Benchmarking tour-A A +A
By Ver Pacete
As I See It
Monday, September 24, 2012
AS part of the tourism month Celebration 2012, a tourism compact was made between Silay City and Metro Iloilo Guimaras Economic Development Council. My meeting with Mario Lazarito, the vice chairman of Iloilo Tour Guides Cooperative, at Grand Regal in Bacolod last week was a manifestation of our Public-Private-Public tie with the Guimaras-Metro Iloilo tourism kingpins.
A body of 25 delegates headed by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog will visit Silay City soon to exchange tourism polymathy. The core team is composed of Gov. Felipe Hilan Nava of Guimaras; Felix Tiu, chairman of Iloilo Investment and Promotion board; Mario Lazarito, tourism product developer; Cristina Octaviano, assistant executive director; and Butz Penalosa, city planning and development coordinator.
Five local chief executives will be in the group: Mayor Arcadio Gorriceta of Pavia, Mayor Dennis Superficial of Sta. Barbara, Mayor Vincent Flores of Oton, Mayor Victor Saclauso of San Miguel, and Mayor Robert Maroma of Cabanatuan. The MIGEDC group will be meeting our tourism staff and the Friends of Tourism-Silay. The aggregation has the intention of knowing Silay’s best practices in developing, marketing, and promoting culture-heritage tourism as well as agri-ecotourism circuits, with a learning focus on the enabling and partnering role of LGUs vis-à-vis the private sector.
Our Guimaras-Metro Iloilo counterpart would want to know the assistance and promotion of our tourism products, especially our cultural heritage. FTS is a strong force to reckon with. The members just come as we need them. They handle our ancestral houses, the business community, the art guild, the educators’ forum and they serve as catalysts to motivate tourism front liners to give their best.
The assemblage would like to have a walking tour to retrace the alley of the turn-of-the-century Paris de Negros. Once, Silay was the lead port in Asia, the shopping capital of Negros, the comfort zone of the sugar barons, and the apex of Catholicism. Following the trails, our guests will see the dwellings of the sugar lords based on art noveau and art deco architecture blended with American architectonics of the 19th century.
Savoring Silay would bring them to the best delicacies of “Banwa sang Dulce”—piaya, lumpia ubod, empanada, panara, butong-butong, tortita, dulce gatas, alupi, puto taktak. Or, they could just go to El Ideal Bakery for the buko pie, guapple pie, quinamunsil, broas, biscocho prinsipe, galletas, paciencia, masapodrida, ugoy-ugoy and merengues. A short walk to Mariel’s Bakery will let them discover lubidlubid, quick melt oats, hopia, mammon, saging-saging, brazos de Mercedes and the undying pan de sal.
Being a scion of the Locsin clan, Mayor Mabilog can always ask his relatives to host his friends in their house for a taste of ginat-an nga gabi with bagungon, pangat, ginisa sa gata monggo-kulitis-gumaa pinakas, tinola manok bisaya, linaga karne with batwan and langka, or just the Silaynon salad of sinugba talong-sibuyas bombay-kamatis sprinkled with vinegar loaded with katumbal kutitot. The dessert could always be salab, puto lanzon, ukoy and kalamay hati.
MIGEDC can always opt for Balaring Shoreline Restaurant for the sea breeze and load their eyes on how community-based tourism does its best. The itinerary includes a mangrove tour using the bamboo bridge ending at Tom’s Tower to view Guimaras Strait and the birds having their picnic during low tide.
This is how tourism works. Others may learn from us and we will always treasure the process because in the process we become friends, and friends can always be partners.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 24, 2012.