Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bohol Chocolate Hills Back in New 7 Wonders Contest

By Kit Bagaipo (The Bohol Chronicle)

The organizing committee of the New 7 Wonders (N7W) of Nature campaign will be reinstating the world renowned Bohol's Chocolate Hills in its official list of nominees anytime today.

Better yet, the search organizers have also assured that the votes gathered by Chocolate Hills in the online polls before it was delisted as a nominee will also be restored.

This information was relayed to the Chronicle yesterday by Dr. Oscar Galang, the organizer of the Chocolate Hills support committee in the United States. He was interviewed over dyRD's top-rated "Inyong Alagad" yesterday.

Galang, who had been in touch with the New 7 Wonders Foundation, said that Nadja Rahal, head of the search registration committee, made the assurance that the Bohol hills will be listed again in official nominees.

This after nomination documents, official support committee (OSC) endorsement and an agreement-contract signed by Carmen town Mayor Manuel Molina were already submitted to the N7W Foundation headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

The delisting of Chocolate Hills last week was due to the non-compliance of the said documents required by the foundation.

Before it was dislodged from the official list of nominees and the online rankings, Chocolate Hills occupied the 6th place of the live rankings at the N7W website.

"I talked with Molina yesterday, then called up Rahal who confirmed that the documents are already received," Galang said.

According to Galang, Chocolate Hills was previously nominated to the N7W but no group officially stood up as the official support committee (OSC).

"The nomination and OSC must come from officials of the locality where the natural site is located," Galang said.

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Did You Miss the Fiesta Activities in Tagbilaran City Bohol?

By Bong Recemilla
The Bohol Chronicle

Nine nights of pre-fiesta activities continue to unfold as the city of Tagbilaran prepares for the traditional celebration on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the worker, its patron saint.

With venue at the back of the Tagbilaran City Central Market, These nightly activities kicked off last Tuesday with Punchfest.

Highlighting the series of events is the search for Ms. Tagbilaran, which pageant and coronation is set on Tuesday, 8 p.m. at the Bohol Cultural Center.

Tonight's event is The Jingle Singing Contest to be presented by The Peacock Garden Resort while tomorrow evening is Cruisin' in the Market with Versatile Band to be presented by Cruztelco.

On Wednesday evening, which falls on the vesper, will be the Gabii sa Agik-ik ug Katawa, to be presented by the Bohol Gay Association and Unitop Merchandising.

A live drama on stage entitled "Goliat, ang Makoy Makalolooy" will be presented on Thursday evening.

The rest of the events were Punchfest, Ms. Tagbilaran talent night, Banda Night with SMB, Hiphop Dance Competition with Pepsi and Comedy and Magical Variety Show with FCB, since April 22 until last night, respectively.

While the city girds for the fiesta celebration with nightly events, the city's top malls and other entities have also lined up presentations including post-fiesta events at their respective venues.

Child actor Makisig Morales, of the Super Inggo fame, will be here on May 3 for a performance at the Island City Mall Activity Center. On fiesta eve, April 30, a sexy female band from Manila, Aegies Pink Lilac, will take centerstage at the Activity Center at 4 p.m.

Bohol Quality Mall highlights fiesta presentations with movies at BQ Cinemas while Club Atmospheres' of the MetroCentre showcases Fiesta Elektronica featuring DJ Regiel.

Also Ongoing at the BQ Mall Atrium is the Fiesta Exhibit 2008 of Du Ek Sam.

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Submit Your Entry to the 7th Ecotourism Awards

Skål International is inviting companies from the public and private sector as well as NGOs to submit entries for the 7th Ecotourism Awards. As a new feature this year, the category of Corporate/Global Establishments was added to the list of options for entries.

Following the evident effects of climate changes on the environment, Skål International is even more aware of the need to continue its efforts to create awareness for sustainable and responsible development in tourism and to this end continues to support initiatives around the world.

The 2008 Awards, sponsored by Johnson Diversey, Evian Water and Iznik Foundation, will be presented in Taipei on 13 October 2008 during the Opening Ceremony of the 69th Skål World Congress by the President of Skål International Philip Sims.

Skål, founded as an international association in 1934 is the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world, embracing all sectors of the tourism industry from hoteliers to travel agents, to airlines, tourism media, tourism students and similar. Skål, with 22,000 members is active in 90 countries and in almost 500 locations worldwide.

Skål International is an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism  Organisation whose mission is to promote the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. Skål International in line with this vision and following the United Nations declaration of 2002 as the Year of Ecotourism and the Mountains, launched the Ecotourism Awards in the same year and the first awards
were presented during the World Congress in Cairns in 2002.

Skål, as an international organisation of industry leaders, is a powerful force in the travel and tourism industry to initiate change and encourage the conservation of the environment in order to promote tourism and travel. The awards presented on these grounds, while highlighting best practices in tourism around the world, also serve the purpose of acquainting the world with this new concept that puts emphasis on the importance of the interaction of the physical, cultural and social environment the traveler's responsibility and the need for active community participation for Ecotourism.

Skål values sustainable development in Tourism as the key to the industry's future success and considers Ecotourism but one area of the various components of sustainable development.

Awards are presented under 7 different categories;

1. Tour Operators – Travel Agents

2. Accommodation providers of any size and category in:

2.1 urban areas

            2.2 rural areas

3. Transportation

4. General Countryside (Alpine Tourism, Underwater Projects, Beaches, Theme Parks, Scenic Mountains, Rivers, Lakes)

5. Cities–Villages (Community and Government Projects)

6. Educational Programmes – Media

7. Corporate /Global Establishments

The primary criteria for the evaluation is based on such points like contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement, educational features, business viability and innovation.

The evaluation of the entries are made by 3 independent judges from important Institutions/Organisations dealing with Eco and Sustainable tourism. The names of previous years' judges can be found on the Skål website.

The names of the judges for each year are only announced during the Awards ceremony which take place at the Skål International Annual World Congresses attended by members from all around the world and dignitaries from the host country.

The impressive list of sponsors now include Johnson Diversey (www.johnsondiversey.com) who identifies its global mission to assume a green position supporting sustainability in terms of ecology, efficiency, low emissions, food and employee safety.

Iznik Foundation (www.iznik.com.tr) for the forth consecutive year will continue to sponsor the quartz trophies, specially designed for Skål International. Combining ecology with the unique art of Iznik (Ancient Nicea); the awards are a sign of preservation of natural sources and traditions and with their special characteristics they are specially chosen to emphasis the value of our global riches.

Evian (www.evian.com) continues to be one of the major sponsors of the Awards, completely coherent with their environmental commitment. DANONE Group identifies as one of their first responsibilities to protect the area and the springs it manages.

The deadline for entries is 30 June 2008.

More information and an entry form can be found at www.skal.org


Press Release
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The Philippines Beyond the Usual Country Fair in Singapore

A rare opportunity will be created for tourism stakeholders to tap the Singapore market. Dubbed as "The Philippines –Beyond the Usual" Country Fair, the event will be held in Singapore on June 12 to 15 at the Tropics Atrium at the Suntec Mall in Singapore.

Organized by the Department of Tourism Singapore Office, the four-day event will showcase various Philippine destinations, attractions and tour packages, as well as products to the Singapore public. Hotels, resorts and convention centers will find the fair ideal to reach out to a vibrant Singapore tourist market.

DOT Tourism Attaché in Singapore Gerosel Siquian, in a recent meeting with ASEAN Tourism Envoy Charles Lim in Davao City said, "Singapore is the ASEAN region's best tourist market. Singaporeans take three to four overseas trips per year, creating a continuous demand for short but frequent holidays."

"This fair will be an excellent showcase for Philippine hotels, resorts, dive centers, spas, adventure and leisure tour operators," added Siquian.

Lim agreed that the event will be a very effective way to tap the Singapore market and an opportunity to also create more awareness for investments in the Philippines.

Travel and tourism participants will also have a business networking session strictly for the trade visitors to be conducted by the DOT Singapore Office.

"Moreover, air linkages between Singapore and Philippines are at an all-time high," commented Lim. "There are now four direct gateways to the Philippines from Singapore – Clark, Manila, Cebu and Davao – serviced by no less than six airlines! Now, this is unprecedented and definitely an ideal situation to increase tourist arrivals to all parts of the country from Singapore."

He hopes that more local tourism councils, resorts, hotels, tour operators and tourist facilities will participate in DOT sponsored events such as the Country Fair. Participation fee is only USD100.00 per participant. - Press Release

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