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NR # 2985
China says it really is more fun in the Philippines
House members today welcomed the recent news naming the Philippines as one of the “Best Tourist Destinations” during the awarding ceremony of the 2012 Oriental Morning Post’s annual World Travel- Special Trips Awards, held in Twelve at Hengshan (A Luxury Collection Hotel in Shanghai). This despite the bitter territorial dispute in the high seas between the Philippines and China. Rep. Teddy Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna), in a light mood, said maybe the Chinese are just surveying the many possibilities for the future and are amazed by what they are discovering. “Seriously speaking, the tourism sites in our country have a lot to offer and it is not only the Chinese who are beginning to notice. Perhaps, they also realized that it really is more fun in the Philippines,” Casiño said. Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora (1st District, Compostela Valley) welcomed the appreciation that the Philippines is considered a major tourist destination by the country’s nearest neighbors. “We are a warm and friendly people, with many areas of significant cultural heritage and a kinship to fellow Asians. The discourse involving claims in our high seas is but an aspect of trade, relations and (the other aspect is) the enjoyment of business, travel and holidays between our countries,” Zamora said. “The continuing enjoyment and commitment to friendly relations between us yield benefits for all, including the acknowledgement that it really is more fun in the Philippines,” Zamora also added. Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) for his part said China does not have the nice beaches and warm weather that the Philippines has; neither does China have a predominantly European cultural heritage. “By its sheer virtues and uniqueness, the Philippines is a tourism powerhouse,” Castelo stressed. Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City) said it is overwhelming for Filipinos to be hailed as one of the best tourist destinations by a Chinese newspaper. “Indeed, Chinese nationals found their stay in the country a fun experience. However, we must not yet bury old hatchets. We have yet to settle territorial disputes over the Panatag Shoal,” Teodoro said. Teodoro scored that the award must not be taken as a token in exchange for the country’s territories but a reminder that the country is truly a force to reckon with especially in the area of tourism. “This is a testament that the Philippines’ natural wonders are still attracting foreign audiences and the happy disposition of Filipinos coupled with our hospitality has enthralled tourists,” Teodoro emphasized. (30) lvc