Not-So-Old Notes About the Philippines #02 [From the Vault]

Blogger’s Note: As a travel magazine editor/writer, allow me to share with you a little bit about my work, in hopes of giving you a glimpse of what our small but beautiful country is all about. You see, the Philippines has a little bit of everythingthe stunning beaches, the biodiversity, the lush rainforests, the historic towns and vibrant cities. But its biggest pride is definitely its people. Filipinos are one of the friendliest and warmest people you could ever meet, so here’s my own way of channeling that brand of hospitality: sharing my anecdotes about home, and in the process, about myself.

The Philippines: Tourism’s Tomorrow Land?

An architectural rendering of the New Manila Bay – City of Pearl. Source: Ho & Partners Architects. 

As a kid growing up in Metro Manila—in the quiet then still town of Las Piñas, circa early to mid-1990s—my idea of a quick summer escape could easily be summed up by played out cassette tapes of Jagged Little Pill, Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York, and perhaps Trini Lopez (Thanks, pa), while excitedly looking out at the dusty open road for any familiar landmarks, and then occasionally being interrupted by our overheating raggedy Toyota Starlet. Finally, five hours, three bathroom stops, and eight wrong turns later, we’re in far-flung, undiscovered Tagaytay. In a weekend or two, you could see us heading out yet again, this time to the hottest family destination of the moment that would only take several rounds of Jagged this time. We heard Splash Island had simulated waves for that utmost beach feel. Out of convenience and sheer lack of creativity, we thought it was an absolute genius and a gift to the city folk. Considering our 7,500-island-dwelling situation, it probably was.

But that was twenty years ago.

Today, ten-year-olds have likely marked Boracay as their “favorite beach EVER.” They plausibly are about to ask their parents to take them to surf camp next because Tagaytay is “so five summers ago.” This is not a shot at the younger generation by any means, but an attempt to point out how traveling these days has become much easier and more affordable for everyone, regardless of age and purchasing power. Whether you blame it on better roads, cheaper flights, the online travel booking boom or basically more long weekends, Filipinos have finally been given the opportunity to see their beloved Philippines more, and they are grabbing and cherishing every inch of it. Just ask Human Resources.

Times are definitely a-changing and we can’t help but expect so much more from the places, pastimes, and people that are dominating the scene at the moment, adding anticipation to the country’s ascent in the world of tourism. And we should. We’re not stopping at topping best islands lists. We’re out to beat them in other areas too. Word has it, we’re looking to open more modernized international airports (for example: Puerto Princesa, Cebu, and Bulacan) around the archipelago in the next few years, thereby boosting tourism coming from abroad. Plus, we’re gearing towards a future with our very own “smart city.” And a groundbreaking “green city.” So buckle up, put your sunglasses on, and prepare for more and pleasant travels ahead.

Are you excited about this time in global tourism as much as I am? What other exciting modernization news would you like to share about YOUR country? Comment below!

(Originally titled “Tomorrow Lands”, this write-up was France Pinzon’s Editor’s Note, initially published in Explore Philippines April – May 2016 issue. Some parts have been edited and omitted to suit general online viewing.)

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