I SIMPLY fell in love with tourism.
In 1976, I proposed a four-year course in Bachelor of Science in Tourism (BS Tourism) and Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (BS HRM). Finally, the four-year courses were approved by Fr. Rafael Cabarles of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R). The complete USJ-R BS HRM and BS Tourism courses were a first in Cebu.
I organized the USJ-R HRM and Tourism departments, built the first HRM mini hotel, and made linkages with the hotel and tourism organizations.
My romance with Tourism with the government blossomed when then-Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos’ Dramatics and Cultural Ensemble performed in Xiamen, China in the mid-‘80s through the efforts of Sonny Garcia and Joy Young. Thereafter, our cultural group danced its way to many more sister cities of Cebu for many years.
We thank Mayor Tomas and Margot Osmeña and Mayor Alvin and Ninette Garcia. My tourism involvement deepened when then Vice Mayor Renato Osmeña invited me to co-chair and direct the Miss Cebu Tourism pageants with Nelia G. Neri as chairperson.
Eventually, I became one of the Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC) commissioners. We did community projects.
Department of Tourism 7 director Dawnie Roa endorsed to then-Cebu Governor Pablo Garcia the participation of the Province of Cebu in the East Asia Interregional Tourism Forum (Eatof) in 2000.
I had just retired from USJ-R and accepted my role in Eatof as academe chairperson where I presented research papers about Cebu.
This big break was Governor Pabling’s trust in my tourism experience. The Eatof team of Cebu became the exponent of tourism partnerships among 11 countries.
I started my media career when I edited “Tourism Trails,” a section of then-Newstime Daily, owned by a private group. Nelia G. Neri invited me to join SunStar Cebu, where I had a chance to write about tourism and travel in my regular column “In My Diary.”
My travels through media tours sponsored by Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Cebu Pacific, Northwest Airlines and Singapore Airlines put me in step with global tourism.
My Princess, and other cruises—courtesy of my friend, Aida Uy—widened my grasp of sea travelogues. Through Speechcom International, I expanded the participation of the USJ-R Dramatics and Cultural Ensemble and the Amparito L. Lhuillier Educational Foundation in the Springfield Festival in Utah, US and Beijing, China.
We expanded our cultural linkages with the tourism, travel and hotel organizations and had the support of Ambassador Francisco Benedicto, US Consul John Domingo, WeCare especially Ramon Sebastian, Joseph and Gloria Gaisano, Nestor and Juliet Chua, Enrique and Helen Benedicto, and Lim Liu.
Through the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where I chaired the Tourism sector, we helped in the promotion of “Suroy-Suroy Sugbo,” “One Cebu” projects etc. In all these projects, I got the full support of Gov. Gwen Garcia. We thanked Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Radisson Blu Cebu, Cebu Marriott Hotel, Montebello Villa Hotel, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Ayala Malls and SM Malls for their support. Decades after, the new set of Tourism commissioners of Cebu City continued the tourism programs.
I continued my tourism pursuits in the private sector through the academe and media.