June 23, 2024

From “Wow, Philippines!” to “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!” and the latest, “Love the Philippines!”
The tourism slogan of our country seems to be changing every time a new administration comes into power.
This near-sighted Ibaloy writer is just wondering why we can’t just have a more permanent slogan like “Amazing Thailand!”, “Malaysia, Truly Asia”, and “Incredible India!”.
As the saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, and it shows that having a more permanent slogan works, since these countries continue to attract many more tourists than the Philippines.
I could be wrong, but our propensity of constantly changing our nation’s slogan is not only more expensive to taxpayers because advertising firms are usually hired for the job, but the practice may also confuse visitors wanting to explore our lovely shores. Just saying.
To be fair, I believe most of our tourism leaders are sincere in their efforts in promoting the country and in their belief that changing or enhancing its slogan will contribute to enticing more tourists to its shores thus earning more revenues for its coffers and creating much needed employment for Pinoys.
Although I spent several years in the Summer Capital’s tourism office, (I was the only Ibaloy there if I’m not mistaken), I humbly admit to not being a tourism expert by any stretch of the imagination.
My only “credential” is sincere love of our country, especially the Cordillera and even more particularly Baguio, home of my Ibaloy ancestors, its original settlers who are now just a tiny minority in what is presently an overpopulated melting pot of various cultures and ethnicities plagued by traffic jams, lack of parking spaces, and squatting (not by Ibaloys).
Anyway, it saddens me that while the Philippines has a lot to offer visitors, maybe even more than Thailand and Malaysia, in terms of natural beauty like white sand beaches, English-speaking skills and innate hospitality, our Pearl of the Orient Seas continues to lag far behind in terms of tourist arrivals year in and year out. The usual reasons given are our less than spectacular airport, which is usually cited to be among the world’s worst, our lack of transportation and communications infrastructure, slow internet, and more.
Let’s not forget my pet peeve, which is the seemingly permanent presence of political dynasties that have ruled over the Philippines since time immemorial contributing to corruption, lack of transparency, bad governance, and poverty in our society which in turn directly or indirectly affects the “experience” of international and local tourists. I won’t mention anymore the overwhelming number of national, local, and even barangay positions currently occupied by members of political dynasties.
Just like rats and cockroaches, they’re everywhere. No wonder our beloved country is not only lagging behind most of its neighbors tourism-wise but also economically. Until now, unfortunately, the Philippines has still not discarded its “slogan” as the “Sick Man of Asia”. And I mention this with sadness and disappointment.
Surely, as Filipinos, we truly and sincerely “Love the Philippines” but it seems that many of us “love political dynasties” even more especially during elections. Just kidding. Mabuhay!
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.