Bonifacio Day is a national holiday in the Philippines commemorating the life of Andrés Bonifacio, one of the country’s national heroes. He was the founder and eventual Supremo of the Katipunan, a secret society that triggered the Philippine Revolution of 1896 against the Spanish Empire.
National Heroes Day is a national public holiday in the Philippines to honor the country’s heroes and is held on the last Monday of every August to mark the anniversary of the Cry of Pugad Lawin, the beginning of the Philippine Revolution by the Katipunan and its SupremoAndrés Bonifacio in 1896.
Ninoy Aquino Day is a national non-working holiday in the Philippines observed annually on August 21, commemorating the assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. He was the husband of Corazon Aquino, who was later to become Philippine President; they are treated as two of the heroes of democracy in the country. His assassination led to the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos on February 25, 1986, through the People Power Revolution. In 2004, the commemoration ceremony for the holiday was held and events were attended by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fidel V. Ramos.
Unlike other dates reserved fornational heroes of the Philippines(likeBonifacio Day,Rizal Day,Araw ng Kagitingan, andNational Heroes Day), the date is not a “regular holiday” (double pay for working nationals) but only a “special non-working holiday” (premium of thirty-percent for working nationals).
Independence Day ((Filipino: Araw ng Kasarinlan; also known as Araw ng Kalayaan, (or “Day of Freedom”)) in the Philippines is held every 12 June and commemorates the Philippines’ declaration of independence from Spanish colonial rule.
The day is spent with family bonding with friends and relatives and in either outdoor and indoor activities. All government offices and schools are closed as are private enterprises save for commercial establishments. As required by law the Flag of the Philippines, first flown on that day in 1898, is displayed in homes and establishments from as early as May 28, Flag Day, or on a selected date of May by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, which serves as the organizer of the celebrations, to the 30th of the month. Fireworks displays are the norm. Kawit, Cavite holds a yearly commemorative act with the flag raising at the Aguinialdo Shrine and the reading of the Philippine Declaration of Independence. Worldwide, Filipinos will gather on June 12 or a date close to it to publicly celebrate, sometimes with a Philippine Independence Day Parade.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has launched an online training program for the country’s tourism stakeholders to stay relevant and learn to cope with the difficulties arising from the global pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and to facilitate transition to recovery.
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the program, dubbed DOT Online Training, is done via Zoom video-conferencing and offers the stakeholders an option to use their time productively during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which has been extended to April 30.
“The DOT is developing online courses for tourism stakeholders. This was conceptualized as an alternative to the regular training programs being conducted by the Office of Industry Manpower Development. This is our vision in embracing a new normal for our industry,” Puyat said in a statement.
She added the course covers two subject areas: 1) Tourism Enterprise which involves monitoring, evaluating and learning from past and present situations to enable tourism stakeholders to prepare better for the future; and 2) Filipino Brand of Service which applies the seven Filipino values or “7Ms” that characterize Filipino hospitality — May Likha, Makatao, Makakalikasan, Makabansa, Masayahin, May-Bayanihan and May-Pag-asa.
“We can turn the temporary inactivity during lockdown into an opportunity to enhance the quality of tourist services. We can objectively look back at our past and current performance and utilize the breathing space to plan how we can further upgrade our services in our respective areas in the industry with the values of Filipino hospitality,” Puyat said.
She enjoined the tourism stakeholders to participate in the online training program, adding the department is set to develop additional modules on other topics.
“The DOT will continue to develop other online courses to enhance skills, assist and encourage stakeholders to cope, transition and move towards recovery”.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) and partner malls and associations announced on Wednesday it’s all systems go for “The 2020 Philippine Shopping Festival”.
The first ever shopping festival in the Philippines, the 2020 Philippine Shopping Festival will run from March 01-31, 2020 in Metro Manila, Agusan Del Norte, Antique, Bacolod, Baguio, Bataan, Bicol Region, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Butuan City, Cagayan De Oro, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Cebu, Davao, Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, Lanao Del Norte, Legazpi City in Albay, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, South Cotabato (General Santos City), and Zambales (Olongapo City).
The DOT said it aims to position the country as a destination where shopping is fun, unique, and affordable. Based on DOT’s Visitor Sample Survey in 2018 shopping is the most common tourist activity in the country at 38 percent.
“It’s not hard to see that elevating the shopping experience will go a long way to enhance the attractiveness of our tourist destinations all over the Philippines, whether it is our big cities or in our beautiful provinces. We’ve recognized this in the National Tourism Development Plan of 2016-2022, where leisure, entertainment and shopping tourism is one of the 10 products we want to further develop in the next few years,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during announcement of the official partnership at the DOT main office in Makati.
Puyat also assured that ‘There’s Fun in Every Find’ for the duration of the shopping fest as the sale features a variety of Philippine-made items.
“Buying local helps support our craftsmen and artisans, as well as their communities; more importantly, it helps preserve our culture, traditions, and Filipino way of life,” she added.
During the shopping fest, foreign and local tourists alike can expect 15 percent up to 70 percent discounts on many exciting Philippine-made products, including food and dining, jewelry and fashion, crafts, furniture, and decor, and beauty and wellness products, enabling shopping an integral part of visitors’ itineraries.
Travelers can also look for affordable airfares and cheaper hotel accommodations for the promotion period.
#FunFinds2020 is the official hashtag.
“We invite all tourists to ‘Be Part of the Fun’ by supporting the 2020 Philippine Shopping Sale this March. We also look forward to it becoming a yearly and anticipated feature on the nation’s event calendar,” said Puyat.
Interested consumers can revel on the shopping sale through participating malls such as Araneta Group, Ayala Land Malls, Inc., Duty Free Philippine Corporation, Filinvest Land Inc., Greenfield Development Corporation, Vista Malls, Megaworld Corporation, Oritgas Land, Power Plant Mall, Robinsons Land Corporation, Rustan Commercial Corporation, Shangri-La Plaza Corporation, SM Supermalls, and Stores Specialists, Inc.
Associations supporting the event are the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, Philippine Franchise Association, Philippine Owners Association Inc., Philippine Retailers Association, Philippine Tour Operators Association, Philippine Travel Agencies Association, and Tourism Congress of the Philippines.
Airlines including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Air Asia, Air Carriers Association of the Philippines will be slashing off airfare tickets to spur domestic tourism.
“This ambitious project, designed to increase tourism expenditure in the country, would not have been possible without the full support and cooperation of the nation”s mall operators, retailers, franchise holders, hotel and tour operators, and travel agencies,” added Puyat.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reiterated the government’s support in Philippine tourism. Tourism Secretary Puyat confirmed that the president will be going around the major islands in the country including, but not limited to Boracay, Bohol, and Cebu to show tourists and locals alike that it is safe to travel around the Philippines.
The year 2019 is deemed celebratory for Philippine tourism as international visitors numbering 8.26 million, exceeded the 8.2 million annual target set in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) for 2016-2022.
“This heralds a new milestone in the country’s tourism history, breaching the eight millionth mark. Without doubt, our convergence programs with other government agencies, particularly in improving access as well as product development and marketing initiatives with local government and private sector have greatly paid off. These gains we hope to sustain even as we face global challenges,” enthused Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The DOT year-end visitor arrival report cited a 15.24 percent growth over 2018’s year-end figure of 7.16 million. Almost all months, except January, registered double digit growth rates, the largest of which was August at 27.54 percent while December recorded the highest volume at 776,798.
2019 was the year the DOT launched its refreshed branding campaign; continuing the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan but repurposing it to advocate for sustainable tourism. The local launch was held in the National Museum of Natural History while the international event was in Berlin during the Internationale Tourismus–Borse (ITB)
To complement the new direction towards sustainable tourism, the DOT launched a movement called “Save Our Spots” to call for each individual to be a responsible tourist and encouraging the same behavior towards others to preserve the country’s natural and man-made wonders.
The Philippine tourism industry also received a number of international awards and recognitions in 2019 such as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 2019 World Travel Awards, Asiaâ€™s Leading Tourism Board at the 2019 World Travel Awards and Excellent Partner Award (for Sustainable Efforts in Boracay, among others.
“This is a high point for Philippine tourism as it depicts our solidarity and commitment to make tourism work and prove its full potential as a sustainable and inclusive economic activity. The record-breaking numbers solidify the effectiveness of the Tourism Act of 2009, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2019.” Secretary Puyat remarked.
Korea remains as the top source market with a total of 1.98 million arrivals, for a 22.48 percent increase. The ace spot has been well-guarded since 2010.
China follows closely on second with 1.74 million, boasting of a 38.58 percent growth.
The United States of America (USA) on third, yielded 1.06 million visitors for a 2.90 percent increase.
Japan is fourth at 682,788 arrivals, with an 8.07 percent growth followed by Taiwan reporting an equally impressive double-digit increase of 35.01 percent for its 327,273 arrivals.
Rounding up the top 12 visitor markets with their volumes and respective growth rates are: Australia with 286,170 (2.27 percent), Canada with 238,850 (5.48 percent), the United Kingdom with 209,206 (4.06 percent), Singapore with 158,595 arrivals (-7.68 percent), Malaysia with 139,882 (-3.69 percent), India with 134,963 (11.43 percent) and Germany with 103,756 (12.66 percent).
Philippine destinations are on a roll this year, with Siargao earning the latest international praise from luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler, which named it eighth among 20 best holiday destinations for 2020.
Described as a tiny Philippine island giving Bali a run for its money, Condé Nast Traveler hailed the teardrop-shaped tropical island for “its gnarly surf breaks, including the legendary Cloud 9 barreling wave.”
“Siargao is fringed with pristine beaches, tree frog-green mangrove forests, and sweeping groves of coconut palms, and it’s little wonder tourism here is gathering pace,” CNT writers Lizzie Pook and Tabitha Joyce said.
“Less than a 10th of the size of Bali, the island feels the way the Indonesian hotspot did three decades ago: scooters with surfboard racks ferry people about the streets, convenience stores pour petrol from glass Coca Cola bottles and farmers sell rice – dried on tarpaulins at the side of the main road –at the local market,” they added.
Siargao was also praised for the variety of activities it offers aside from surfing, such as island-hopping to the nearby white sand-ringed islets of Daku, Guyam, and Naked Island.
“And here at Condé Nast Traveler, we always have one eye on the surf scene (where boarders flock, eco-entrepreneurs, independent hotels, and small businesses tend to follow), and we’re predicting that during the next year, a tiny Philippine island will be stealing a cool crowd (whether they surf or not) from Bali,” the CNT editorial wrote.
Siargao bested Kyoto, Japan at rank 20 and Paris, France which was ninth on the list.
In 2018, Condé Nast Traveler also named the island as the 2018 Top Island in Asia.
More and more travelers are discovering CALABARZON, the next region southeast of Metro Manila, which offers a complete package for an extraordinary tourism experience as it abounds with natural wonders, modern recreational resorts, as well as cultural and historical heritage sites.
Calabarzon (Region 4A) refers to the contiguous provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon .
DOT Assistant Secretary Maria Rica Bueno.Bueno and DOT–Region 4A officer–in–charge Director Marites Castro led the unveiling of the DOT–Region 4A’s refreshed regional tourism branding campaign #DiscoverCALABARZON, during Wednesday’s CALABARZON Tourism Appreciation Night at the Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna.
” Truly, CALABARZON should be receiving all of the tourists from Metro Manila. For people who would want to escape the concrete jungle, this should be your playground–closer to nature and everything. Two or three hours, you are already in the beach, trekking mountains or even enjoying fun farm experiences,” said Assistant Secretary Bueno.
Meanwhile, Castro noted how one can find in CALABARZON an array of choices for travel experience: water sports in Cavite, extreme nature adventure in Laguna and Rizal, island–hopping in Quezon province, and discovering historical and pilgrimage sites in Batangas and Rizal.
“On top of our fool–proof classic destinations, #DiscoverCALABARZON is our refined invitation to entice both new and returning travelers to explore our region as we give birth to infinite travel experiences year on year.” Needless to say, Region 4A is replete with the best–kept secrets awaiting to be discovered and we welcome everyone to come and see the region’s wildly diverse destinations that will suit just about everyone’s preferences,” said Castro.
“Calamba, Laguna is the birthplace of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. Likewise, Cavite and Batangas provinces are among the cradles of Filipino patriotism and Christian faith. There is so much to be discovered in the depths of the seas of Verde Island and Anilao, Batangas where international underwater photographers have come to see the world’s most diverse marine species there is,” Castro added
The new campaign doubles as the region’s “pledge of commitment towards sustainable tourism” in line with the Department’s endeavor in cementing a globally competitive, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible tourism industry.
“Recognizing the rich natural and cultural wealth of the CALABARZON Region, we further pledge to fully implement sustainable tourism practices, consistent with the best environment and heritage protection standards, such that our present tourism resource requirements optimize both local community benefit and future sustainable uses,” stated in an excerpt from the region’s pledge of commitment towards sustainable tourism.
On October 24, CALABARZON swept 25 out of 75 awards at the 7th Regional Competitiveness Summit held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City. The honors are founded on the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) that weighs in the level of competitiveness of local government units (LGUs) in the country
Negros Occidental’s San Carlos City received the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) “Clean Tourist City” award for the second time, a recognition valid from 2020 to 2022.
Jennifer Saballa, officer-in-charge of the San Carlos City Tourism Office, said on Wednesday that the achievement shows the various initiatives of the city government to promote sustainable tourism development.
“The city is again honored to receive the international award, which is a product of the strong support of the local government. We hope to sustain the efforts and look forward to more initiatives geared towards ensuring sustainability,” Saballa added.
Mayor Renato Gustilo earlier received a letter from Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit of the Office of Tourism Standards and Regulation of the Department of Tourism, informing him about the award.
The awards ceremony will be held at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei Darussalam this coming January 16.
The northern Negros City, which first received the award in 2017, was among the Southeast Asian cities recognized for having endeavored to beautify their public areas, improve the environment and sanitation, enhance urban spaces, and promote man-made and natural attractions.
Saballa said the city complied with the indicators set by the Asean City Tourism Standard (ACTS), such as environmental protection and management, waste management, health, urban safety and security, and tourism infrastructures and programs.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed around the city starting last year to meet the safety and security indicator.
In 2017, San Carlos strengthened its effort to promote the establishment of “tourist restrooms” based on Asean standards for comfort rooms.
San Carlos hosts an eco-center that provides a venue for benchmarking on waste management and other good environment practices and technologies for other localities in the province.
Saballa said they are focusing on tourism development areas as part of conservation efforts for natural attractions and destinations in the city.
“We are continuing our community-based efforts aimed at providing livelihood opportunities to the locals while at the same time involving them in environment protection and conservation measures,” she added.
San Carlos City has also been a recipient of other international recognitions, such as the Asean’s 50 Landmark Cities and Environmentally Sustainable Cities, and Top 100 Sustainable Destinations.
For 2020, San Carlos will join two other cities from the Philippines — Iloilo and Baguio — as Asean Clean Tourist City awardees.
The ACTS aims to provide member-countries with a tool that would improve the quality of tourism in their cities and increase their marketing competitiveness, while improving the situation of local residents and their livelihood by alleviating poverty.