BATANGAS 2nd District Rep. and House Committee on Tourism Vice Chairman Atty. Gerville “Jinky Bitrics” R. Luistro cited Indonesia’s contributions to Philippine tourism at the meeting of Association of Travel Agents in Indonesia (ASTINDO) Philippines Three-City Road Show being held in Indonesia.
The ASTINDO road show started on Dec. 5 and ends on Dec. 12.
Luistro participated in the road show which covers Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali together with representatives from the Philippine tourism industry particularly the Department of Tourism, and former Mabini Mayor Noel Bitrics Luistro.
In her speech, the House tourism committee vice chairman noted that Indonesia has been a consistent booster to Philippine tourism, citing that,”Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia took the 15th spot in tourism arrivals in the Philippines; In 2018, Indonesia have gone past France and landed in the 14th spot. Moreover, in 2019, the Average Daily Expense (ADE) of an Indonesian traveler to the Philippines increased by 71.29% (compared to 2018), which consequently increased the Tourism Receipts from USD 390.49 to USD 746.76 per capita, or 91.24%.”
The following is Luistro’s speech:
“First and foremost, I thank Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.; (ii) the remarkable House Speaker of the 19th Congress and Representative of the 1st District of Leyte, Philippines, Honorable Ferdinand Martin Romualdez; (iii) the Chairman of the House Committee on Tourism, and Representative of the Lone District of Romblon, Philippines, Honorable Eleandro Jesus Madrona; (iii) the Department of Tourism (DOT), through the distinguished Secretary Christina Frasco; the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board through COO Marga Nograles; the DOT – Head Office delegation led by Usec. Verna Buensuceso of the Tourism Development and Planning Office; Director Paulo Tugbang of the OPMD (or the Office of Product and Market Development), Market Development Head Buena Zaldivia of the OPMD-MDD Indonesia, Tourism Operations Officer Micah Marie Sales of the OPMD-ASEAN, Tourism Operations Officer Maria Christina Chiuco of the DOT-Legislative Liaison Unit; (iv) our representatives from the Philippine Tourism Regional offices: Director Sharlene Batin of DOT-NCR, Mr. Mario Daga of DOT IV-A, Ms. Jay De Guzman of DOT IV-B, Ms. Judy Gabato of DOT VII, and Ms. Judy Colaljo of DOT XI, for the opportunity you have extended to this humble representation and for being part of the Association of Travel Agents in Indonesia (ASTINDO) Philippines Three-City Road Show here in Indonesia.
Indeed, the Philippine government has come a long way to ensure that the country regains its iconic stature in the international market for trade and tourism development, as it was pre-pandemic. And it is in this light that this humble representation commends the notable contribution of Indonesia to Philippine tourism. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia took the 15th spot in tourism arrivals in the Philippines; In 2018, Indonesia have gone past France and landed in the 14th spot. Moreover, in 2019, the Average Daily Expense (ADE) of an Indonesian traveler to the Philippines increased by 71.29% (compared to 2018), which consequently increased the Tourism Receipts from USD 390.49 to USD 746.76 per capita, or 91.24%.
Uncontestably, with Indonesia, Philippine Tourism is steadily traversing a route that goes beyond stability and normalcy. It sails with the wind that is bound to prestige and global accolades; it is one with the current that flows naturally until its ripples mark and prove its credence of international beauty. As it gradually transgresses the economic limitations sanctioned by unstable international tourism activities for the past three years, as brought upon by the plague-like COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines, notwithstanding the destructive typhoons that consistently tried to tear its majestic landscape apart, still sits at the very heart of the gridlock amongst world’s best tourism destinations.
The famous Anilao and the VIP, are just two of the never-to-be-missed-places-to-visit by both local and international tourists in the Philippines. Anilao lies in the town of Mabini – where this humble representation originated. Likewise, it is with great pride to share with you that this representation is the wife and the then municipal administrator of former Mabini Mayor Noel B. Luistro who is joining us today.
Anilao, Mabini is at the southern tip of the province of Batangas. It is a local hub of tourist attraction as its natural terrain and ink-blue waters offer an affordable haven for hikers and diving enthusiasts (i.e., free divers and scuba divers). Known internationally for its crystal-clear waters, rich underwater and marine life, unparalleled coral formations sheltering rare species of flora and fauna, Anilao has earned the title “Birthplace of Scuba Diving in the Philippines”.
As Anilao slowly shines outside of its domestic waters, the Verde Island Passage (or the VIP) equally stands unscathed in international setting, in terms of global recognition. As globally renowned, the heart of the world’s underwater lies within the Coral Triangle. This is situated in the underwaters of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste. And at the heart of this Coral Triangle lies our very own Verde Island Passage (VIP) where jaw-dropping views underwater are readily explorable. It is bound by the provinces of Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Romblon. Historically, the VIP was discovered by American Scientist Dr. Carpenter. Eventually, he described VIP as the “Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity of the world”. As such, it is the home to the most number of marine species in the whole world.
And it is for this reason that this humble representation from the 2nd District of Batangas (composed of the municipalities of San Pascual, Bauan, San Luis, Lobo, Tingloy, and Mabini) solicits your support on a bill I am currently working on. This legislative measure is entitled, “The Bill Institutionalizing Tourism in Verde Island Passage.” The bill contains a declaration of basic policies and principles that will put Philippine tourism at par with world-class tourist destinations.
It is not just Anilao and the VIP that bear strong influence in having your flights booked to the Philippines today. If you would please allow, this representation wishes to take you all to a virtual tour on the 10 Best Travel Destinations in the Philippines for 2022, as penned by Ram Mancelita of vismin.ph:
a) the Home of the Wind, Batanes; boasting its New Zealand-like scenery and unique Ivatan dishes;
b) the Cebu-wonder, Bantayan Island; with its mesmerizing inland attractions: the Ogtong Cave, Sto. Nino Cave, and Obo-ob Mangrove Eco Park;
c) Bohol; with its renowned Chocolate Hills and thriving white-sand beaches: Panglao Island, Aloha beach, the beaches of Anda, and Damaluan beach;
d) the tourist-favorite, Boracay Island; offering a world-class resort experience;
e) the tropical island of Coron, Palawan; known for its rock formations and wrecks from the World War II and different limestone karst landscapes that go well with the crystal-clear water of the lakes;
f) The Heaven on Earth, El Nido, Palawan; known for its big and small lagoons, and secret limestone beaches;
g) The Home of the Whale Sharks, Oslob and Moalboal, Cebu; with the beautiful sandbars of Oslob, take a swim with millions of Sardines in Moalboal;
h) The Home of the Cliffs with a sea of clouds, Sagada and Banaue; spelunk at Samaguing cave, sea cloud sighting and camping at Kiltepan Peak and Marlboro Hills;
i) The Mystical falls and cave beaches of Siquijor; and,
j) The Surfing Capital of the Philippines, Siargao.
Hence, it is certain that many of you, if not all, recognize these vast wonders that lie beyond our thick and untouched forests, or beneath its canopies; or maybe, under our clear, blue waters; or yet, along our world-class beaches. From the lagoons of El Nido and Coron, Palawan; the splendid white-sand beaches of Boracay; the busiest streets of Metro Manila, the country’s capital, and the center of the country’s commercial and business activities engaging top-of-the line corporate transactions, notwithstanding its night life teeming with exuberance; the distinct mountain formation of the Cordilleras up north and the perfect cone-shape of Mayon Volcano down south, see for yourself and be amazed with the historical sites and breath-taking sceneries of Ilocos, CALABARZON, Cebu, Davao, and many others. Come and visit the Philippines – the place where you would always rather be.
To this end, this representation is humbled to have shared with you some of the spectacular, cream-of-the-crop tourist destinations in our country that have shaped and inspired the lives, norms, traditions, and beliefs of Filipinos – engraved in a highly-diverse and complex culture.
To the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta and the Philippine Consulate in Manado, and to all tour operators, travel agencies, and tourists, thank you for your continued efforts in bringing the Philippines at the pinnacle of international tourism industry.
To all of you who participated and will continue to participate in the ASTINDO Philippines Three-City Roadshow here in Indonesia, I am Atty. Gerville “Jinky Bitrics” R. Luistro, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Tourism, and the Representative of the 2nd District of Batangas in the 19th Philippine Congress. Join me in saying: “Mabuhay, Philippines! Larga, Batangas-2nd District!”
Maraming Salamat po!”