All Set for Amlan Fiesta 2017!

We’re mid-month and we’ve got more activities prepared in the run-up to our Amlan Annual Fiesta Celebration. Up next this Friday, Nov 17 at 8pm is the Fun and Entertainment Extravaganza, a showcase of national and local talents, brought to us by Congressman Chiquiting Sagarbarria.

variety show

Here are some photos during the recently concluded Presentation of Candidates of Miss Amlan 2017 Beauty Pageant last Nov 11, 2017. Credits to Randy Millares, the pageant’s official photographer.


Get the lowdown on Amlan Fiesta 2017 by following us. Check out also the calendar below.  Kudos to the Fiesta Directorate 2017, headed by Randy Millares.

Amlan Calendar of Events

Bring Home the Bacon, Guys!!!

In a few days, all roads will lead to the Freedom Park as the province hosts the biggest celebration of all, that of Buglasan Festival of Festivals 2017.  This year’s theme, “Transforming NegOr Into a Sustainable Ecotourism Hub by 2025” lends itself to showcasing the many natural and cultural attractions the province is endowed with and the sustained drive to promote while conserving them at the same time for future generations to enjoy.

Mounting an annual event has one great challenge to the organizer: how to outdo last year’s staging of the festivities.  But the Negros Oriental Tourism Council has always done that, making sure its hosting gets better, and guests and visitors get to experience something new every year.

Amlan is again participating; our annual support to the celebration is unwavering.  We’ve produced winners in the past years, and we’re banking on this year’s entries to do the same.  Our town is competing in the following events:

Miss Negros Oriental 2017  –  Justine May Y. Racal – Proclaimed Miss Amlan 2016, Justine wowed the judges as well as the audience with her neo-classical ballet rendition during the Talent Competition where she made it to the top 5 in the Best in Talent category. (photo from Miss Negros Oriental FB page)


Buglasan Education Environment  Tourism  –  Amlan DepEd District placed second  in this event last year where school divisions compete to best each other in floats centered on the advocacy for tourism, education and environment.

Amlan District BEET float

Ukulele Ensemble Competition  –  Pupils from the Amlan Central Elementary School have weeks to practice and master their rendition of one of the most popular nursery rhymes, “May Palaka,” and a beautiful take of a local folksong, “Inday Kororoche.”

Ukulele ensemble-2
ACES Ukulele Ensemble

Minus-One Singing Duet Competition Bulilit Division  –  Dhanielle T. Solitana – a grade 7 student at the Amlan National High School whose ambition is to become a teacher,  Dhanielle loves belting out songs of OPM artists.  Asked to describe himself in one word, he replied, “happy.”  Tracy Anne S. Merced – To help the poor in their medical needs, Tracy intends to pursue a career in Medicine while chasing her lifelong dream of becoming a professional singer.  She is currently a grade 6 student at Bio-os Elementary School.  Food of choice in the kitchen?  “Adobong talong,” she quipped.

Tracy and Daniel-2
Tracy and Dhanielle

Rap Competition  –  Undefined Rhyme Familia (Alixes Rey O. Ruales,  Jay Jhontoo A. Omay, Jhon Paullie O. Sunico) – The groups hails from Upper Jugno and will rap about going around the province to sample all the attractions in the aptly called song, “Suroy Ta Sa Negros.”

Alixes and Jay

Minus-One Singing Competition Senior Division  –  Janet Sabanal – currently operates a homebased micro business,  Janet does sing on special events during her free time.  She also takes the vocalist role in the local band called Vendetta.

Janet Sabanal-2

Minus-One Singing Competition Bulilit Division  –  Althea Clarisse Saguban –  A grade 7 student at the Amlan National High School, Althea’s list of favorite artists includes Leah Salonga,  Sarah Geronimo and Celine Dion.  She wants to become a renowned chef someday.


Live Band Competition  –  Friday Acumen (Janreb R. Quinicot,  Matthew C. Silorio,  Rogel Benson,  Junneil B. Petagara,  Karl Xander B. Wamar)  – Martt, Junneil and Karl are all LGU-Amlan employees, Rogel does part-time handyman job while Janreb is a college student at NORSU.

Friday Acumen

Hip-hop/Modern Dance Competition  –  Kei dela Cruz, daughter of LGU-Amlan’s Municipal Administrator, forms part of Lifestyle Group that will represent Amlan in this competition.

To all our participants, we wish you the best of luck!

Showcasing Amlan to Global Buyers at the 28th Philippine Travel Mart



The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), the official organizer of the annual Philippine Travel Mart (PTM) hosted the 28th PTM on September 1-3, 2017 at SMX Convention Center.

The 28th PTM offered the best platform for bigger opportunities to exhibitors, including the Province of Negros Oriental and the Local Government Unit of Amlan in showcasing their destinations and tourism offerings to local and foreign visitors. The regular main feature of the event included:

  • Sale ng Bayan – a B to C meeting that allowed travelling consumers to “book and buy” promotional holiday packages, one time promotional deals on international and domestic airfares, accommodation and other tourism related services. The Philippines as host of the Visit ASEAN @ 50 Golden anniversary celebration highlighted not only Philippine destinations and packages but also ASEAN + 3 (China, Japan and Korea). Under the theme 50 Shades of FUN at Visit Asean @ 50, PHILTOA intended to present at least minimum of 50 tour offerings with the region.
  • Cultural events on stage once again featured the Eco Chorale, Harana ng Kundiman, Patimpalak ng Kasuotang Pilipino, Cultural Dance Competition and the Philippine Tourism Quiz Bee Finals.

The Philippine Tour offerings under the “Sale ng Bayan“ included island fun tour caravan, and the latest bucket list destinations featuring the less travelled tour destinations in the Philippines.

ASEAN + 3 offerings ranged from special air fares to vacation packages to any ASEAN destination + 3 (China, Japan and Korea) and other exciting destinations to the rest of the world via ASEAN countries in support of the ASEAN Integration and ASEAN Economic Community.

Kudos to PHILTOA in bringing hundred of exhibitors under one roof!


Pista and Pirya – One Big Party


I just can’t in my wildest imagination think of a town or a village without a fiesta celebration.  Everyone just agrees – we love fiestas, and we love the celebration as well as the excitement and the headache that go with it.  The fiesta is the time of the year when families, friends and colleagues get together to eat and drink to their hearts’ delight.  The occasion is festive, raucous, and everyone is in the spirit of one big party.  It brings home people who have left to regain their sense of belonging by meeting new faces, seeing old faces, and mixing both in an enthusiastic meet-up.

To the host families, this is the time to spend the money they’ve saved up for this day and dish out an array of dishes and desserts for the guests.  Nowadays, the lechon has become almost mandatory as it defines a party as its best. No guest list required – the fiesta is an open invitation.

We soaked in the spirit again yesterday, joining the thousands who headed inland to Barangay Tambojangin, for the feast of Sr. San Roque.  So yes, I made a valid excuse for the fiesta as my cheat day, threw my diet plan out of the window and promised to jog off the extra calories this weekend.

Having had my fill at both lunch and dinner, the rest of the evening was spent wandering around the “piryahan” for some good-old fun time with friends.  The “ligot” had me enthralled as a huge crowd was gathered around it to bet in.  Nope, betting’s not my game, but I was just as happy as those who placed bets. Everyone had an enjoyable time!  Up next soon – Basiao in Jugno!

* thanks to Lorelie Sun and her family for the sumptuous food.


Quality Through Progressive Accreditation System is the Way to Go

Getting out of the office and into another location is surely welcome but having to wake up at 230am to get to the seminar venue at 9am?  This is insanely burdensome for a person like me who hates the early morning grind. But I just did that to attend the Department of Tourism – Region 7’s Progressive Accreditation System – ASEAN Standards seminar in Cebu City, and it was well worth it!

Not wanting to stay overnight ahead of the seminar, I forced myself out of bed during the wee hours on Tuesday last week, got myself into the shower, and broke myself out of somnolence as the rush of cold water hit my system.

I was with Councilor Ana Linda Esparcia who chairs the Committee on Tourism and my Mayor Gino dela Cruz as we took the first Maayo Shipping barge out of Tampi to Samboan.   The early morning trip from Samboan was a breeze and afforded us some time to grab some good eats along the way.  The speedy drive was slowly interrupted by a traffic buildup that started in Carcar City and went all the way to the City of Talisay.  The morning rush hour and slight vertigo I was experiencing were marring an otherwise beautiful day, but we eventually made our way to Parklane International Hotel.

We were just in time for the program to start, barely enough to say hi and hello, exchange pleasantries among friends and colleagues in the industry, and settled into our seats as the first speaker began her lecture on Progressive Accreditation System.  The lecture piqued my interest as this would have repercussions on the local tourism industry in Amlan.  The whole day seminar brought some new takes on accreditation, and with my excitement to learn more of the process itself, I spent a good deal of my time taking down notes and making some comments as the lecture moved along.

Setting standards in the Philippine tourism industry is not a new dimension.  The industry embraced the concept of quality and competency a long time ago back in the 70s when tourism businesses went through the process of licensing.  In response to maintaining and sustaining a competitive Philippine tourism industry in the 21st century, the Department of Tourism has intensified its effort in having tourism service providers undergo a progressive accreditation system designed to encourage the latter in having their business transformed through accreditation.

There are as many different levels of accreditation as there are different establishments that make up, say the accommodations industry.  Yet, the procedures and guidelines are simplified, criteria and accreditation requirements are straightforward, and incentives are attractive so tourism businesses are encouraged to be accredited.

With the ASEAN integration, the regional tourism industry is levelling up its principle of service excellence by setting standards across the whole industry, in green hotels, homestays, spa services to name a few.  With progressive accreditation, it is hoped that service standards are improved, guests get a fair exchange of their money spent, tourism products and services get reinvented to a higher quality, and the whole ASEAN tourism industry remain competitive.

Tourism Summit Brings Stakeholders Together


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 ( 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



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

website photos bikingtrails02

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


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)