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Why Cebu is a top tourist destination

Posted in Tourism, Travel, Visayas by Erineus on March 19, 2009

Cebu Daily News
First Posted 11:42:00 02/20/2009

Filed Under: Tourism & Leisure, Tourism, Travel & Commuting

GOOD image, flight accessibility and warm people are the top reasons why Cebu continues to be the top tourist destination in the country, a ranking official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

DOT Undersecretary Phineas Alburo said on Wednesday that the Bureau of Immigration recorded a total of 397,355 international visitors directly arrived in Cebu in 2008.

This is equivalent to a six-percent growth compared to 374,047 international tourists in 2007.

“This tells us that indeed Cebu continues to attract tourists,” said Alburo.

“ Cebu has a wholesome, well-rounded image, which is good for honeymooners, families. It has all the ingredients for shopping, culture, heritage ,” he added.

Last year, a total of 3.14 million tourists visited the country. This represents 1.63 percent growth from last year’s 3.09 million arrival in 2007.

Direct flights from countries such as China, Singapore, Qatar and Malaysia, among others, greatly contribute to Cebu larger market share of this tourists, said Alburo.

He said there are 20 to 22 flights fly between Manila and Cebu daily apart from several provincial flights to destinations such as Bacolod, Aklan (Boracay), Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

“We still have direct flights to Narita and Osaka (Japan), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul (Korea) and Qatar. Flights from America and Europe landing in Manila can immediately go to Cebu.”

In a statement, DOT said joint tour programs of DOT and partner travel agents and airlines in China and Taiwan increased demand.

“Air connectivity between Cebu and the cities of Shanghai and Taipei with almost daily charter flights were established,” the DOT said.

Growth of Indian tourists visiting Cebu peak up as the DOT push for aggressive promotions on incentive travel, shopping and leisure holiday.

“Support of the private sector through familiarization trips and participation in travel fairs created more partnerships, sealed deals and greater collaboration in the market.” /Reporter Cris Evert B. Lato


Tourism comes to save the day

Posted in Tourism, Travel by Erineus on March 19, 2009

By Vincent Cabreza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:21:00 03/13/2009

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — In good times and in bad, tourism can be relied on to save the day for this city’s economy.

According to a study on the city’s business sector by the University of the Philippines (UP) in Baguio, tourism was the most stable industry in this northern city over the past 20 years, and it could generate jobs despite a global economic slowdown.

Gladys Cruz, an Economics professor at UP Baguio, said business here between 1987 and 2008 was dominated by the service and retail enterprises.

Texas Instruments Philippines Inc. and other export-oriented manufacturers at the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) have boosted both national and city revenues, but manufacturing represents less than 1 percent of the enterprises of Baguio, Cruz said at a session of the recent Baguio Centennial Conference.

The session explored the business behavior study by Cruz, Professor Lorelei Mendoza and UP student Maria Alelie German.

Cruz also said that schools have likewise become major job-creating enterprises owing to a 4.0-percent growth in teaching staff as a consequence of the 3.5 percent annual increase in the enrollment in Baguio universities.

Baguio has become the primary university hub in Northern Luzon, Cruz said.

“There is a greater role to be played by the services sector with more schools, hotels and restaurants being established to meet the growing demands of tourists and students … there is also an increasing number of households operating boarding houses and transient places,” the study said.

“The services sector displays a good potential for job generation … Manufacturing plays a negligible role in the Baguio economy, mostly small-scale, except for [the BCEZ, which has] a high export value but which is currently facing unfavorable global conditions [that has led to] retrenchments and production slowdowns,” the study added.

But tourism has been hiring the most number of workers annually.

“Yearly, an average of 2,189 workers is employed in this sector. [About] 10.4 percent of them hold managerial positions, 89.5 percent are rank-and-file staffers, 0.10 percent account for foreign workers,” the study said.

The UP study was spun off from Cruz’s 1986 profile of Baguio businesses.

Cruz said businesses that operated in 1986 were mostly family-oriented, small-scale operations that had “very limited employment generating capacities.”

These operations required only two hired employees and often survived because of unpaid family workers, Cruz said.

These enterprises also had no formal capital sourcing.

Sales and commercial establishments represented 60.5 percent of businesses that year, trailed by community and social service firms which represented 19.3 percent.

The trend changed in 1989, Cruz said.

Corporations grew and hired an average workforce of 48 skilled employees.

But single proprietorships still dominated the business community — and almost all of their investments were in retailing.

The dominance of retail firms, however, would wane.

Citing a business inventory conducted by the National Statistics Office between 1978 and 2002, Cruz, said the number of Baguio retailers went down to 60 percent in 2002 from about 75 percent in the 1970s.

The city also documented an increase in business entities from to 11,794 in 2006 from 7,945 in 1986.

But the city still earns more from its tourists because more than 80 percent of the visitors touring the Cordillera region end up staying in Baguio, said German.


Discover Ilocos Norte

Posted in Luzon, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on March 19, 2009
Explore the place and its unchanging culture
March 14, 2009, 12:00am

A visit to Ilocos Norte is a discovery of many distinctive indigenous practices and breathtaking historical landmarks. The quaint province may seem simple and old but most globetrotters will surely get a handful as the place is loaded with unending adventure and fun waiting to be explored.

At a glance, Ilocos Norte is located at the northernmost province on the western side of Luzon. If you’ll board Cebu Pacific, it only takes 45 minutes to get there, while it takes about 8 to 12 hours by land.

The best of culture and nature

Ilocos Norte created its own artistic skills long before the Spanish conquistadors came into the area. It was believed to be from the influences of Malay people and other neighboring countries. Since then, local artisans adopted other talents and these gradually evolved into a more distinct Ilocano flavor.

The art of Abel-making

According to Loom weavers Multi-purpose Cooperative Incorporated head Charito Cabulisan, Abel clothing (one of their famous native crafts) is still made in an old-fashioned way using a traditional weaving machine called Pangab-Lan.

She also said that the tradition of Abel-making is still the top attraction in Nagbacalan, Laoag City.


Empanada is the most popular street fare in Ilocos Norte. It is made of grated papaya, egg, and Ilocano longganisa wrapped in an orange-colored rice dough and is among the best meriendas North of Luzon. Other tourists like to order ‘double-double,’ which means ordering more than the usual. Tourists must try this!

Tapuey and paoay market

At the far side of Ilocos is the small town of Adams. The place is famous for its tapuey (rice wine) and bugnay (fruit wine) products. Tapuey comes from fermented thick rice, while bugnay is made from fermented bugnay fruit.

Lola Ingga, who first introduced the making of tapuey to the locals, said she inherited the making process from her parents more than 60 years ago.

Meanwhile, Paoay market is the best place to look for fresh and cheap produce. Aside from the usual crops, you can also find various kinds of seaweeds like popoklo, papalunan, guraman, ararusit, and kulot. However, tourists must come early because vendors usually go home before lunchtime.

Nature adventure

There are many adventure spots within the boundaries of Ilocos Norte. One of these is in the small town of Adams.

Starting from the national road, tourists must have a 20-minute off-road motorcycle ride to reach the main community. After getting there, one must go through another 30-minute trek, crossing two hanging bridges and lots of streaming water along the way, before reaching Inuwayan falls.

Upon reaching the top of the mountain, tourists and hikers can marvel at the scenery: a full view of the boundaries of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan.

Adam’s apples

When visitors reach the main destination at the side of Inuwayan Falls, the custom is to treat visitors with delicacies such as the balballosa (wild eggplant), ubog (rattan shoots), chicken with cardis, aba (gabi), kukutit (crushed crablets), fried frog, kiwet (igat or small eel), and bean salad. The ingredients are all cultivated and sourced from Adams.

After a day’s adventure and exploration around Ilocos Norte, the quiet place of Sitio Remedios Heritage Village, located in the fishing town of Currimao, is the best place to repose.

Sitio Remedios is a resort 40 minutes away from Laoag City. It consists of seven rebuilt Ilocos houses in the 1.8-hectare beach property. The resort usually houses a maximum of 30 persons, with additional space for 12 persons in the family rooms inside the Cloister of San Antonio. Here, tourists get to experience how Ilocanos lived during the Spanish era.

A visit to Ilocos Norte, will surely make you come back for more. Ag subli kayo manen!

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