The Philippines’ diverse tourist attractions provide countless choices of world-class destinations even as the government gave assurances that the whole country remains safe for both international and domestic visitors.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo made the assertion as they pressed on “cross-selling” of the country’s clusters or regional groups of attractions as she touted the wide variety of tour itineraries offered by Western Visayas (Region 6).
“Western Visayas is popular because of Boracay but that’s not all. Region 6 has so much to offer for all types of visitors. They have batchoy (a local soup) and the sweetest of mangoes for those into food trips, and there’s the Ati-Atihan for those who are seeking an exotic festival,” Teo said.
The region is currently featured at the DOT Showroom, which highlights the destinations, native crafts and farm produce from the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo. Negros Occidental remains a part of Western Visayas until the newly-formed Negros Region is activated.
“Region 6 has a teeming tourism product portfolio that includes nature-based tourism, eco-tourism, sun and beach, diving and marine sports, cruise and nautical. It is also a showcase of culture and heritage, pilgrimage, leisure and entertainment, education, culinary, and farm tourism,” said Teo.
The tour packages also include the Iloilo heritage and mystery tours, island adventure and escapade tours of Guimaras, Capiz, Antique, Aklan and Negros, as well as back-to-back trips in the island-towns of Carles, Ajuy-Concepcion, and the Gigantes group of islands.
Tour packages consist of land and sea transportation, entrance fees, accredited tour guides, and typical Ilonggo meals and snacks.
Undersecretary Alma Rita Jimenez explained that with cross-selling of tourist destinations, localities become partners in tourism development by “sharing and exchanging” visitors.
Regional Director Helen Catalbas of DOT-Region 6 revealed that Western Visayas is a major contributor to the country’s tourist arrivals, noting that it is the only region with two international airports (Kalibo and Iloilo) and three domestic airports (Caticlan in Aklan, Roxas in Capiz, and San Jose de Buenavista in Antique).
Nearby Negros Occidental has the Bacolod-Silay international Airport.
As a featured guest, fashion designer Nono Palmos presented his Island Dreams, a show centering on his advocacy for the preservation and development of hablon, an indigenous textile which originated in his hometown Miag-ao, Iloilo in the mid-1800s.
Hablon, handwoven from abaca, pineapple, and polyester fibers with cotton strands, has been treasured as an heirloom fabric industry since the 1800s and is now exported to other countries.