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Pinoy hospitality transcends sexual orientations

FACLA members with Beyond Deadlines writer Abner Galino (third from left) and standing on his left is LAPT Director Richmond Jimenez
FACLA members with Beyond Deadlines writer Abner Galino (third from left) and standing on his left is LAPT Director Richmond Jimenez. Photo © Joe Cobilla

“THE legendary hospitality of the Filipinos transcends sexual orientations.”

This was pointed out by Los Angeles-Philippine Tourism Director Richmond Jimenez during the weekly Kapihan sa FACLA in the Historic Filipino Town (HFT) last Tuesday (June 14, 2016).

Jimenez expressed sympathy for the victims of the Florida gay bar massacre and went on to praise the apparent inherent capability of the Filipinos to be tolerant of other people.

“The Philippines is ready, and will always be ready for the LGBT community (Lesbian, gays, bisexual and Transgender),” Jimenez said, adding that “we are among the countries that promote tour packages that target the LGBT community.”

The tourism director added that such promotions have been successful primarily because of the general culture of tolerance that prevails in the country, not only among the people but as well as among business entities such as restaurants and hotels.

In the Philippines, you can even see men hold hands and its ok. It doesn’t mean anything,” Jimenez pointed out.

Being a country with a predominantly Catholic population the Philippines might be construed as a “conservative” tourist destination. But, while the Filipinos are generally respectful and tolerant of the LGBT community, these have not yet manifested in the policies of the government.

But Jimenez expressed optimism that changes may be coming as the Filipinos recently elected their first transgender person to the House of Representatives.

The tourism director was referring to Geraldine Roman, who will be representing the 1st district of Bataan. The neophyte lawmaker won the seat as a replacement to her mother who has served out her terms of office.

A congressman can serve for three consecutive terms.

Meanwhile, Jimenez announced that tourism receipts for the first four months of the year has reached P86.66 billion (about US $1.882 billion).

This represents a double-digit gain of 12.34%, as compared to the earnings derived from tourism for the same period last year which was P77.14 billion (about US $1.676 billion).

For the month of April 2016, the country’s tourism earnings showed a steady increase of 4.08% at P18.92 billion vis-à-vis its corresponding figure of Php 18.18 billion a year ago,” the department of tourism said in an email sent to Weekend Balita.

Spending patterns of visitors for April 2016 showed that a visitor had an average daily expenditure of Php 5,250.98, Php 575 more than the average daily expenditure reported in April 2015 at Php 4,675.42.”

On the other hand, the Average Length of Stay (ALoS) of visitors for the same month is recorded at 9.38 nights.  Moreover, Average per Capita Expenditure of visitors for the month is at Php 49,254.16.”

Korea remained to be the top spending market for the month of April (P5.30 billion), followed by the  USA ( P3.13 billion).

In April 2016, a total of 471,598 visitors to the Philippines was recorded or an increase of 11.39% versus the 423,366 visitors to the country a year ago.

From January to April 2016 there were 2,073,851 visitors to the country, which registered another milestone in the history of the industry by surpassing the 2 millionth mark in just 4 months.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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