Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has responded to broadcaster-musician Lourd de Veyra’s open letter and has even offered him a role in the DOT consultative council for Boracay’s reopening.
Dear Mr @lourddv ,
Please, call me Berna.
I’ve gone through your suggestions and agree with many — if not all — your points. Since you took the time to write me in the pages of this magazine, I thought it only appropriate to reply here as well.https://t.co/iwEHQDZI8R
— Berna Romulo Puyat (@BernaPuyat) September 2, 2018
“Given your sterling credentials in that area, I’m inviting you to be part of the Department of Tourism’s consultative council for Boracay and its reopening,” Puyat said in her response letter.
She was referring to de Veyra’s request to have Boracay be managed by “experts,” one of the points he made in his wish list to the tourism leader, which also echoed the expectations of many during the six-month rehabilitation.
Puyat’s letter was published in Cebu Pacific’s in-flight magazine Smile Magazine, the same outlet which earlier published de Veyra’s work.
Puyat’s reaction letter
Of the casino and the tagline
There will be no casinos, Puyat confirmed, probably the most anticipated answer to all, in response to de Veyra’s plea against building any casino when Boracay reopened.
“Boracay will be an example of sustainable tourism,” she said.
Previous reports tell of the construction of a “mega-casino” from Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. that is expected to break ground in 2019, despite the Palace’s repeated opposition toward it.
Puyat also preferred the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” tagline to be officially used, amid confusing changes during her predecessor Wanda Teo-Tulfo’s term.
She described it as “catchy and true” to the country’s identity.
“That’s impressive given how vast our country is and how varied our people can be. I can’t imagine it’s easy to capture the diversity of the Philippines in one campaign, let alone a tagline,” Puyat wrote.
Of street food
De Veyra previously suggested that street food here should be served similar to how Thai restaurants prepare theirs for tourists.
The new tourism leader shared that the country has a lot to offer in serving high-quality local food to tourists.
“Food tourism is something I’ve been pushing and promoting over the past decade and it’s something I’ll continue to espouse. If there’s anything I’ve learned in all my years working in government, we can disagree on politics but we can all get along over a meal,” Puyat wrote.
Of karaoke and Boracay ads
Restricting the Filipino hobby of karaoke will also be taken into “serious consideration,” Puyat said.
“On restricting karaoke, and in particular any attempt to sing “My Way”, I’ll take that into serious consideration. My dad likes that song a lot, so I have very strong feelings about it being sung badly,” she said in jest.
For promoting Boracay, Puyat invited De Veyra to share his ideas on the right commercials to show as she was also not a fan of common “melodramatic” ones as well.
She had admitted that she is a fan of him, and further emphasized on her offer on being a part of the consultative council as a “pro bono work.”
“I’m serious about my offer for you to be part of the consultative council for Boracay. It’s pro bono work, but you’ll be able to make more suggestions and won’t need to trouble the editors of this magazine,” Puyat wrote.
There are 25 hotels and resorts that the tourism department had certified to be compliant to the requirements of the Boracay inter-agency task force on the grand reopening on October 26.
Puyat clarified that this will just be a “soft opening.”
“October is only a soft opening… how can you rehabilitate an island under a state of calamity in only six months?” https://t.co/w6eQc27ieS
— Berna Romulo Puyat (@BernaPuyat) August 30, 2018