With numerous waterfalls in Samboan’s forested hills, no doubt a journey to this southern Cebu town begins and ends with a splash. Water abounds in Samboan, and it’s something one can not only drink but experience.

It’s on these flowing waters – from loud, shallow currents to inviting hushed cascades – that Samboan’s strength as a travel destination rests, and a mobile app now provides a handy guide to all these sites and other top town attractions.

Mobile guide

Samboan recently launched its own Samboan Guide, a mobile application for Android devices that can now be downloaded at the Google Play Store. The mobile guide is a component of the Digital Tourism program being implemented nationwide by wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and new media startup InnoPub Media. In particular, Samboan is one of the towns in the BOSS circuit, a tourism corridor that also includes the municipalities of Boljoon, Oslob, and Santander.

PORTABLE GUIDE. Samboan Mayor Raymond Calderon (2nd from right) taps the NFC (near field communications) sticker of the tourism marker placed in front of the Museo de Samboan; the old municipal hall. The marker contains a QR or quick response code and NFC tag that; when scanned or tapped; triggers the download of information about Museo de Samboan. Interactive tourism markers have been placed in five locations within the Samboan town center. Samboan also now has a tourism app that can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. With Mayor Calderon are (from left) Capitol public information officer Ethel Natera; his wife Marivic; the chairperson of the tourism and heritage commission; Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes; senior manager for Smart Public Affairs – Visayas and Mindanao and InnoPub Media co-founder Max T. Limpag.

PORTABLE GUIDE. Samboan Mayor Raymond Calderon (2nd from right) taps the NFC (near field communications) sticker of the tourism marker placed in front of the Museo de Samboan; the old municipal hall. The marker contains a QR or quick response code and NFC tag that; when scanned or tapped; triggers the download of information about Museo de Samboan. Interactive tourism markers have been placed in five locations within the Samboan town center. Samboan also now has a tourism app that can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. With Mayor Calderon are (from left) Capitol public information officer Ethel Natera; his wife Marivic; the chairperson of the tourism and heritage commission; Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes; senior manager for Smart Public Affairs – Visayas and Mindanao and InnoPub Media co-founder Max T. Limpag.

“We are truly grateful to Smart and InnoPub for the opportunity of bringing Samboan to the world stage through its digital tourism program. More people will be able to access information about our heritage and tourism destinations, accommodations and services,” said Samboan Mayor Raymond Calderon.

“I would like to congratulate Samboan, Smart Communications and Innopub on their efforts in working together to further Digital Tourism in Cebu. Through cooperation and hard work, together, we can enter into a new age of tourism, prosperity and growth,” said Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III.

Interactive markers

Complementing Samboan’s natural wonders are heritage structures that can magically transport visitors to colonial times. As one of Cebu’s oldest settlement grounds, Samboan plays host to various heritage sites echoing its glorious past.

To provide visitors more information about Samboan’s rich historical heritage, interactive tourism markers were also deployed in the town center. The markers contain a quick response or QR codes and near-field communications or NFC stickers that, when scanned or tapped with a compatible device, trigger the download of more information about a site or structure.

In Samboan, the markers can be found on the ancient stone structures Escala de Jacob, Campanario de Antigua, and St. Michael Archangel Church as well as the Museo de Samboan and Municipal Hall.

The town center is perched atop hill and forms a landscape that offers a panoramic view of the Tañon Strait and neighboring islands like Negros.

DIGITAL TOURISM MARKER. (From left) Capitol public information officer Ethel Natera, Samboan tourism and heritage commission chairperson Marivic Calderon, InnoPub Media co-founder Max T. Limpag, Smart Public Affairs – Visayas and Mindanao senior manager Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, Archdiocese of Cebu vicar general Monsignor Danny Sanico, Samboan Mayor Raymond Calderon, Santander Mayor Marilyn Wenceslao, Santander Councilor Jesusa Estaño and Fr. Agustin Abella after the blessing of the interactive tourism marker installed in front of the Samboan church.

DIGITAL TOURISM MARKER. (From left) Capitol public information officer Ethel Natera, Samboan tourism and heritage commission chairperson Marivic Calderon, InnoPub Media co-founder Max T. Limpag, Smart Public Affairs – Visayas and Mindanao senior manager Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, Archdiocese of Cebu vicar general Monsignor Danny Sanico, Samboan Mayor Raymond Calderon, Santander Mayor Marilyn Wenceslao, Santander Councilor Jesusa Estaño and Fr. Agustin Abella after the blessing of the interactive tourism marker installed in front of the Samboan church.

Social innovation

“Technology is changing the way tourists are accessing information. With mobile and social media technologies, there is now a big opportunity for towns such as Samboan to take the pro-active role in pushing for information that can help attract more visitors. In turn, digital tourism can help boost local businesses and travel service providers. This kind of social innovation ecosystem is what we want to foster through this program.” said Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, Smart Public Affairs Group senior manager for Visayas and Mindanao.

“We are excited to be implementing Digital Tourism in Samboan. By providing timely, relevant and correct information through devices that we carry around with us wherever we go – phones and tablets – we hope to make the visit of tourists, whether foreign or local, much more meaningful and memorable,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag.

The Digital Tourism launch in Samboan is part of a province-wide expansion of the tourism project pioneered in Cebu. The Cebu Province component was launched in Argao last year by Governor Davide.

The Digital Tourism program was recognized by the Cebu City Council in a resolution passed on mass motion last January 2012 as an “ingenious” way of delivering information. Last February, the program was recognized with an Anvil Award of Merit during the 49th Anvil Awards held at the Solaire Resort and Casino in February, 2014.