Tourism Summit Brings Stakeholders Together

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The recently concluded Negros Oriental Tourism Summit hosted in Bethel Guest House, Dumaguete City last July 28, 2017 again brought together familiar faces from the local tourism industry and industry partners.

Stakeholders from all sectors in the local tourism industry were well represented in the one-day meeting; representatives from the national and regional governments also attended.

The ultimate goal of the summit was to gather all tourism stakeholders in the province, identify issues and concerns besetting the tourism industry, and present project priorities for national support and funding .  The need for collaboration was highlighted, and further enhancement of plans, program, and activities was encouraged for the industry to be nationally and globally competitive.

Myla Abellana, Provincial Tourism Officer kickstarted the event by providing a run-thru of the province’s must-sees and dos and formally launching the province’s new tourism website (www.visitnegrosoriental.com) and promotional videos.  July Gabato, OIC Regional Director of DOT7, spoke on existing and emerging  markets every tourism business must look into for potential business expansion.

Further along, John Jalandoni, Center Manager of NOCCI made a brief presentation of the province’s road map and tourism priority projects, which excited the audience.  Identified priority projects were: 1. Opening of a DOT-NIR Office in Dumaguete City, 2.  International sea and air terminals in Bacong and 3.  The Metro Dumaguete Diversion Road.  NOCCI’s vision is anchored on the province becoming one of the top 10 destinations in the country.

Also in attendance was Jesus Hinlo Jr, Undersecretary of DILG, who mentioned about striking a good balance between all forms of development, with emphasis on aggressive expansion, in consonance with President Duterte’s “build, build, build” program.  This is indeed the golden age of infrastructure in recent memory as well as in Philippine history. On the other hand, Frederick Alegre, Assnt Secretary of DOT, delivered a timely presentation on Media Management in Tourism during crisis.

The afternoon session was reserved for open forum where attendees were able to express their views and take on issues of the day, and guest speakers provided  valuable insights and feedback.

  • Thanks to Ruvilu Lumacao of the Provincial Tourism Office for providing a brief background of the event.

Be Smart, Don’t Start

 

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Walking for over three kilometers from each side of the town, LGU officials, national and local offices, private sector representatives, and residents from all walks of life converged into Amlan Central Square on Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the town’s smoke-free campaign, dubbed “Wayboga.” Started back in 2009, the town created the Smoke-Fee Council and imposed a smoking ban in all public places.

Amlan drew national attention for its bold move to safeguard the health of its residents, leading the town to garner national recognition and awards.  Now on its eighth year, the campaign is further bolstered by Executive Order 26, which ordered a nationwide ban on smoking effective July 23, 2017.

Later on Friday afternoon, eight junior and senior high schools gutted it out to claim the title of the smartest in the Inter-School Quiz Bee, and contingents showcased their best choreography in the Wayboga Festival Streetdancing and Showdown.

Kudos to the following winners:

Giant Mascot Competition             –              Bio-os Barangay Council

Quiz Bee                                             –              Resa S. Galapate  –  JNHS Senior High

Wayboga Festival                             –              Amlan National High School

 

 

Going Somewhere On A Bike

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Biking was a kid thing for me, but I now take it seriously as a way of unchaining myself from the frenetic nature of my desk job and putting fun between my legs.   It is also a way of exploring new local places, those unbeaten paths known only to few locals who tread these tracks while fulfilling their day-to-day tasks.

I initially started out up in the rolling slopes in Jugno and Bio-os, two of the town’s villages, and was amazed by the green scenery carpeting every side of the road, interrupted only by broken patches of untilled land.   The smell of grass, of pasture, and manure and the rush of air filled my lungs and brought some inner peace that can only described as being in a rustic place.

I cycled further into Jantianon, past farmlands that spread in all direction, noticing thatched-roof houses few and far between.  I’m just a few kilometers off from the hustle and bustle of the highway, but here I am, engrossed in a verdure that eases a worried mind and calms the soul.  My witnessing the locals getting on with their lives in idyllic simplicity and whose demeanor and outlook are often marked and acquired by a day of honest hard work is in itself unmistakably gratifying.

I pedaled further and higher, bound and determined to see the town’s coastline in an interrupted vista.  The steep incline got me out of breath, sored both my calves and backside, and stiffened my arms.  Hoping to overcome the climb, I changed gears but was eventually forced to get off from the bike and trudged grudgingly forward until I reached a levelled meadow.  From there, I was rewarded with a panoramic view one can only get from up there in the mountains.

I was never disappointed in that afternoon of getting lost in the right direction but felt so small in this vast wonderful natural world of ours.

  • biking trails crisscross the whole town of Amlan and so you can start from just anywhere.
  • thanks to Jacky Baez and her family for allowing us to use their biking photos. 

Before It’s Too Late

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A couple of days ago, an unplanned jaunt took me and my friends up in the hills of Tambojangin, some 3.5km from the town center, to spend an afternoon at Dreamland Nature and Adventure Park’s (DNAP) Animal Kingdom.

Having grown my whole life in this small town, I have come across a few of the local species, particularly the Philippine Sailfin Lizard.  Ibid as it is known locally is an animal you would expect thriving close to the banks of the Amlan River, as it loves to splash around. Its flattened toes make it a good swimmer and it can grow up to a meter in length.  It was not a surprise back in the day, when locals would catch them and make something out of it for a dish, much to the horror of today’s conservationists.

Now classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, much of Ibid’s natural habitat has been increasingly encroached by humans and the species have been pushed further into the mountain forests to find safe havens.

A few are now in the hands of DNAP’s zookeepers, conservation efforts have been done, and I can relax knowing that future generations will be able to see the Ibid, in the flesh, and not just in books or TVs.

(DNAP's admission fees:  P100/ADT and P50/CHD)

Live Healthy and Live Longer!

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A healthy lifestyle becoming a habit for many, is a tall order.  And with a dozen or more excuses to lean on to, it is indeed difficult to make lifestyle changes. When one gets to be frequently under the weather, has sleep issues, a cloudy mind, (feel free to add more), pretending that you’re okay, isn’t okay anymore.

So if you feel unhealthy, don’t despair.  Sulking in the corner only hurts you more. It is never too late to make that change- big, positive change.  Take a step in the right direction – a healthy lifestyle begins with just a few simple lifestyle changes:

  1. Eat the colors of the rainbow – leafy greens and fruits in all hues. The more color on your plate, the better. And don’t forget whole grains and other healthy options in your diet.
  2. Stay in shape by doing exercises regularly. Even an office setting is no excuse for not burning those calories you’ve just loaded an hour ago.
  3. Drinks lots of water and skip those fizzy and sugary drinks. Water refreshes and doesn’t add any calories to your system.
  4. Get enough rest. Studies show people who get enough slumber are more likely not to be overweight.
  5. Quit smoking and give your lungs a break. And if you’re worried about hypertension and diabetes, less salt and sugar in your food intake are the way to go.

Now that you’re clued-in, it is time to live healthy and live longer!

 

Ino of Sibulan Cavaliers Team bags top prize in Tandayag Motorized Banca Racing

Fisherfolks and banca racers,  with cheering crowds of supporters, friends, family members, wives and girlfriends included,  headed to Isiw, in North Tandayag, Amlan to join in today’s  Sts. Peter and Paul – Tandayag Motorized Banca Racing.  Banca racing is an all-time favorite among fisherfolks here, and being a coastal barangay,  a sizable group of men still compete in this kind of event.

Danilo Sienes, an active member of the Tandayag Fisherfolks Association and lead organizer in today’s event said, the hosting was finally realized with participating teams coming from various barangays and towns in the province, albeit the minor glitches the committee faced.  Originally scheduled on the feast day of the patron saints of Tandayag on June 29, the event was pushed back to a later date due to hosting issues.

Mid-afternoon when the tide was its highest, and the weather was hot and humid, racers were called, briefed and were asked to draw their lots.  Immediately after that, racers revved up the engines in their souped-up bancas decked out in jazzy decals.  While waiting for their turns, some did test runs around the makeshift race track marked with white buoys.

Kagawad Jojame Barrera did a wonderful job of hosting the program, with some barangay kagawads in attendance, notably the very active Viven Reasol.  Top prize went to Ino of Sibulan Cavaliers Team.  The event wrapped up as the horizon was already showing ominous signs of what could be a heavy downpour.  

Special thanks to the corporate sponsors (full list to be made public soon), LGU-Amlan headed by Mayor Gino dela Cruz, as well as to MR Pro Audio, who provided party music the whole afternoon for free. 

 

 

Amlan gears up for July’s Wayboga Festival 2017

municipio.jpegAfter weeks of brainstorming, the Wayboga Festival 2017 working committee presented before the Municipal Anti-Smoking Council, together with various stakeholders, the planned activities for this year’s event.  Not much has changed, but the good news that came out during the meeting was the increase in the budget allocation for the participating contingents, coming from the four high school campuses.  A new event was added, the Quiz Bowl, where eight junior and senior high school teams will battle it out for cash prizes and top honors.