Cordova eyes CCLEX-driven tourism growth, braces for visitor influx

The once-sleepy town of Cordova is preparing for the expected influx of tourists with the opening of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX).

Aside from helping ease traffic congestion, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the CCLEX  would serve as an alternative route from Cebu City to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and to the world-class resorts and beaches in Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova.

“We are eagerly looking forward to the opening of the CCLEX, which was designed to ease traffic congestion in the province. For nature-loving tourists, the new bridge gives them better access to the scenic seaside town of Cordova in Mactan, which is best known for its marine sanctuaries, bird-watching spots, and mangrove parks,” Puyat said.

Magellan’s Cross

Cordova, one of two local government units in the island of Mactan, has lined up several activities not just for local tourists but for the many visitors from other parts of the country who will now have the chance to see the town’s tourist attractions.

Cordova town sits approximately 19.4 kms. away from the bustling city of Cebu. To get to Cordova, people had to pass the congested Mactan Bridge or the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, and negotiate traffic through Lapu-Lapu City’s inner roads. 

Guenevere Flores, the town’s consultant on tourism, said it is no surprise that there are people from areas south of Cebu who haven’t been to Cordova, and that many Cordovanhons also seldom go south of Cebu because of the distance and long travel time.

Already billed as an engineering marvel, the CCLEX has two lanes in each direction, with Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) on-and off-ramps from the main bridge connecting to the Cebu South Road Properties (SRP). The expressway, with a design speed of 80 to 90 kilometers per hour, will serve an estimated 50,000 vehicles daily.

Cebu Happyworld Museum

With Cordova being the first stop coming from Cebu via the CCLEX, visitors will have more time to explore the town’s man-made and natural tourist attractions, colorful culture, rich history and exotic delicacies, natural and man-made wonders.

Flores said the town’s tourism industry suffered a 150-per cent drop in 2019 to 2020, but with the easing of restrictions and the opening of the economy, tourist arrivals grew by 100 per cent from 2020 to 2021.

“That’s still a 50 percent drop but we are slowly getting there,” Flores said.

Cordova offers island-hopping tours to the town’s two islands — Gilutongan island and Nalusuan island, which are very ideal for snorkeling and diving. The town also hosts several world-class resorts, such as the Solea Resort, Alta Resort, to name a few.

Another unique attraction is the 10,000 Roses Café, a truly unique tourist attraction because of the white roses made up of light-emitting diodes (LED), which light up at night. The area offers a breathtaking view of the islands and of the new “engineering marvel” — the CCLEX. 

Berna Romulo-Puyat

According to Flores, tourism in Cordova is largely community-based, as the youth, fisher folk, and even persons with disabilities play a role in giving tourists a memorable time in their town.

“We have a group of PWDs making souvenir items for Cordova tourists,” she said.

The CCLEX, otherwise called the “third bridge,” is expected to bring big changes for the once-isolated town.

Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho shares that her father, the late Sec. Adelino Sitoy, who was the town’s mayor for many years and served as Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary from September 2016 until his demise in April 2021, had wanted that bridge for almost 35 years.

“He had plans for that bridge even before the Fernan Bridge,” she told reporters.