Albay’s reputation as such becomes even more passionately irresistible to tourists with its recent designation as a world Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) only last March 18 in Lima, Peru.
The designation further consolidates Albay’s global position in culture and eco-tourism, and adds more sheen to its 2015 title given it by the Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA) as a “new frontier tourist destination” and co-winner of its first USD 1-million CEO Challenge.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda said his province has amply demonstrated the true concept of beauty with these recent recognitions and designations, and the world was invited to visit Albay and see and feel for themselves what it truly offered.
Salceda said it was this true spirit of beauty and love for the environment that Albay celebrated, through Daragang Magayon Festival 2016 (DMF16), now on its 18th year. The province is among the country’s top tourist destinations, accounting for a credible share of foreign arrivals. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has declared Albay as a “tourism powerhouse.”
Attesting further to Albay’s role in the country’s cultural heritage, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) has declared the 201-year old Cagsawa Ruins as a National Cultural Treasure in December last year. Its designation as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is seen to further propel the province’s strong tourism surge.
To be participated in by movie and TV celebrities and artists, Salceda said DMF 16 also aims to help further consolidate the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (Almasor) tourism alliance that clusters the three Bicol southernmost provinces as the "Soul of the South" of the country’s tourism industry.
One of the DMF 16 highlights is the popular Legends Showdown, a parade of Albay’s mythological giants, which is slated in afternoon of its opening day. The parade also ushers in a chain of searches, among them the Daragang Magayon Pageant, which has consistently produced world-class beauties and winners in both national and international beauty competitions through the years. Another is the now famous ‘Sayaw kan Tolong Bulod (Dance of the Three Mountains)’ which deals with the legend of Albay’s three mountains -- Mayon, Masaraga and Malinao that debuted on stage during the DMF 2013 edition and has progressively captivated the public.
Albay’s culinary arts also provide gustatory adventures for both foreign and domestic tourists to savor the province’s ethnic cuisines, at the food gardens. Other festival come-ons include dance competitions, art and photo exhibits, trade fairs, sports festivals, concerts and beer plazas for the entire month.
DOT has consistently showcased Albay in many international tourism fairs, the latest of which was the March 10-13, 2015 Marche International Proffesionels d’Immobilier at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, an annual show participated in by influential property players worldwide. (Johnny C. Nunez, PNA)