Sec. Romulo-Puyat acknowledges ‘Boracay wishlist’ of Lourd de Veyra

August 3, 2018 - 4:16 PM
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Tourism secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat has vowed to take in consideration some suggestions on improving Boracay Island from host, writer and musician Lourd de Veyra (Philstar.com/file photo)

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has cordially acknowledged the open letter to her written by broadcaster, writer and musician Lourd de Veyra.

The letter has expounded on the hopes and expectations placed upon the official since her appointment early in 2018.

‘An open letter’

Puyat acknowledged the letter prepared by de Veyra in a tweet on Friday afternoon.

The letter published on airline company Cebu Pacific’s in-flight magazine Smile Magazine essentially contained a ‘wishlist’ of de Veyra’s hopes for the tourist hotspot Boracay Island.

Among de Veyra’s foremost requests was for the Department of Tourism to settle on just one tagline.

There has been some confusion on the official tagline in recent years following the “Experience Philippines” campaign launched in June 2017.

The DOT later clarified that “It’s more fun in the Philippines” remains its official tagline, though the many department’s publicity campaigns still confuse some including de Veyra.

De Veyra also called for better management to take on the task of overseeing affairs on the island which is currently closed as part of a rehabilitation drive.

“Can we set a standard for Boracay and get super pros to manage it? No one needs reminding that that one little island is the billion-dollar epicenter of our national tourism,” wrote de Veyra in his letter.

He also requested Puyat that no casinos be built on the island.

Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. is still reportedly on track with the construction of a ‘mega-casino’ expected to break ground in 2019, despite opposition from the Palace.

The Radioactive Sago Project frontman also called for Puyat to do something about the little things: the music and the street food.

De Veyra criticized the repeated use of reggae music at Station 2 of the island, mentioning overuse of reggae classic “Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers.”

He then called for better street food to be served by the local restaurants by urging the country to keep up with the way Thai tourism hubs prepared their street food.

“If we’re going to play catch-up, we’ll have to go beyond fishballs, isaw and balut — and show the world that Philippine cuisine isn’t all about bizarre foods or a challenge on Fear Factor,” said de Veyra.

Some have agreed with de Veyra’s suggestions.

Puyat’s promises

Puyat, after assuming the post in May 2018, said she would focus on farm and culinary tourism in the country.

The former agriculture undersecretary also vowed to check on the rehabilitation efforts in Boracay, but said that she would ultimately leave the matter in the hands of the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“We will leave it up to their judgment,” said Puyat in a television interview in the same month.