In a show of support to the private sector stakeholders, Department of Tourism (DOT) officials came in full force for a fund-raising gala organized by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Philippines Chapter at the Manila Hotel on Friday evening (May 12).
The association celebrated their golden year by raising funds through a fashion show for a cause that would help restore and rebuild communities within the three neighboring towns of the province of Laguna–Cavinti, Lumban, and Pagsanjan—where all roads lead to the famous three-drop Pagsanjan Falls.
In her speech, PATA Philippines chair Maria Paz Alberto delivered the good news that for the first time, all three local chief executives of Cavinti, Lumban, and Pagsanjan, Laguna agreed to work together to reboot Pagsanjan Falls as a tourism destination as well as to help its tourism community.
With its proximity to Metro Manila, PATA said Pagsanjan has also been identified as a tourist magnet particularly for the South Korean foreign market which is currently the top source of international arrivals for the Philippines.
“Why did we choose Pagsanjan?,” Paz posed a question before 400 attendees of the gala mainly from the hospitality and aviation industries, on Friday at the Manila Hotel.
“We wanted to help the boatman and their families who have suffered tremendously because if we don’t have tourism, there will be no one’s going to Pagsanjan Falls. This is an opportunity for us to work together with you to support the life not just of the boatmen and their families in her family, but make it a green and sustainable community,” she explained.
As a response, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco manifested her support to the good cause initiated by PATA.
“I am in full support of the advocacy of PATA to help in the recovery of the Pagsanjan Falls. The Department of Tourism will not only ensure that Pagsanjan will recover but also restore its former glory as one of our key destinations in the country,” she said.
The Secretary also delighted the organizers from the private sector when she, along with her husband, Deputy House Speaker Duke Frasco, pledged P200,000 from their personal funds to support PATA’s advocacy on tourism education.
This, as she recalled how their initiative from Liloan town in Cebu started in 2008 now have close to 16,000 scholars across the 5th District of Cebu at present.
“I fully support your advocacy and as a token of my and Congressman Duke’s support to PATA for tourism education, we would like to pledge in our own personal capacity, the amount of P200,000,” the tourism chief said.
𝗕𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗣𝗵𝗹 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗺
The Secretary also made a special remark by emphasizing the important role of the private sector to the growth, at the same time, recovery of the tourism industry in the Philippines, citing, only by “listening to the actual facts on the ground” from tourism stakeholders and frontliners that the Department can craft policy and implement programs that are responsive to their needs.
The Secretary then emphasized how instrumental PATA was in championing Philippine tourism to the world for decades.
“PATA Philippines was founded just a few years after the founding of the Department of Tourism. And since then, PATA in the Philippines has been instrumental not only in bringing attention to the Philippines, but most importantly, in championing Philippine tourism all over the world,” she added.
For his part, Manila Hotel president Atty. Joey Lina, who welcomed guests at the iconic property, also commended the efforts of the DOT led by the Secretary Frasco for leading the industry away from the ill effects of the pandemic.
“The first four months of 2023 is better than the entire 2019, that is based on our observation and based on our actual record here at the Manila Hotel,” he explained, noting a tourism rebound for Manila Hotel in particular.
“So, that’s good news for everyone. And we hope and pray that the trend will continue and that 2023 will be a banner year for Philippine tourism. The projection is that the total economy of the country will rebound by 2024 and we are still in 2023 just in the first four months and we can already see a rebound of the Philippine economy,” he emphasized.
“We are very happy with what’s happening with tourism in the country with Secretary Frasco at the helm of DOT,” the pillar for the private sector added.
𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄𝗰𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗼 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗲𝘀
Clad in elegant and intricately weaved Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog, Secretary Frasco and her husband walked the finale of the show wearing the creation of world-renowned veteran fashion designer Renee Salud for the fashion show with a cause.
The tourism chief was joined by esteemed tourism stakeholders and veteran players in the travel and hospitality sector including PATA International former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Liz Ortiguera, Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Bob Zozobrado, and Philippine Airlines president and COO Capt. Stanley Ng.
DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Regulation Coordination and Resource Generation (TRCRG) Shahlimar Hofer Tamano was also dashing in Wear Your Culture’s modern take on the Filipino Barong, as well as DOT’s marketing arm, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Chief Operating Officer (COO) Marga Nograles and her husband, Civil Service Commission (CSC) chairperson Karlo Nograles, who both showcased the creation of Cebu’s fashion designer Philip Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, other DOT officials present during the celebration were Undersecretaries Shereen Yu-Pamintuan and Ferdinand “Cocoy” Jumapao, OIC-Undersecretary Verna Buensuceco who is also the current vice-chair of PATA, Assistant Secretary Maria Rica Bueno, and OIC-Assistant Secretary Warner Andrada.
Founded in 1951, PATA is a not-for-profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. Among its functions is it enhances the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to-from-and-within, the region in partnership with private and public sector members.