THE Department of Tourism-Northern Mindanao plans to launch a tourism, arts and culture awareness campaign to showcase the local artists and products of the region in February 2019.
According to DOT-Northern Mindanao Director Marie Elaine Unchuan, they plan to launch Art Turismo in February 2019 in time for the celebration of the National Arts Month.
“Since last year pa we've been talking to the artists already for collaborations for art and culture. We came up with Art Turismo to showcase our local artists, of course also local products,” Unchuan said.
“Since they're organized already as a community of artists, we decided to work together initially to do tourism awareness campaign and at the same time it’s also promoting local culture and arts,” she added.
The first activity, Unchuan said, that they are planning to commence is a painting competition, wherein the five provinces and nine cities of Northern Mindanao will be asked to have their own painting contest featuring their local tourism destination.
“Depende lang sa cities who want to participate,” Unchuan said.
The painting competition will consist of two categories: student and professional categories.
The winners from each of the categories from the provinces and cities will have their artworks exhibited for the public to see what tourist spots each of the areas have that are worth visiting.
“A lot of the people in our region don't really know what we have, the tourist spots. By asking them to paint, they themselves can orient themselves to the tourism destinations,” Unchuan said.
The idea for this competition came to be after the tourism department noticed how the locals have not yet gone to the tourist spots of a certain area even though they live there.
“Ang case man gud karon, we discovered in the local scene is a lot of the locals haven't really gone to their tourist spots, di ba. And they rather go to Cebu or Boracay rather than visit,” Unchuan said.
“But when they discover that there's something worth seeing, ayha na daun ta moadto like for example katong hobbit house, daghan kaayo walay nakabalo adto pero pag viral, daghan na kaayo moadto pero naunhan pa sila sa mga tao sa gawas kaysa katong locals,” she added.
Tourism awareness not only for visiting tourists but also the locals is one of the objectives the Art Turismo campaign aims for.
Another is the art and culture awareness, featuring the local artists and rich culture of Northern Mindanao.
“You know, we have so much talent but people don't really know about it. There's so much talent here that's not being promoted [or] being promoted but only for a limited few,” Unchuan said.
“We really want to make it public nga makakita gyud ta nga 'oi, gwapo man diay, naa man diay ta world class artist dinhi sa atong region.' It’s something to be proud of also,” she added.
Art Turismo will not only assist in the promotion of the local artists and culture to persons living outside Mindanao but also help in eliminating the biases concerning Mindanao as a region where most of the violence occurs, especially after the Marawi crisis.
“The outsiders, they're thinking something that's not there. They have their own biases. But when you put this beautiful Maranao culture at the forefront, there's no negative that comes out,” the DOT-Northern Mindanao director said.
“We want to erase that [biases]. Because we want to show the creativity of the Maranaos,” she added.
There are various tribes in Northern Mindanao, apart from the Maranao people who migrated from Marawi during the siege and are starting to go back to their homes. There are the seven tribes of Bukidnon, the Subanon tribe in Misamis Occidental, the Higaonon from Misamis Oriental, and others.
The painting contest, according to Unchuan, is only one of the activities that they are planning to launch for their Art Turismo campaign in February.