Category Archives: Mindanao

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Davao City emerges as sports tourism hub

The Philippines scored yet another tourism marketing coup with its successful hosting of the Alveo IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon on Sunday in this premier Mindanao city (list of hotels), the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Thousands of spectators watched the nine-hour Alveo IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon in Davao City on Sunday, the 10th to be held in the country. Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio was on hand to congratulate some 2000 participants.
Thousands of spectators watched the nine-hour Alveo IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon in Davao City on Sunday, the 10th to be held in the country. Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio was on hand to congratulate some 2000 participants.

Thousands of people welcomed and cheered over 2,000 competitors in the different categories of this prestigious international sporting event that featured 21 world champions, including men’s professional big winner Mauricio Mendez of Mexico.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo said tens of thousands foreign and domestic visitors descended in Davao City for the spectacle race, rendering hotel resorts in the area fully-booked days before the three-day event began.

“Once more, we have showcased Davao City as an outstanding venue for major international events and as a safe haven for truly great fun experience,” said Teo, a self-made Davao travel entrepreneur before her ascent to the DOT top post.

Both Teo and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio vowed to facilitate and host other popular sports events this year, including a segment of the World’s Strongest Man competition next month in the backdrop of immense Mt. Apo.

“I’ve been wanting to do the Ironman here. I am very happy that it’s here now and we welcome you all wholeheartedly,” Mayor Duterte-Carpio said during the media day at the Ayala Land’s Azuela Cove in Davao City’s Lanang district.

The triumphant 22-year old Mendez, a heartthrob among women enthusiasts, said he has fallen for Davao City’s pristine scenery, luscious greenery, the exotic local cuisine and the Filipino hospitality.

Mauricio finished second in last year’s IRONMAN in Cebu City and a seven-time first-placer in previous IRONMAN and XTERRA professional triathlon competitions.

Women’s pro-winner Radka Kahlefeldt of Czech Republic has competed several times in the Philippines while Cebu native Jorry Ycong topped the Asian Elite category.

The triathlon included a 1.9-kilometer swim, followed by a 90-kilometer bike, and ended with a 21.1-kilometer run.
A record-high 1,800 professional triathletes from 39 countries like Australia, Japan, Hungary, Mexico, United States, South Africa and the Czech Republic competed the 9-hour event that also featured Filipino celebrities Matteo Guidicelli, Wilfred Uytengsu, Kim Atienza, and Bubbles Paraiso.

Alveo IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon in Davao City
Alveo IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon in Davao City

The organizers prepared special medals for the finishers, crafted by a prominent Mindanaoan artist named Kublai Millan.
Teo also lauded the local Philippine National Police (PNP) region 11 police office and hundreds of community volunteers for ensuring security and traffic safety throughout Sunday’s race.

“Tourism does not only seek to promote destinations but also wellness for local and international visitors to pamper themselves, and Mindanao offers a complete package for holistic health and fitness, and nature adventure,” said Teo.

“Marami pang darating na events, not only in Davao but in other places din para ma-promote ang iba pang destinations (There will be more events not only in Davao but also in other emerging tourist destinations),” Teo added.

Teo said the event is aligned with the DOT’s “Go South” program to promote world-class destinations like Siargao, Samal Island, Camiguin Island, Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi, and Mindanao’s products, food, culture and tradition.

Blue Water Cave: Bukidnon’s hidden paradise

For adventurous people who like to smell wood blossoms in the cool fresh mountain air while plunging in a gently flowing cool blue waters, or go into caving or spelunking: Blue Water Cave in this landlocked province of Bukidnon is one perfect place to go.

The 'blue water' cave.
Blue Water Cave photo by :

Municipal town Mayor Gregorio Gue of Quezon said that the local government and a non-government organization (NGO) Kiokong Climbing Society—a non-profit group that now develops the Kiokong Eco-Tourism project here, oversees town visitors’ activities such as trekking and spelunking especially during weekends. Continue reading Blue Water Cave: Bukidnon’s hidden paradise

Department of Tourism launches ‘Vinta Sailing at Paseo’ in Zamboanga

Vinta sailing is now an additional attraction at the scenic Paseo del Mar, which is the newest leisure park in this southern port city.

Vinta Zamboanga
Vinta Zamboanga

This came after the Department of Tourism (DOT) in partnership with the local government officially launched “Vinta Sailing at Paseo” as part of the effort to preserve and promote Zamboanga City’s cultural identity through colorful vinta sails and at the same time develop new programs to attract both domestic and foreign tourists. Continue reading Department of Tourism launches ‘Vinta Sailing at Paseo’ in Zamboanga

Siargao Surfing Festival 2011 Schedule of Activities

General Luna, Siargao Island —- The town of General Luna where the world-class surf break Cloud 9 is located will be hosting this year’s Siargao Surfing Festival which will take place from September 17 to October 03. This year’s festival will have three major components, namely, the: 1) 13th Siargao National Surfing Cup – September 17 to 20; 2) Billabong Pro Junior Asia – September 21 to 28; and the 17th Siargao International Surfing Cup – September 29 to October 3.

siargao international surfing festival
Siargao Surfing Festival 2011

Billabong Pro Junior Asia.
Although the festivity will kick-off on September 17, the festival’s highlight is on the 20th when eighty surfers from Australia, Japan, Hawaii, Europe, Brazil, South America, Indonesia, Malaysia, United States of America, and the Philippines will convene at Cloud 9 for the first ever 5-star rated ASP or Association of Surfing Professionals event dubbed as Billabong Pro Junior Asia. Continue reading Siargao Surfing Festival 2011 Schedule of Activities

1st Siargao Island Surfing Festival

A grand surfing festival, dubbed as 1st Siargao Island Surfing Festival, will be held in one setting for local, national and international from September 21 to October 1.

Siargao Island Surfing Festival

Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas said that among the surfing sporting event that will be held at the annual festival are the National Surfing Competitions and 16th International Surfing Cup and other foreign surfing competitions held at the country’s surfing capital, Cloud 9 in General Luna, Siargao Island.

Series of activities are lined-up for the two-week yearly festival like various sports events, cultural and talent shows and tourism/trade fairs, Surigao del Norte provincial tourism officer Ivonnie Dumadag said.

Among the special guests who signified their intention to attend the first surfing festival were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Department of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Dumadag said.

Dumadag said the festival will have a grand launch tomorrow (August 5) at Paseo Cabuntog, General Luna town, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte.

“At the grand launching, we will explain to media and invited guests why the festival was conceptualized and what are other activities at the festival to attract local and foreign tourists as we expect this year’s surfing festival will be big bang to our local tourism industry”, Dumadag said.

Governor Matugas, for her part, said re-invigorating Surigao del Norte tourism industry is one of the priority development agenda of her administration.

“We have huge potentials in tourism and we already created an international niche in the industry as we aimed more because we have not fully showcased the best of the best in Surigao tourism,” the governor said.

Mandaya Songs Festival 2010 features rich culture and heritage of Davao Oriental

Proud of their rich culture and heritage, the Mandaya people coming from different parts of the Davao Region hummingly trooped to this beautiful coastal town of Davao Oriental to celebrate their uniquely colorful and soulful songs and music which they aim to popularize in mainstream media in a bid to strengthen their sense of identity in this culturally-diverse society.

davao festivals
Mandaya Songs Festival

The Mandaya Songs Festival staged recently in this town was the first of its kind in the country.

Popular and budding Mandayan artists and singers throughout the country graced the momentous event that enriched their unique culture that emanated from the province of Davao Oriental. Continue reading Mandaya Songs Festival 2010 features rich culture and heritage of Davao Oriental

Can Lupon Empanada Festival place Davao Oriental in the country’s tourism map?

Good food has always been one of the factors that make people want to visit a certain area. This is exactly what the organizers of the Empanada Festival are rooting for when they started planning for the festival which was held on March 25 this year in Lupon, Davao Oriental.

Empanada of Batac Ilocos

“Lupon lacks activities that will bring in people from other places so we thought of something that will increase the number of visitors in the area,” Ramil Corbeta said. Continue reading Can Lupon Empanada Festival place Davao Oriental in the country’s tourism map?

Expats find their havens in Davao

Living in another country with a culture entirely different from yours can be quite a challenge. However, there are people who have learned to embrace the culture and people of the countries where they work, and most of them even decide to stay in that foreign country for good.

Famous Durian Fruit of Davao City

Davao City is not a stranger to expatriates or professionals who live in another country entirely different from their own. In the same manner, most expatriates are no strangers to the city and its attractions which led them to love the city as their own. Continue reading Expats find their havens in Davao

Green Tourism brewing in Davao hotels and supermarkets

You just arrived at your hotel and after switching on the light, which you will later find out is a CFL or Compact Fluorescent Lamp, you then proceed to the bathroom for a leisurely warm shower without knowing that the heat that warmed your bathing water could have come from a pump that collects heat from other sources which is then converted into reusable heat.

Those are just a few of the many characteristics that would make a hotel environment-friendly.

Incidentally, this is not a presumed scenario but what is actually being practiced by most of the hotels here like the Marco Polo Hotel Davao. The hotel also segregates its waste to limit its carbon footprint to a minimum. With these green practices, it should not come as a surprise that Marco Polo Davao was one of the Philippine hotels that received the Asean Green Hotel Recognition Award.

The Marco Polo Davao experience should be an eye opener to other tourism establishments in Davao City that are still hesitant about the practice of green tourism.

“There are numerous tourism establishments and for many of them sustainability is costly,” said Dr. Stefanos Fotiou, regional coordinator of the Resource Efficiency United Nations Environmental Programme.

Fotiou flew all the way from Thailand to Davao City to talk on “Greening the Tourism Industry: The Role of Standards and Certification” during the Green Tourism Forum held at the Marco Polo Hotel early this week.

Marco Polo Hotel Davao general manager Mr. Nigel Fisher said the tourism sector is such a major player in the world economy that there is no place or continent in the world without any tourism activity.

“Tourism has a significant impact on the world economy”, he said, but consumption and the residual products left behind should be a cause for concern.

Mary Anne Montemayor, convenor of the Green Alliance for Davao which organized the event, said green tourism is nothing new but the sector should be encouraged to go for environmentally-friendly practices within their establishments if only to minimize the effects of climate change.

“The green tourism idea has become exponential in view of calamities like typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, the El Nino phenomenon and the Haiti earthquake,” Montemayor said.

Montemayor said all these calamities make climate change real for all of us, and it is time to take a collective action and make a difference. It may be too far out for the ordinary citizen to relate tourism with climate change. But take note that the moment a tourist books his flight and gets his ticket for a certain tourism destination, it is already equal to a significant carbon footprint that can contribute to global warming.

As Fotiou said, “a typical tourist will consume three to eight times more water than a local in the destination.”

It is thus important that tourism facilities lessen their carbon footprint as much as possible to help in the campaign against global warming, Montemayor said.

“Green tourism is the only way for the future; it has to be a movement and with its growth it can result to a more affordable way of doing things the green way,” Marco Polo Davao Executive Assistant Manager Art Boncato said.

Fotiou said 83 percent of the world’s tourism industry is dominated by small and medium enterprises who find sustainability costly. Despite this, he said, tourism has a great potential to contribute to sustainable development.

Among the United Nations’ initiatives to promote sustainable development is the green passport campaign and the sustainable coastal tourism campaign. It has also established the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) and the Tourism Sustainability Council (TSC) which will be launched this month. The TSC aims to develop GSTC, accredit certification programs and spread awareness of sustainable tourism.

He said the strategy is to encourage tourism business to voluntarily adopt the basic green guidelines so they can become more sustainable.

Fotiou said the GSTC is the minimum basis for the standards to be accredited.

However, he said a global sustainable accreditation will not work because there are different situations unique for Davao and for the other tourism destinations.

He suggested that the green tourism initiative should start as a local initiative to be accredited by the national organization and then the GSTC.

Fotiou also made mention of Envirotel which is one of the UN initiatives to promote green tourism. This is a simple and practical guide that will assist hotel managers and staff to incorporate environmental practices in their daily operations. The small hotels will be able to download this tool for free once it is uploaded on the UNEP website.

Marco Polo Davao is however not the only tourism establishment in the city that has started to go green.

“Green tourism is now practiced by some responsible resorts and tourism players and the Davao Gulf Management Council has in fact acknowledged some in the hope that others will follow,” Save Davao Gulf Foundation, Inc. president and Councillor Leo Avila III said.

Toryanos, a local native chicken house, is also keen about green tourism and has already started implementing green changes by using environmentally-friendly products for its chicken house. Used barbecue sticks have also been recycled and are now used by the chicken house to fill up its walls.

SM City Davao, another tourism establishment, has also strengthened its environmental protection advocacy by making sure that all the lights inside the mall are CFLs since they use less power and have a longer rated life.

The Mall also partnered with the Davao Light and Power Company for the CFL Exchange Project. It is also involved in the “Trash to Cash” campaign.

SM City regional operations manager for Mindanao Debby A. Go said the company’s core environmental programs are in the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation, air quality efficiency and solid waste management. It has also spearheaded the green bag campaign. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recognized SM City Davao for its best environmental advocacy and campaign.

Montemayor said there are a lot of pressing environmental issues affecting the Davao Region’s tourism industry foremost of which is the power crisis. She said the industry is one of the major users of energy and it is important that the tourism sector start embracing an energy-saving lifestyle.

By using CFL, Department of Energy chief science and research specialist Engr. Antonio de Guzman said, the consumer could save up to 5 kilowatt hour which is equal to P37.50 per month.

This, she added, means foregoing up to 2.1 kg of CO2 emission.

Montemayor said promoting Davao City as a major green destination will not only help the region but will also contribute to sustainable tourism. Green tourism could actually mean tourism areas that are bent in protecting their environments. These are areas that are proud of their environmentally safe practices, from resorts, restaurants and even hotels that are unpolluted and with minimal carbon footprints.

Department of Tourism-Tourism Services and Regional Offices undersecretary Oscar P. Palabyab said there is a market for green tourism and “Davao City will be the Green City of the Philippines.”

He said it is all about creating communities that are clean and healthy, which will then create the tourism markets. The world’s temperature is rising and the effects are already manifested in terms of the calamities that the whole world is experiencing. While the Philippines is not among the big league countries that pollute the environment with their carbon emissions, the country’s largest city in terms of land area can make a dent in lessening the world’s carbon footprint by going green. Source – PNA

Green Tourism Forum 2010 in Davao City

The Davao City tourism industry leaders are initiating a Green Tourism Forum on Environmental Stewardship on March 8 at the Marco Polo Davao.

Philippine Eagle in Davao

Mary Ann M. Montemayor, convenor of Green Alliance for Davao said the forum aims to tackle relevant and pressing environmental issues affecting the tourism industry such as the power energy crisis in the region. Continue reading Green Tourism Forum 2010 in Davao City