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Solon: Tourism best in its purest form

Congresswoman Lucy Torres Photo courtesy of Purple Box

While tourism conjures up images of luxurious resorts and hotels, lavish meals, and top-level tour itineraries, perhaps the most cherished and truest form of tourism is where the purest essence of the place and the people are highlighted sans the fancy infrastructure.

“The medium is the message. The experience is presented as a gift where the end-user feels special. Everything is presented as is with no apologies. Simple luxuries and pleasures are what matter most. In the end, it’s all about celebrating your culture and heritage.”

Ormoc Congresswoman Lucy Torres made these statements during the 25th Visayas Area Business Conference held in Ormoc, Leyte. She narrated her travel experiences
to Bali, Indonesia with friends several months ago as an inspiration from the Julia Roberts movie “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Torres related that they were determined to experience everything that Roberts’ character in the film went through, as the Hollywood actress embarked on a deep soul-searching journey on Bali to explore first-hand the mystique and heritage of the place in the course of the movie.

One of the stops was with a local fisherman who gifted them with a simple collection
of small fish but with so much heart and sincerity that she and her friends were quite touched with the gesture.

She noted that the entire place overflowed with the distinct culture of its people – populated by tourist-conscious locals who go out of their way to make the tourists feel quite welcome while inundating the visitors with native hospitality and smiles.

Torres bemoaned that while the Philippines does possess similar attractions and features, it badly needs the proper skills to present a more attractive package to the tourists and for return visitors as well.

“We have so much to offer in the Philippines. We have our own cultural counterparts,
which we don’t give much attention. The Swiss have their chocolates, we have our tableya and biko. They have their exotic foods, we have our lechon. We just need to learn proper marketing and presentation and organize properly our human capital,” she reasoned.

Simplicity and sincerity

The congresswoman then disclosed that there would be no real need to put up a polished and perfect tourism product similar to a highly urbanized place like Makati, but emphasize more on the culture and products reflective of the locale concerned.

“Now is the best time to advertise as we celebrate our heritage. We need not be the best version of ourselves, but just put our best foot forward. No need to wait to be perfect, but exude the sincerity and hospitality of our place. Our heritage deserves to be highlighted,” she continued.

Torres added that she grew up in Ormoc, where the simple life breeds romanticism in imagery, where everyone has their own favorite vendor, and where handmade and homemade life is uncomplicated sans the presence of malls.

“I believe that the Visayas region is ready for business to boom. But good luck favors the prepared and the hard working. As diamonds in the rough, we look forward to increasing our tourism assets we continue to develop our potentials in culture and heritage while maintaining our pristine rural environment,” she concluded.