Tuesday, November 16, 2010


First the good news: The Department of Tourism has a new website! Yehey!

Then, more good news: The Department of Tourism is bringing nationalism to a whole new level! Using Filipino! And providing a translation and pronunciation guide!

And even more good news:
The domain name is going to make every lonely heart (or dirty mind) crawl out of the woodwork and make a beeline for the first plane headed for the land of beautifulpilipinas.com!

Did you say alarm bells rang in the Interpol’s porn division or some such unit? No problem. We have a President ready to take potshots at allied governments who dare tar the country’s image. Hah, they won't dare tangle with a guy whose face lights up like the moon when he talks of things that go bang in the night (or day).

What's with all the ranting and raving on Facebook? Come on, lighten up. Otherwise, we’re going to have to listen and quote you. Then that’s going to earn us another lecture from the Prez, who’s not going to be too happy with yet another crisis eating up into his, um, private time.

Guys, aren’t you proud of how fast the DOT got into its digital stride? Why, it’s barely a month since Secretary Bertie Lim announced a P100 million budget for a new media blitz! Now we won’t have to weep with envy every time we hear “Malaysia, Truly Asia” on CNN or BBC, nor will we need to grouch about how Vietnam and even Laos are beating us in the marketing of the true, the good and the beautiful.

Think excitement! Think innovation! Think “new brand” with new website. And think public-private partnership ☺

For all of you muttering about grammar, think Melanie Marquez. On the world stage, it’s long-legged that matters, not the p’s and q’s.

Besides, with the world’s foremost English speakers battered by rough economic seas, it’s not like we need to demand that our DOT website creators have language skills to pass the high school SATs. Koreans come here to study English, for god’s sake; they’re not going to grumble because some DOT writer forgot to align subjects and verbs. And the guys now rolling in money come from the cold, cold side of Europe and need only the promise of Tanduay rhum and lambanog – and beautifulpilipinas haha – and friendly generals -- to start chartering private jets to the Philippines.

You really should be kind to the hard-working, long-suffering idealists in government. So they’re geographically challenged. So what?

Be glad they’ve got enough imagination to transform a Central Visayan island --so bereft of natural resources that it has to import white sand to make fake beaches – into something exotic enough to host the sequel of Apocalypse Now.

Darn, I’d give an arm and a leg to get the guys of beautifulpilipinas.com to wax ecstatic over my home province's “cliffs that tower above crashing surfs, virgin forests, clear rivers, mossy jungles, and cool mountain ridges."

And I’d give a year’s worth of Novenas if they throw in “tattooed tribesmen” living “as they have for centuries”.

And you thought they were dunces, huh? No, this here is the renaissance of Philippine culture.

We shall soon see the godmother of the Tasaday once more declaiming about innocence and noble savages. And if there aren’t any, enough rice wine and the good heart of a certain stylist could rustle up half a dozen of them from Malacanang’s corridors.

Hey, now here’s an idea… let’s have Bertie Lim and Enteng Romano order their bright boys to design a new video game and then let’s have the country’s most famous bachelor play digital hide and seek with long-haired belles and guys in g-strings. That’s going to be some party.

Okay, okay you spoil sports, what’s that about irate tourists demanding their money back?

If Donald Tsang can’t get through the trunkline, some drunken guy with lobster skin isn’t going to succeed. Besides, what are aides for? They can always raid new cellars to humor testy visitors. Or else borrow some weapons from those warehouses and invite play at liberating the Kremlin from Chechen rebels. Might as well put those expensive toys to good use.

See, the good thing about these guys is they sure know how to go the extra mile. That makes it easier, as Lim says, to create a brand that "reflects the hope and optimism being represented by the new administration."

Supreme Court justices borrow boring legal text. At least the creators of beautifulpilipinas.com range wider in their pillage.

Treasure hunters; fancy that. Got to shake my head in admiration. I can see Yamashita rising from the grave. Who can resist showbiz?

Now if we can just get the magicians to come out into the light and take their bows.

Who they? Aaaah, that’s the million-peso question. (*Many thanks to Stella Arnaldo and Reyna Elena and Ka Bibo of Cebu, all Facebook sages, for diverting me from massacres and foresters felled by crossfire.)

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