Batangas Batangas (2nd District) Rep. Gerville ‘Jinky Bitrics’ R. Luistro is accompanied by her spouse, former Mabini, Batangas Mayor Noel “Bitrics” Luistro in meeting with the Batangas community in Florida, USA. The meeting was graciously hosted by Spouses Esmer and Lala Tanuyan. Other participants include Spouses Ruben and Ruth Balmes, Spouses Robert and Nedy Johnson, Monette Reddy, Nani Harris and Ruth Balmes. Joining them are Philippine Department of Tourism-New York Attache Francisco M. Lardizabal and DOT tourism officer Sherwin Manuel.

Luistro promotes Batangas dive spots to the world, gets warmest welcome from Batanguenos in Florida

November 17, 2022 Tess Lapuz-Lardizabal 620 views

Tess LardizabalMAHAL na mahal namin si Congresswoman Jinky. Totoong tao siya at marunong makisama, lalo na sa mga ordinaryong taong tulad namin.”

This was the resounding chorus of members of the Batangas community who met with Batangas (2nd District) Rep. Gerville ‘Jinky Bitrics’ R. Luistro at the sidelines of the successful Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show 2022 held Nov. 1-4, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.

It was an understatement.

Rep. Luistro, more popularly and fondly called by family, friends and supporters as Rep. ‘Jinky Bitrics’, mingled and traded Pinoy stories, humor and experiences with her loyal constituents now settled in Florida.

Amid the royal welcome, the congresswoman humbly embraced her Fil-Am provincemates who professed to be forever Batanguenos at heart.

Rep. Luistro was accompanied by her spouse, former Mabini, Batangas Mayor Noel “Bitrics” Luistro.

Despite a distinguished member of the House of Representatives in their midst, the Fil-Ams’ meeting with their solon was relaxed and filled with warmth, genuine love for her and support for her undertakings.

The Fil-Am Batanguenos were thrilled that Rep. Luistro had promoted their province’s dive sites at the DEMA Show 2022.

At the DEMA Show 2022, Rep. Luistro solicited backing for her bill entitled “The Bill Institutionalizing Tourism in Verde Island Passage.” The measure contains a declaration of basic policies and principles that will put Philippine tourism at par with world-class tourist destinations.

Rep. Luistro also emphasized the priceless gems to be gained from global interest on Batangas’ iconic dive sites, particularly Verde Island Passage. These include improved living standars of the constituents, transformation of locals into tourism professionals, and promotion of the Philippines’ travel media channels to the world, among others.

Rep. Luistro’s meeting with the Batangas community was graciously hosted by Spouses Esmer and Lala Tanuyan.

Other participants included Spouses Ruben and Ruth Balmes, Spouses Robert and Nedy Johnson, Monette Reddy, Nani Harris and Ruth Balmes.

They were also joined by Philippine Department of Tourism-New York Attache Francisco M. Lardizabal and DOT tourism officer Sherwin Manuel.

The Tanuyans’ sprawling home where the Fil-Am Batanguenos lovingly welcomed the Luistro couple is a testament to Filipinos’ trademark resilience and unique ability to rise above any challenge wherever they are.

However, Miss Lala’s remarkable success story merits a separate column.

The following is Rep. Luistro’s speech at the DEMA Show 2022:

“Our regional directors have concluded a comprehensive and truly inspiring presentation of the best dive sites in the Philippines. At this point, let me address all the participants of DEMA Show 2022, most especially Team Philippines, on my advocacy on the Verde Island Passage, bringing the Philippines at the helm of the world’s diving industry!

To begin with, I am expressing my sincerest gratitude to: (i) His Excellency, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr., (ii) our distinguished Speaker of the House of Representatives (in the 19th Congress) Hon. Ferdinand Martin Gomez Romualdez, and (iii) of course, to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT), through our esteemed and dedicated Department Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco, for the opportunity to be part of the Philippine Delegation to the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show 2022 here in Orlando, Florida, USA. As one of the two members of the Lower House present in this event, I take pride in representing our country, the Philippines, in the spectacular DEMA Show 2022.

I am honored to be here with you today knowing that this is the biggest diving event in the whole world. I acknowledge the efforts of our DEMA Show 2022 organizers, as well as the efforts poured by Team Philippines, for making this event possible, in spite of the challenges brought by COVID-19. Through our collaborative efforts, I must say that diving industry is indeed back to business.

And for that, let us give ourselves a shoulder tap and a warm round of applause.

Let me start my message by sharing with you something that is quite personal of me. I originated from the Town of Mabini in the Southern Tip of Batangas province. Significantly, this municipality houses the prominent and infamous Anilao, Batangas. As a matter of fact, I even served as the municipal administrator of the Local Government of Mabini during the time of my husband, then Mabini Mayor Noel “Bitrics” B. Luistro. As an administrator, I attended various tourism-related events that further built the natural grandiose of Anilao. And today, I am very much pleased to pronounce before you the long-standing representation that Anilao, Batangas is the “Birthplace of Scuba Diving in the Philippines”. Thus, our sincerest gratitude to all the stakeholders as our “Anilao” is forever etched in the world’s diving industry.

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. Meanwhile, at the center of this Coral Triangle lies our very own VIP. This represents the breathtaking views underwater explorable in the provinces of Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, including Quezon. 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 world

It is from this light that this humble representation from the 2nd District of Batangas (comprised of the municipalities of Mabini, Bauan, San Luis, San Pascual, Lobo and Tingloy) is soliciting your support on a bill I am 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.

As a member of the Philippine Delegation to the prestigious DEMA Show 2022, I wish to encourage everyone of you to anchor on us in our promotion of the Philippine diving industry in the VIP.

While we acknowledge other equally prominent local diving sites in the Philippines, the VIP sits on a special distinction and accolade. With its sophisticated beauty and unparalleled scenery, it was able to earn its title as “Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity in the world”, making Philippine underwater stand out from the rest.

Ultimately, in promoting the Philippine diving industry, let us not forget the success stories of Mabuhay and other travel magazines, travel and tourism channels, social media platforms, tourism campaign in airports and seaports, including entertainment systems of airlines and shipping lines.

As we maximize our promotional assets, may we always be guided that the best tourism campaign is the first-hand Philippine tourism experience, itself. Join me in my humble desire to raise the standard of living of our constituents and transform our locals into tourism professionals.

This can be attained through the convergence program of the DOT on one hand, and the livelihood and sustainability programs of the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), on the other hand. We aim to provide proper training programs, including certification, to our local divers, boatmen, tour guides, and even, resort employees. It is not enough that we are remembered for splendid underwater sceneries; we must also be remembered for splendid tourism experience through the services of our locals, groomed and transformed as world-class tourism professionals.

Ultimately, I am inviting all of you, our tourists and foreign nationals, most especially my fellow DEMA Show 2022 delegates and participants, to come and visit the Philippines. Put on top of your bucket list the most colorful and the superb Philippine underwater experience. I am certain that your initial visit will indeed turn into repeated visits, which may render the Philippines and its hospitable people, your second home. Surely, diving in the Philippine waters is a “dream come true” experience to all enthusiasts!

Finally, this is Gerville “Jinky Bitrics” R. Luistro, a lawyer, a legislator, a member of the 19th Congress, a Philippine Delegate to DEMA Show 2022, certainly not a diver, but has the biggest heart for all our divers as they bring us the best stories and one-of-a-kind experiences of and from Philippine underwater.

To Usec. Kiko Lardizabal from the Office of the Tourism Attache in New York; To Ms. Wen of the Philippine Tourism Promotion Board; To Executive Director Ancheta of the Philippine Scuba Diving Commission; To our lovely and dedicated regional directors; To Sir Joey, Sir Sherwin, and the rest of our DOT officials and staff; To our participating resort and tour operators; and ultimately, to my colleague in the 19th congress, 4th District of Cebu City Representative Hon. Janice Salimbangon and her Chief of Staff (COS) Atty. Jojie, I look forward to building a strong partnership with you all. Indeed, we have a huge work that needs to be done. Let the VIP bring the Philippines at the helm of the world’s diving industry.

And now, allow me to conclude my message by saying: Larga Batangas, 2nd District! Mabuhay, Philippines!”