CABIAO, NUEVA Ecija: ONCE it fully operates, the floating market in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija is seen helping the local economy bounce back from ravages of the coronavirus pandemic aside from boosting the town’s tourism industry.

The Cabiao Floating Market is claimed as the first of its kind in the Philippines.

There are also similar floating markets in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and India.

Nueva Ecija Vice Gov. Anthony Umali, Cabiao Mayor Ramil Rivera and Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), led its soft opening on Dec. 18, 2020.

Nabao Lake in Cabiao20201224 - Central Luzon floating market country’s 1st
TOURIST TREAT Nabao Lake in Cabiao municipality of Nueva Ecija province will be the site of the the Philippines’ first floating market as the town tries to bounce back from the economic dislocation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In the background is Mount Arayat in neighboring Pampanga province. PHOTO BY CELSO CAJUCOM

In an interview with The Manila Times, Rivera said the project would also rev up the national government’s Balik-Probinsya program of enticing local folk to come back to Nueva Ecija to help in rebuilding the economy of the province.

“The town is ready for this transition with support and incentives on transportation, livelihood, housing, economic subsistence and education, among others,” the mayor added.

The market that “floats” on the 2.7-kilometer Nabao Lake will also consist of a floating restaurant, food stalls, local food products and handicrafts, which are seen generating livelihood for the residents.

The other attractions include a zip line and other water-based sports to draw tourists.

Across the 38-hectare Nabao Lake are 50-unit housing projects set aside for informal settlers who are working at the project.

The Central Luzon regional tourism office will help in guaranteeing the environmental and health safety of the lake by cleaning and filtering the water while the local government unit of Cabiao will build a water treatment plant and potable water system.

These activities will start in the early part of 2021.

The P100-million project is part of the Cabiao municipal development plan.

It is also seen that the project, which is at the boundary of Barangay Sta. Rita and San Carlos, would become the premier tourist destination in Region 3 (Central Luzon) and will thus generate local revenues, Rivera said.

Cabiao town recently earned the Seal of Good Governance and was rewarded with a P5-million incentive, which the local government unit will use in the housing-project component of the floating market package.

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