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Friday, May 8, 2015

Travel blogger Nathan Allen hits back at 'persona non grata' tag

American travel blogger Nathan Allen has responded to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Sorsogon's declaration that he is a "persona non grata."

Photo via I Dreamed Of This Facebook page
On Facebook, the self-described "full-time wanderer" posted a lengthy statement explaining his side of the issue.

Allen's statement is reproduced here:

"Yes, I was declared "persona non grata" in Sorsogon recently.

I just want to say that, as I have previously clarified, the issue (if you could even call it that) I encountered in Sorsogon was very minor. I was never "angry" about it, as the media is mostly reporting. I only expressed "disappointed", which is quite different. I was not disappointed BY Donsol...only that I felt disappointed when I was IN Donsol. I just did not get a text that I *hoped* for. I did not lose any sleep over this...that is why I said it was a "minor issue". It says in my original post that I did not expect much, given the last minute nature of my trip. I do hope people will take the time to read carefully.

Regarding the separation between the LGU tourism workers and DOT, if you read the posts that followed, I apologized and clarified about the confusion on my end. This was never about Sorosogn, or even Bicol specifically. The big picture was some of the concerns that tourists are affected by nationally (not just in Bicol). I only hoped to shed some light on them to improve the tourist experience (and help bring extra revenue to the country I love).

I actually said right in the original post that the whale sharks were "awesome", and in the comments, I specifically commended the many tourism employees there that made my experience memorable.

I have literally spent months working hard to promote Bicol...and the locals in Sorsogon were very warm, welcoming, and appreciative that I came to visit. I have done 5 television interviews in Bicol at this point, the most recent of which was specifically promoting the whale shark watching in Donsol.

I hope nobody feels like I am out to get them, or that they are under attack. I can assure you, I'd like to think of myself as a nice guy. From what I remember, I handed the girl my business card and left that tourism office with a smile on my face. smile emoticon Somehow this has all been blown way out of proportion.

I am also sad that all the good things I had to say about the D.O.T. (in every single post) seem to have been overlooked. I hope that people will do their research, especially if they are posting articles in the media.

I sincerely hope they will reconsider such a taking such a drastic and damaging step. It seems like quite a misunderstanding, and takes away from the hard work I do promoting the warmth and beauty of both Bicol and the Philippines in general. I also worry that it could shine a very unfavorable light on the beautiful province of Sorsogon. There is so much to offer tourists there."

The blogger was tagged "persona non grata" in a resolution filed by Board Member Franco Ravanilla.

Allen's blog "I Dreamed Of This" features articles on "food, culture, and adventure."

According to his blog, his favorite destinations include El Nido and Bantayan Island, Philippines.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM Pirming enot. Pirming bago.
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