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Make your vocation your vacation |


Make your vocation your vacation

RENDEZVOUs - Christine S. Dayrit - The Philippine Star
Make your vocation your vacation
Tourism hotspot: Kawasan Falls, Badian
Narjay Canilao

“The secret to success,” Mark Twain once said, “is making your vacation your vocation.” I would say that one could also make one’s vocation one’s vacation.

Revenge travel is now on the upswing. There is no better time to take that leap of faith to experience what the Philippines has to offer than now. No organization espouses this truth more than the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing and promotions arm of the Department of Tourism. Indeed, they are zealously fulfilling their mandate to promote the country domestically and internationally.

Our indefatigable Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco and the equally dynamic TPB COO Marga Nograles recently spearheaded a media trip to Dumaguete and Cebu. Together with the amazing Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, they launched the Wayfinder Program that created significant signage to improve navigation experiences for tourism spots, including the Kawasan Falls canyoneering project, Lucban and Quezon.

Secretary Frasco led the ceremonial unveiling of the Badian Wayfinder and shared the vision of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for Philippine tourism development.

She said, “Tourism development does not only promote destinations across our country but more importantly, gives equal promotion and development opportunities to the countryside, that includes emerging destinations to give opportunities to our fellow Filipinos to have gainful livelihood by way of tourism.”

TPB COO Nograles added: “Badian Island Wellness Resort is home to some of the most thrilling adventure destinations in the country, and we recognize its potential to join the ranks of other tourist hotspots and bring a tremendous boost to the country’s tourism industry.”

This invitation from DOT/TPB aroused my curiosity as the invite included several activities and events in just a few days. A canyoneering adventure in Kawasan Falls, a trip to a tropical haven with Thalasso spas called Badian Island Wellness Resort.

The Henry Resort in Dumaguete is a tourism treasure as well. A reimagined architectural gem with heritage artwork, this haven of modern elegance and nostalgic beauty of yesteryears is definitely worth a stay — and more stays after that.

At the DOT/ TPB Wayfinder launch in Badian, Cebu: (front, from left) Hanky Lee of Henry Hotels, Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Marti Ybañez, TPB COO Marga Nograles, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, Badian Mayor Carmencita L. Lumain, DOT Undersecretary Shalimar Hofer Tamano, Apples Aberin, and Miles Roces; (back) Gabriel Libarios, Jr., Philip Cu-Unjieng, celebrity influencers Chris Tiu and Shuvee Etrata
Narjay Canilao

Another unforgettable visit was to the culinary haven with a jazz bar in a beautiful century-old home called Cava owned by the Flavour Profile Group headed by JP Chiongbian. His very supportive sister Jaja Rama graciously toured us around and let us sample the contemporary cuisine offered here.

Amid the lush vegetation of the forest and jungle, with the crystal-clear, cold waters of Kawasan Falls, our daredevil group, with canyoneering guides, jumped the high distance of the cascading waterfalls with a colorful rainbow visible. They say that “we fear what we don’t know,” but soon as we jumped, we were addicted to it. The surrounding vegetation framed the deep lake that mirrored all that reflected from above. Donning life jackets and aqua shoes, the adventurous gang, headed by lovely couple Apples Aberin and Miles Roces, took the leap of faith like precocious children trapped in poetry of motion. The sun had sunk below the horizon as everyone headed back to the restful and relaxing oasis, Badian Island Wellness Resort.

A hearty dinner of boodle-style cuisine, Surf and Turf delights and fresh fruits was savored by the famished group at the resort’s Panorama Restaurant. Charming GM Ryan Armedilla shared the significance of this resort with his family and guests.

Under the fine glow of the moon, influencer Shuvee danced the tinikling with the resort performers. The Henry Resort Dumaguete’s charming Hanky Lee provided more sumptuous dinner fare of paella, lamb lengua and more. A lavish dinner of seafood and tender beef with free-flowing wine and cocktails was also served. The gregarious group reminisced about the fun-filled activities that had transpired. Amiable TPB officers like Thea Ifurung also shared their canyoneering experience.

Another milestone was the anniversary ride of the Philippine Motorcycle Tourism that gathered motorcycle clubs, including 470 riders from all over the country. Marga Nograles led this exciting event as she embarked on a 54-km ride through the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

How can one visit Cebu without a visit to the amazing, castle-like Simala Shrine that reminds one of the holy experience in Lourdes, France? I recalled the amazing story about the devotion of celebrity Ogie Diaz to Simala for the health of his daughter Meerah Khel, who was born prematurely at 680 grams. Today, Meerah Khel is a healthy and happy six-year-old vlogger.

Many devotees attest to answered prayers at the Simala Shrine with nurses caps, crutches, wheelchairs and the very touching notes of people who believe that they were healed by the intervention of the Virgin Mary. Truly a declaration of faith, claiming the joy of each prayer answered.

Nothing happens accidentally. Each move is made purposefully and intentionally. The zealous efforts of DOT and TPB are living testaments of their endeavors. On this particular trip of eclectic activities, we made our vacation our vocation and our vocation became our vacation. Indeed, the DOT and TPB have adhered to this advocacy to promote the country here and abroad. This is their battle cry, their vision, their legacy. There certainly is no better time to travel than now.

Palabok Negra is must-try at Henry Resort Dumaguete.

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For more information, follow the Department of Tourism Philippines on Facebook, Instagram (@tourism_phl) and Twitter (@tourismphl) and the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines on Facebook, Instagram (@philippines.tpb) and Twitter (@philippines_tpb).

Philippine Airlines flies to Dumaguete and Cebu. For more info, go to

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