Wednesday, November 28, 2012



The Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature welcomed the –ber months with a bang and a pun: “It’s more pen in the Philippines!”

Proving its point, the Carlos Palanca Foundation and the members of the Palanca Family decided to invite the wind beneath the wings of that tourists’ trope!

At the Manila Pen, the Guest of Honor and Speaker is one of the pillars of advertising.

In fact, during the 62nd Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature last 1 September, he witnessed how Filipino writers were honored for over six decades.

And, yes, Sec. Ramon Jimenez Jr. of the Department of Tourism was not excluded.

Being more than just a penpusher, the former Joint Chief Executive Officer and Senior Consultant at WOO Consultants was given the Gawad Dangal ng Lahi.

It is awarded to honor those who have prominently excelled in their field of expertise and have aptly become role models for the Filipino citizenry.

And netizenry!

Well, as a marketing communications expert for 35 years, he has all the reason in the world to live up to everyone’s expectations in the same league as all of the 58 Palanca winners in the poetry, short story, essay, and play categories in such languages as English, Filipino, Cebuano, Iluko, and Hiligaynon.

Aside from his experience as a Journalism and Marketing Communications instructor, he is a lecturer for San Miguel Corporation, the Jollibee Group, among others.

When he formally accepted his role as our Tourism Secretary, on 1 September 2011, he vowed to rally behind the DOT staff, the team, tourism practitioners, the government bureaucracy, and the general public around his philosophy: “Tourism is the people’s business.Ang turismo po ay negosyo ng taongbayan. As such its ultimate goal is not merely to improve statistics on tourist arrivals. Its real goal is to generate fulfilling and profitable income and employment for our people.”

Like the public servant and statesman in the late Sec. Jesse Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government, it is promise fulfilled.

Since Sec. Jimenez took his oath “to contribute in terms of bringing strategic discipline to the challenge of promoting and developing the Philippines as one of the world’s most exciting destination brands,” the next thing we learned was his slogan was no slow gun.

In a matter of minutes, It’s more fun in the Philippines went viral.

Why? Because he let us to do it ourselves.

How? By allowing us visit, upload our photo, add our caption, download the Harabara font, edit our meme by using image editors and by making that tagline online.

Reminding us of the 56.17% of this year’s 1,077 Palanca entries were received by email.

Sec. Jimenez empowered us, including the majority of the Palanca winners who fall within the 20-40 age bracket, to take part to be his partners in this dimension called dotcom.

Or, is it DOTcom?

Thus, we felt the need to be needed in telling the world that we are selling the Philippines.

Through fun approach.

Now, does this cabinet member really deserve the said recognition for individuals who share with writers the common thread of manifesting belief in the capabilities of the Filipino and expressing their pride in the heritage of the Philippines?

Ask Eric Garayblas, the game developer who immortalized the It’s more fun in the Philippines via his Streetfood Tycoon!

Vim Nadera: Sir, right after you were appointed by Pres. Benigno Aquino III, you promised to “galvanize the DoT [Department of Tourism] into an honest to goodness selling unit whose “ultimate goal” would be “not only to improve statistics but also ensure that the endeavor would be fulfilling and profitable for Filipinos.” How is it so far?
Ramon Jimenez Jr.: The DOT continues to take “FUN” to a deeper level to mean good governance and competitive offerings that practice good business, proper management, and sustainable development. “FUN” means easy, convenient, and hassle-free which should be evident across the tourism value chain. Our tourism campaign has become a unifying platform for cross-promotion, convergence initiatives, and public-private partnership. At present, government agencies are united to provide the enabling environment for tourism growth and development. Major programs will address key issues in the following areas: infrastructure, transportation, product development, travel & investment facilitation, connectivity, and institutional tourism concerns. As a matter of fact for the year 2011, the tourism industry employed a total of 3.8 million people equivalent to a 10.28% share to national employment – that is 1 job created for every 1 tourist arrival. Tourism also contributed 6% to the country’s total GDP for 2011. With proper management and safeguarding, tourism certainly has the capacity to make a significant contribution to the poverty reduction goals of the Philippine Government.

VN: What is your long-term plan for our tourism industry?
RJJ: Tourism is the people’s business. Our overall vision is for tourism to become a national business - a key driver towards achieving rapid, inclusive, and sustained socio-economic growth for the country. And for us to realize this vision, we want to elicit the continued support of the entire department, tourism stakeholders, government agencies, and the general public. We, Filipinos, have to come and act together as a single unit.

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