DAVAO City's famed Philippine Eagle will have to compete with the gigantic whale sharks locally known as “butandings” of Camarines Sur for its bid to host the Meetings Incentives Conventions and Exhibitions conference in 2012.

Tourism frontrunner Susan Palad, who is now the vice president for Mindanao of the Philippine Tourism Congress, said the competition to host the Mice conference in 2012 is now down to two venues, Camarines Sur and Davao City.

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"This is a highly coveted event that everyone wants to host," Palad said, citing the attendees and speakers during Mice conferences.

Events’ organizers, travel agents, and international travel media outlets are expected to attend the conference.

"We will have to compete with the Camsur water facility, the butandings. Camsur is a fast growing destination," Palad said.

The Mice conference was staged in Subic this year and in Cebu City in 2011.

Initially, General Santos City also bidded for the Mice conference in 2012 but was not included in the shortlist.

Despite the relatively small delegation for the Mice Congress, Mary Ann Montemayor, a frontrunner in the tourism private sector, said the event is primarily attended by the upscale market.

Official records from the City Tourism Office show that the city has only about 2,700 beds, including those in motorist hotels.

"With only about 500 to 600 attendees, we are confident that we have the hotel rooms and the convention venue for that," Palad said. (CPM)