ORMOC CITY was adjudged Grand Winner for Best Tourism Research during the prestigious PEARL Awards of the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines (ATOP) on the evening of Friday, October 4, held in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
This is the first time that Ormoc is recognized for its tourism advancements, elating Mayor Richard Gomez who said the award is proof that his one of his priority programs is doing right.
The award-winning research, tourism officer Nelson Alindogan said, is entitled “OGMOK: Developing a Sustainable Tourism Development Plan Using the Stakeholder’s Perspective Approach – The Case of Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines.”
The research was done by Jame Monren Mercado of the UST Graduate School – Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (UST-CCCET) based on a collaborative work he did with the LGU-Ormoc and the Ormoc Festival and Cultural Foundation (OFCF) on the city’s Tourism Development Plan.
Alindogan said that, “somehow our Tourism Development Plan was the one that was acknowledged. Having our own Tourism Development Plan is already a great thing for the city but to even be acknowledged by ATOP as the best one is such a happy bonus for the City.”
“The true winners here are the people of Ormoc for they will benefit from the research/Tourism Development Plan,” he added. Ormoc City is the first city in Eastern Visayas to have a Cultural Mapping, a backbone of the Tourism Development Plan.
Mayor Gomez, on the other hand, said that the research is a study on Ormoc’s cultural heritage in order to understand their perspective on tourism.
“It is very important for us to first know and understand our cultural heritage and history, that way we can truly offer authentic tourism programs for us Ormocanons and our visitors. The award is a testament of the hard work we put into it. From here on we can already move forward by leaps and bounds,” he said.
On the other hand, another municipality within the political district of Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez took home two trophies after they were named Grand Winner for the Best Tourism Event-Adventure Sport Category for the third time, and a Hall of Fame trophy.
This is the second PEARL-ATOP Hall of Fame Award for Palompon, Leyte who has also been consistently adjudged Most Tourism-Friendly Municipality in the past.
Mayor Georgina Arevalo, in a Facebook post, said “with unity, sky is the limit,” as she acknowledged the effort of past mayor and now vice-mayor Ramon Oñate, the Palompon Municipal Eco-Tourism Council (PAMET), environment officer Raoul Bacalla, and tourism consultant Cleofe Rivera and other officials, in their pivotal roles on the town’s successful tourism programs.
The Province of Samar’s budding tourism program also got a boost from the awards night, after they were named Grand Winner of the “Best Community Based Responsible Tourism” for the Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge Tour Program by the Sohoton Services Cooperative. Karina Rosa Tiopes, regional director of the Department of Tourism, added that San Jose, Northern Samar, also won as 1st runner up to Palompon in the same category, Best Tourism Event – Sport Category.