By Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman
WHILE QUEZON CITY lacks the natural resources for sightseeing or trekking, it does offers eight man-made activities for city dwellers. Its new tourism campaign, “Quezon City Welcomes You!,” not only pertains to its iconic landmark, the Mabuhay — or “Welcome” — Rotunda which signifies one is leaving Manila and entering Quezon City, in this case “welcome” is an acronym for “Walk, enjoy, learn, celebrate, overnight, meditate, eat, and shop,” which are the things one can do when in the city.
The city’s upgraded Web site (www.QCTourism.net) offers 50 different “welcome” activities for local and international tourists.
“The Web site offers not only a list but acts as a guide as well… For example, start a morning ‘Walk’ in the park [at La Mesa Ecopark]. ‘Celebrate’ religious festivals; stay ‘Overnight’ in any of our hotel accommodations, ‘Meditate’ at the San Pedro Bautista Church, and ‘Shop’ for great finds in malls like the TriNoma and SM North,” QC tourism head Divine Pascua, said.
The city is fast becoming a culinary destination thanks to all the different restaurants popping up in the Maginhawa St. area. Meanwhile, Tomas Morato Ave. is home to a vibrant night life, lined as it is with restaurants, cafés, and pubs. Then there are the Chinese eateries in Banaue and the famed lechon (roasted pig) of La Loma. These are just some of the suggestions under the “Eat” category.
In the “Learn” category, visitors can go to the recently opened QCX Museum and its 16 interactive galleries that highlight the city’s history. The war gallery houses mementos and memories of the war, and stories like the “white lady” that walks along Balete Drive (which, by the way, is where BusinessWorld is located). Quezon City is also home to 81 colleges and nine universities including the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University and its famed art gallery which is among the suggested places to visit.
If a city lacks nature spots, it should play up its man-made sites instead, like what Singapore (SG) did, said QC Mayor Herbert Bautista.
“We know that Quezon City does not have much natural resources. We do not have mountains or beaches… In the series of conferences I’ve attended… I always make it a point to ask, ‘What makes this place or country viable for tourism?,’” said Mr. Bautista during the launch of the new campaign on Sept. 5.
He said he envisions the most populous city in Metro Manila to be a destination in itself.
His travels abroad, including trips to Singapore and Switzerland, inspired many of his proposed ideas. His plans include planting more trees along the city streets, to define the tourist spots by painting the walkways and gutters that lead to them with color codes, and to put up more signage and history trails.
“Tourism is close to my heart. Even when I was still a Councilor until I became Mayor, I saw to it that tourism is always at the city’s agenda, its role is pivotal to the city’s progress,” said Mr. Bautista.
When asked how many tourists the city can accommodate in a year and what is the tourist target goal is after the new campaign, he said they do not have the numbers yet. But what’s clear is that he wants his vision realized as soon as possible.