ILOILO City – This city made a good impression before the eyes of some 800 Japanese tourists who were in this city for a two-day visit as part of the port call of the MV Pacific Venus of Japan starting Saturday.
Junel Ann Divinagracia, head of the Iloilo City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO), said that due to traffic closure the tourists were unable to visit the Calle Real along J.M. Basa Street that was declared as a heritage site.
“We would have loved to show them the old and the new. Instead we bring them to our millionaire’s row, the mansions,” she said.
The tourists visited Casa Mariquit and Jaro Cathedral in Jaro district; Molo Mansion in Molo district; Esplanade and the modern Iloilo Business Park (IBP), which is considered as a new economic triangle of this city.
Of the 800 tourists and crew, 400 witnessed the performance of the Fiesta Pilipinas Kasadyahan regional cultural competition at the new Iloilo Grandstand.
Thereafter, a short exchange of tokens transpired inside the cruise ship between the ship captain and representatives of the city government, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
The cruise ship docked at the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex in Barangay Loboc in Lapuz district, this city.
Divinagracia said that the exchange of tokens is a protocol of the cruise ship whenever they have a port of call.
Captain Matsuya Mitsui received a symbolic key from Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, a Dagoy doll, which is the official mascot of the Dinagyang Festival from IDFI President Ramon Cua Locsin and a plaque (of appreciation) from the DOT-6 (Western Visayas) Regional Director Atty. Helen Catalbas.
The symbolic key means that Iloilo City is opening its door to them, Divinagracia said.
“It is very important because it’s a maiden voyage. We wanted to make a very good impression so we would realize our dream to make Western Visayas a cruise ship destination. It’s very timely because we are celebrating Dinagyang,” she added.
In exchange, Capt. Mitsui gave the mayor a painting of the ship.
Divinagracia also added that appropriate assistance was extended to the guests, especially if they are senior citizens.
“We would like to show them that they are very much welcome here in our city and even if they are senior citizens, our door is open for them,” she said. (PNA)