Text & Photos by Nicolo Nasol
“One vision, one identity, one community.” — The ASEAN Motto
THE Department of Tourism (DOT) hosted anew the fourth Asean Plus Three Youth Tourism in Siquijor and Dumaguete City. The previous summit was successfully held in Cebu and Bohol last year.
Themed “Scenes. Senses. Asean Spirit,” this year’s summit held from June 19 to 25 hosted three youth delegates from each Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) country, an Asean secretariat and a marketing coordinator, and 16 delegates from different regions of the Philippines.
Upon arriving in Sibulan-Dumaguete Airport, the delegates were greeted by the DOT and the Provincial Tourism Office of Negros Oriental with the “warm, natural smiles and unmatched hospitality” Filipinos were known for and were then escorted to Coco Grove Beach Resort in Siquijor, where a barrio-fiesta welcome dinner, orientation, and a set of local cultural presentations prepared by the Siquijor tourism office awaited them.
Lessons and attractions
The delegates were delighted by the series of workshops, lectures, and forums on the tourism industry, ecological conservation, and cultural appreciation the DOT facilitated the following day. This was then amplified and put into focus by an island tour wherein the delegates were brought to Asean homestay awardees and local attractions such as the San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent, Cambuhagay Falls, the fish spa at the “enchanted” century-old balete tree, and to where they could buy the rumored, mysterious amulets, or “anting-anting,” and love potions, or “lumay.”
And in Dumaguete City, the delegates had their race-style tour where they “really felt the warm touch of the Filipino community” on a dry and lovely morning. The delegates had to search for the Bay Walk, Campanario de Dumaguete, Silliman University (to ask students to teach them local songs and crafts), and the city’s delicacies (e.g. Sylvanas). After which, they had their afternoon symposium about the Asean Tourism Development Plan, at Bethel Guest House, which was also attended by local tourism and hospitality students.
Not long after checking in to Bahura Resort and Spa, the delegates were brought back to the iconic bay walk where the majestic and magical “Flavors of Dumaguete” program and presentation was going to be held that evening. The following morning, the delegates were brought to Tañon Strait for dolphin watching and to the Manjuyod Sandbar for lunch.
Team-building with local color
Proudly representing Cebu Teambuilding Facilitators’ Network, Lorenzo Jose Cahig and this writer employed Pinoy games as team-building activities, such as “Bahaw-Bahaw,” “Slipper Game,”and “Patintero”; this set was paired with teaching the delegates folk songs and children’s rhymes like “Leron-Leron Sinta,” “Tatlong Bebe,” “Bahay Kubo, “Sampung Palaka” and having them choreograph and perform their own interpretative dance of the song.
The debriefing of each activity was followed by discussing Filipino values (e.g. Bayanihan) and relating them with the cultures of the other Asean nations. The Pinoy games proved to be impactful learning experiences as the delegates were affected not just physically and mentally but emotionally as well, and they even realized the striking resemblances of each other’s cultures, thus sensing a newly found camaraderie and belongingness.
During “the carousel,” the climactic activity of the team building, held at the viewing dock of the Balinsasayao and Danao Twin Lakes, the delegates felt how close they were bonded by the Pinoy games and the summit itself and were in tears throughout the activity.
The “intended major output” of the summit is the Youth’s Declaration of Commitments that “highlights their vision” for the tourism youth. This was held in Bahura Resort and Spa, which was preceded by the awarding and cultural presentations of each country’s delegates, performed wearing their national costumes.
Asean Plus Three Youth Tourism Summit
COMPRISING Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was constituted on Aug. 8, 1967 with aims “to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development… through joint endeavors and to promote peace and stability” throughout the southeast Asian regions.
On the 12th assembly of Asean held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on January 2013, tourism ministers from member countries alongside their counterparts from China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, outlined the Asean Plus Three Tourism Cooperation Work Plan 2013–2017, with the Philippines and Thailand chosen as lead coordinators for the undertaking.