Food & Travel

A look back on “Untouched, Unspoiled Batanes”

This post by Filomeno St. Ana III on Vicky Abad Kerblat’s book, Jawid sawen nu Vatan!, brings me back to one of my best Philippine holidays ever, in the practically untouched yet progressive province called Batanes. Allow me to share with you this retro post, published exactly a year ago, about the group of islands that I believe every Filipino should visit at least once in their lifetime. Read more

Department of Tourism announces new campaign to attract visitors to the Philippines

Department of Tourism's new slogan

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is launching a new brand campaign to attract visitors to the country with the line – ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines.’

Focusing on the country’s core strength, the campaign singles out what no other destination can offer – and that is the Filipino people.

For example, the Lonely Planet guidebook calls Filipinos ‘among the most easygoing and ebullient people anywhere.’

“Our strategy is simple: while other countries invite you to observe, Filipinos can promise a more heartfelt and interesting experience. Wherever you go, whatever you do in the country, it’s the Filipinos that will complete your vacation and will make your holiday unforgettable,” says the new Tourism Secretary, Ramon Jimenez, Jr.

The Filipinos are already known around the world to be one of the happiest and warmest people on earth. The campaign hopes to enjoin the whole country in creating positive buzz of the tagline.

As the international campaign is underway, the DOT is also developinng a national initiative under the line ‘#1FORFUN’ to rally the nation.


Source: DOT Media Release


Kenneth Cobonpue reimagines NAIA terminal 1

On Kenneth Cobonpue’s Facebook page, he published a video on how NAIA terminal one could be made over. The proposal is pro bono from Budji Layug, Royal Pineda and Kenneth Cobonpue in cooperation with the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines.

Cobonpue writes, “Its time someone did something about the worst airport in the world. So we made this design because we believe that no matter how beautiful our country is, our airports give the first and last impressions. This plan is relatively inexpensive and simple to adapt. The plan also involves renovating the interiors to allow faster flow of travelers between security, immigration and departure”. The first step has been done. Lets hope our government moves on this proposal quickly.”

Rebranding the Philippines: Giving the Philippines a total makeover

Image taken from DOT's website

Top 7 bidders successfully met the tedious process of selection of the Department of Tourism’s Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) for the formulation of a new Philippine country brand.

The top 7 bidders who were carefully chosen out of the 26 companies who joined the bidding will have two months to prepare to pitch in their ideas to DOT’s SBAC and the final winner will also have another two months to deliver the final package with the complete manual, audiovisual presentation, and print and TV ad designs which is slated to be carried out on November.

DOT is set to locally launch the new brand before the year ends before introducing it internationally at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Manado, Indonesia during the Philippine Night on January 13, 2012.

DOT Secretary Alberto Lim stressed the importance of commissioning a Country Brand which can be used by all national government agencies and local government units in their promotional and messaging work so that there will only be one strong message and theme for the Philippines internationally and domestically.

The initial application of the winning Country Brand will be first applied to the DOT to help the agency to continuously stimulate greater demand for international and domestic tourism and to generate more awareness about destinations among others.

According to the latest data of DOT, there was a 1.6 million influx of foreign visitors in the country during the period of January to May 2011 – a 170,000 increase compared to the same period during 2010.

This figure reflects a 12% improvement considering that we are still on the

Image taken from ePortfolio La Guardia Community College

second quarter of the year. Sec. Lim is expecting that with the current rate, the tourism sector will be able to hit the target 3.74 million tourists for 2011.

Korea, United States and Japan remain the top three countries accounted for almost half of the foreign visitor arrivals in the first five months of 2011.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism, in one of its press releases, announced that it is set to unveil its new National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) for 2011-2016 with a new accompanying call: to transform the Philippines into a must-experience destination in Asia.

“Our vision for tourism is anchored on nature, culture, MICE (Marketing, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibits) and health and wellness tourism, among other selling points. The NTDP has outlined three strategic directions for achieving this vision, namely improving market access and connectivity, developing and marketing competitive tourist destinations and products, and improving tourism institutional and human resources capabilities,” said the DOT Secretary.

The new NTDP is expected to serve as an outline for national and local government agencies to identify tourism development areas, infrastructure requirements, human resources development programs, and marketing and promotions directions, among other goals. Aside from this, the new plan will also re-examine the accomplishments of country’s tourism sector under the National Tourism Master Plan for 1991-2010.



Filipino buffet in Beijing offers rare taste of Philippines in capital

It’s been 36 years since diplomatic ties were established between the Philippines and China, and to celebrate, the lovely folks at the Pinoy Embassy here in Beijing teamed up with Chefs Gene and Gino Gonzalez of the Asian Centre for Culinary Studies to bring regional cuisine to the capital. Read more

NAIA 1: Wake-up call for the government

The website recently came out with its annual worst airports, voting the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 1 as one of the worst in the world. The good news; we’re not number 1 (Charles de Gaulle in France tops the list) the bad news; we’re the worst in Asia.

Known as the Manila International Airport, it was named after P-Noy’s father, the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino who was assassinated in 1983 after years in exile in the United States. While two new terminals have been added (NAIA 2 known as the Centennial Airport and NAIA 3), terminal 1 still holds the biggest port, with many of the airlines still holding its flights there.

Back then, the Philippines was looked up to from the economy to its facilities. NAIA 1 was used by many air carriers as its port for many flights in Asia. Flag carrier Philippine Airlines also use to land in NAIA 1 until it moved to NAIA 2. Now, the airport is old with smelly carpets and unclean washrooms.

The government has yet to react to this news but I do hope that they act on this. If they want to increase foreign tourists in the country, they should make the necessary repairs to the airport or better, move to NAIA 3 all together. True, there is still a case to be resolve (government has yet to fix its problem with Fraport) but with its new facilities, NAIA 3 can handle all the flights coming into the country.

One observation the government must fix definitely is the toilets in the airport. For pete’s sake! Cleanliness is big factor for tourists and running water and tissue paper in the bathrooms are a must. Unless people complain and complain, we get what we bargain for so please ensure running water and tissue paper.

Being the worst airport is a wake up call for us. True, we’re not the worst in the world but may be seeing our name in the worst list is enough to realize that it’s about time structures in this country should be fixed properly.