ALAMINOS CITY — A total of 364,577 tourists visited the Hundred Islands National Park (HNIP) in 2015 as compared to 262,458 the previous year.

Solomon Tablang, city tourism officer, said this represents about 28 percent increase in the number of local and foreign tourists who visited the HINP, the country’s first marine park.

Tablang attributed the increase to the giant strides undertaken by the local government unit in redeveloping the HINP.

Various facilities like the putting up of gazebos, floating cottages, guest house, and three-story pavilion, sculptures, and establishment of additional attractions such as ziplines, rappelling, wall climbing and water sports activities namely helmet diving, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking had been introduced at HINP.

The Hundred Islands has also become a favorite stopover point of foreign cruise ships such as the European’s MS Caledonian Sky and MS Europa, and the six-star cruise ship Seabourn Sojourn.

Previously, only three islands at the HINP — Quezon, Governor’s, and Children’s — were developed to accommodate tourists.

Under the present administration of City Mayor Arthur Celeste, six additional islands namely Lopez, Marcos, Clave, Romulo, Mayor’s, and Virgin islands were developed and are now open to host more people.

Celeste expressed his gratitude to all the guests and his constituents for patronizing and visiting the world-famous Hundred Islands.

He also vowed to strive even harder in undertaking various development initiatives to the province’s premier tourist haven to give the best service to foreign and local tourists, in a bid to make the City of Alaminos the Region’s Tourism Hub without sacrificing HINP’s identity as one of the protected areas of the country.

It was in 2005, by virtue of then President Gloria Arroyo’s Executive Order No. 436, that the administration, management, and supervision of the HINP was transferred from the Philippine Tourism Authority to the city government of Alaminos.

The Hundred Islands was declared the first ever National Park in the Philippines on January 18, 1940 by President Manuel L. Quezon. JOHANNE MARGARETTE R. MACOB/PNA/