICE, which stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions/Events.

In the region, among the biggest sports competition is the Philippine Open International Darts Championship, an event of the National Darts Federation of the Philippines. For two years now, the international event has been held in Palo, Leyte where close to a thousand darts players competed against the world champions.

“We are giving local players a venue for them to compete with world-class players. This is a big opportunity for them to face these big players in the international arena,” said Bem Noel, National Darts Federation of the Philippines chairman of the board.

Bringing the competition to Leyte will also test the local darts player’s talents and nerve, which will eventually hone them and make them among the best talents in Asia. It will also put the province in the map as far as dart talent is concerned, Noel said.

Noel shared that the holding of the international event in Leyte has been successful and plans for the 3rd Philippine Open in April 2020 is already set.

He added that from 28 foreign competitors last year, the number reached close to 100 international darts players, who competed at the Leyte Academic Center April this year.

Noel said that after the tournament next year, international players are expected to visit tourist destinations in the province such as Kalanggaman Island in Palompon, Leyte.

Another big event in the region is the annual Abre-Grande Lawig, a kayak competition from Kalanggaman Island to Palompon with a distance of about 20 kilometers.

This sports extravaganza, now on its 9th year, is a festival that promotes environmental protection through eco-water sports. The event has been recognized by the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines as one of the best tourism sports events in the country.

In Tacloban, the biggest sports competition was Paddle Surge: Typhoon Haiyan Commemorative Dragon Boat Club Crew Challenge which started in 2017.

The dragon boat competition is organized by the Saltwater Dragons of Tacloban City in support of the city government’s yearly Super Typhoon Yolanda commemorative activity.

“As of right now, we are already ready of hosting national conventions, sports competition in some areas in the region that are relatively ready. It just needs additional facilities and improves our facilities and as of this moment, we are ready to launch,” Tiopes added.

She pointed out that to make the experience of every competitor memorable and entice them to return for another competition, the right services should be provided to them.

“We are also linking them with primary tourism enterprises so that at the end of the day, we can ultimately come-up with tourism packages that can support our organization who would want to bid national or international sports activities,” she said.

Tiopes added that the agency acknowledges groups that will sponsor sports events by informing them what they are doing “and so that we will know how we can support them like in the arrival of their visitors and when they do a tour before and after the event.”

Topics: Heat index , Samar , Philippine Atmospheric , Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration , Pagasa
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