Solon: Bad roads make Philippine travel less fun
“Getting upstairs” might be more fun in the Philippines. But what if the roads to world-famous tourist attractions like the Ifugao rice terraces are pot-holed and few?
This was the question raised by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat who noted the lack of an infrastructure-spending program to back up the new tourism promotion slogan which has caught the social media by storm.
In a statement, Baguilat said that it would not be fun for tourists to travel on unpaved and inadequate roads to Banaue, Mayoyao and Hungduan that have “the most beautiful of these heritage sites.”
“The photo of the Ifugao rice terraces was one of the very first cover photos used in the DOT’s (Department of Tourism) campaign website dubbed as, ‘Getting upstairs. It’s more fun in the Philippines,’” the congressman said.
“It’s about time the government put its money where its campaigns are and invest in badly needed infrastructure that would make it easier for both local and foreign tourists to see the expansive terraces,” said Baguilat.
“Access to tourism areas (roads, air and sea ports and facilities) would be drastically improved if these were given priority by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the DOT should be prioritized to favor prime tourism areas,” he said.
“It seems that the DPWH pledge to allot the tourism infrastructure fund for these Unesco heritage sites has been forgotten,” Baguilat said.
He cited the much delayed improvement of the airport in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, which would substantially cut travel time to the highlands.
“The airport improvement will not only benefit Ifugao but also the other tourist destinations in northern Luzon such as Sagada in Mt. Province,” he said.
“Ifugao continues to attract many foreign tourists,” he said, adding that Korean and European tourists regularly join their ecotour packages.
“But the common complaint is the difficult access,” Baguilat said.
The new slogan has caught fire in the Internet after both critics and supporters of the new tourism campaign reacted to it in various ways. Critics superimposed photos of different settings in the Philippines with the slogan, including one featuring a jeep packed to the roof with passengers with the words “Getting a ride. More fun in the Philippines.”
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