The Tourism department wants to make the Philippines a Mazu festival hub following the implementation of a visa upon arrival (VUA) program for Chinese nationals.
“I am confident this ease in visa requirement is an attractive proposition for the country to host big-ticket events such as [the]Mazu culture festival,” Tourism secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said in a statement.
Arrivals from China increased by 54.92 percent to 95,687 in August 2017 from last year’s 61,766, the Tourism department said.
“As a country blessed with so many heritage festivals ourselves, the Philippines can draw out from [the]Mazu cultural tour festival’s overwhelming turnout year on year,” Teo added.
Mazu festivals celebrate the birth of Fujianese shamaness Lin Moniang, who has been deified as the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. She is particularly popular in Taiwan, where her temple festival is a major event.
Teo, who recently attended a Mazu cultural festival tour in Macau, said the Philippines could benefit from the planned construction of the Chinese Mazu Cultural Center along Manila Bay.