A collection of ads I like and those I created as an adman. In between are some of my published articles about dreamers, achievers, those who reached for the stars, interviewed personally and through email. Hope their stories may inspire you a little.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
MIMAROPA: NO 'JUAN' IS AN ISLAND
by Roger Pe
November 30, 2017 issue
Ausans of Mindoro moved to Palawan in the early 60s, after the patriarch of the
family retired from government service. Paulino Ausan, who had been assigned to
the capital to help combat Malaria in the province’s far-flung communities,
decided that life would be better for his children to start fresh in ‘the last
a son had been assigned as head of a forest ranger teamin a mountain protected
area. A daughter had a steady job as a medical technologist in the local Department
of Health office, and the younger children, instantaneously adapted to their new
five decades later, the clan has grown. One even almost became a mayor after
being an active leader as barangay captainand pioneer in resort business.
Through the years, members of the family had acquired lands, and today, have
all assimilated like homegrown Palawenos, even speaking in the native tongue.
Mimaropa (acronym for Mindoro, Marindoque, Romblon and Palawan, the five
provinces that make up the Southern Luzon Region 1V-B), not only the Ausans had
made good by migrating to different islands. The scenario is often replicated over
and over by different families in different time frames. In these islands of
almost 3 million people, the cross pollination of opportunities would
inevitably alter people’s fortunes, depending on one’s perseverance and
region composed of islands with no land border with another region, Mimaropa,
as a whole, encourages people to cross each other’sborders freely. No island
seems to be self-contained and self-sufficient. Here, the exchange of goods and
commodities flow unceasingly, island to island.
quick look at the migration phenomena in Mimaropa (from a published research
paper by Marietta Alegre of the National Census and Statistics Office):
“Migration results from the movement of people to areas where their services
are needed or where they believe they can avail better opportunities and resources.
Though it happens to specific sectors of society, it can effect significant
changes, not only in size, but also in the composition of population of the
areas of origin and destination.”
has been beneficial to Mimaropa communities. Unused lands had been developed. Agricultural
productivity improved. Tourism upgrade was felt. “We want to unite the region,
however diverse its individual uniqueness. Most of all, exalt humankind, as each
of us does not exist in a vacuum. We are not an island by itself, we all belong
to a bigger piece.”
essence, that was the gist of Governor Eduardo Firmalo’s speech when he opened
the 2017 Mimaropa Festival in Odiongan, Romblon last November 21, 2017 at the
was the vision of thisentire Mimaropathing and what does it hope to achieve
throughout its existence?
Firmalo spoke gently from the heart amidst wild cheers. He emphasized the word
“encourage” along the way. “We would like to encourage people of Romblon to
learn from each other, especially from their neighbors and, hopefully, vice
versa. We want to polish ourselves by learning from each other. When we learn
from each other, we shine,” he said.
transmigration of ideas in the region has actually worked for Mimaropa to its
best interest,” amplified Governor Mario Gene Mendiola of Occidental Mindoro.
“It is through “Trans-Mimaropa” that we better ourselves,” he said. Mendiola
cited a professional, for example, who became a Romblon mayor who was originally
from his province.
inflow of better ideas and influx of professionals contribute to the betterment
of Mimaropa. I hope itwill continue and raise our region to greater heights,”
to prosperity, indeed. Fifty years ago, along with Mindanao, Mimaropa was one
of the poorest regions in the country. Today it is one of the fastest, if not
the fastest growing region in the country, largely to the increase in output of
its domestic industries and cross border migration. Fishing, agriculture,
tourism, mining and oil production output of natural gas in Palawan, for
instance, have upped the region’seconomic importance on the national scale.
is the national government helping Mimaropa in terms of infrastructure and
tourism upgrade? Odiongan Mayor Trina Firmalo, for her part, praised the
Department of Tourism for its unwavering support. She mentioned the training
programs her town has been getting in order to enhance, streamline and improve
tourism services in Romblon, in particular. “They are valuable and we are
grateful that these things are often accorded to us,” she said.
2007, Mimaropa’s economy started to surge by 9.4%, making it the fastest
growing region in the country in that year. The agriculture, forestry, and
fishing sector, which contributed 42.1% to the total regional economy, grew by
9.1% from 2006, accelerating from 3.2% the previous year.
higher production of rice and corn and other crops, livestock and fishery
resulted in the accelerated growth in the total agriculture and fishery sector.
industry sector, which contributed 38.3% to the region’s total economy, was the
second largest contributor next to agriculture. Mining and quarrying
contributed 16.6% to the total regional economy.
years later, Mimaropa is an economic and tourism powerhouse. As of year 2015, population
of Mimaropa reached 2,963,360. Palawan has the biggest number with 849 thousand
followed by Oriental Mindoro with 844, Occidental Mindoro with 487, and Romblon
with 293. Marindoque has the smallest with 235. Puerto Princesa, the only
highly urbanized city, has 255. The whole population of the region is 2.9% of
the total Philippine population. Mimaropa
today and beyond
has catapulted Mimaropa from a “Lonely Planet”, off-the-beaten path profile to
a dream destination, especially to people who love nature. Precisely, why
Danilo Intong, newly appointed Mimaropa Regional Tourism Director keeps on mentioning
the umbrella tagline with pride: “Destination Of Choice, Naturally.”
did they come up with it? “It was a decision of the RDC (Regional Development
Council) where the governors, mayors, and tourism officers of different
provinces and cities agreed upon. My job was to see through the bigger picture.
We mapped out the competitive landscape and compared it to other region’s
vision,” he said.
had a discerning mind. He saw that it was a statement of a “Dream” and that
started it - one collective idea, worded correctly and with a marketing
strategy and positioning stance.
presidential appointee in 2016, Intong replaced Minerva Morada and immediately
rolled up his sleeves and buckled down to work in mid-October. His background
in tourism and credentials run the gamut. From a tourist guide, university
teacher for 27 years, passionate advocate of eco-friendly tourism to nationwide
Bantay Kalikasan warrior.
developed many successful tourism products focusing on Sorsogon in Bicolandia.
Among his pet projects were the now famous Donsol “Butanding” watching and firefly
watching. He updates himself regularly with global trends in tourism, and was
one of the first Filipinos to work with WTO (World Tourism Organization)
Secretary General Talib Rifai.
does he develop new tourism products? “We first assess the locale. It is important
to prepare the destination to visitors. I talk to LGUs, a critical component of
my assessment because their participation and commitment will have an impact on
the success of tourism in the area. Local government officials must have a
stake on it. And mind you, I wouldn’t recommend development if I haven’t seen
the place personally,” Intong stressed.
plans to develop more tourism products for Mimaropa throughout his term. Right
now, he is focusing on Romblon because it is an emerging destination and it is
easily accessible from Manilaand south Luzon provinces. “Infrastructure
projects are beginning to take shape in Romblon, we want more of that to
happen,” he said.
also mentioned that Marindoque could be another Mimaropa gem if it is properly
promoted and marketed. “Cruise tourism is perfect for Marindoque and right now,
we’re talking to developers,” he said.
further streamline Palawan as destination of choice, Intong expressed his
optimism for the development of southern Palawan, especially Rasa Island in
Narra, home of the endangered “Katala” (White Cockatoo), the unrivalled bird
sanctuary of Ursula Island, and the entire Balabac group of islands to spur
growth in that area.
acknowledged the 1M contribution of Palawan to the total Philippine tourist
arrival chart and wished that the number would increase by a hundredfold when
new markets abroad are tapped through relentless promotional blitzes.
was not reckless in his statements, careful about proclaiming empty motherhood
statements about his plans for development. “We should not be doing what
everyone is doing. We should think out-of-the-box. If everyone is doing river
cruises, we should not be doing the same thing. We should think creatively, of
other things because there are other ways of creating new products. One must
only have the will and creativity to do it. Otherwise, we’ll end up as
copycats,” he said.
admires local government leaders who have vision and assert their leadership
for tourism. He respects officials who know what they are talking about - that
tourism must be viable for the community, first and foremost.
must serve a purpose socially, environmentally and economically. They are
inseparable. When none of them are present, we are just wasting our time and we
will not reap the fruits of our labor,” he said.
provinces, 2 cities
Mindoro is the
other half of Mindoro, just a few miles away from Manila. The province is
criss-crossed by rivers and streams, mountains and valleys, lakes and hot
springs, and many more natural attractions.
just a few miles from Manila, it is accessible if you take the South Luzon
Expressway and Port Batangas in Batangas City. Here, one can find the fourth highest
mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Halcon, where you can explore its jungle
wilderness;Naujan Lake, the fifth largest in the country (declared as a
protected wetland). Around the vicinity are never-before-published scenic
waterfalls, and swamplands that serve as nesting places for waterfowl and
oldest settlement on the island called Puerto Galera, (port of galleons) was an
important stopover for vessels in the famed Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade
during Spanish times. With many breathtaking coves and landscapes, it has
become Mindoro Oriental’s most famous tourist attraction because of its white
sand beaches and undersea marine gardens that are perfect for diving and
province is also home to “Mangyans”, a major ethnic group with 8 sub-indigenous
groups that have retained their pre-Hispanic syllabic script, poetry and myths.
is the other half Mindoro, largely untamed and home to the wonderful “Tamaraw”.
Endemic to the island, the species bears a close resemblance to the Carabao (water
buffalo), smaller in size but with shorter and straight V-shaped horns.
province has a natural luster that even the most jaded traveler cannot ignore.
Just off the western coast of Batangas, lies its capital of Mamburao. Though
San Jose is considered as its commercial center (due to the presence of many
banks, cafes, entertainment spots and other business establishments), Mamburao
is the official seat of government.
is worth mentioning, too. The jump-off point to the world-famous Apo Reef
Marine Park is a 34-kilometer reef with a narrow channel dividing it into two
lagoon systems. The must-visit marine wonder is also host to white sandy
to be missed is Mt. Iglit, a declared national park and forest reservation
area. Trekkers to this mountain can get a glimpse of the “Tamaraw” which live
at the foot of the mountain.
Island is another place of interest. On this island, Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese
soldier, hid for 30 years after World War II, and only surrendered as a
prisoner of war in 1974. Another Japanese captain of the Imperial Army, Fumio
Nakahira, took refuge in the forests of Mt. Halcon, before being found in 1980.
Marindoque was part of Batangas
province when the Spaniards colonized it in 1581. It became part of Mindoro towards
the 17th century and figured prominently in the Spanish galleon
trade and pre-Spanish trading era. It was declared a separate province when the
small island province sits just below Batangas and portion of Quezon province.
It offers a quaint and laid-back ambiance but is famously identified with the
staging of a colorful Holy Week rite. Called “Moriones”, the tableau depicts
Christ’s passion and death.
province also annually stages a spectacle of other attractions, like the
butterfly and carabao festivals. It also has white sandy beaches unknown to
many like those in Maniwaya and Tres islands. Dainty handicrafts, delicacies
and traditional Filipino hospitality are yours to enjoy when you visit this
is also one of the best places to visit if you’re into heritage sites and old
churches. The Boac and Santa Cruz cathedrals are fine examples. They served as
refuge center for Spanish priests and officials during Moro invasions and
Romblon is called the
Marble capital of the Philippines. The quality of marble quarried in this
island is a source of pride for the country because it is onpar with the best
in the world. It is also a lucrative export valued by sculptors and builders
is rich in other mineral deposits like gold and copper. Composed of three main
islands (Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan), including a cluster of twenty other
small islands, Romblon is blessed with some of the best and most unspoiled
beaches in the country.
the capital of the province with the same name, is a quiet town located in a
beautiful bay fortified by a 17th century Spanish garrison. If you
are taking a ferry and docking at its main port, be prepared to see a landscape
that slowly turns into a breathtaking Mondrian painting. No wonder it’s been
described as the Lisbon of the Philippines.
del Gallo in Sibuyan Island is perhaps Romblon’s most stunning island. The
sandbar located in a kidney-shaped islet dazzles with the purest of white
beach, ringed by a reef rich in marine wildlife.
almost 7,000 feet, Mt. Guiting-Guitingoffers an adventure of a lifetime for
mountaineers looking for a tough challenge. It is said to be the most difficult
mountain to climb in the Philippines.
for adventure, recreation, natural attractions, and exotic festivals? You will
always have a grand time with Romblon.
been chosen by Conde Nast and Travel and Leisure, two of the world’s most
respected travel magazines as “World’s Best Island” a number of times. It has received
countless awards for eco-friendly and sustainable tourism. It actually does not
need an introduction.
province’s unique geographical formations, natural wonders and unique flora and
fauna define this paradise. It is here where the most visited islands and
attractions in the Philippines are located – El Nido, Coron, Busuanga,
Underground River, Honda Bay, Tubbataha Reef, Tabon Caves, Onuk Island and many
other jaw-dropping sites.
has the highest concentration of the most beautiful, undiscovered islands with
immaculately white beaches, totaling about 1,780, most of them uninhabited. It
is home to one of the world’s largest biodiversity, forest and marine life. No
wonder it has two UNESCO World Heritage sites and a spot that was declared one
of New 7 Wonders of the World.
The bustling capital of Palawan province recently rebranded and described
itself as, “Where Nature begins and never ends”. How apt. The city literally nestles
in the womb of exhilirating mountain ranges, rivers and hectares of forests made
even more charming by the genuine hospitality of its people.
newly constructed international airport is a showcase of its beautiful persona,
perhaps the best in the Philippines. Come summertime, the city explodes with a
riot of white and pinkish colors of the “Balayong” tree, known as Palawan
are many things to do in Puerto Princesa if nature is your cup of tea. You can
explore the World Heritage Site Underground River, commune with the rainforests
and hundred caves of Sabang, Tagabinet and Cabayugan, get enthralled by their
limestone karst caves and cliffs, go “Butanding” watching in the open sea,
bedazzled by firefly watching, gripped by the events of the past in the War
Museum, or simply watch Parrots and Cockatoos whizz by as you lay on the beachfront
of Microtel Wyndham and Aventura Resorts offCanigaran beach.
city is earthquake-free and outside of the Philippines’ typhoon belt. The main
gateway to all points in Palawan, it is also accessible to Cebu and other
Western Visayas cities, including new foreign destinations such as Taipei, Kota
to its excellent geographical location and port facilities, the city has been
dubbed as the Cruise Ship Capital of the Philippines, with some of the world-renowned
luxury liners docking at its port regularly.
the capital and gateway to Oriental Mindoro, currently one of only two cities in the region. It serves as the region's administrative center, and for that matter, the hub of commerce, industry, transport, communication, religious activities and education of the entire province. One of the major food suppliers in the country, the city is also a major exporter of rice, supplying Metro-Manila and major parts of Luzon, making it both an agriculturally progressive city. It many unspoiled beaches, too, mountain trails, leisure farms and resorts, and hosts a number of rare flora and fauna. Place of interest include the Calapan City Zoological and Recreational Park, Verde Islands,, Baco-Chico, Aganhao, Silonay islets, Harka Piloto Marine Sanctuary, actively protected by the local government. Given its protected status, Harka Piloto is an ideal site for diving and snorkeling, Bulusan Mountain Trail, Caluangan Lake, Baruayan River, amont others. During the festival's Tourism Night, the city of Puerto Princesa swept the most awards honoring establishments that have consistently supported tourism growth in their respective city of operation and the Mimaropa region.