08 May It’s More Fun in Pinas, until you are ‘persona non grata’
JUAN SAYS: What’s so derogatory about “Is the DOT [Department of Tourism] just hiring members of their families who need jobs? I hope not . . . these people need to actually be qualified!”? It is not as if somebody called Sorsogon DOT officials “Pignoys.” In our books there is a big difference between telling the truth about ones experience versus bashing a certain country, group of people out of sheer personal disgust and not actually an account of what had happened.
“It is rather surprising—if not ridiculous—that an experienced traveler like Allen, who seems to have gone to many countries visiting tourist destinations and promoting them, would go to Donsol without supplying himself with any information about the place he intends to visit that other tourists normally do when they make a trip to a certain place which is readily accessible in the Internet,” Ravanilla added.
Though we feel that there was a tad of “entitlement” on the part of Nathan when the Tourism department failed to get in touch with him during his trip to the province, we still feel that bestowing a persona non grata status is too severe for something so trivial. 3,000 facebook likes on his post, nataranta na kayo? Pano pa pag umabot kayo ng 177,000 facebook shares because of a write up by juan.com.ph, just like our article on Jamich (check link here), baka naman firing squad ang abot naming sa inyo?
We are a bit confused with this issue. If we deduce it to layman’s terms, the story is this:
- Travel blogger visits Donsol, goes straight to the Tourism office to ask which parts of the city/town are best to promote/write about.
- Tourism office shows incompetence because it can’t answer simple questions as that.
- Travel blogger leaves his number with Tourism office so they can get in touch with him while he is in the city.
- Tourism office doesn’t call.
- Travel blogger writes about experience in his blog, and asks what kind of people were working in the Tourism office that they can’t even give directions on which parts of the town/city were best to promote and write about.
If you look at it from this context, there is really nothing wrong with what Nathan did. Any sane journalist or person for that matter would write about their experiences, be it good or bad, to paint a true picture of what this city/town/province has to offer. We also ask the same question as Nathan: bakit hindi alam ng Tourism officials ng Donsol kung anong meron ang lugar nila? Sandali lang, naintindihan ba nila ang tanong ni Nathan in the first place? Any normal person who resides in a certain town would know or should know by heart what a certain town offers. Heck, even those who travelled once to a certain town would remember something – be it a place, food, a breath taking view – that they could offer a tourist who is asking. There is something terribly wrong with how the Tourism office in Donsol is run. And if you look at it closely, it doesn’t exactly take one to have a superior IQ to be able to answer questions. No brainer yan! Turo mo ang plaza, ang beach, lumang bahay. Kahit anong pumasok sa isip mo na minsan mong nagustuhan sa sarili mong lugar o probinsya. Common sense kumbaga.
We have all rejoiced and used the campaign “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” and that surely includes competence in those who work for Tourism in the country. This is not just about the government agency, but even the small town tourism offices, hospitality industry practitioners, and we, the people in general. Are we saying that indeed it is more fun in country until it is not? Are we saying that anybody who is displeased with our services and calls us out (without being racist ha) deserves to be branded as an ingrate and should be banned from entering our town/province/country? Parang may mali yata. Parang ang OA lang ng bonggang bongga.
Nathan Allen is exactly who the marketing campaign “It’s more fun in the Philippines” is targeting. We are trying to attract foreigners who want to spend money on a vacation that they would never forget, and with our slogan, we are telling the world to come here to our country and experience whatever you have in yours, but with our own take. But with us declaring a tourist more so a travel blogger as a person non grata for stating the truth about a certain service (that we should improve on naman talaga) that is part of the whole marketing hype of “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” sends a different message to travellers. Be disgusted with our shortcomings and you will be banned from entering our country/town/province for the rest of your life. Nakakatakot. Nathan didn’t scare the travellers away, Sorsogon did. Wrong move people.
Jusko, minsan na nga lang may dumalaw na gwapong ibang lahi sa Pinas, ipagtatabuyan nyo pa. Yan ang totoong issue dito. Asan ang hustisya! Kairita!