By GERRY LEE GORIT
Misamis Oriental continues to shine in the tourism industry, securing several prestigious awards at the recently concluded Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines — Department of Tourism (ATOP-DOT) Pearl Awards 2023.
The event, held during the 24th ATOP National Convention on October 5, 2023, at the Boracay New Coast Convention Center, Boracay, Malay, Aklan, celebrated the province’s remarkable contributions to the tourism sector, under the visionary leadership of Governor Peter M. Unabia.
The awards ceremony was graced by esteemed dignitaries, including Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco, Misamis Oriental Tourism Council Co-chair Erlinda Unabia, 2nd District Representative Congressman Yevgeny “Bambi” Emano, and dedicated tourism officers.
The province was awarded with no less than seven titles demonstrating its unwavering dedication to excellence and responsible tourism practices.
“Gov. Peter Unabia and the provincial government of Misamis Oriental share with all of the Misamisnon people the victory achieved by our beloved province in the recently concluded 2023 ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards,” said Misamis Oriental Tourism Director Atty. Jeffrey C. Saclot. “The number of recognitions conferred upon us confirms our commitment as a force for good in the field of tourism by continuing to set examples to inspire others.”
The Association of Tourism Officers of Misamis Oriental (ATOM) with President Mr. Edan Mark T. Vosotros secured the Grand Winner for the Most Outstanding Tourism Officers Association award, in addition to a Citation as The Most Outstanding Tourism Organization, a clear testament to their commitment to promoting tourism within the province.
Misamis Oriental was also the Grand Winner for the Best Tourism Gifts or Souvenirs Award (Food) Province with its Oolong Tea: The First and Only Oolong Tea Plantation in the Philippines from Barangay Kalag-onoy, Gingoog City, highlighting its unique and delightful flavors.
Misamis Oriental’s excellence extended to its Best Tourism Promotions Award- Video (province) where it was 1st Runner Up , for its Misamis Oriental: Golden Pearl of the Orient production.
The province’s expertise in this area was earlier cited by no less than Tourism Secretary Garcia-Frasco during the 3rd NorthMin Dive Festival and MisOr Dive Festival held in Gingoog City Hall on Sept. 8 when she cited its Pagalum sa Turismo (Hope in Tourism) video, which highlighted the locals who add life and colors to the adventures of tourists in the province, making their travel experience extraordinary.
“I would like to commend the new tourism video of the province of Misamis Oriental that focuses on the best asset of Philippine tourism, and that is the Filipino tourism workers. It falls well in line with our President’s efforts to ensure that we elevate Filipino tourism quality offerings in the Philippines as we are already renowned worldwide for Filipino service excellence,” she noted.
The province likewise claimed first runner up honors for Best Events Hosting-Local Event-City for hosting the Mindanao Food Congress & Oro Best Expo 2022, a tribute to its exceptional hospitality and organizational expertise.
Further solidifying its reputation as a premier tourism destination, the province earned Second Runner-Up awards for both the Best Tourism Week or Month Celebration-Provincial for its 2022 Misamis Oriental Province Wide Tourism Week Celebration, and Best Tourism Oriented Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU).
Not the least, Misamis Oriental also received a Certificate of Recognitionas a Finalist in the Best Cultural Festival Event category-Province, underscoring its vibrant cultural tapestry.
As a tribute to the people who worked hard to merit these recognitions, Saclot said the local tourism workers are the unsung heroes of the province’s tourism sector.
“We demonstrate our love for the Philippines by loving the people working for the Philippines. Truly, tourism gives hope to Misamisnons, who play a key role in our tourism industry,” he said.
Saclot further stressed that the goal of the Misamis Oriental provincial government is to make sure the local community avails of the benefits of tourism activities, helping them improve their lives.
The ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards is an annual recognition program organized by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP). The Pearl Awards aims to honor and acknowledge best practices of Local Government Units (LGUs) in the field of tourism.
Misamis Oriental’s triumphant showing at the ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards 2023 not only celebrates its remarkable achievements but also serves as an inspiration to other regions, encouraging them to strive for excellence in promoting their unique cultures and attractions.