Despite the heavy impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the tourism industry, the Department of Tourism-MIMAROPA Regional Office will fete outstanding individuals, public and private stakeholders, who stood out and provided valuable support to the national efforts under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The virtual recognition, set on September 25, will be given at the MIMAROPA Tourism Appreciation and Recognition Day with the theme “Pink Life: Nurture, Foster and Understand Amid A Pandemic!”

According to DOT-MIMAROPA Regional Director Engr. Christopher Morales, the annual event is extraordinary as the awardees rose to the challenge in delivering excellent services reflective of the Filipino brand of hospitality beyond the call of duty.

He added that the activity hopes to inspire local governments and the private sector in restarting the region’s tourism industry.

El Nido, Palawan

MIMAROPA or Region IV-B, is composed of the island provinces of Mindoro Occidental and Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan, which are known for lush terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and nature-based attractions.

It is also home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, both located in Palawan, and the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Site Puerto Galera, which is also among the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.

Leading the roster of awardees are the DOT’s Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy, and the NCR-Airport Reception Unit, Department of Health, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Immigration and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines stations in Puerto Princesa City.

Taking center stage are Palawan, which was voted as the 2020’s World’s Best Island by Travel + Leisure; El Nido, which was named as one of the Best Travel Destinations by Trip Advisor and Hufftington Post, and by Condé Nast Traveller for its Hidden Beach as among the world’s best; and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which was hailed by Tripadvisor as Traveller’s Choice.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Private sector honorees include 2Go Shipping, Air Swift, Montenegro Shipping, Starhorse Shipping, Starlight Shipping, The Funny Lion Resort, and Bayay Sibuyanon. Other recipients are Lio Airport, Yoshi Ohtsoka of Palawan Divers, El Nido Chamber of Commerce Inc., Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc., and Sitel Philippines Corp., which are all located in El Nido.

Local governments to be recognized are the municipalities of San Jose, Sablayan, Puerto Galera, Magdiwang, Romblon, Busuanga, Coron, El Nido, San Vicente, cities of Puerto Princesa and Calapan, and all the five provinces for assisting stranded tourists during the quarantine period.

Named outstanding groups were the Association of Travel Agencies and Allied Tourism Enterprises, the Association of Accredited Tourist Accommodation of Puerto Princesa, Palawan Tourism Council, Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments, and the Pandurucan Cinema Film Makers Association of San Jose (Occidental Mindoro).

Puerto Galera Bay

Individual awardees for excellence in the delivery of tourism services are Peter Collings of D’Pearl Bay Busuanga, and former DOT Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit, who pushed an aggressive accreditation campaign in Puerto Princesa City, now a Hall of Famer for having the region’s most number of tourist enterprises and frontliners.

Other personal awardees are Loreto Mantana, Charmaine Rhoda Mantana, Jose Ernadio and PSMS Rocelle Ramos Mayo, all of Busuanga, who will be cited for their act of honesty.