Search is on for tourism ‘Philippine Gems’

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PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Philippine-arm Isla Lipana and Co. (ILC) launched on Wednesday the search for “country’s next mainstream destinations” to boost the tourism industry, thinking that this program would also raise business investments at the local level.

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According to Alexander Cabrera, newly elected chairman and senior partner of ILC, the search, entitled “The Philippine Gems,” aims to not only promote tourism in the country, but also “to spur economic activities to localities included on the list” and “to bring awareness of the country’s hidden treasures.”

Criteria in choosing the top 25 includes the “wow” factor of the destinations that should be breathtaking, but also offer peace and security.

The company has also teamed up with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in collaborating with local government units (LGUs) to improve peace and security, infrastructure and readiness, in terms of upgraded services and facilities in their respective areas.

Some 175 destinations in the country were gathered, trimmed down to 50, and ended up to 25 spots to be shortlisted for the top 10, which will be announced on August 9.

The top 25 Philippine Gems include: Mount Pulag in Benguet; Biri Island Rocks in Northern Samar; Mount Kanlaon in Negros; Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte; Mount Pinatubo in Zambales; Batanes; Sagada, Mountain Province; Suquijor; Camiguin; Caramoan in Camarines Sur; Camotes Islands in Cebu; Panglao Island in Bohol; Calaguas Island in Ilocos Norte; Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte and Busuanga and Coron in Palawan.

The others are Danjugan Island in Negros; Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte; Taytay in North Palawan; Apo Island in Negros Oriental; Lake Sebu in South Cotabato; Pagudpud Beach in Ilocos Norte; Cagayan de Oro City; Donsol in Sorsogon; Apo Reef National Park in Occidental Mindoro and Tubbataha Reef National Park in Palawan.

Cabrera said that the Philippine Gems campaign is connected to DOT’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign, and serves as the “platform that they [DOT] can start with.”

Any person, Filipino or foreign, can view the spots and cast their votes at www.philippinegems.com with a minimum of three bets to vote for.

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