"..a bardy view!"

DoT Philippines…..

An article on the GMA News tells us that Lonely Planet has rated the Philippines in the top ten destinations for 2011 – "nearly replacing Thailand as the go-to spot for those who desire nothing more than to find great, undiscovered beaches, surf the odd wave and eat unique, distinctive food for under $20 a day." Palawan

The Philippines Department of Tourism has received a boost from this, and says that in the last year 2.84 million tourists arrived – an increase of nearly 16% from 2009. It sounds a lot, but a lot it's not, or is it? Not by Thai standards, but old Siam is a different ball game.

Mr Alberto Lim (more of him later) wants to take the emphasis away from tropical beaches, and encourage the
culture and history, ecology and biodiversity of the archipelago.That's tough, considering that most of the aforementioned have been ruined, ignored, exploited and decimated.

Indeed, he wants to attract the high paying tourists instead of the mass market. Hmmm. I wonder where they will go? Surely not the luxury resorts which Mr Lim, a high end developer has certain interests in? He wants to double the visitors to 6 million by 2013, and uses the Public Private Partnership (PPP) as endorsed by the new President Aquino's administration.

He has his critics, and lets face it, 6 million visitors to the Philippines every year will severely impact on the very culture and biodiversity which he intends to promote. Surely it will give employment, and if all fails there is bound to be a few golf courses to compensate.

The Philippines rainforests are lost. Most of the coral is dying and any influx of scuba diving tourists must be controlled. Beaches are increasingly being managed by opportunists and cartels, and although there are 7000 islands, access to them is limited.

Palawan (don't click unless you like a song) once regarded by Jacques Cousteau as the most beautiful place he ever saw, and regarded as Earth's last ecological frontier, is being swamped by hotels and guest houses. Three airports service the Palawan islands. Twenty years ago the only way to get there was by  boat. And a pleasant trip it was. Now people can fly to Puerto Princesa (the main city) in an hour from Manila. Cebu Pacific fly four times a day.

So who is Alberto Lim? He's a resort property developer and now the Secretary of Tourism for the Philippines Department of Tourism. He was past President of the Makati Business Club, an exclusive club of 450 of the biggest corporations in the Philippines and former president of Ten Knots Development Corp and the owner and manager of El Nido resorts.

Has the poacher turned gamekeeper?


January 19, 2011 - Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Politics, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Can’t follow half of this to be sure. Eventually all unspoilt paradise’s succumb to development and I’m all for this. A damn sight better than sitting in a tent being bitten to death by all sorts of bugs. I guess it depends on how much taste they use developing things which fit in with the natural ambient? Instead of slapping up high rise hotels?


    Comment by Spook Moor | January 19, 2011 | Reply

  2. I’m sure you don’t mean half of that Kevin, although I agree that if developers can source local materials to build their resorts in an ecologically friendly way than that would be preferably to concrete, energy guzzling monstrosities. But one has also to look at the sustainability of an area and whether tourists can exist in harmony with the local habitat. however the point I tried to make (clearly not very well) is the appointment to a government department of a person who clearly has vested personal interests. An analogy would be David Cameron appointing a minister who runs an investment company to be responsible for advising the public on savings and retirement under the auspices of the Department of Work and Pensions. There would be a conflict of interests, which would have to be declared, and one or the other must go.
    It may well be that Mr Lim is a thoroughly dedicated and conscientious chap with his country’s best interest at heart. But would we be happy here in the UK if the Chief Secretary of the British Tourist Authority also happened to be a hotel and resort magnate? My post also highlighted the wisdom and weakness of a president who appears very ready to place such individuals in many spheres of influence. The very contrary of his original early statements upon election. It also highlights a president who came to power with so much hope for the people, yet has singularly failed to live up to expectations. He seems incapable of stamping his authority, and has even recently stated (somewhat prematurely) that he has no intention of seeking a second term.
    Firstly: there are no second terms for Philippine Presidents – it’s six years and gone. A constitutional change implemented by his mother Cory Aquino after the people power revolution. Some would say it was a “knee-jerk” reaction to prevent potential dictatorships like Marcos. That policy certainly buggered Fidel Ramos, who managed to drag his country up by the bootstraps to create an Asian tiger in the 1990’s.
    Second: It hardly instills confidence to talk about such a thing less than a year in office. It implies that this man is already bored with his duties. I stand by my observation – he is weak, ineffectual, and his mind is on other things. Such a disappointment!
    thanks for giving me the opportunity to expand on the post.


    Comment by Bar De Ness | January 19, 2011 | Reply

  3. You’re welcome.


    Comment by Spook Moor | January 22, 2011 | Reply

  4. Let’s save the Philippines’ Last Ecological Frontier, Palawan. We need 10 million signatures. Do not allow other people to ruin this paradise.


    Comment by retirement philippines | July 27, 2011 | Reply

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