Buzz: Lapu-Lapu wants own luster as city

LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Paz Radaza’s efforts to remove the giant statue of Lapu-Lapu at the Luneta Park in Manila and transfer it to her city apparently have something to do with the branding of the city.

The branding launched last July 25 in Hoops Dome aims to make the city a world-class tourist destination, as world-class “as its people, its history and the infrastructure it builds.”

Its catchphrase: “Lapu-Lapu: the Historic Resort City.” And the figure dominating the icon is, of course, Datu Lapu-Lapu, symbolizing the city’s “diversity, dynamism and people,” “Lapu-Lapu in the sun.”

The branding aims purportedly “to differentiate” the city “from the clutter and competition to further attract investors and tourists.”

That means, competing with and being different from other tourist destinations in the world. And that includes other places in Cebu, like Cebu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City and Cebu Province.

Apparently, Lapu-Lapu wants to be separately identified as Lapu-Lapu because, the mayor noted in her speech, “when tourists, investors and even the media talk about world-class resorts, beautiful beaches, wonderful island experience, they simply refer to Lapu-Lapu as Cebu.”

“Come to Lapu-Lapu” is the new come-on, no longer “Come to Cebu” and include Lapu-Lapu in your visit.

Isolationism? Maybe but not unlike the idea sometime ago when Cebu distanced itself from the trouble-wracked Philippines and billed itself as “an island in the Pacific.”

But the brand bright boys and girls may be reminded that Cebu has also lent its brand and luster,better known in the market, to their own city.

About that statue at the Luneta

So when Mayor Radaza presses for the removal of Lapu-Lapu’s statue at the Luneta, the showcase of national tourism, isn’t she in effect negating the purpose of her international branding of the city?

That’s the most visible propaganda piece of the city’s brand right now, right in Metropolitan Manila where tourists from all over the world flock and may be lured by the statue to go to the island in Cebu.

Actually, the privilege of being there, a pedestal of national prominence, is what’s most valuable. As long as Lapu-Lapu keeps that place, with the same or another statue, Cebu’s, not just Lapu-Lapu City’s, interest will be preserved.

Negotiations are underway, a Bzzzzz source says, for the statue to stay or a replica to take its place at the Luneta.

[bzzzzz@sunstar.com.ph or paseares@gmail.com]

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