ANGELES CITY – "As students of Tourism Management, you will soon brandish the torch and take hold of the responsibility to make a big impact on our city's tourism industry. I hope that this talk, and this convention, has inspired you to do greater things for the betterment of our community."
Thus said Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan during Angeles University Foundation’s Tourism Convention 2016 held Tuesday at the university’s St. Cecilia Hall.
Pamintuan, who was invited as one of the two key speakers in the conference, sought the support of the attending tourism students to do their part in promoting local tourism, culture and arts.
The mayor first took a look at the city’s very colorful history, which he said, was ironic, since it started with the bleak, dark and depressing aftermath of the Mount Pinatubo Eruption in 1991.
He told the students the devastation Mt. Pinatubo left Angeles City back when he was the acting mayor of the city where all public utilities were down, industries were destroyed, major infrastructures collapsed, employment was almost negative, public buildings like schools and hospitals and the whole city was covered with mud, lahar and ash fall.
He added that with grit determination and the right leadership and governance, the Angeleños survived, stood up and rose from the ashes.
"Nobody imagined that Angeles City will rise again from the ashes,” the mayor remembered.
In his years as the mayor, Pamintuan achieved different tourism goals that made Angeles City slowly shed its “sin city” image.
Inspired by a vision and seeing the need to utilize areas, the mayor aims to achieve the physical and cultural renaissance of Angeles City that includes the bolstering of the city’s tourism potential through the development of parks, promenades, and cultural enclaves.
The mayor boasted of the different trending spots in Angeles City such as the Plaza Angel which houses the Museo ning Angeles, the Cafe Museo and the most iconic historical structure, the Holy Rosary Parish Church which is now free from dangling and ghastly-looking spaghetti wires.
According to Kuliat Foundation, the people who have visited the Museo ning Angeles, now with the Cafe Museo, has dramatically increased to a record breaking 40,364 visitors last year, which is a 500 percent increase from the 7,373 visitors in 2011.
“These [beautification] efforts also gave way for the city to bag the most prestigious tourism award from the Department of Tourism and the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines, which is the PEARL AWARD for our heritage conservation efforts,” Pamintuan said.
The mayor also highlighted the Museum of Philippine Social History (formerly Pamintuan Mansion), which opened to the public last year, and the declaration of the National Museum of the Philippines to several heritage edifices of Angeles as Important Cultural Properties (ICP’s).
Also, various national agencies have been eyeing Angeles City as the next arts and culture center of the Philippines through the staging of cultural events.
“The awards and the trust that we are gaining from these tourism and cultural agencies are a clear manifestation that Angeles City is slowly but surely shedding off its ‘sin city’ image’,” Pamintuan said.
Attendees of the conference include students from the City College of Angeles and Angeles University Foundation. Also present during the conference was former Department of Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina Gabor. (AC-CIO with reports from Ashley Nicole Singh)