By Alice Hernandez Reyes
As we welcome the new year, let us take a look at what the Philippines has to offer tourists from both here and abroad.
The Philippines is the third-largest English-speaking country in the world, a definite advantage, since English is the most widely spoken language world-wide.
Known as the country “where Asia wears a smile”, the Philippines can boast of a people considered the friendliest and most hospitable in Asia and beyond.
Uniquely located at the crossroads between the developed Western world and the Orient, the Philippines offers the best beaches and tourist spots which are accessible by land, sea and air.
Some of the country’s top tourist spots may be found in Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Baguio, Sagada, Banaue. Vigan, Bicol, Surigao, South Cotabato, Iligan, Iloilo and Zamboanga del Norte, where the Dakak resort is located.
Its famous beaches include Coron and El Nido in Palawan, Boracay in Aklan, Panglao in Bohol, Amanpulo off the coast of Palawan, but there are lesser known ones that are just as beautiful.
Other tourist attractions are the Pagsanghan Falls in Laguna, the Maria Cristina Falls in Lanao , Tagaytay City, the Walled City of Intramuros, and historical spots like Bataan and Corregidor, the Rizal Monument at the Luneta and Dapitan, to name a few.
Not to be overlooked are our plush hotels, our casinos that draw numerous Asian tourists and our golf courses.
The Department of Tourism under Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo has been exerting efforts to boost our tourism and such efforts are bearing fruit.
Unfortunately, the perception that some parts of the country are unsafe for tourists has been fuelled by reports blown up by local media. Hopefully, saner minds will prevail and such reports will be minimized, if not eliminated in 2018.
The influx of tourists since November, with the cooler weather, augurs well for Philippine tourism. More tourists are expected., especially in February, when the Chinese New Year will be celebrated and people from colder places will be coming to the Philippines.
The fact that the Department of Tourism has supported tourism-oriented projects like the Miss Universe Contest in 2016 and the Walk of Fame for Live Entertainers at the Rizal Park set for April or May this year, can only mean that we are on the right track.
May 2018 be a brighter year for Philippine tourism!