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LGU Prepares Iloilo’s ‘Little Baguio’ for Influx of Tourists on Holy Week



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The local government unit of Leon, Iloilo is now stepping up its preparations for the influx of locals and tourists to the Bucari village dubbed as the province’s “Little Baguio,” this holy week.

Leon Mayor Rolito Cajilig on Wednesday said that more tourists are expected to go up the trail with about 300 steps leading to Mount Mansiga in Bucari village where they could pray in silence and as well as enjoy the natural view and cold temperature uphill.

He said they are expecting around 3,000 to 4,000 people to visit the area during the Holy Week alone. He assured that medics, rescue groups and other volunteer groups have been formed to respond to any untoward incidents that may happen in the area.

Currently, Cajilig said that the stairs leading to the area are still being cemented and there is also an ongoing construction of the 14 “Stations of the Cross” in the area, which are expected to be completed this weekend.

Cajilig mentioned that employees of the local government will together go up the said mountain for the blessing of the completed stations of the cross and as well as observe the Lenten season on Wednesday next week.

Aside from visiting Mount Mansiga, Cajilig said that tourists could also swim in waterfalls in the area and go hiking in the mountainous village of Bucari that are surrounded by pine trees.

Meanwhile, the municipal police office of the town is also preparing for the deployment of their police personnel especially in the areas where most locals and tourists are expected to come.

OIC Police chief inspector Norlan Perante said that they will be on “full alert” status starting April 12 to secure peaceful observance of Holy Week in the area.

Last Monday, the office of second district representative Arcadio Gorriceta turned over one patrol car to the LGU. Cajilig said that it will be used as tourism patrol car intended for use in the mountainous tourism sites in Bucari village.

He added that it will help further maintain peace and order in the area. (PNA) CINDY B. FERRER

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Boracay Tourist Arrivals Up by 10 Percent




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Tourist arrivals in the island of Boracay increased by 10.04 percent for the first month of 2018, a record from the Aklan Provincial Tourism Office showed.

According to APTO, Boracay received a total of 186,893 tourists from January 1 to 31 of this year; 17,050 higher than those the island welcomed in January 2017.

Of the total tourists recorded in the first month of this year, foreign tourists listed were 125,910; while domestic tourists were 55,216; and the Overseas Filipinos were 5,767.
The said number of tourists generated a total of P5,948,343,105.60 in tourism receipts; wherein P4,962,853,459.20 came from the foreign tourists and Overseas Filipinos; and P985,489,646.40 were from the domestic tourists.
Meanwhile, Chinese and Korean tourists remain the top foreign visitors of the island in January this year with 54,615 and 44,458 arrivals, respectively.
Also included in the top 10 foreign visitor list were nationals from United States of America with 2,567 arrivals; Russia 2,360; Australia 2,107; Taiwan 1,915; United Kingdom 1,820; Malaysia 1,385; Saudi Arabia 1,351; and Canada 1,205.
In a press release, the Department of Tourism-Boracay said that the island is targetting 17 international cruise ship calls in the first six months of the year that could bring in a total of 58,000 tourists in the resort island.
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Guests Impressed as First Leg of Suroy-Suroy 2018 Ends



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The three-day, two-night Suroy-Suroy Sugbo 2018 Adventure Round South successfully ended last January 26 with 37 guests, mostly balikbayans, in praise of Cebu’s cultural heritage, attractions, and hospitality.

They visited the towns of San Fernando, Argao, Dalaguete, Boljoon, Oslob, Samboan, Santander, Ginatilan, Alegria, Moalboal, and Barili, as well as the cities of Carcar and Talisay, where they got to taste local food and delicacies, and were treated to cultural presentations and local dance and songs. A few also went swimming with whale sharks in Oslob and canyoneering in Alegria.

Guests drop by San Fernando town for a short stop of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 Adventure Round South.

From the Capitol, the guests first made a short stop at the municipal hall of San Fernando before proceeding to Argao, where Mayor Stanley Caminero personally welcomed them and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale inside the town’s Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Saint Michael the Archangel.

Pipe organ

Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests listen as heavenly music from its newly restored pipe organ filled the Argao church.

The guests also got to listen to melodious music from the church’s newly restored pipe organ, which has been silent for forty years and was functional again only last December 2017. After the firing of the town’s colonial period-but-still-functional cannons to officially welcome them, the guests lunched on local Argao food and were treated to Cebuano music performed by the Colawin Rondalla; a fashion show featuring the hablon creations of Dexter Alazas; and demonstrations on hablon weaving, torta making, and tableya making.

Argao pulled all stops just to make Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests feel welcomed, including transporting a functional loom to its cabecera for a demonstration of hablon making.

From Argao, the guests went up to the mountains of Mantalongon in Dalaguete town, where Acting Mayor Jeffrey Belciña met them with a brass band playing favorite Cebuano songs. They were also treated to a helping of local delicacies. The guests got to bring with them fresh vegetables, Mantalongon being the “vegetable basket of Cebu,” before leaving for Boljoon town, where they visited the Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church and the church’s museum. With Mayor Merlo Derama leading his townsfolk in welcoming them, the guests were served with refreshments right next to the town’s El Gran Baluarte.

A visit to Mantalongon, Dalaguete is not complete if the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests do not get to bring home a basket of vegetables.


Boljoon local guide Nozzie Medida regals Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests with the stories of their town’s church.

From Boljoon, the guests proceeded to Oslob, where they got to experience again the tolling of church bells for the age-old six-o’-clock Angelus. Prior to dinner at the town’s beautiful heritage park located by the sea, the guests visited the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception church as well as the cuartel (colonial era barracks) close to it. Mayor Jose Tumulak Jr. wished the guests well during their short stay and requested that they tell their relatives to likewise visit the town, which is the site of the world famous whale shark watching.

Making guests feel at home would not be complete without showcasing our local and folk dances. Here, Boljoon students entertain the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests with a presentation at the town’s cabecera.

After spending the night in Oslob, the guests started the second day of the tour by proceeding to the Sanayon in Santander, where Mayor Marilyn Wenceslao introduced them to her town’s own specialty delicacies.
From Santander, the guests went to Tangbo, Samboan, the site of the magnificent Aguinid Falls, and the Samboan heritage park, where they visited the San Miguel Archangel parish church, the baluarte or watchtower, and the town’s museum. Ma. Victoria “Marivic” Calderon, the wife of Mayor Emerito Calderon and head of the town’s Tourism and Heritage Council, acted as their guide. Samboan also served them local food and delicacies for lunch.

Barangay Calumpang, Oslob dancers prepare to start their dance presentation in welcoming the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests.

Cebuano saint

Paying homage to the faith of this young Cebuano, Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests visit the shrine of San Pedro Calungsod right next to the St. Gregory the Great church in Ginatilan town.

From Samboan, the guests traveled to Ginatilan for the San Pedro Calungsod shrine right next to the St. Gregory the Great parish church, then to Alegria for a tour of the Que Alegre Demo Farm, where they were introduced to organic farming and the wonders of turmeric and moringa, while other guests went canyoneering.

The Samboan church’s ceiling painting was done by artist Leonardo Ortiz in collaboration with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Fr. Bryan Brigoli, and the Municipal Government of Samboan.

From the farm, which her husband Dr. Gilbert Magallon managed, Mayor Verna Magallon brought the guests to the Alegria heritage park, where she treated them to entertainment showcasing local talents, dances, and songs, as well as demonstrations on pottery making, corn milling using a wooden mill, and coco coir making using coconut husk.

Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests partake of food served at the Que Alegre Demo Farm in Alegria, where they learned about organic farming.

Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests and local children alike got to see how pottery is making made during a demonstration at the Alegria heritage park.

The guests then went to Moalboal, site of the famous year-round sardine run, where a live band serenaded them during dinner at the heritage park by the sea. Vice Mayor Paz Lingling Rozgoni welcomed them with a message encouraging them to discover the many things Moalboal has to offer. The guests also got to dance the night away before a fireworks display culminated the second day of the three days, two nights tour.

The third and final day gave the guests the chance to stroll on the beach, explore the resorts where they stayed for the night, or to take a dip in the pool or the sea, before leaving Moalboal for Barili town, where they visited the Sta. Ana Archdiocesan Shrine parish church and its museum.

Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 guests get to practice their dance moves after dinner at the Moalboal town heritage park right by the protected Tañon Strait.

Chicharon and lechon

From Moalboal, the guests dropped by Carcar City for a taste of its delicious chicharon, ampao, and other products, as well as to buy their favorite locally made shoes and sandals before proceeding to Talisay City for final stopover of the tour.

Talisay’s sinulog dance contingent, which won first place in this year’s Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan, greeted the guests upon their arrival. Vice Mayor Allan Bucao, representing the city, gave the guests a short history about the city.

Talisay City’s award-winning Sinulog dancers greet the guests immediately upon their arrival at the Talisay City Hall.

Colorful performances during a sumptuous dinner with Talisay’s famous lechon in abundance, and a four-minute fireworks display capped off the tour, to which Vice Governor Agnes Magpale profusely thanked Talisay for the grand culmination program.

In a speech, she urged the guests to spread the news about Cebu.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale arrives to a colorful welcome at the Talisay City Hall. She was thankful for the city government for the beautiful Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 culminating program.

“Please tell your relatives and friends…maanindot na kaayo ang Sugbu nga inyong gibiyaan (that the Cebu you have left behind is now very splendid),” she said.

She also thanked the participating towns and cities for the hospitality they have shown the guests and for trying to “outdo” each other in making the guests feel at home.

Cebuano hospitality

The guests, indeed, for their part, cited the warm hospitality as something they would not forget about the whole experience.
Heracleo Salgado, 76, and his wife Emerinciana, 72, gushed about the beaches and how they were always exceptionally welcomed.

A four-minute fireworks display caps off the successful Suroy-Suroy Sugbu 2018 Adventure Round South, at the Talisay City Hall.

Heracleo, originally from Madridejos, and Emerinciana, who was from Barili, left the country in 1976 and had come back only for the fourth time. It was their first time to join the Suroy-Suroy since becoming US citizens and living in San Francisco, California.

“Akong na-amaze-san gyud kay welcome ta tanan sa kada town ba…. Nindot kaayo ang hospitality ((What amazed me so much was we were made to feel welcome by each town…. Their hospitality was very nice),” Heracleo said.
“Yes, mao nay importante kaayo (that is the most important),” Emerinciana chimed in, promising to bring their daughter, who is in the US, with them the next time they join the Suroy-Suroy.

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DOT: Tourism Arrivals Reach All-Time High at 6.6M



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In 2017, 6,620,908 foreign tourists visited the Philippines marking the unprecedented growth of the country’s tourism industry. It grew about 11% from the previous year’s arrivals of 5,967,005.

“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all the tourism stakeholders who worked hand in hand with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in achieving another milestone for the country,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said.

Philippine tourism even bested the average tourism growth of Asia and the Pacific which is at six percent and Southeast Asia at eight percent according to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer.

The tourism milestone came after a series of political noise, security concerns, and travel advisories against the country last year.

“We overcame these challenges with the innate resiliency of the Filipinos and the cooperation of everybody. And for that we are very thankful,” Teo added.

Teo also thanked all stakeholders who made country’s hosting of the Miss Universe and the ASEAN Summit, Madrid Fusion Manila 2017, World Street Food Congress, and the UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics a huge success.

Improved air routes and more cruise calls together with travel infrastructure development, travel facilitation, product development and tourism investments drummed up the tourism industry last year.

South Korea remained the country’s top source market with the lion’s share of 1,607,821 attributing for almost a quarter of the total tourist arrival. Boracay and Cebu remains the top destinations for Koreans last year.

China followed suit with 968,447 arrivals due to the improved ties between the Philippines and China, added air routes, and the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) option for Chinese nationals.

It is the most improved market with 43.33% growth rate overtaking USA with 957,813 arrivals.

Japan and Australia wound up the top five markets with 584,180 and 259,433 arrivals respectively.

December registered 603,062 foreign tourist arrivals second best to the month of January 2017 at 620,121.

“The seven million that some people refer to was a fighting target that we have set for ourselves. Officially the target is at 6.5 million which is embodied in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) and we have achieved it,” Benito Bengzon, Jr. DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development explained.

For 2018, the NTDP projected 7.4 million international tourist arrivals.

“For this year, with an expanded marketing plan, improved quality, human resource capacity, and service standards, we will continue to push for new and underrated destinations. We are also looking at the farm and faith tourism sectors.” Teo said.

Another centerpiece of 2018 would be sports and adventure tourism with the hosting of Strongest Man, the Iron Man, and other sports-related events.

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Best Travel Deals with Globe Platinum and Singapore Airlines at the Showcase and Travel Fair 2018



Globe Telecom once again partnered with Singapore Airlines (SIA) to give Globe Platinum customers the opportunity to get inspired and explore new destinations this year with the fifth installment of its much-awaited Showcase and Travel Fair 2018.

Slated on January 26 to 28, 2018 at the Glorietta 2 Activity Center in Makati City and at the TriNoma Activity Center in Quezon City, SIA offers some of the best travel deals in renowned destinations around the world!

This is also the fifth year that Globe Platinum has partnered with SIA to be able to give its customers exclusive access to various perks and privileges especially when they travel via Singapore Airlines.

“Our partnership with SIA complements the distinct experience we want to provide our Platinum customers. Through our collaboration with one of the world’s premiere airlines, we get to enable our customers’ travel goals and help them create wonderful memories for themselves or their families,” explains Vice President of Emerging Strategic Businesses Coco Domingo.

During the fair, there will be a “Globe Platinum Priority Lane” for Platinum members in Glorietta so they may enjoy priority service by simply presenting their Globe Platinum Signal or Digital cards. Additionally, Globe Platinum clients will enjoy priority check in when they fly SQ and those who fly Business Class will receive special treats during the entire year.

There will also be special, all-inclusive round-trip airfares for passengers flying Economy Class from Manila to Singapore (from US$150), Southeast Asia (from US$220), India (from US$490), Australia (from US$540), Europe (from US$700), South Africa (from US$700), and the United States (from US$870).

Those flying Premium Economy Class, on the other hand, may travel to select Asian destinations (from US$970), Australia (from US$1020), Europe (from US$1400), South Africa (from US$1550), New Zealand (from US$1550), and the United States (from US$1900). For Business Class flyers, explore Southeast Asia (from US$690), South Africa (from US$1900), Australia (from US$1980), Europe (from US$2370), New Zealand (from US$2400), and the United States (from US$2400).

Other available promos from event partners also include Real 0% interest up to six months installment plan for BPI Credit cardholders; 500 KrisFlyer Bonus Miles when travelling to selected destinations; up to 25% discount on select Sentosa Singapore attractions; a SGD60 Changi Gift Card for every two tickets to selected destinations; a SGD20 Changi Dollar Voucher when going to destinations beyond Singapore; and a chance to win 50,000 KrisFlyer miles exclusively for Glorietta and TriNoma mall shoppers.

Complementing the exclusive travel deals and privileges is Globe Platinum customers’ access to a worldwide concierge service and domestic airport lounges.

To know more about Globe Platinum, visit

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