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PIA Press Release

Siquijor joins "One Visayas" art exhibit

By Rizalie A. Calibo

Siquijor (9 February) -- Siquijor province is one of the 16 provinces in the Visayas to join the "One Visayas" exhibit in Cebu next month.

According to the Senior Tourism Operations Officer, Jossette A. Armirola of the Provincial Tourism Office here, preparation for the province's participation to the upcoming arts festival is in full swing.

She said One Visayas exhibition is a week-long event which will feature exhibits, lectures, forums, workshops and interactions to be participated in by the 16 provinces of the three regions in the Visayas (6, 7 & 8). The event which hopes to foster ties that bind the three regions together, will feature the Visayas seven arts namely, architecture, dance, theater, music, visual arts, literature and film; arts and craft; tourism products, festivals and culinary arts, Armirola said.

She said the Siquijor governor Orlando A. Fua Jr. has been very enthusiastic about this project and has made a series of consultations and meetings with concerned agencies.

The concept, Armirola said is already presented to all tourism officers and the Siquijor Tourism Council where it was decided that Solili will come as the province's festival. The province has also invited Grupo Siquijodnon headed by Audie Estrellada to represent visual arts among other culture and arts to be presented.

In a meeting sometime in August of 2008, the Regional Development Councils 6, 7 and 8, officials decided to establish the One Visayas after agreeing that it is time Visayans acknowledge the cultural bond that connects the islands, despite being separated by seawaters.

The First One Visayas will be staged on March 1-8, 2009 at the Cebu International Convention Center, Mandaue City.

It will be opened with a Holy Mass to be followed by presentation of the region's symbols to the President or to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano during the opening ceremony in the morning of March 1.

There will be a street dancing that starts at Mandaue City Hall to the CICC in the afternoon. Each province will send at least one festival contingent.

Start of the festival showdown is at 7:00 o'clock in the afternoon.

For the exhibits, each province will be provided booth to showcase the best it can offer in terms of practices, tourism, products, services and others. Another designated area is set to feature works of the provinces' artists. This was conceived as a venue to give the undiscovered artists the needed exposure and for them to sell their art but a fee of P15,000 for the both is required since selling is allowed in this area.

Tourism industry is a large foreign earner and source of employment for the Philippines. It is one of the bright lights for the country amid the doom and gloom of the current worldwide economic crunch.

To spur tourist arrivals despite the global economic crisis the government has crafted a stimulus package for the industry.

The stimulus plan which is intended to insulate the tourism industry from the impact of the global meltdown includes, an aggressive marketing strategy that makes the Philippines as the best and cheapest tourist destination at this time, especially for the "depressed markets" like the United States and Japan.

Based on the plan the Tourism Department in tandem with airlines and hotels has cut by half the cost of tour packages for US and Japan, the target markets.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said the new tour packages focused on the two target markets, hotels and airlines will offer discounts starting February to April this year.

Durano said the reduction of airfare and hotel rates aimed to attract American and Japanese tourists to visit the Philippines this year, in the wake of the global financial crisis affecting the world's largest economies.

Together with Japan, Korea and US account for more than half of visitor arrivals in the Philippines.

International visitor arrivals from US and Japan both fell in 2008, as the world's two target economies entered recession last year.

Arrivals from Japan went down 9 percent last year while those from US dropped 1 percent. Tourists from Korea also declined 9 percent.

Despite the global economic crunch the DOT expects to attain its target within range of 3-4 million tourist arrivals this year owing to the stimulus package and the momentum generated by the agency's aggressive sales blitz in its major and emerging tourism markets including China, Russia and other European countries.

The agency is also confident to create 3,000 new jobs this year in support to President Arroyo's program to provide one million jobs in the next first six months of 2009. (PIA) [top]

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