“The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it.” –Martin Parr
After the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory urging their citizens to avoid traveling on ferries and passengers boats between Iloilo and Guimaras following the recent incident where boats capsized, killing 31 passengers, worries have arisen over the region’s tourism industry.
Guimaras produces the best mangos in the world, which makes it a tourism wonder, but the only viable way to get there is via boat.
Such advisories can have a ripple effect as they are monitored by other countries.
In the age of the internet, the recent advisory can travel rapidly and spread across the universe in no time.
Today, when local tourism is reaping dividends, such negative publicity is an inconvenient obstacle.
The UK’s travel advisory could potentially cause a dent across the entire country’s network of ferries.
According to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “They are often overloaded, may lack necessary lifesaving equipment, or be inadequately maintained and have incomplete passenger manifests. Storms can develop quickly and maritime rescue services in the Philippines may be limited.”
Hopefully new travel advisories will be released, which may spur a “renaissance” in local tourism.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Roland Vilela, the official in line to become the next Iloilo Police Provincial Office chief, has a “dark past” that has been circulating in the media.
In the past, police officials who occupy important positions, from the regional level down to the provincial, were hailed for their good record and good behavior prior to assuming their respective assignments. For Vilela, it’s the opposite.
However, as long as he has not been convicted a crime, he is still capable of performing his duties and Ilonggos can give him the benefit of the doubt; plus, he wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the force if he were found guilty of “hooliganism,” or some serious moral and criminal misconduct.
Alex P. Vidal, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ