Friday, March 16, 2018

Ticao Island: Tourists’ One Model to Depict (or Define) What an Exotic Tourist Destination Is

Wazzup Pilipinas!

From my conversations with foreign traveller-vacationers in the Philippines, most of them assert that they do not prefer checking in in luxury hotels, plush amenities, and five-star accommodations. What they crave instead are exotic places where calm and quiet blend with modern lifestyle.

I asked them what they exactly mean since it is understandable that once you book a travel package, the agent will naturally house you into somehow pricey bed and board. So, to drive their point, they pointed to my place, Ticao Island, as a model for that exotic that they mean. How is this so?

Well, in Ticao, you can find superb hotel-resorts. Some of these hotel-resorts are the only structures standing out in a village where they are located. One good example, Ticao Island Resort, is structured splendidly in a village called Tacdugan wherein those houses surrounding it are commonplace ones dwelt in by village folks who usually subsist on fishing as their source of livelihood.

Another is Altamar Resort just a few kilometres away from Tacdugan. It is an amenity whose concrete facilities are similar in design to those hotels in Metro Manila or urban cities. What makes it unique is that it is in a very quiet rural expanse; no hustle-bustle like those in urban places, no sound of heavy machines, no coming and going of roaring vehicles, no fuzz of busy people like those in the downtowns; just the peace of the serene rustic touch, or of the synonyms—rural, countryside, bucolic and idyllic.

So, these tourists refer to the Metropolitan luxuries that they no longer prefer. Ticao, according to them, is exotic in the sense that you stay here in an atmosphere of rural culture combined with modern living. In the downtown of San Jacinto, Ticao’s most progressive of four towns, you can avail yourself of facilities, amenities and commodities that the modern lifestyle can provide. There are also hotels down there, other cozy lodging houses and restaurants.

Much contrary to the old impression that lifestyle in an island is outmoded and behind the times (Oh! I hate this impression!), the lifestyle in Ticao is avant-garde and trailblazing. People here are mold in innovative and forward-looking culture.

Every day, Ticao is frequented by foreign and local tourists. Foreign tourists come from races such as English, Chinese, Germans, French, Koreans, Japanese and Americans, etc. When foreign vacationers in the Philippines arrange a tour package, most, if not all, travel agents always include Ticao as a journey point. Mr. and Mrs. Chris Fleckney, a couple from England, showed to me their itinerary folder listing their arranged destinations which include Palawan, Boracay and of course Ticao. Tourists come to Ticao for Manta Ray, for diving.

Most of the foreign tourists I came to have a conversation with affirmed that they came to know about Ticao by word of mouth from their fellowmen who have come here, bragging to them about their encounter of the island. Ticao, really, is getting famous around the world.

The next day November 14, after my photo-shooting tour of Ticao Island Resort and having had a good conversation with the English tourist couple Fleckney, I scooted to Batuan, Masbate, one-hour travel from San Jacinto. Inside Yuson Hotel and Beach Resort, I chanced upon a seminar being conducted by the Department of Tourism Region V (Bicol) in collaboration with the local government of Batuan. I didn’t have the idea there was that seminar. I asked permission to listen. Incidentally, some of the facilitators are known to me personally and professionally. Having shown and established my credentials as a writer, I was then invited to join the congratulatory panel during the awarding ceremony and to join the picture taking for posterity and advertisement.

It is obvious tourism in Ticao is really giving itself a bigger and bigger shot! Just look how the Department of Tourism is so much fixated on!

Written by Remigio Espares III

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