STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM (DOT) on COVID-19 local transmission

MEDIA RELEASE

March 9, 2020

In light of recently reported community transmissions of COViD-19, the Department of Tourism (DOT) calls on all tourism industry stakeholders to remain calm, to be constantly updated and to report suspected cases to local health authorities.

The DOT defers to the Department of Health (DOH) as lead agency of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, for decisions and announcements pertaining to the COVID-19 concern.

Needless to say, the DOT has the safety and well-being of visitors and locals as its utmost priority. As such, it will continue to coordinate and work closely with the IATF, partners from other government agencies and the private sector to mitigate the impact of the disease.

The DOT continuously issues health protocols for the airports, hotel establishments and tour operators to cascade guidelines to make sure that precautionary measures are in place in order to contain the spread of the virus in the country. Among those measures include thermal scanners at the entrance, provision of hand sanitizers and food preparation based on global Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards. DOT-accredited hotels are continuously cleaning and sanitizing premises, particularly the common and frequently used areas.

Tourists are directed to visit the DOT’s travel advisory bulletin at www.philippines.travel/safeph in order to know the consolidated efforts of the Philippine tourism industry to contain the spread of the COVID-19 and maintain the safety and well-being of visitors.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat likewise enjoins the industry to extend any assistance possible to affected tourists in their respective areas.

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DOT welcomes lifting of Taiwan travel ban

MEDIA RELEASE

February 14, 2020

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the lifting of the travel ban on Taiwan to minimize the impact of the nCov global scare on the local tourism industry.

“The lifting of the travel ban on Taiwan is highly assuring and we hope that the nCov crisis would soon be resolved, worldwide. Ultimately, the recovery of all affected countries is a universal prayer, especially that tourism is an inclusive and sustainable business for and of the people,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette-Romulo-Puyat.

The temporary ban on Taiwan was lifted by the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases after it was established that Taiwan has been implementing very strict and excellent protocols in handing travelers.

The Task Force underscores the need to review on a regular basis how the Philippines’ source countries heighten precautionary measures and implement stricter protocols to contain the corona virus disease (COVID-19).

Taiwan is the country’s fifth largest tourist source market raking up an impressive double-digit increase of 37.07 percent for its 305,570 arrivals in Jan. to Nov. 2019.

All preventive and precautionary measures have been put in place by the national government to contain the spread of the COVID-19. The guidelines in handling guests in tourism enterprises during this global emergency are being implemented in hotels and resorts around the country and facilities are equipped with infrared thermometers and more hand sanitizers.

The temporary entry ban for tourists coming from China, its Special Administrative Regions (SARs), Hong Kong and Macau, and the 14-day quarantine for Filipinos coming from the said places is still in effect.

Meanwhile, the tourism sector rallied behind the DOT to mitigate impact on inbound tourism by rolling out a tactical program that will offer more value-added tour packages, discounted accommodation rates and marked-down prices for domestic flights.

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DOT Statement Following the President’s Latest Directive to Contain the NCov

Media Release

February 2, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has immediately advised its foreign offices in China to relay to all stakeholders involved in bringing markets to the Philippines on the latest directive by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to temporarily ban “the entry of any person, regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizens and holders of Permanent Resident Visa issued by the Philippine Government, directly coming from China and its Special Administrative Regions”, Hong Kong and Macau, in order to contain the spread of the novel corona virus (NCov).

The directive also includes the following travel guidelines:

• Temporarily banning the entry of any person, regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizens and holders of Permanent Resident Visa issued by the Philippine Government, who within fourteen (14) days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, has been to China and its Special Administrative Regions;

• A mandatory fourteen (14) day quarantine for Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa holders coming from any place in China and its Special Administrative Regions;

• Temporary ban on Filipinos from travel to China and its Special Administrative Regions

The DOT is coordinating with the travel trade sector in the Philippines to ensure the full implementation of this directive. As support to calls for precautionary measures, the Department has earlier released Guidelines in Handling Guests in Tourism Enterprises in the Advent of nCOV Global Health Emergency.

The DOT is in close coordination with all concerned government agencies and assures that precautionary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of Filipinos and travelers from other countries who are visiting the Philippines.

“The safety and protection of our citizens thriving in our tourist spots, the employees of the tourism sector, and domestic and foreign tourists alike remain the Department of Tourism’s priority. We call on everyone in the tourism industry to follow these directives until the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippine government deems it safe to resume travel to these parts.”, stated Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.

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Statement of the Department of Tourism (DOT)

Media Release

January 31, 2020

In light of the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the Philippines, the Department of Tourism (DOT) urges the public, locals and foreign tourists alike, to take the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of contracting the virus.

The DOT is confident that the heightened interventions performed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) , the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and all concerned agencies operating in our international gateways, such as the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), will impede the spread of the nCoV in the country.

The DOT will continue to coordinate with tourism stakeholders and LGUs nationwide and underscore the value of taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the nCoV.

To ensure the safety and security of travelers and citizens, the DOT also calls on the travel trade partners, local health, police and security establishments, and other stakeholders to help provide proper guidance and assistance, when needed.

Our stakeholders will be advised of all protocols shared by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases led by the DOH especially in handling cases involving workforce and guests in our tourism enterprises.

“While the DOT is mandated to encourage, promote, and develop tourism as a major socio-economic activity, at this time our first priority is ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all. We strongly urge the public to stay informed and abide by the suggested guidelines issued by our health department to minimize risk and help stem the spread of the coronavirus. For your safety, we ask for your full cooperation and understanding at this time,” said DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Acclaimed Fil-Am chefs come home to rediscover Filipino ingredients

Written by Portia Ladrido on CNN Philippines

Updated Nov 12, 2019 4:00:11 PM

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — The Farmers Market in Cubao is bustling on a Sunday morning. Filipinos, with their woven baskets or palengke bags, scuttle around the maze of the market, going around the rows and rows of stalls that display a wide range of produce.

The market becomes even more alive as chef Margarita Forés arrives. She is touring Fil-Am chefs Tom Cunanan (the owner of Bad Saint restaurant in Washington D.C.) and chef Grant “Lanai” Tabura (the host behind the show “Cooking Hawaiian Style”), as they have been invited to the Philippines by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project,” a program that seeks to position the country in the global gastronomic scene.

Click here to read full aricle

DOT ups the ante for PHL food, brings Fil-Am chefs to PHL

By DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM – PHILIPPINES

As part of its relentless efforts to position the Philippines in the world gastronomic scene, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has tapped three of the most celebrated US-based Filipino-American chefs to discover their food roots in the country for a three week-long culinary smorgasbord experience.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says it’s all systems go for the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” that will commence on Saturday, November 9, 2019. The said project aims to heat up the country’s profile as a culinary destination in the world by tapping into the Philippines’ stable source of gastronomic geniuses starting off with the fast-rising Filipino chefs in the US.

Invited US-based Fil-Am chefs include 2019 James Beard Awards’ Best Chef for the Mid-Atlantic, Tom Cunanan of the famed Washington, DC’s Bad Saint; Charles Olalia, owner and manager of Ma’am Sir, one of GQ’s Magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America for 2019; and chef Grant “Lanai” Tabura, host of food show Cooking Hawaiian Style and winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.

A self-confessed foodie herself, Secretary Puyat points out that “This is the perfect occasion for us to institutionalize Filipino cuisine and flavors that can proudly stand side by side with other cherished cuisines of the world. Going back to their roots will certainly inspire these leading Fil-Am chefs to lend their voices and talent to raise the world’s perception and taste towards Filipino dishes”.

Organized by the DOT in collaboration with three of the country’s leading chefs Margarita Forés, Claude Tayag and Tatung Sarthou, the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” spotlights some of the country’s renowned culinary destinations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and will feature respected Filipino food advocates along with their town’s most iconic dishes and heritage cuisine and local produce like Atching Lilian Borromeo, a beacon of Kapampangan cuisine; Bacolod’s eponymous Mang Enting and Ramon Uy, Jr. of Fresh Start Organic Farm; Olive and Rex Puentespina of Malagos Farmhouse; and Davao-based restaurateur Carmina del Rosario of Mindanao Butchers and Company.

The project also includes interactive symposia to be undertaken in partnership with World Food Expo (WOFEX) University, the teaching arm of the World Food Expo (WOFEX), an institution in food exhibitions in the Philippines, that will engage the visiting chefs with culinary tourism stakeholders, students, and food and gastronomy aficionados alike. Dubbed “DOT x WOFEX University Fun Food Talks”, the symposia will be held in Pampanga on November 13, 2019, Bacolod on November 16, 2019, Davao on November 19, 2019 and Manila on November 21, 2019. For tickets and more details, you may call +632 8929-7993, +63 999-888-5000, email at info@peptarsus.com or visit www.peptarsus.com.

Tourist arrivals up by 12.36 % in the first seven months

MEDIA RELEASE

September 5, 2019

The Department of Tourism (DOT) reports that international inbound traffic for the first seven months remains robust, totaling 4,852,107 and posting a 12.36 percent increase over the same period last year.   

Korea remained as the top tourist market with 1,113,274 arrivals followed by China with 1,038,409.  The USA (663,116), Japan (382,634) and Taiwan (192,195) followed at third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively. 

Completing the top twelve markets are Australia (164,378), Canada (146,000), United Kingdom (125,371), Singapore (94,061), Malaysia (84,815), India (80,383) and Germany (62,179).     

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat owes the continued upsurge to the sustained support from industry stakeholders, government, host communities, investors and foreign travel trade counterparts.   

“We remain inspired knowing that private sector, other government agencies and civil society continue to support our sustainable tourism programs and the more fun brand campaign.  The Build, Build, Build program and other convergence programs, on the other hand, are key to improving our competitiveness and attractiveness,” the tourism chief said. 

“We enjoin more support for our sustainable tourism efforts not only in key destinations but in all areas to continually drive inbound traffic and spread the benefits of tourism to the countryside.  After all, tourism is everybody’s business,” Puyat said. 

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DOT, GRAB launch eco-friendly “ride” in Intramuros

MEDIA RELEASE

28 August 2019

Intramuros, Manila — Exploring historic Intramuros can now be more fun!

This, after the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Intramuros Administration (IA) and Grab Philippines forged a partnership that will launch “GrabWheels”,  a two-wheel, personal mobility device (PMD) that tourists can use to roam around  the picturesque Walled City.

In the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today between IA and Grab, the latter committed the deployment of at least 30 units of GrabWheels, to be made available for the use of the public within Intramuros, free-of-charge for a period of three months.

“This is in keeping with the efforts of the DOT to inculcate a culture of sustainable tourism. This is what we envision to do to some, and ideally, to all of our destinations. We want visitors to have access to an eco-friendly but fun mode of transportation,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat who was present during the MOU signing.

Puyat stressed, “Sustainability demands that our planning and resources management must be responsible. Conversely, it should also maintain a high level of satisfaction and ensure meaningful experience of our tourists. This partnership, hopefully, will raise their awareness about environmental issues and allow them to experience first-hand these sustainable tourism practices.”

Atty. Guiller Asido of the IA noted that these PMDs will provide less carbon footprintand likewise significantly reduce traffic congestion, a major problem in the area.

“This is just a pilot test. After a month, we will review its reception and determine the necessary mechanisms and setting of fees to make it sustainable,” said Asido.

Meanwhile, Grab also committed to promote Philippine tourism by disseminating tourism materials produced and developed by the DOT and its attached agencies through its massive fleet of operators.

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DOT Hails CNN pick of Vigan as Asia’s Most Picturesque Town

MEDIA RELEASE

September 4, 2019

The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the selection of the City of Vigan as among the CNN’s 13 of Asia’s Most Picturesque Towns.

“The City of Vigan’s heritage, the Hispanic architecture, and the food make it a picture-perfect site and deserving of the spot in the CNN’s list,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage City.

Vigan City, described by CNN as “one of the best places to experience Spanish colonial-era architecture in Asia,” is the capital of Ilocos Sur Province, an ideal destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).

CNN’s Kate Springer also noted the plethora of must-see Instagrammable landmarks at Vigan City including Plaza Salcedo, the restored church of St Paul’s Cathedral, and the trade center at cobble-stoned street Calle Crisologo.

Vigan’s traditional Hispanic checkerboard street plan, grid street pattern and historic urban lay out reflects its rich history, recognized as the best-preserved model of a Spanish colonial town in all of Asia.

“The CNN citation of the City of Vigan means that sustainable tourism is not just about environmental protection but also the preservation of the country’s history and culture,” Sec. Puyat points out.

The DOT chief says Vigan City showcases the local government’s efforts in preservation of its ancestral houses by mandating thorough research and documentation of the building original design before permitting any restoration work.

A touch of Spanish colonial style is also a requirement for the design of new structures in the area to complement the City’s preservation and tourism program.

Family ancestral houses are transformed into museums, souvenir and antique shops, and restaurants while maintaining its original Spanish style influence.

Selected as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities in 2014, Vigan’s attractions include the pottery workshop, food adventures with its established culinary scene that features unique native dishes, such as the Bagnet, a deep fried crispy pork belly dish, Poqui-poqui, a mixed vegetables dish, and theEmpanada, a stuffed fried pastry. 

The other localities completing the “13 of Asia’s Most Picturesque Towns” are Thailand’s Phuket Town, Hong Kong’s Sai Kung, China’s Zhouzhuang, and Japan’s Yufuin.

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DOT welcomes Travel + Leisure ranking of Palawan, Cebu, Boracay

Media Release

16 July 2019

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the inclusion of the three popular island tourist destinations of Palawan, Cebu, and Boracay in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2019

Leading the Philippine honorees is the “the perennially popular Philippine island of Palawan,” wrote the magazine. Palawan, which ranked second on the 15 Best Islands in the World list, is home to the enchanting Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Coron and El Nido.

Palawan is also where the DOT’s San Vicente Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) is located.  Master planned as an integrated tourism destination project, it is envisioned as a sustainable investor’s haven that will be a catalyst for inclusive economic growth through public and private partnership.

“We are thrilled that Palawan has improved its ranking this year and is inching closer to regaining its top spot in T+L’s World’s Best Awards. Hats off as well to Cebu and Boracay for being recognized among the best in Asia,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Mactan, Cebu (photo courtesy of www.cebutours.ph)

Cebu and Boracay were voted 7th and 9th, respectively, in the Top 10 Islands in Asia category by the readers of the international travel magazine. The islands were rated according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value. Palawan also came in second on this list.

Boracay Island

“This citation by a major publication validates our efforts towards attaining a sustainable tourism industry and now, more than ever, encourages the DOT to work even harder on this advocacy, creating a tourism environment that is recognized and lauded not only today, but for the generations to come,” remarked Puyat.

El Nido,  Palawan (photo courtesy of  www.joya.life)

T+L writer Rebecca Ascher-Walsh quoted one reader naming Palawan as the “single most beautiful place I have ever seen.”

Ascher-Walsh also wrote that the Philippine island triumvirate of Palawan, Cebu, and Boracay are longtime favorites thanks to top-notch reef and wreck diving, white-sand beaches, hiking trails with waterfalls, and welcoming locals.

DOT invites the public to visit Museo de Intramuros

MEDIA RELEASE

30 April 2019

As the Philippines celebrate National Heritage Month this May, the Department of Tourism (DOT) invites the public to explore and learn about Philippine culture and history by visiting Museo de Intramuros in Manila.

Managed by the Intramuros Aministration (IA), Museo de Intramuros is located in two important reconstructions inside the walled city: the San Ignacio Church and the Mission House of the Society of Jesus. The museum was designed to house the period art collections of IA that includes ecclesiastical art, furniture, vestments, and textiles and other artifacts.

Museo de Intramuros will be open to the public starting May 2, 2019, and admission is free

The museum will be open to the public starting May 2, 2019, and admission is free.

Museo de Intramuros’ official opening, which took place on April 29, 2019, was among the highlights of the Intramuros Administration’s 40th anniversary as an institution.
The current in-house exhibition presents the story of the evangelization of the Philippines from the perspective of the Filipinos. It explores changes in the “Filipino” psyche as colonization introduced a new religion and culture to the natives.
With the display of religious images belonging to the IA collection, the exhibition is able to highlight Filipino artistry and craftsmanship that developed from the merging of the indigenous and the foreign.
Curated by Dr. Esperanza Gatbonton, Gino Gonzales, Dr. Cecilia dela Paz, Santiago Pilar and Martin Tinio, theexhibition has six components: (1) The Immaculate Conception, (2) The Religious Order, (3) The Patronato Real and the establishment of Parishes, (4) Religious Colonial Paintings, (5) The establishment of a parish and sacred vessels, and (6) The Indio Response.

In her 1981 book Philippine Relihious Imagey, co-curator Dr. Gatbonton wrote, “This collection of the Intramuros Administration is extremely valuable because it represents the first real attempt to collect and preserve within the Philippines an important aspect of the country’s cultural heritage.

Images of the Religious Orders and the Immaculate Conception exhibit at the ground floor of the museum

“The collection affords the viewer a panorama of the various styles and enables him to compare them with the artifacts done abroad in the same medium. We, Filipinos, have always tended to accept that we were the passive receiver of artistic stimuli from abroad. This collection proves that the Philippines was as much a giver.”
At the museum’s opening, DOT Secretary and Chairperson of the IA Board of Administrators, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said, “IA’s dedication in ensuring that the tangible treasures that immortalize our history are now accessible to the public is commendable.”

She congratulated IA Administrator Guiller Asido and the cultural workers behind the museum and added, “This project, rooted in passion and a deep love of country, must be emulated and replicated.”

“The Department of Tourism will be investing in the promotion of cultural tourism in the years to come. We’re doing it not just because we need to expand our tourism products, engage a specific market and increase revenue. Cultural tourism is telling the world our narrative. It is also a platform to ensure that our heritage structures and objects such as these will be preserved and enjoyed by our progeny,” Puyat said.

The Intramuros Administration is an attached agency of the DOT in-charge of the restoration, development, and promotion of the historic walled city of Intramuros.

Oriental Mindoro offers culture, traditions and tourism

MEDIA RELEASE

07 May 2019

CALAPAN CITY– Thousands of swaying candles light up the city as the Province of Oriental Mindoro celebrated their much-anticipated festival–Pandang-Gitab or Festival of Lights on April 27, 2019.

“In the previous years, the Department of Tourism (DOT) supported financially festival undertakings through prizes for street dance competitions and other tourism related events and activities. This year, to entice more tourists to visit our destinations and tourism sites, we invest on promotion and marketing. Media familiarization and exposure tour is one of the strategies,” DOT Region IV-B Director Danilo Intong said. 

According to Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso V. Umali Jr., Pandang-Gitab represents the province’s rich culture and history. “It (festival) is unique. Dito talaga nag-umpisa ang Pandanggo sa Ilaw, which Pandang-Gitab took inspiration from, really originated from Oriental Mindoro,” Gov. Umali added. 

CARRY ON WITH TRADITIONS. Pandang-Gitab was inspired by women carrying oil lamps as they send off their husbands to fish out to the sea at early dawn. 

Pandang-Gitab, an annual festival, is a lively street dance, adapting the basic steps and music of the original Pandanggo sa Ilaw. It was coined from the words “pandango” or dance and “gitab” or flicker of flights.

Doctor Jaymark Atienza, a folk choreographer, also emphasized that Pandang-Gitab should not only be seen as a festival where people hold lighted lamps on the palm and head while dancing, but more importantly, as an opportunity to bring back the culture and old tradition of the Mindoreños.

This folk dance was inspired by women carrying oil lamps as they send off their husbands to fish out to the sea at early dawn. 

Aside from promoting traditions of regions, the DOT also targets more tourist arrivals to destinations and sites especially potential and emerging destinations.

Oriental Mindoro offers pristine and amazing beaches away from the noise and chaos of the city that are perfect for a relaxing vacation. Other than Puerto Galera, which is known for its dive sites and white sand beaches, Bulalacao has a lot of promising islands to explore. 

Tourists can go island hopping to get to secluded and stunning islands like Suguicay, Aslom and Target to see long sand bar beaches with crystal clear waters.

The Province of Oriental Mindoro takes pride in their heritage sites like Kuta Church, Simbahang Bato and Mangyan Heritage Center that are being protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Gabunatero Organic Farm in Bongabong only produces purely organic agricultural products. 

In relation to farm tourism development efforts, accreditation is actively encouraged. The first accredited site in the province is Gabunatero Organic Farm in Bongabong. This must-visit farm allows tourists to plant and harvest organic fruits and other products as well fishing. 

In coordination with national agencies and local government units (LGUs), the DOT is developing rest areas along the stretch of the Strong Republic National Highway (SRNH) that connects the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, which crosses through Oriental Mindoro.

Regional Director Intong underscored that this will open new economic opportunities and create numerous jobs for the people.

The SRNH not only provides easier and faster travel, but also enhances the accessibility of tourist destinations in the country.