The Philippines is one of the most underrated destinations in Asia. You can get a juicy mango for a quarter, a one-hour foot massage for $5, and a pretty swanky hotel room for $100. The beaches, like the bohemian-minded Palawan or Cebu, rival those of Thailand, where the crystal-clear sea is as warm as bath water, the sandy beaches as white as the clouds in the sky. There’s wild nightlife (Boracay), great sites (chocolate hills in Bohol), and weird animals (tarsier, the smallest primate in the world). To boot, the locals are genuinely pleasant and warm. If you extract all the random acts of terrorism, the political corruption, and the occasional mudslide, who wouldn’t consider the country close to heaven? Anyway, at first the President of the Philippines approved of the country’s recent bid to revamp its image with a new tourism campaign, but he just changed his mind, basically saying that everything about it sucks.
Last month, Philippines Tourism unveiled their new slogan, Pilipinas Kay Ganda (Philippines: What a Beauty), which replaces their WOW Philippines campaign, which ran for about 8 years. The new campaign is expected to double tourist arrivals and generate renewed interest for foreign visitors within the next three years. The country needs a fresh start, considering the setbacks from recent travel advisories due to terrorist attacks, like that whole situation with an ex-cop killing a bunch of Hong Kong tourists on a bus. In any case, President Benigno Aquino ordered a rebranding of the tourism logo, as it was criticized for being boring and unattractive. It’s also not in English. Oh, and it totally rips off Poland’s current design.
I’m curious to see how this unfolds. If Aquino has his way, the campaign will feature Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino boxer, as the country’s poster boy. Manny is totally into it, too, and is rumored to be considering a bid for public office. What was that about political corruption?