Negros to ZaNorte

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By Ver Pacete

As I See It

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


ONE big event in tourism is the holding of the thirteenth national convention of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) in the cities of Dipolog and Dapitan in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. The working theme is ‘Tourism, a Vehicle for Peace’.

Negros Occidental delegates are headed by Cristine Mansinares, the provincial tourism officer. Our team will leave Bacolod on October 1. We are expected to arrive at ZaNorte Plaza Capitol in the morning of October 2 for registration and billeting of delegates. Parade of regions will feature the traditional or regional attire in a one-kilometer walk from Dipolog City Boulevard to Convention Center.

The opening program will be held at ZaNorte Convention and Sports Center in Dipolog City with the convention rationale to be given by Mike Sison, ATOP president; and Gov. Rolando Yebes of ZaNorte will give the welcome remarks. Keynote speaker is DOT Sec. Ramon Jimenez. His topic is ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines - The New Phil.Tagline.’ The guest of honor is Vice President Jejomar Binay. Governor Yebes is hosting the welcome dinner wherein he will showcase the best nourishment of the province.

Immersion tour will be in three areas. The Municipality of Polanco handles industrial tour showing handicrafts and agri-tourism. Historical tour will be in Dapitan.

Ecotour is hosted by Brgy. Miatan (Subanen Village, Sanao Cave). Those who want to plant mangrove will proceed to Aliguay Island.

The Atop General Assembly and the bidding for the 14th ATOP National
Convention will be in Thai Restaurant of Dakak Park and Beach Resort. Dinner and regional socialization will be accommodated at Sultan Area (Beach Front) and all delegates will be exploring Gloria Fantasy Land Tour and Fun.

Plenary session topics: ‘Peace in the Context of History, Culture and
Heritage’, ‘World View on Defense, Diplomacy and Development on Philippine Tourism’, and ‘Peace Promotion through Tourism: A Media Perspective’. Sec. Luwalhati Antonio of Mindanao Development Authority will talk on ‘Tourism Agenda for Mindanao - MindaNow’.

And the awaited moment is the awarding Ceremonies of ATOP-DOT Tourism
Best Practices, ‘The Pearl Award’. On top is the Best Tourism-Oriented LGU which will be given to a province, city and municipality that show a sustainable tourism development program as defined in the Tourism Act of 2009 which refers to the management of all resources that meet the needs of tourists and host regions while protecting the opportunities for the future.

LGU tourism programs should fulfill the economic, social and aesthetic needs while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems in relation to community outcomes. Silay City and San Pablo City are the only finalists.

Other major award categories are: Best Tourism Event that is divided in three categories- Festival, Arts and Culture, and Adventure; Best Tourism Month/ Week/ Celebration for provincial, city and municipal levels; Most Outstanding Tourism Officers’ Club/ Organization/ Association.

The event will end with ‘KaPEACEtahan ZaNorte’ (ATOP Peace Covenant).
Peace is the backbone of any tourism program. Without peace, there is no unity and integrity. With peace, we can establish a culture of solidarity among regions. There can only be fun when the environment is robust, when we move around without fear, when our leaders do not cheat, when every Filipino holds himself in high esteem. FUN, Filipinos Unite Now!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 26, 2012.

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