It’s More Fun in the Philippines (Let’s give it a chance)

“IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!” This is the new slogan that the Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez Jr. launched yesterday for the whole world to see while the concise version, “#1 for Fun in the Philippines” will be for the domestic market. This will replace the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” motto, which has been the subject of criticism when it was launched, for plagiarism issues, and the fact that only Filipinos could understand the true essence of this phrase.

I must say I am quite impressed with the simplicity and straightforwardness of this slogan that the DOT has decided to promote. Similar to the catchy “WOW Philippines,” also the country’s former tourism motto, the new slogan is very easy to understand. This factor alone can definitely captivate the curiosity of its readers, thus making them want to take part in the “fun” things that they can do in the country, rather than passively observe in the background.

A Copied Slogan?

Many people say that the newly created motto was advertently copied from Switzerland, which also used the same exact phrase as their promotional tool for their country back in the 1950s. However, the DOT secretary clearly states that this controversial slogan is just plain “coincidence” since our country is in fact, a place that is fun to visit. Or is it?

The Challenges

We all know that tourism in the Philippines has recently had a lot of setbacks due to poor promotional strategies that were focused on all the wrong things. This gave a huge negative impact on the psyche of the tourists resulting to a lot of disappointing and shameful reviews such as labeling NAIA as one of the worst airports in the world and naming our country as “the sinking country in Southeast Asia” because of the poorly maintained establishments, polluted environment, and frighteningly high crime rate.

We must all admit that these criticisms ring a lot of truth and it is high time that the government does something about this growing concern that has tremendously affected the economic growth of our nation. After all, the Philippines is a beautiful country! We just need to highlight all the magnificent things that make this place exquisite and exotic in the first place. The new slogan will certainly do this trick as it literally means what it says.

What makes this country fun and exciting?

Seawaves, Beaches, and the Underwater World

Being the Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines has a lot to offer particularly when one is looking for a way to de-stress by getting in touch with nature. Start by relaxing at the white sandy beaches of Boracay and Puerto Princesa. Explore and be fascinated by the serene hidden lagoon of the underground river at El Nido, Palawan. Marvel at Puerto Princesa’s Underground River, voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Get into diving with the untouched blue waters of Puerto Galera. Visit the pristine Surigao del Norte, the surfing capital of the country, where you can surf to your heart’s content. Finally, get ready to be amazed by the Butandings, rare whale sharks swimming at the open shores that can only be seen in the Sorsogon waters.

Mountains, Hilltops, and Volcanoes

Explore the earthy elements of the country. Begin at the intriguing Banaue Rice Terraces, known to be the eighth wonder of the world. Get spellbound by visiting the Northern Sierra Madre Mountains and see the proud and splendor beauty of the country’s national bird, the Philippine Eagle (also known as the Monkey-eating Eagle), one of the biggest and most powerful birds known today. Check out Bohol with its rich chocolate hills and the home to the big-eyed Philippine Tarsier, the world’s smallest primate. Lastly, a vacation will not be complete without seeing the sheer splendor of Mt. Mayon, a perfectly symmetrical volcano that has risen above the ground or the infamous Mt. Pinatubo, the now quiet volcano that has sent shockwaves of explosion back in the early 90s.

Shopping for Everybody

Experience undiluted shopping in the city, Go to SM Mall of Asia, the third biggest shopping center in the world. It houses all the best designer products, delicate and exquisite native goods that can only be found in the country, and a wide array of different cuisines and dishes that can satisfy everyone’s cravings. For posh and elegant ambience, Greenbelt Makati and Eastwood City, Libis would be the best options for culinary delights, shopping and open concerts. For a unique shopping escapade go crazy in Divisoria, the global Filipino store that offers all sorts of products in very affordable prices located at the heart of Manila. Finish this all off by enjoying authentic Chinese food at China Town in Binondo, the world’s oldest China Town.

All of these attractions can only be found in the Philippines, hence making a one-of-a-kind adventure one will never forget. It is also a good thing that we, Filipinos, have an innate skill of being genial to our guests which makes us very hospitable, a favorable factor that can easily boost and maintain a sincere relationship with tourists.

Believing the Slogan

There may be challenges along the way but I truly believe that this is another chance for our country to shine by not only promoting the Philippines with a new slogan, but by also by fervently believing that our islands deserve to be seen in their resplendent glory once again. We can do this by further concentrating on the things that can only be seen, found, and experienced in the Philippines, not focusing on matters that the tourists already have. This way, we can successfully attract people from all over the world with these unique elements that made our country colorful and rich in culture.

I just hope that the government would quickly move forward by thinking about BIG CHANGES – by making our airports efficient (this truly is a MAJOR issue – I have seen poorer and smaller countries with much better facilities; take Bangladesh for example), superior, clean, and most of all WORLD CLASS (see how far behind we are from the Bangkok and Singapore airports); making a BIG move to ease our roads of traffic, and making more elegant and decent hotels. Both locals and tourists will surely appreciate having a clean and secured environment and this can effectively open the doors that overflow with expectant individuals who would want to visit and experience the Philippines at its best. As individuals, let’s start the change in us. Let’s stop bickering and pulling each other down.

Like the new slogan says, it’s more fun in the Philippines – truly it is! So why not give our country a chance to be valued by the world?

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