By TONY LOPEZ
MOPC will honor the outstanding individuals, families and enterprises whose work of excellence and service in the hospitality industry have made the Philippines an exciting tourism destination in Asia with unmatched appeal and offerings.
On April 20, the Manila Overseas Press Club inaugurates the MOPC Grand Awards for Tourism.
The MOPC is Asia’s oldest and most prestigious press club. It has among its members owners of the largest media organizations, top businessmen and professionals and, of course, the most experienced, senior and influential journalists of the land.
MOPC was founded in 1945 by foreign correspondents who came with General Douglas MacArthur when he landed in Manila. You can thus say that MacArthur and the foreign correspondents were Manila’s first batch of foreign tourists after Liberation.
At the Grand Tourism awards lunch on April 20 at the Fairmont Raffles ballroom, MOPC honors the outstanding individuals, families and enterprises whose work of excellence and service in the hospitality industry have made the Philippines an exciting tourism destination in Asia with unmatched appeal and offerings.
A number of Cabinet and other senior government officials and members of the diplomatic corps have accepted the MOPC invitation.
The grand awards recognize the families and their enterprises who have invested in major tourism properties, facilities and infrastructure over a number of years to ease mobility (which is what tourism is all about) and make travel such a pleasurable experience.
These families include those of the late Henry Sy Sr. (for the malls which are the best and largest in the world and the hotels with nine properties and over 2,000 rooms); the late John Gokongwei Jr. (for the malls, Robinsons Hotels and Resorts, the largest with 24 hotels and with revenues up 64%, and Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ biggest airline), the venerable Ayala clan (for the malls, hotels, GCash and the unmatched El Nido eco-resorts and their community engagement programs) and Ramon Ang (for the Boracay and Bulacan airports, SMC’s vast highways and tollways infrastructure, Diamond Hotels, petroleum products retail network and range of San Miguel products led by beer, Ginebra and Purefoods).
Cebu Pacific strengthens its position as the Philippines’ leading carrier with a 57% domestic market share and flying 13.5 million passengers in 2022. Cebu Air inspired everyone to fly.
Developer of the Year is Andrew Tan with his Newport Hotels’ five hotel brands and 3,574 hotel rooms.
We will honor as well with Special Grand Awards Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno who conceptualized and financed the greatest state infra buildup and modernization program in history – the Build, Build, Build (BBB) – and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.
Joey designed the template to develop a province from scratch into a major destination and one of the most successful tourism promotion ventures, by combining the attraction of the most perfect-coned volcano in the world, a new airport and Bicol’s beauties (Albay has the most number of world beauty queens), cuisine and mythology (legends).
Joey is also a staunch climate change adaptation and mitigation advocate, an indispensable value, given that tourism is often scored for its impact on the environment.
A source of pride is the Aristocrat chain of restaurants, began in 1936 by Doña Engracia Reyes and which now is in 15 locations, up from just one rolling store 87 years ago. Despite fast foods, Aristocrat remains the Philippines’ most popular restaurant.
Try the Aristocrat classic Chicken Barbeque served with Java rice and sauce, atsara and pancit canton.
The Aristocrat is the symbol of welcoming home for Filipinos, where modest wallets are rewarded with hearty quality dishes and good old feeling of family.
We have singled out St Luke’s for medical tourism. Its two hospitals are among only ten hospitals in the world recognized for medical tourism by Germany-based accrediting group Temos International.
Crimson is the top choice for the pandemic-weary cash-rich traveler.
For heritage tourism, we cite Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, an award-winning beach resort, convention center and heritage destination in the town of Bagac, Bataan.
Established in 2010, Las Casas showcases Housing Secretary Jose Acuzar’s collection of 63 heritage houses renovated and rebuilt by local artisans and craftsmen. Want a one-of-a-kind experience of how life was in Rizal’s time? Go to Las Casas.
Two of the most coveted MOPC Grand awards are Hotel of the Year and Hotel GM of the Year.
Hotel of the Year is Fairmont and Raffles Makati under the inimitable helmship of GM Bernd Schneider.
Hotel GM of the Year is Nantha Kumar of the Rosewood Hotel Group, New World Makati Hotel. Through his leadership amid the pandemic, he turned around New World, making it awesomely profitable, despite repeated debilitating lockdowns and severe government restrictions.
Tourism is booming in the Philippines, thanks in no small measure to BBM’s focus on the sector because it is one of the quickest strategies for employment boost and economic recovery.
Under the Marcos Jr. administration, tourism has the potential to contribute up to 10% of GDP.
In this country, the travel experience is made more unique and, in fact, enhanced by the natural warmth and hospitality of the Filipino, the splendid scenery and rich biodiversity of the environment in an archipelago that is the second largest in the world and, of course, by the country’s strategic location (less than four hours away from all of Asia’s major capitals).
— Philstar, April 11, 2023