Chinese media bestows title of ‘Most Romantic Destination’ on the Philippines

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

Despite what has been reported, not just bruited around, a member of the Chinese media does seem to ignore what their government has been involved in vis-à-vis Philippine territory. Instead, unexpected honors have been given to the island archipelago, the Philippines: “Most Romantic Destination,” so apropos for February 14, 2013.

What is the source of the “It’s most romantic in the Philippines” campaign as pre-Valentine’s Day celebrations are anticipated? Remarkably, nothing less than awards from China’s popular print media representatives.

A newsmaker, a business and financial daily, The Shanghai Morning Post, identified the Philippines in what it called it as: “Most Romantic Destination,” while another newspaper, The Oriental Morning Post selected the Philippines as the “Best Tourist Destination” last month in its quest for its annual World Travel-Special Trips Award.

Incredible as it may seem, other countries so universally well-known dubbed ‘winners,’ were Australia, “Best Tour Destination for Discovery;” Switzerland, “Best Shopping Paradise;” Korea as “Best Skiing Destination;’ and Germany, “Best Destination for Art Appreciation.”

Romance, as defined by the Complete Wordfinder is multidimensional, hitherto invoking a sense of wonder; mystique referring to a ‘love affair;’ a love story; idealization; even fascination. In other words, the term evokes so much of the unknown which, as it does, requires unlocking a fantasy, perhaps?

As a destination, however much of the homeland has been described by its media neighbors who just didn’t stop to compliment it, but instead, conferred awards on it, any Filipino would stop to find out why his/her birthplace would be called ‘romantic.’

Such a recognition, received on the eve of Chinese New Year, is perceived by many as splendid music to the ears of people of the Philippines who have not ceased to wonder why ‘romantic’ has been chosen to describe their country.

Explaining farther, it was stated that the recognition boosts the Department of Tourism’s recently launched 30-second television commercial, “Lovers,” featuring Boracay, one island that has been displayed to emphasize the much-heard “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

Reliably, facts and figures bring out what’s been reported to date: “More and more
Chinese are traveling to the Philippines to ward off the effects of the winter session, as they are expected to celebrate with Filipino Chinese, an event that has taken its place in history the Chinese New Year. This year it falls on February 10.”

Another date that extends its invitation to celebrate its significance is Valentine’s Day on February 14. The Filipinos know all about the day as Lovers Day, highly anticipated as such bringing in romance that is meant to unfold between those who recognize its significance, young or old.

China, it has been reported, is the ‘fourth largest tourism market for the Philippines, next to South Korea, the United States and Japan.’ Most encouraging are reports that there were 233,174 tourist arrivals from January to November last year, a 5.36 percent increase over 2011.

What can reflect more about what would belong to the unknown, to what needs
to be unveiled than ‘romance?’

Indeed, the Philippines can warmly welcome its title “Most Romantic Destination,” many thanks to the government’s policy in enhancing the people’s role in maximizing the fabled 7,000 islands and beyond against the backdrop of their multi-splendored setting.

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