Reanimating Ilocos

Sorry for the blogging lull. I’ve been busy attending local tourism gatherings the past week. I’m making it up to you… here are the latest in the Ilocos tourism industry scene. Before you think I’m employed with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, well, I’m still a private citizen and a big supporter of Ilocos Norte.

I Vote Ilocos Norte! Team Ilocos Norte, Go, Go, Go!!!!!

November 17, 2010

Board Member Mariano V. Marcos II delivers his opening remarks at the Metro Ilocos Norte Master Plan for Tourism Final Presentation at the Provincial Capitol Auditorium. “Let the show begin.”

Environment Planner Eli Paolo Fresnoza of Palafox Associates

“We have no excuse, but to take off… 18% ’til 2013.”

I agree, Ma’am Governor Imee.

“You are the co-authors of the Tourism Master Plan,” says fellow-Ilocano Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr. in reference to the initial consultative meeting and workshop of the Metro Ilocos Norte Tourism Master Plan held last August, which was the basis for the Metro Ilocos Norte Tourism Master Plan Final Report.

Urban and Environment Planner Karima Patricia “Karmi” V. Palafox and geographer Frias Antonio

“We’re not planning for you, but we are planning with you,” Miss Karmi Palafox, the project manager, reiterates. “With our plan, we are considering diversifying to unconventional tourism,” she adds.

Rocky, an attendee who raised a question in the open forum before the completion of the final presentation.

‘A fusion of the old and new’ is the apt description of the tourism master plan.

A friend of mine in FB says, “Hope it is not just another beautiful plan.” My reply — We hope, as well. The Capitol and the Museo Ilocos Norte are undergoing a major facelift. I heard Duty-Free and other international companies are opening shop within the Museo compound. There are more activities at the Rizal Park…. and more importantly, the private sector has been consulted and ordinary people like me are given the chance to help in any way. I didn’t feel this energy with previous administrations… the plan is still to be made into an ordinance — it has to go under the scrutiny of the SP — before it can be implemented.

November 13, 2010

The LEAD Movement, my eco-adventure group, helped Governor Imee host a sand dune adventure for the national media.

Luckily, it was a sunny day.

LEAD Movement Executive Director Benny Arce, one of the tour guides, gives a brief description of the Ilocos Sand Dunes.

MC Manangan of the LEAD Movement shows them how to ride a sandboard.

Michael Manotoc, son of the Governor, gets ready for a sand dune thrill.

He made it!

Yes, she can…

Cool and the gang.

Omg, ravishing Georgina Wilson, Barbie-like! Beside her is Ken-like Borgy Manotoc.

A’int she cool?

The beautiful crowd at the dunes.

The Governor gets interviewed, while we enjoy Ilocano refreshments.

Mmnnn, dudol!

November 10-12, 2010

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, in a tie-up with the University of the Philippines – Asian Institute of Tourism and the Tourism Foundation, Inc., organized a Tourism Capabilities Seminar at the Takuat Training Center. I joined the tourism marketing class under Mr. Reil Cruz, Ms. Lynn Donesa and Mr. Jovel Cipriano.

An exercise in branding Ilocos.

The Tourism Marketing Class.

A working tour on the second day. (Location: Evangeline Resort, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte)

Ma’am Imee joined us for lunch. It was her birthday and she looked radiant in red.

Her well-wishers gathered in our classroom.

In a light moment with Congressman Rudy Fariñas.

Her energy is contagious. Happy Birthday Ma’am Governor!

The wish…

Lovely candid moment…

Governor Imee Marcos rocks!

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Palafox Associates has began to put Ilocos Norte’s dream on paper

Last Monday, August 23, 2010, Hon. Gov. Imee R. Marcos presented her Metro Ilocos Norte Tourism Master Plan at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol Auditorium in a Public Consultation and Workshop facilitated by Palafox Associates, the design team behind the  Proposed Tourism Master Plan, with the help of the Provincial Planning Development Office headed by Engr. Pete Agcaoili.

World-class architect Felino “Jun’ Palafox, Jr., himself a son of Ilocos Norte, led the Palafox Associates team.

In attendance were the Hon. Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba, Sangguniang  Panlalawigan members, municipal mayors and tourism stakeholders of the province.

In her opening remarks, Gov. Imee R. Marcos said, “We have nothing but good news. Palafox Associates has began to put our dreams on paper. Simula pa lamang ito.”

Aiming for an airport-driven urban development

“Green Architecture that is walkable, bikable and livable” is the architectural firm’s mantra

Proposed enhancement of Ilocos Norte’s key destinations

Architect par excellence Jun Palafox

“Tourism is the largest industry in the world. It is bigger than oil,” said Arch. Palafox.  “To propel  conventional tourism into tourism for sustainable and positive change, there should be meaningful planning and decision-making,” he added.

In carrying on with Gov. Imee’s “One Ilocos Norte” campaign slogan, he stressed upon breaking down boundaries or walls to improve connectivity.  He said that he envisions a continuous magazine wall of storefronts.

“A Triple E (Environment, Economy and  Equity ) approach is the bottomline,” he further stated.

Urban and environment planner Karmi Palafox, project manager, and environment planner Eli Paolo Fresnoza of Palafox Associates

Gov. Imee Marcos and Arch. Jun Palafox

Observers and guests

Gov. Imee Marcos and Arch. Jun Palafox flanked by public officials of Ilocos Norte and Dr. Joven Cuanang, owner of Sitio Remedios

Dir. Martin Valera of the DOT-Reg. I and Ms. Milagros Gonzales, OIC of the DOT Laoag Sub-Office

Workshop 1: Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis

Workshop 2: Visioning Workshop

Group outputs

Arch. Jun Palafox reiterated what daughter Karmi said after the workshop — “We learned a lot from the workshop.”

The attendees who actively took part in the workshop ended the day with a photo op with the prime movers of the Proposed Metro Ilocos Norte Tourism Master Plan


Memorable quotes from Architect Jun Palafox

On walls:

“We were trained not to see our neighbors.”

“More fragmented society, more criminality.”

“Walls are a 60 year-old mistake, a big mistake.”

“There are so many blank walls in Laoag.”

On urban planning:

“Metro Manila is an example of how not to design a city.”

On the environment:

“”The Pasig River is polluted, but with more eyes looking through the river, we will shame the polluters.”

“Ten trees can absorb carbon monoxide per car.”

“We should be carbon neutral by 2030.”

On the various signage planted on the city and town entrances:

“We uglify… uglification of the entrances.”

LOL So true. If I may put my two cents in, the welcome arches obstruct a clear view of the road. Many times I’ve heard the dude curse on the road.


Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

More about the Public Consultation and Workshop on the Metro Ilocos Norte Tourism Master Plan on the LEAD Movement Blog