University of Santo Tomas Graduate School – Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET) and College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (CTHM) held a three-day webinar series titled “CulTour: Culture-based governance in Tourism.”
On the first day of the webinar, the speakers were: the Officer-in-Charge of the Product Planning and Development Division of the Department of Tourism (DOT) – Office of Product and Marketing Development (OPMD) Ms. Gina Marie Liberty Esmaña; NCCA Head of Cultural Communities and The Traditional Arts section Ms. Renee Talavera; Atty. Guiller B. Asido of the Intramuros Administration; De La Salle University History Professor Dr. Jose Victor Torres; Food Historian from the Food Association of the Philippines Mr. Ige Ramos; Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church (ECCHC) Executive Secretary Fr. Milan Ted D. Torralba; and Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines Officer Mr. Arwin Paul Lingat.
The Focus Group Discussion on the second day of the webinar provided a space for the different Local Government Units (LGUs) to raise awareness and concerns regarding the importance of having cultural officers to fulfill their duties. The event participants were categorized into three levels, namely, the provincial level, the city level, and the municipal level.
Each level was designated to their specific breakout rooms to discuss policies and frameworks to promote sustainable tourism as a valuable tool for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage. Research Associates of the USTGS-CCCPET, Mr. Jame Monren T. Mercado, Mr. John Cristopher B. Mesana, and Mr. Welfredo M. Artigo, Jr., served as facilitators.
The speakers from the different parts of the country were able to share their experiences and their LGU’s performance in relation to the current situation of the tourism industry. The speakers who shared their expertise on the Provincial Level were: Mr. Alphonsus Tesoro, Provincial Tourism Officer of the Province of Capiz; Ms. Maria Luisa Elduayan from the Pangasinan Provincial Tourism & Cultural Affairs Office; and Mr. Mario Piczon, Provincial Tourism Officer of Samar.
For the City Level, the speakers were: Ms. Josephine Granada-Gutierrez, Tourism Officer of Baybay City; Ms. Gene Rose Tecson, Tourism Officer of Davao City; and Ms. Junel Anne Divinagracia, Tourism Officer of Iloilo City.
For the Municipal Level breakout room, the resource speakers were: Dr. Jeffrey Pino, Municipal Tourism Officer of Tanay, Rizal; Ms. Kinna Mae Kwan from Guiuan, Eastern Samar; and Mr. Richie Cavinta from San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.
During the third day, the facilitators from each level presented a summary and shared their knowledge about the topics discussed during the Focus Group Discussion on the second day of the webinar. The synthesis of the event was given by Mr. Edgar Allan Sembrano and Ar. Michael Manalo, who also discussed the Cultural Tourism in Spanish-era Philippines.
In the same event, CCCPET Director Dr. Eric B. Zerrudo launched a two-volume publication titled “Culture-based Governance” for local government units in the Philippines. The event was concluded by the Director of the NCCA-PCEP Dr. Joseph “Sonny” Cristobal with a hopeful message to safeguard our native culture and pursue culture-based governance in tourism.
The event was attended by Cultural and Tourism Officers and guests all over the country. It was held in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Philippine Cultural Education Program (PCEP), Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation, Inc., Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP), and third-year students and faculty members from the CTHM.