In view of the long-weekends declared by Malacanang for the year 2010, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is urging the public to spend their holidays in the country and help contribute to the growth of the local economy.
“Spending your vacation here is a great pledge to love your own and do your part in boosting our country’s growth,” said Tourism Secretary Joseph ‘Ace’ Durano.
Aside from the country’s eight anchor spots — Boracay, Palawan, Davao, Cebu, Bohol, Vigan, Baguio, and Manila — the department is also actively promoting unexplored sites to benefit the communities in remote areas.
“We enjoin people to visit tucked-away destinations as well for economic gains to trickle down to the grassroots level,” Durano said.
These alternative spots are readily available and highly accessible for tourists who prefer to immerse themselves with the local life, enjoy the flavor of home-grown leisure, and stay in accommodations such as homestays and inns, the tourism chief added.
In the past year, the DOT has launched some alternative sites like the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park in Leyte and the Danao Adventure Park in Bohol.
Citing other examples of undiscovered spots, Durano said, “While beaches of Boracay and Palawan are still top-drawers, Camiguin, Leyte, Mindoro Occidental and Oriental Negros, Siquijor, Quezon also have pristine waters and stunning coastlines.”
Nature lovers may head off to Bataan, Batanes, Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Marinduque, and Romblon, while heritage hunters may seek the old historical charm of Bacolod and Iloilo, aside from the Ilocos.
Tourists who plan to troop to the cities of Manila, Makati, Cebu and Davao have a range of options laid out for them.
“On top of shopping, food trips, nighttime entertainment and theme park activities, we have huge theater performances and concerts lined up for the year,” said DOT Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque Jr.
The DOT’s head of Planning and Promotions also noted the travel trends that the public should look out for.
“Extreme outdoor activities are big this year. The range is more expansive now, with tourists who are open-minded and raring to experience something new,” Jarque said.
The department has been relentlessly supporting adventure activities such as plunges, zipline rides, wakeboarding, skimboarding, kayaking and cyclotourism among others.
The young-at-heart, on the other hand, may try other activities, as the country caters to a broad spectrum of different preferences of travelers.
“A beach lover can enjoy a relaxing spa retreat in Palawan, a festive party in Boracay, or a surfing break in La Union. Our islands offer a unique plethora of things to do for all kinds of tourists,” continued Jarque.
Spiritual pilgrimages, cultural festivities and colorful ethnic celebrations are some of the other highlights that tourists may also wish to join.
The DOT reminds the public to book early. “It’s ideal to plan ahead, and avail of value-for-money packages offered by hotels, restaurants, malls, theme parks, and entertainment venues,” Durano said.
The department said Malacanang has declared a set of long weekends for 2010 by moving regular and special holidays to the nearest Monday or Friday of the week as provided for in Republic Act No. 9492 and Proclamation No. 1841. These are:
Feb. 20–22, Saturday to Monday (Feb. 22 — EDSA Anniversary).
April 1–4, Thursday-Sunday (April 1 — Holy Thursday, April 2 — Good Friday).
April 9–11 Friday–Sunday (April 9 — Araw ng Kagitingan)
May 1–3, Saturday–Monday (May 1 — Labor Day moved to May 3).
June 12-14, Saturday–Monday, (June 14 — Independence Day).
August 21–23, Saturday–Monday (August 23 — Ninoy Aquino Day).
August 28–30, Saturday–Monday (August 30 — National Heroes Day).
October 30-November 1, Saturday-Monday (November 1 — All Saints’ Day).
November 27-29, Saturday–Monday (November 29 — Bonifacio Day).
December 24-27, Friday–Monday (December 24 — Non-Working Holiday; December 25 –- Christmas Day; December 27 — Rizal Day).
December 31, 2010–January 1, 2011, Friday–Sunday, (December 31 — Non-Working Holiday; January 1 — New Year’s Day).
The observance of Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha will be issued by the government upon the advice of the Office on Muslim Affairs. (PNA)