The temporary closure of the Puning Hot Spring located within the area of Sitio Target, Angeles City and Barangay Inararo, Porac town had inadvertently affected the livelihood of tourism stakeholders.
The Puning Hot Spring management said they temporarily stopped operations since October 13 and would open soon as the government revitalizes tourism sites in a bid to attract more local and foreign visitors.
The Puning Hot Spring management said they have 48 regular workers comprising of therapists, maintenance crew, waitresses, drivers, operators, local guide and on-call workers that reach around 150 workers during peak season.
The tourism site attracts visitors to its popular Sand Spa and 4×4 ride to one of the scenic areas in the areas of Sitio Target in Angeles City and Barangay Inararo, Porac town. Around 30 to 40 travel agencies in Angeles City and the Clark Freeport Zone currently promote the Puning Hot Spring to local and foreign visitors.
But the management said more than 100 travel agencies including those in Manila promote the Puning Hot Spring.
Aggressive marketing was also done by Puning Hot Spring management in Asia and Europe in a bid to attract visitors to visit Pampanga and Clark, as the tourist season had already started this October.
Indignant workers of the Puning Hot Spring who refused to be named have already urged the management to open the tourism site so they can return to work. “Matagal napo kaming nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemya, Kakaumpisa palang naming magtrabaho, nagsara na naman at kailangan na pong mag hanapbuhay para sa mga pamilya namin,” said one worker.
The travel agencies, who have commitments to fulfill with their clients, are also urging the Puning Hot Spring Management to open immediately so that they can start the tours which had been postponed.
The Puning Hot Spring management said they are currently undertaking further improvements in the tourism site and would announce its reopening. The trek to Puning from Barangay Sapang Bato to Hot Spring in Barangay Inararo, Porac,Pampanga takes an 30-minute ride via 4×4 jeeps.
A guided tour to the hot spring includes the entrance fee, buffet meal, sand spa and mud pack, plus the sight-seeing in the scenic location.