The 15 Tourism Ambassadors of Catanduanes (Prov'l Tourism photo)

VIRAC, CATANDUANES – To culminate the celebration of the 72nd Foundation Anniversary of the province and the Catandungan Festival 2017, 15 awardees composed of individuals, establishments, and/or organizations received the first Tourism Ambassadors Awards on October 27, 2017 held at  Regina’s Hall of  Kemji Resort and Resto, Virac, Catanduanes.

The line of awardees this year is composed of various personalities that remarkably made impact in tourism in their own sphere, according to Provincial Tourism Officer Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia.

“We have individuals that are considered developers and influencers. We have establishments from the transportation, accommodation and food sectors; and a municipal local government unit. We have those from the grassroots level – community guides and ecoguides. This diversity, I consider, a stronghold of what makes up an excellent and inclusive tourism sector,” she added.

Among the personalities awarded were: Karlo Adriane R. Aguilar, developer of Catanduanes Travel Guide App – Digital Tourism Award; Ferdinand B. Ocol, photographer – Social Media Influencer; Geno G. Castilla, Pandan-based ecoguide – Tour Guide Award; Patricia Mae A. Tariman, owner and manager of Katandungan Travel and Tours – Tourism Partner Award; Rechie A. Toyado, owner of Island Escape Travel and Tours – Tourism Partner Award.

Also given the Posthumuous Award is Ezra “Tisoy” Efondo for bringing the tourism waves closer to the island shore thru the staging of the successful Catanduanes Reef Break in 2014.

Impling’sLatik and Native Delicacies was given the Food Tourism Award, while Binurong Community Guides and Catanduanes Surfers’ Association received the Community-Based Tourism Awards.

Institutional Awardees were Twin Rock Beach Resort for constantly hitting high in tourist arrivals, Cardinal Shipping Lines (MV Silangan Express) for providing alternative transportation services and enhancing transport connectivity and Virac Town Center for serving as center of tourism-related events and exuding the cosmopolitan vibe to the rustic charm of the Happy Island, while Special Citations were given to Catanduanes Midtown Inn and Villa Tolledo Tourist Inn for their efficiency on tourist arrival reports which facilitates an updated database on domestic and foreign arrivals.

The Local Government Unit of Pandan was also given recognition for its efforts in institutionalizing tourism programs, projects and activities.

The Provincial Government of Catanduanes thru the Provincial Tourism Office launched the event in recognition of the outstanding contributions of exceptional individuals and establishments to tourism dynamism in the Happy Island. It is also aimed to inspire more tourism advocates in and out of the island to further promote the beauty and potentials that Catanduanes has to offer, while ensuring an ecologically sustainable, economically viable and culturally significant tourism industry.(CBG)

“Such awards send a strong message that the ‘Happy Island’ branding is a collective identity of the Catandunganons, and that making a mark is an honor rightfully bestowed to great efforts,” Garcia said.

Present during the awarding rites were Provincial Administrator Lemuel P. Surtida, representing Gov. Joseph C. Cua, PBM Vincent V. Villaluna, municipal mayors, municipal tourism officers, and public and private partners.# (Provincial Tourism Office)