The tourism department plans to promote Puerto Princesa, a city known for its remarkable attributes in MIMAROPA, as a preferred location for meetings, incentives, conferences, and events (MICE) within the country.

Regional director Zeny Pallugna of the Department of Tourism (DOT) MIMAROPA said Friday, May 5, that as discussed with City Tourism Department (CTD) chief Demetrio Alvior, Jr., they will push for Puerto Princesa as a MICE destination where tourists will stay for longer periods of time.

She said during the Amos Ta Ren sa Puerto Princesa radio show that the city is well on its way into becoming a MICE location since it has a lot of events in the next few months, such as Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa and international dragon boat competition.

“Aside from that, siguro sa susunod we can conduct yong 101 on MICE. Puwede tayong gumawa niyan, and then identification ng mga different function facilities for the MICE market (Aside from that, maybe in the future we can conduct a 101 on MICE. We can do that, and then identify the different function facilities for the MICE market),” she said, so the regional tourism office can start promoting the city at the end of the year, or next year.

“Para maka bid tayo for the conventions na gagawin. Yon yong isang gusto ko na gagawin dito (So that we can bid for the conventions that will be held. That’s one thing I want to do here),” added Pallugna.

The second goal for Palawan, Pallugna emphasized, is to train more community tour guides, and recalibrate their skills continuously, so they could help promote and showcase the “Filipino brand of service” globally.

This is based on the fact that MIMAROPA is considered as the “cruise capital” of the country due to its outstanding characteristics, making it a region of many superlatives.

“Ang pangalawa naman (the second is)—MIMAROPA is, whether they like it or not, we are the cruise capital of the Philippines. Imagine it, we have 139 cruise calls in the Philippines, 22 of them is in Puerto Princesa; 41 total within the MIMAROPA Region,” she said.

Pallugna emphasized that this indicates that more than one-third of the port calls made by cruise ships in the country are directed towards MIMAROPA.

Continuous training and upskilling of tour guides will make destinations  being visited by cruise ships ready, she said. 

The regional director of the DOT also mentioned that they plan to introduce the national program called “Philippine Experience” to the city, which includes the well-received Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo.

She expressed that the DOT intends to emulate the successful tourism program of Cebu province in the Puerto Princesa. This program highlights 15 towns located in the northern part of Cebu through the “Northern Escapade,” which is one of five tours, including the Southern Heritage Trail, Enchanting Camotes, Midwest Trail, and Urban Tour.

“We want to replicate it in Puerto Princesa as well,” she said.

Alvior, on the other hand, said that the city’s main focus is really on the MICE industry, and as a result, Mayor Lucilo Bayron is actively encouraging investors and venture capitalists to build convention centers in strategic areas such as Quito and the environmental estate in Barangay Sta. Lucia.

“Actually, pinag-uusapan namin ang about sa mga activities ng tourism, at sabi ni mayor, baka yong Quito area lalakihan na lang. May mga ganoong focus, tama po, yong MICE. Kaya yong magkaroon ng convention center yong inaayos natin (Actually, we were discussing tourism activities, and the mayor suggested that we should expand the Quito area. There is a focus on MICE, so we are working on establishing convention centers),” he said.