Off the beaten path

The Vista Dome rail car

There’s plenty of ways to market the Philippines as a premier tourist destination.  I will mention again the locomotive, the perfect means I believe to explore the beauty of the Cordilleras in comfort.  For those days one prefers this mode to hiking and camping.

The train must reek of quality (example: the Napa Valley Wine Train) otherwise people are better off on horses.

Travelers on the Napa Valley Wine Train, for example, are engaged visually as well as gastronomically as wine tasting and gourmet courses are offered on board, depending on your choice of rail car.  What’s the pitch for the Cordilleras?  The concept needs to be planned strategically and well.

Quality compliance systems must also be in place.  We don’t want these lovely trains to follow the fate of that one plying the Manila-Bicol-Manila route which was mistaken to be a self-cleaning and -sustaining machine.

The DOT-CAR needs to be more aggressive in thinking up ways to sell the region and consequently building partnerships with local groups and the private sector, because these days, the mall – SM – has become the destination especially of residents in La Union and farther North as Sy has yet to build one there.  Honestly, my generation (and the present) has yet to see a native leader in local tourism and governance who has the heart, charisma, and will to transform his or her hometown – the City and the Region – into their potential.  The Regional Development Plan would be the official document arguing for and exploring that vision.


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