The foods for Ramadan 2019 being sold at the public market of Buluan, a town of Maguindanao Province of the Philippines….
Buluan Lake…smiles and homes on stilts (Buluan, Maguindanao, Philippines)
Fascinating Buluan Lake (Buluan, Maguindanao, Philippines)
FASCINATING BULUAN LAKE
By Apolinario Villalobos
My jaunt to Buluan Lake yesterday, December 12, was decided when a blackout cut short my blogging on the patronal fiesta of President Quirino (Sultan Kudarat). Rather than sit it out for the return of the power to keep me going again, I decided to go somewhere else, despite the scorching heat of the high noon sun. I finally I contracted Dagul who at the time was driving a single “habal-habal” motorbike to bring me to the fish port of Buluan. I was lucky to have been driven by Dagul because I found out that he was familiar with the area as he told me that he used to deliver bamboo poles to clients within the vicinity.
On our way to the lake, Dagul was narrating his adventures around the area as far as Tulunan where he met new hospitable friends. He told me about the friendly residents of Maslabing and he was right as those we met along the way, returned the smile I gave them and waved back to me as we drove on along the concrete road that sliced through the African palm plantation. What made me more interested about the area was how the locals are making use of solar panels to light their homes. And, what caught my attention are the clean yards, some with flowers and shrubs.
I knew that we were approaching the lake when I could only see the empty horizon ahead of us. And, when we finally reached our destination, I was surprised by its expanse with portions dotted by colonies of water lily. The homes on stilts brought back memories of Taluksangay in Zamboanga that I visited decades ago. What delighted me were the friendliness of the locals. Every time I asked permission to take their photos and their home, they readily agreed after listening to my explanation that I was promoting Buluan and that I would like to spread the news that their place is nice. I added that during the INAUL FESTIVAL, visitors could visit their place to see the lake and have snacks in their convenient stores or sari-sari store. I told those who owned small carinderias that they should maintain cleanliness to the best they can so that visitors would come back for more of their deep-fried taruk and tilapia.
I found half-finished slim and long bancas in some homes, aside from fish traps and black fish nets. Some resourceful residents cook “binignet” a kind of powdered rice porridge with banana. In another home, I found a mother with her purple-colored cake to be peddled at the wharf. I was told that in a few hours the first batch of harvested tilapia would be coming in which could be the reason why I saw styro boxes and obvious traders, regretfully, I could wait for it because I still had two places to visit….but definitely I will be back.
My Own Idea of Tourism…just an opinion
My Own Idea of Tourism
…just an opinion
By Apolinario Villalobos
ON THE PART OF THE TOURIST, THE ESSENCE OF TOURISM IS “INTEREST”, WHILE ON THAT OF THE HOST IT IS “HONEST INFORMATION”.
THE EXPECTATION ON THE PART OF THE TOURIST IS “SATISFACTION”, WHILE ON THE PART OF THE HOST, IT IS “REVENUE”.
TO SUM THEM UP….
THE INTEREST TO TRAVEL THROUGH HONEST INFORMATION CAN BE CREATED FOR PEOPLE WHO EXPECT TO BE SATISFIED THAT RESULTS TO THE MOST COVETED REVENUE OF THE HOST.
TOURISM AS AN INDUSTRY TODAY IS DISTRIBUTED AMONG STAKEHOLDERS OR INTERESTED PARTIES, MAKING THE GOVERNMENT’S OWN “TOURISM AGENCY” IRRELEVANT…IN THIS REGARD, THE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM AND ITS COUNTERPARTS DOWN THE LINE OF GOVERNANCE SUCH AS THE LGUs.
THE MULTI-SEGMENTATION OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IS SUCH THAT EACH STAKEHOLDER CAN HANDLE ITS OWN DIRECTLY TO EARN REVENUE:
- EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS CAN PACKAGE THEIR TOUR PROGRAMS FOR RESEARCHES, FAMILIARIZATIONS, AND EXCHANGE PROGRAMS.
- HOSPITALS AND SPECIALIZED CLINICS CAN HAVE THEIR OWN PACKAGE FOR CLIENTS SEEKING SPECIAL TREATMENTS.
- PARISH LAY COMMITTEES CAN PACKAGE THEIR OWN PILGRIMAGES, RETREATS OR RECOLLECTIONS.
- OUTDOOR SPORTS AGENCIES CAN COME UP WITH THEIR PACKAGE THAT INVOLVE ZIP LINES, SCUBA DIVING, MOUNTAIN CLIMBING, SPELUNKING OR CAVE EXPLORATION, BIRDWATCHING, HANG GLIDING, CROSS-COUNTRY MOTOCROSSES, DEEP-SEA FISHING, AND SIMPLE TREKKING OR CAMPING.
ALL OF THE ABOVE CAN BE ARRANGED DIRECTLY WITH AIRLINES, SHIPPING LINES, BUS COMPANIES, ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES, RESTAURANTS, TRANSFER HANDLERS, AND MOST ESPECIALLY, WITH TRAVEL AND TOUR AGENCIES…WHICH EVER IS OR ARE APPROPRIATE FOR THE ACTIVITY.
THE LGUs CAN HOLD FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS TO ATTRACT VISITORS USING THEIR INFORMATION OFFICES AND COMMITTEES CREATED FOR THE OCCASIONS THAT ARE HELD AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THE INFORMATION REQUIREMENT OF TOURISTS CAN BE SATISFIED BY THE UPLOADED VISUAL AND WRITTEN “BLOGS” IN THE CYBERSPACE OR THE INTERNET WHICH IS WHAT’S ALREADY HAPPENING. THEY CAN BROWSE THE CYBERSPACE BY MERELY USING A SMART PHONE.
The Sad Plight of the Philippine Tourism Industry
The Sad Plight of the Philippine Tourism Industry
By Apolinario Villalobos
I find it unnecessary to hire Consultants who would come up with “tourism plan” for LGU units that are already with potential tourist destinations. Why the need for a Consultant when all that the tourists need are ONLY clean accommodation facilities, exotic foods and honest tricycle or taxi drivers? And, worse, with the Consultant coming yet, from outside the community being promoted!
Is it difficult for a local government to require stallholders in the public market to maintain cleanliness?…for restaurant owners to have clean restrooms, tidy halls, and staff clothed in clean uniform and with a ready smile? Or, is it difficult for a local government to call on the drivers of public conveyances to be courteous and be honest?…why the need for a Consultant to dictate what to do when all the things that should be done are supposed to be just dictated by COMMON SENSE?
Puerto Galera in Mindoro did not become famous because of Consultants, and so are Boracay, the scuba diving sites around the country, the mountains, the caves and the festivals. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES DID A LOT IN PROMOTING THEM AS PART OF ITS AIR TRAVEL EDUCATION PROGRAM. The Department of Tourism just “researched” on them so that they can have something to print in their brochures that they displayed in their “field” offices around the country and some cities around the world. They literally picked up easily the “opportunities” of already famous tourist attractions of the country.
CONSULTANTS WERE NEVER HIRED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO MAKE WHAT THEY HAVE AS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS BECOME FAMOUS. UNFORTUNATELY, THE LACK OF CONCERN FROM THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO PRESERVE THEIR PRISTINE BEAUTY AND THE GREED FOR MONEY OF INVESTORS, PRACTICALLY, SPOILED THEM….AND, BORACAY IS THE BIG PROOF!
The word-of-mouth system of promotion also did a lot…made by satisfied travelers who told their friends when they went back to their countries. THERE WAS NO PLAN. What is worse that is happening today is the idiotization of festivals of different cities and towns that differ only in outlandish costumes but with street dancers moving to the same rhythm and beat copied from the Ati-atihan of Ibajay in Aklan and later, Kalibo, as well as the Binirayan of Antique. In fairness to some of them, however, there are many towns who are steadfast in coming up with costumes symbolic of their festival or celebration. But generally, the general impression about the festivals is “…if you have seen one, you have seen them all…” WHICH IS NOT GOOD AND SHOULD SERVE AS A STRONG SIGNAL TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM TO DO SOMETHING.
The Philippines is lagging behind the rest of the traditional destinations in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore with even those that had a late start-up like Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia catching up. It should be noted that even Singapore is making to full use the “colors” of its rich multi-faceted culture that include street foods and market scenes. On the other hand, the rest of the highly-attractive nations are also doing the same with the same pride. Meanwhile, the Philippine tourism guys think that the country MUST hold an international pageant to make her popular!
The country should be thankful to Duterte whose feisty and rhetorical statements have earned added curiosity of the world and the respect of many nations….but to the guys who are salaried to work for such purpose?…WELL…!#$@^&%$!
Mga Dapat Iwasan ng mga Nagpo-promote ng Turismo at Nagsusulat Tungkol Dito
Mga Dapat Iwasan ng mga Nagpo-promote
Ng Turismo at Nagsusulat tungkol Dito
Ni Apolinario Villalobos
Pagdating sa turismo, dapat ay nakikipagtulungan sa isa’t isa ang lahat ng mga Pilipno, karaniwan mang mamamayan o mga opisyal ng pamahalaan. Dapat ay hindi nagpapaligsahan kung aling festival ang pinakamaganda, kung aling baybaying dagat ang may pinakamaputing buhangin, kung aling delicacies ang pinakamasarap, etc. Kung may competition sa street dancing, dapat ituring lang ito na simpleng katuwaang kumpetisyon, kaya nga ang mga sumasali ay iba ang pinapakita kaysa sa actual na street dancing.
Ang dapat na mangyari ay magkanya-kanya ng promote ng sariling touristic come-ons nang hindi nagbabanggit ng ibang bayan upang maiwasan ang paghambing. Masakit sa mata ang mga blogs na nagsasabing “….mas maganda ang “Iloilo Dinagyang” kung ikumpara sa “Cebu Sinulog” o sa “Antique Binirayan” o “Kalibo Ati-Atihan”. HAYAANG MGA TURISTA ANG MAGHUSGA.
Sa bagay na ito dapat mag-ingat ang mga nagkukunwaring mga blogger na mahilig magkumpara ng mga napuntahan at nakita nila. PWEDENG IKUMPARA ANG SERBISYO AT KALINISAN O KADUMIHAN NG TINIRHANG HOTEL O PENSION HOUSE….BUT NEVER ANY FESTIVAL OR NATURAL ATTRACTIONS, DAHIL MAY KANYA-KANYA SILANG KATANGIAN. SAMANTALANG ANG SERBISYO NG TOURISTIC FACILITIES AY MAY “STANDARDS” NA DAPAT SUNDIN.
HINDI RIN DAPAT IKUMPARA ANG MGA PAGKAIN DAHIL SA TINATAWAG NA “LOCAL VERSIONS”. HALIMBAWA AY ANG “DINUGUAN” DISH….DAHIL IBA ANG VERSION NG BICOL, IBA RIN SA ILOILO, ILOCOS, KATAGALUGAN, AT CHRISTIAN MINDANAO. ANG “PINAKBET” AY GANOON DIN, PATI ANG IBA PANG LUTUING PILIPINO. KAHIT ANG SIMPLENG TORTANG TALONG AY IBA-IBA RIN ANG VERSION. KAYA, ANG DAPAT GAWIN AY I-DESCRIBE LANG KUNG ANO ANG NATIKMAN…HUWAG IKUMPARA SA IBA PANG NATIKMAN NA.
Ang inaasahan ngayon ng Pilipinas upang kumita maliban sa pag-attract ng investors, ay ang turismo. Kung “maghihilahan” ang iba’t ibang lalawigan at rehiyon, patuloy na magiging kulelat ang Pilipinas na napapag-iiwanan na ng iba pang bansa sa timog silangang Asya, tulad ng Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar at Vietnam. Naipakita ng mga nabanggit na bansa maliban sa Thailand, Malaysia at Indonesia na hindi kailangang magkaroon ng nagtataasang skyscrapers upang makahatak ng mga turista. Streetfoods na likas sa diet ng mga tao ang hindi nila ikinahihiyang ibandila sa ibang bansa kaya natugunan nila ang gusto ng mga foreign tourists na makadanas ng “exotic adventure”. Maliban diyan ay nagpapakita rin sila ng makulay nilang kultura, hindi ang mga “hiniram” o ginaya sa mga Amerikano o Tsino.
Mga Karanasan Kong Kagila-gilalas Noong Naglibot Ako sa Pilipinas
Mga Karanasan Kong Kagila-gilalas Noong Naglibot Ako sa Pilipinas
Ni Apolinario Villalobos
Bilang editor noon ng TOPIC Magazine, obligado akong maglibot upang mangalap ng mga impormasyong pang-turista para mailathala sa magasin. At, dahil iba-iba ang mga napupuntahan ko, iba-iba rin ang mga karanasan ko. Ang iba ay sobrang censored kaya hindi pwedeng banggitin, except sa ginagawa kong “memoir” na ilalabas kapag ako ay patay na, at ang iba naman ay sobrang nakakatuwa kaya dapat i-share “to make the day” ng mga nagtitiyagang magbasa ng blogs ko.
Sa isang bayan sa norte, nag-check in ako sa isang maliit na hotel, okey naman dahil may toilet subalit hindi ko nabuksan para ma-check ang loob dahil nagmamadali akong makapunta agad sa mga tourist spots. Pagbalik ko galing sa paglilibot ay naligo ako at gumamit ng kubeta. Nadismaya ako dahil nang umupo na ako sa “trono” hindi ko madiretso ang dalawa kong paa…dapat nakaangat ang kanan kong paa upang magkasya ang wetpu ko sa” trono” dahil halos dikit sa dingding ito. Kaya ang nangyari ay para akong aso na nakataas ang isang paa, halos pa-side view, habang nagpapalabas ng sama ng loob….ang mahalaga noon ay nakaraos ako. In fairness sa maliit na hotel, malinis ang toilet, ngunit ang kubeta ay pang-unano yata.
Sa isa pa ring bayan sa norte, ang toilet ng hotel na tinirhan ko ay barado. Mabuti na lang at nasa tabing-dagat ang maliit na hotel, kaya kahit gabi na ay nagsabi ako sa staff na kunwari ay magsi-swimming ako kahit ang katotohanan ay may binabalak akong gagawing kabantutan! Nagtampisaw ako sa mababaw na dagat dahil low tide hanggang makaraos ako. Kinabukasan ay nag-check ako kung may nakalutang na ebidensiya sa ginawa kong karumaldumal nang nakaraang gabi…mabuti naman at inanod yata sa malayo!…nakaligtas ako sa batikos!
Sa mga maliliit na lunsod ay uso ang mga hotel na ang toilet ay nasa pagitan ng dalawang kuwarto…share ang occupants ng dalawang kuwarto sa paggamit ng toilet. Malalaman ng occupant ng isang kuwarto kung ginagamit ng taga-kabilang kuwarto ang toilet dahil naka-lock ang pinto niya sa loob, na dapat buksan kapag tapos nang gumamit ang taga-kabila, upang makapasok naman siya, at ila-lock naman niya ang pinto ng katabi niyang kuwarto. Nag-check in ako sa isang hotel na may ganitong uri ng kubeta. Nang hapong maliligo na ako (siyempre nakahubad) ay binuksan ko ang pinto ng kubeta…at nabuksan nga…nakalimutan kong may ka-share ako sa kubeta….at may chicks palang nakaupo sa “trono”….nakalimutan niyang i-lock ang pinto ko sa loob! Nahantad naman sa kanya ang kaluluwa ko! Nagkatinginan kami….nagpaka-gentleman pa rin ako at dahan-dahan kong isinara ang pinto habang nagbaba-bye. Nagkita kami uli sa dining room, kasama niya ang kanyang asawang egoy (black American)!…tinginan uli kami at nginitian niya ako ng pagkatamis-tamis…parang may nabistong secret na siya lang ang nakakaalam!
Ilan lang ang mga nabanggit sa mga madilim na bahagi ng aking kahapon sa paglilibot ko sa Pilipinas dahil sa call of duty. Tiniis ko ang lahat dahil ayaw kong maging jobless at lumuwa ang mga mata dahil sa gutom. Noon ko lalong naunawaan na iba pala talaga ang buhay ng isang tunay na turista na hahamakin ang lahat makarating lang sa mga tourist spots!
By Apolinario B Villalobos
Itinuring na lupang ipinangako –
Ng mga Pilipinong dito ay napadako
Mga naglakas-loob na makipagsapalaran
Hindi inalintana panganib na madadatnan.
Maraming kuwento ang aking nalaman –
May mga kulay ng lungkot at kaligayahan
Nguni’t lahat ay puno ng hangarin, ng pag-asa
Sa lupang ipinangako’t magigisnang bagong umaga.
May mga Pangasinense, Kapampangan, Ilocano
Mayroong Bicolano, Bulakeño, Caviteño, Batangueño
Mga taga-Luzon silang dala ay lakas ng loob, kasipagan
Hindi ininda ang init sa pagbungkal ng tigang na kabukiran.
Mayroon ding galing sa Antique, Negros, isla ng Cebu
Sumunod ang mga taga-Leyte, Antique, Guimaras at Iloilo
Ano pa nga ba’t sa malawak, mayaman at luntiang Mindanao
Magkaiba man ang mga salita, pagkakaisa ay pilit nangingibabaw.
Hitik sa kwentong makulay ang buong isla ng Mindanao
Unang tumira’y mga kapatid nating sa relihiyon, iba ang pananaw
Silang mga taal na katutubo, makukulay, matatapang at mahinahon
Tanging hangad ay mabuhay ng matiwasay, tahimik, sa lahat ng panahon.
Ang mga Kristiyano, Muslim, Lumad – lahat sila ay nagkakaisa
Nagtutulungan, nagbibigayan, mga paniwala man nila ay magkaiba
Nguni’t dahil sa makasariling hangad ng ilang gahaman sa kapangyarihan
Animo kristal na nabasag, iningatang magandang samahan at katahimikan.
Nguni’t tayo ay Pilipino, iba tayo – lumalaban na may masidhing pag-asa
Sa harap ng masalimuot na mga problema, matatatag na kalasag ay nakaamba
Ito’y ang masidhing paniniwala sa Maykapal, malalim at marubdob na kapatiran
Ugaling nagbuklod sa mga taga-Mindanao, magkaiba man ang pananaw at kaugalian.
Mabuhay ang Mindanaw!
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
The First and Last Book of Mr. Ricardo G. Paloma…The Cordillera Tourism Master Plan
THE FIRST AND LAST BOOK OF MR. RICARDO G. PALOMA
…The Cordillera Tourism Master Plan
By Apolinario Villalobos
Mr. Ricardo G. Paloma, “Tatang” to his subordinates is well-remembered for his patience, thoroughness, and flow charts. He is so systematic that anything that had got to do with PAL operations were covered with a flowchart so that mishandling of passengers, baggage and cargoes can be easily pointed out along the way – from the time plane tickets were cut up to the time the passenger has left the airport terminal; from the time a baggage has been checked-in to the time it has been claimed at the destination; and from the time a cargo has been accepted for shipment up to the time it has been claimed by the consignee. Even phone calls were monitored together with the length of time involved in attending to the callers and from such transactions, their “requirements” should be noted and taken up during sales meetings.
He was also engrossed in the state of the Philippine tourism industry, particularly, on how PAL could contribute to its development. In this regard, the Tours and Promotions Information Center at the Terminal 4 (formerly, Domestic Airport) was set up and headed by Mr. Vic Bernardino as Manager, with pioneer staff, Ed Buensuceso, Mayee Santos-Cuenco, Thelma Villaseἧor, John Fortes, Reggie Constantino, and Alex Enrile. The TOPIC Magazine was used as research and information tool to promote local tourism, with Alex Enrile as the Editor. I was fortunate to have taken over the job of Alex Enrile as Editor when he left for the United States. I just joined PAL for barely a yera then, with Tablas station as my first assignment. Later on, the PALakbayan Tour Program which “segmentized” the traveler according to his needs was conceptualized and sold as a tour package, both to the domestic and international tourists. He was also regularly consulted by the Department of Tourism which earned him the recognition as, “Mr. Tourism”.
I did not know that ever since I started contributing my poems and essays to the dailies and magazine even while in Tablas, Mr. Paloma had instructed his secretary, Bill Trinidad to clip and collect them. I came to know about what he did when he summoned me to his office on his last day as SVP-Finance, an extended job after he retired as VP-Sales, Philippines. I found him and Bill packing up. While I was taking coffee that he, himself prepared, he opened an attaché case and showed me the contents – original copies of clippings that caught me by surprise. I did not even know that my materials were published because I had no time to check them. As a consolation, he had them copied and gave me the duplicates. He also gave me his first Parker pen which was given to him by his wife, according to him.
Several months after he left PAL, I was surprised when his driver visited me in my new office at S&L Building, along Roxas Boulevard in Ermita, because during the time, our Tours and Promotions group was integrated into the International Sales-Philippines which was under Mr. Rene Ocampo and later on, Mr. Archie Lacson as RVP-Philippines and Guam, after a brief stint with the Metro Manila Sales which was then, under Mila Limgenco as Senior Asst. Vice-President. The driver told me that Mr. Paloma was in the car parked at the egress of the building and he would not like to come up, so I went to him only to know that he was inviting me to a lunch at the French Baker at the Greenbelt Park, across the Vernida Bldg. where we used to hold office. He was aware of my diet so he chose his favorite Frenchy bakeshop-cum-restaurant, just to be sure that I would have my salad.
Over the lunch of salad and bread downed with coffee, he asked me if I had the time to edit some documents for him, to which I immediately said yes. With that, he gave me a brown envelop with documents. When he brought me back to S&L, he told me while smiling that more are coming to which I said, no problem. From then on, at least once a week, he would have me fetched at my office for lunch at the French Baker in Makati. The driver would also deliver to me batches of documents for editing.
After a lull of about two weeks he fetched me again for lunch after which he showed me a neatly bound book, “The Cordillera Tourism Master Plan”. What he told me while handing me the book and which I could not forget was, “you inspired me to do this”.
He had three copies made, one for me with a dedication, another copy for the Department of Tourism, and the third copy for his library at home. Many months transpired and our lunch became infrequent, only to learn that he was sick. My fault was that I did not find time to visit him….only at his wake. To compensate for my irresponsibility, I made a poem and essay for him. Both saw print in the PALiner. I know that those who know Mr. Paloma will agree with me that he was a great employee who started from the ranks as a porter, PAL ever had…our one and only “Tatang”.
The PAL TOPIC Magazine, PALakbayan Tours and PAL’s Total Effort in Promoting Philippine Tourism
The PAL TOPIC Magazine, PALakbayan Tours
And PAL’s Total Effort in Promoting Philippine Tourism
By Apolinario Villalobos
TOPIC which stood for “Tours and Promotions Information Office” was the publication conceived by the Marketing and Sales- Philippines during the time of Mr. Ricardo Paloma as a tool for the promotion and “selling” of the tourist destinations; festivals; tourist facilities such as restaurants, hotels, pensions, transport services; festivals; outdoor sports such as mountaineering, spelunking (cave exploration), bird watching, trekking, scuba diving; festivals; dive spots and mountains. It was administered by Mr. Vic Bernardino, the Manager of the Tours and Promotions Division. The early issues were edited by Alex Enrile, which was later on taken over by this writer. The magazine is the epitome of the typical Filipino “bayanihan” or cooperation spirit, as the whole staff of the Division contributed their skills to make every issue interesting.
As if by coincidence, the staff of the Division had various expertise in the fields of scuba diving, mountain climbing, cave exploration and birdwatching, not to mention outdoor photography. Thelma Villaseἧor was for instance, a scuba diver and mountain climber, and so were Ed Buensuceso, John Fortes, Reggie Constantino, Bong Velasco, and Julio Luz, Jr. Aside from diving and climbing, John Fortes and Ed Buensuceso were also spelunkers (cave explorers), who pioneered the exploration and mapping of the Palawan Underground River (formerly, St. Paul Subterranean Park), with the help of a caving team from Europe.
Ed Buensuceso, together with the Kennedy National Geographic Team recorded the first-ever in-flight mating and breeding of the Philippine Eagle (formerly, Monkey-eating Eagle), for which close coordination was made with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Baracatan Breeding Station in Sta. Cruz, Davao City. For such effort, the Department of Tourism-Davao was also involved. On the other hand, John Fortes was exerting his own effort in promoting mountaineering in the country, the penultimate of which was the organization of all mountaineering clubs into the National Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines (NMFP).
Mayie Santos an intrepid writer who was among the original staff of the Division contributed her share of effort by attending festivals and making reviews on resorts, pension homes, hotels and restaurants. Even Vic Bernardino, the Manager, would lend a hand in gathering information as needed, by attending important touristic activities. Furthermore, the staff was also trained to speak in seminars on Philippine tourism aided with slides presentation and handouts. Information given to participants were first-hand, hence, even the Department of Tourism, the UP Asian Institute of Tourism, embassies, consulates, tour and travel organizations, and educational institutions would request for the group’s assistance.
Later, in line with the tourism-centered effort of the airline, Mr. Paloma also conceived the PALakbayan Tour Program which consolidated all the efforts, this time, with the cooperation of the domestic stations. The program was divided into several “modules” such as Excursion, Education and Culture, Conventions and Seminars, and Sports. During this time, the exhaustive endeavor in exploring tourist spots was doubled, bringing to light non-traditional destinations such Sorsogon, Romblon, Mamburao, Palawan, Fuga Island, etc. Development of outdoor activities which were new among local tourists involving study of butterflies, migratory habits of birds, and culture of tribal communities were also developed to stir their interest. Schools were encouraged to consult the office for their planned educational tour program and other out-of-town activities, for which PAL stations were tapped for assistance.
The PALakbayan Tour Program virtually catered to all the needs of air-travelers within the country…the airline’s proud legacy to the industry, and considered as “Asia’s First Airline”, which initially operated using rehabilitated post-war DC-3’s.