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Island booth were housed in a single roof
seeks “One SAMAR” tourism packaging from DoT
By Samar Adventure Service (SAMAD)
(December 13, 2004) INTRAMUROS, Manila – To give a
real focus and further enhance the potentials of Samar Island - as a
whole - in the tourism industry of the Eastern Visayas (EV), all
council chairs of the 3 provinces and city that comprises the island,
sought for the creation of a single council that will manage the
packaging and promotions of Samar island as a latent tourist
destination in the whole of EV.
This was revealed by DOT Eastern
Visayas Director Norma Morantte today, as the WOW Philippines
featuring the Eastern Visayas region showcases the last contingent to
go on stage from the island of Samar today, the Calbayog City,
pointing out further that this year’s WOW activity was dominated by
the contingents coming from the Samar island.
“From the opening day on
December 4 that showcased the Western Samar and until today December
13 with Calbayog City on stage, Samareños did not stop surprising all
our guests and visitors, Samar island virtually ruled the show from
the start to end, and was felt obviously in this years WOW activity”,
Dir. Morantte stressed.
Incidentally, all of Samar
island contingent inside the Clamshell 1 here were housed in a
single hutch with sub-divided booths, unlike other provinces who
have separate detached berths, this obviously gave the impression
that soon Samar island will have to go on her own way from the rest
of the provinces of Eastern Visayas.
Dir. Morantte however did not
comment on the possible reason for Samar island going its own, but
somehow hinted of an internal rift besetting the structures of the EV
Regional Tourism Council, which according to the DOT Director is a
long story to tell.
Prior to the scheduled WOW
Eastern Visayas which runs from December 1-15, this year, rumors have
spread over region VIII, that Calbayog City, the only chartered city
in Samar led by Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, Vice-Chair of the Regional
Tourism council last year and the Province of Leyte led by Gov.
Jericho Petilla, son of now Congresswoman Remedios ‘Matin’ Petilla and
likewise last year's chair of the Regional Tourism Council, are
backing out from this year’s show for unknown reason.
But as the WOW showcase
kicked-off last December 1, all of the provinces and cities that makes
the whole of EV were represented, though not all government officials
concerned were present to fully support the tourism agenda being
pursued by the newly organized regional tourism council.
“Some of those who are here, as
we can see it, are merely for compliance sake. The Leyte booth for
example, we haven’t seen even just a single official that peeped on to
their displays, in fact it is manned by private individuals not by
people coming from its provincial tourism council, except on the first
day, where we saw one from the provincial government”, says Rommel L.
Rutor, documentor for the Samar Adventure Service (SAMAD), adding
through his observation, that even during the Maasin Day last December
11, its Mayor by slipped of his tonque asked for an apology to DOT
Director Norma Morantte, mentioning something about the prior
misdemeanors that beset the EV Tourism Council.
Incidentally, Southern Leyte
Governor Rosette Lerias, the new chair of the Regional Development
Council, accordingly visited the clamshell 1 once but did not linger
on to gave the exhibitors a full view of her impression regarding the
on-going activities of the WOW Eastern Visayas.
“I don’t know what had happened
exactly, but it is obvious that these new officials of the EV Tourism
Council and the RDC from the executive down to the policy makers are
not in good shape to talk about tourism by this time yet”, Mr. Rutor
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discussing details with GM Camara of Adventours Unlimited, Inc.
on possible tourism ventures in Samar.
Samar initially hits 110 tourist bookings as WOW Philippines goes
By Samar Adventure Service (SAMAD)
(December 12, 2004) INTRAMUROS, Manila – As the
on-going WOW Philippines featuring the Eastern Visayas region at
historic walled city of Intramuros went halfway, the Samar province
booth here initially booked at least 110 persons to visit Samar
starting January next year.
Unlike last year, the province
wasn’t able to document incoming tourists despite its rigid campaign
to establish its tourism industry. Samar province participation at the
WOW Philippines tourism festival this year finally hits it mark, as it
vigorously campaigned to invite tourists to the province through the
help of a newly organized local tour group, the Samar Adventure
Student scholars from the
Philippine Normal University (PNU) yesterday called on the services of
SAMAD, - the private group tapped by the Samar LGU to handle the
tourism marketing and promotion of Samar, - to booked their trip come
January to the Eastern Visayas, with Samar as the tail end itinerary.
According to Ms. Cherry Lou
Palomar, representing the scholar’s association of the PNU, at least
80 members of their group would like to visit the Sohoton Caves in
Samar after Ormoc and Tacloban City school tours, and requested SAMAD
to handle their Samar adventure itinerary.
An established tour agency based
here in Manila likewise approached and affirmed tapping the services
of SAMAD by February next year to assess and evaluate the potentials
of the province in terms of adventure itineraries.
Adventours Unlimited, Inc. Gen.
Manager Didi N. Camara engaged the services of SAMAD to handle their
Samar bookings after finding out the uniqueness of its sites. GM
Camara told media here that their company is focusing on adventure
tourism and Samar just fall exactly to what they are looking for.
“As of today, we bring our
clients to Cagayan Valley, but with the SAMAD now operating in the
province of Samar, I believe, its time to make some changes on our
itineraries”, said GM Camara, pointing out that their company is
interested more on Spelunking and white water rafting.
As this developed, SAMAD
documentor Rommel L Rutor told media here that their group offered at
least two sites viable for white water rafting, and subsequently
spelunking. “We will bring their assessment team to Blanca Aurora
River and the Calbiga River for the white water rafting and to the
karsts of Calbiga and San Jorge for spelunking”, Mr. Rutor told.
“Initially, there will be 20 of
them to visit Samar next year, bringing in their own equipment for
such activities, since we don’t have those equipment yet in Samar”,
Mr. Rutor concluded.
Another expected visitor is a
balikbayan from Biliran province who have been into different
countries around the globe as tourist. Upon seeing the Samar booth,
immediately approach SAMAD to be certain that the sites she saw on
display are real, particularly the Pinipisakan Falls and the Caves of
San Jorge, Samar.
Ms. Gloria Havana affirmed that
she will get his friends and other acquaintances grouped after the
Christmas season, and informed SAMAD that they will tapped the agency
to guide them to the various sites on display at the Samar booth
before leaving to the US.
“I’ve been to Niagara Falls and
the famous Virginia Caves, and I never realized that Eastern Visayas
have all these things I like most”, thus said Ms. Havana, who is now
based in Georgetown, USA, but she is a native of Biliran province.
Meanwhile, Samar SP Tourism
Committee chair Sonny Salurio is confident that Samar’s promotional
investment infused into participating for the second time in the WOW
Philippines would turn out to be fruitful. “The initial bookings we
got in just one week are just indications that our province is on the
right track on our tourism campaign”, Hon. Salurio stressed.
THE TOUGH GUYS. Congressman Nonoy Libanan
(left) and Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone welcomed Sen. Mar
Roxas during the Eastern Samar Cultural Presentation at
Clamshell 1 in Intramuros, Manila
Eastern Samar toughies in WOW Eastern Visayas – say Sen. Mar Roxas
Adventure Service (SAMAD)
Manila – Top senator Mar Roxas surprised all the guest and visitors
here in the night of December 5 during the culminating gala
presentation of Eastern Samar in the occasion of WOW Philippines
festival currently on going at Clamshell 1, Intramuros, Manila.
called the Eastern Samar contingent led by Gov. Ben Evardone and
Congressman Marcelino Libanan and the rest of its elected government
officials including its municipal mayors, the toughies explaining that
the contingent is led by top caliber personalities not just in their
hometown but likewise in the halls of congress in Metro-Manila.
the Eastern Samar delegation is power pack”, Sen. Roxas exclaimed, “Si
Congressman Libanan kung di pa ninyo alam ay ang pinakasiga sa lahat
ng mga kongresista at senador na nasa Commission on Appointments, at
ang inyong gobernador ang isa sa mga pinakakapitagan na government
official dito sa Manila kung saan ang tawag sa kanya dito ay si
Governor Always Done”, the senator added.
Samar day was on the third day of the daily provincial and city
festival being held at Clamshell 1 here, and singly entertained all
guests last night with live music and dances depicting the rich
cultural and history of the province.
Evardone in his message emphasize the potentials of Eastern Samar
relative to its tourism viability, pointing out that the beguiling
beauty of Calicuan Island can even surpass the popularity of Boracay
case is actually a lesson for us, we all know the fact it is run and
operated by private companies, thus influx of visitors in the site was
not controlled, hence the degradation of the beaches in Boracay”, Gov.
Evardone pointed out, explaining further that in Calicuan, the
government is laying its hand to be able to maintain and preserve the
natural beauty of the place and avoid degradation as what is happening
to the Boracay beaches.
On the other
hand, Congressman Marcelino Libanan urged the DOT to lay out a full
promotional tourism package for tourism areas located outside the
Metro-Manila, though he assailed that the WOW Project is merely
helping the local tourism industry, still he praised the brainchild
project of Sen. Dick Gordon as a wonderful avenue to showcase the
tourism destinations in the provinces right at the national capital
however should be corroborated with an intensive promo packaging by
the DOT considering that the time and funding for an activity like
this is quite a burden for LGUs who are gasping for funds”,
Congressman Libanan stressed.
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Governor Tan with Congressman Uy (4th from
left), Sta. Rita mayor Betty Tiopes and Board Member Menandro
Tiopes (extreme left) during a mass held at Clamshell 1.
Samar Gov blames sensationalized insurgency problem for the decline of tourism in the province
Samar Adventure Service (SAMAD)
(December 9, 2004) INTRAMUROS, Manila – “The threat
instigated by the presence of NPAs in the mountains of Samar, is the
key factor that affects the development of the tourism industry in the
province”, thus said Samar Governor Milagrosa T. Tan during her speech
at the culmination of the Samar Day celebration held at the Clampshell
1 of Intramuros, Manila.
The lady governor reiterated that Samar is anchoring on
eco-tourism development but is faced by a gargantuan problem of
eliminating the fear among possible tourist - the fear of being
harassed by the elements of the New Peoples Army (NPA’s).
Though military presence in the province was
strategically beefed up to assure incoming tourists of their safety,
still the provincial government would find it hard to convince
tourists – who are apprehensive enough for their safety – to come in.
“And this is actually causing us the trouble, because
we are investing much on tourism but we don’t get the expected output
due to these problems” Hon. SP Member Sonny Salurio told SAMAD.
SP Salurio chairs the province’ committee on tourism
and pointed out that the public should be empowered that NPAs are no
longer a threat to tourists in Samar. “The tourist spots being
promoted by us are actually safe, and in fact are regularly patronized
by the local tourists out there, it only happens that foreign tourist
are a bit apprehensive over the negative news stories that usually
fill in the papers depicting Philippines as terrorist hub”, he
explained, and assured prospected visitors in Samar that their safety
is absolutely guaranteed.
Meanwhile, despite the negative impression besetting
the tourism industry due to some sensationalized cases of insurgency,
still some LGUs of the province have come up with comprehensive plans
in tapping tourism as an alternative source of income for the coffers
of their municipality.
Leading the tourism campaign - together with the
province of Samar - at the on going Wow Philippines festival in
Intramuros, Manila are the municipalities of San Jorge, Santa Rita and
Calbiga, who are all in full force promoting their respective tourism
destinations to both national and international tourists who frequents
the historic walled city.
San Jorge Mayor Joseph Grey is confident that with his
town’s participation in this years Wow activity, the tourism industry
of San Jorge town would soon get a boost, and incidentally, tourism
development is his administrations primordial agenda.
On the other hand, Sta. Rita Mayor Beatriz Tiopes
informed that her municipality is a newcomer in the tourism scene, but
informed this paper that she will be giving emphasis on the viability
of her town as possible tourist hub in the future particularly in
Calbiga town which host one of the worlds largest karst
formation and in fact internationally known for it actively
participated during the WOW activity showcasing their native products
and delicacies. No less than Mayor Luzviminda Nacario personally
assisted the guests and visitors who visit their trade booth located
likewise at clamshell 1.
All of the town executives are confident that a
sensationalized insurgency problem in the Philippines and in Samar for
particular would not hamper their respective campaign to bring in
tourists in their respective localities.
The SAMAD Team poses
with DOT-8 Regional Director Norma Morantte at the Samar
province booth in Clamshell 1, Intramuros, Manila.
Samar taps private
group to market its tour sites at Wow Philippines
By Rommel L. Rutor (SAMAD)
INTRAMUROS, Manila – The provincial government
of Samar has tapped the services of a private group here engage in
local tourism inventories, to handle the material preparations and
post marketing activities of the province particularly its
participation in the on-going Wow Philippines festival at Intramuros,
Hon. Sonny Salurio who chairs
the province’ SP Committee on Tourism informed that the pre and post
marketing and promotions of Samar’s tourism spots during the Wow
Philippines was delegated to a newly organized private group called
SAMAD or Samar Adventure Service.
The group was likewise tasked to document the
participation of Samar at the Wow Philippines for the concerned
committees back home to determine how Samar fare in terms of its
tourism campaign presentations.
“By doing so, we would be able to have a grasp of our
inadequacies if there’s any, and eventually correct them in due time,
or maybe with the evaluation that will be submitted to us by SAMAD, we
can formulate plans for future improvements”, SP Salurio explained.
Meanwhile, Department of Tourism (DOT) Director Norma
Morantte acknowledge the participation of the private sector in the
tourism campaign of Samar saying that tourism is actually more of a
private sector involvement since groups such as SAMAD can easily focus
its direction singly and are output oriented.
“With the private sector actively participating in the
governments campaign on tourism, I am certain that the province of
Samar would soon finally hit it mark in the tourism industry”, Morantte
According to Vicky Bohol, SAMAD Business Manager, that
the group is DTI registered and is undertaking inventories of tourism
sites upon request of the LGUs in Samar.
As of this Wow Philippines, SAMAD’s satisfied clients
are the LGU’s of Sta. Rita and San Jorge who are now actively
participating in the 2 weeklong festival, while the towns of Daram,
Paranas, Zumarraga and San Sebastian have already signified intentions
to get the services of the group by next year.
The group is likewise engage in tour packaging, promo
materials production and website development for interested LGUs who
wants tourism to become a key factor of uplifting their town’s
The Blanca Aurora
Falls where tourists frequented due to its proximity from the
Blanca Aurora Falls secures packaging from DOT
By Samar Adventure Service (SAMAD)
(December 8, 2004) INTRAMUROS, Manila – As an
off-shoot of the ongoing Wow Philippines festival featuring the
Eastern Visayas region at the walled city of Intramuros, the
Department of Tourism (DOT) top brasses recently cast an iron to focus
on the viability of Blanca Aurora falls in the town of San Jorge as a
major tourist destination in the province of Samar.
DOT Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab and DOT-EV Dir. Norma
Morante informed San Jorge Mayor Joseph Grey during the opening of the
Eastern Visayas Food Festival on December 6 held at the Manila
Pavillion Hotel here that the DOT have already enlisted the Blanca
Aurora falls as one of their priorities for promotions and packaging.
“Community empowerment however is a must for the plans
of the DOT to materialize, and the role of the local government units
to make the community living - within a particular site - ready for a
full swing tourism development must be realized first”, Dir. Morante
The DOT is looking forward for a community based
participation in their tourism programs, expressing hopes that the
initiative will lessen the financial burden from the confines of
concerned LGUs, which is usually beset by lack of funds intended for
As this developed, San Jorge mayor Joseph Grey told
that he will be laying out a comprehensive tourism agenda for his
municipality, and emphasized to the media present here that his
administration is focusing on development of eco-tourism.
“Our town is endowed with rich and beguiling
eco-tourism sites, and this resource once tapped will surely be of big
help to augment the san jorgehanons economic conditions,” Mayor Grey
explained, but pointed out that the DOT should by all means assist
them giving consideration to their lack of funding being classified as
a 5th class municipality.
Mayor Grey likewise emphasized that this early, the LGU
is already apt into empowering the town of protecting and preserving
these natural resources, expressing hopes that someday, eco-tourism
will give the San Jorge town a complete turn-around on its economic
Gov. Mila Tan
flanked by Mayor Joseph Grey of San Jorge and PIA-Samar Chief
Sylvia Serfino at the WOW Philippines Clamshell 1 in Intramuros,
Samar Day at WOW
Philippines a huge success
Samar Adventure Service (SAMAD)
(December 7, 2004) INTRAMUROS, Manila- “This time Samar was indeed felt”,
this was the inspiring comment of Department of Tourism RD-8 Norma
Morante, after the celebration of the Samar Day on December 5 in the
occasion of the two weeklong Wow Philippines for the Eastern Visayas
held at the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila.
“Unlike last year, Samar was in full force this time,
with almost all of their officials are present to show us their
support”, Director Morante added, hoping that this will be the start
of the province’ empowerment to pursue a vigorous campaign relative to
Samar’s potentials in the tourism industry.
Samar Governor Milagrosa T. Tan graced the celebration
which started at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon together with
Vice-Governor Jesus Redaja and the rest of the board members both from
the 1st and 2nd district of Samar province.
Both Congressmen Catalino Figueroa and Reynaldo Uy
likewise visited the Clamshell 1 on the first and second day of the
At least five mayors actively participated in the
event, Mayor Joseph Grey of San Jorge, Mayor Beatriz Tiopes of Sta.
Rita both furnished the booth with various promotional materials of
their town’s tourist destinations, Mayor Luzviminda Nacario of Calbiga
and Mayor Coefredo Uy of Catbalogan likewise joined in the
celebration, while Mayor Arnold Abalos led his group to render a part
during the program.
Gov. Tan extended a dinner to around 200 Samareños
based in Manila who were invited to join the Samar Day celebration,
which falls right after the opening of the Wow Eastern Visayas held on
December 4, 2004, the grand opening day.
As hundred of guests and spectators comes in and out
during the gala presentation prepared by the provincial tourism
committee chair Board Member Sonny Salurio, Director Morante is
confident that Samar’s tourism campaign is starting to gain ground,
reiterating the over-the-table reactions of guests praising the
beguiling sites of Samar.
Meanwhile, Congressman Reynaldo Uy of the 1st
district laid into asking the Department of Tourism to extend funds to
the LGUs who are keen into developing their tourism sites, explaining
that the lack of funds for such endeavor is what is hindering the
momentum relative into for Samar municipalities.
He said that without funding coming from the DOT itself
to tap the potential of a particular tourist destination, the
concerned LGU due to lack of money to develop or promote a particular
site, will just rely mainly to its local tourists – thus, limiting the
supposed impact of the site over the economic relevance of the DOT
Director Morante however stressed that developing
tourism is not an overnight activity, “No matter how you infuse funds
to develop a particular site, if the community itself is not prepared
to corroborate with the agenda relative to the tourism as an income
generating activity, said endeavor would be a big loss”, thus,
community based empowerment regarding tourism should be put into
effect by concerned LGUs to gradually profit from it.