ASEAN Landmark Lighting “Excellent Opportunity to Draw Attention” To Mount Hamiguitan

Mount Hamiguitan — Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang is grateful for the ASEAN Landmark Lighting Ceremony here, saying that the event held at the foot of the world-famous mountain range has showcased his “uniquely beautiful” province on a larger stage.

Marking ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary on Tuesday, August 8, Mount Hamiguitan in San Isidro town was one of the 73 sites in the country participating in the simultaneous nationwide ASEAN landmark lighting ceremony highlighting the Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN 2017.

Governor Dayanghirang leads the lighting of the ASEAN lantern at the World Heritage Park.

“This ASEAN Landmark Lighting Ceremony at our crown jewel gives us the opportunity to showcase our world-famous heritage site, which is the first and only mountain range in the Philippines to have been inscribed in the World Heritage List. Thanks to the ASEAN for this excellent opportunity to draw the attention of visitors, and remind local residents of the outstanding universal value of this mountain range,” says Governor Dayanghirang who led the lighting of the ASEAN lantern at the World Heritage Park.

Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang

“We share the belief that it is through cooperation and positive engagement that we lay the foundations for greater economic integration. We all share a single vision of progress, a vision that finds its roots in a common heritage.”

 “This historic ASEAN Landmark Lighting here is very helpful for us as the province of Davao Oriental is now positioning itself to become a big player in the tourism industry. Gone are the days when we were low in the hierarchy of places to visit and invest in. Today, foreigners and Filipinos both are discovering, and rediscovering, what we have to offer. The good news is that opportunities for success in tourism abound in this province, and that’s because of our unique tourism offerings. Aside from this beautiful mountain range and wildlife sanctuary, we have more than enough beaches, mountains, waterfalls and lakes to accommodate the thousands of tourists in search of a getaway, encouraging many local entrepreneurs to find ways to reinvent the business of fun. We now have the facilities, the skills and the competence to get things done,” says Governor Dayanghirang.

Aerial view of the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park during the ASEAN Landmark Lighting Program on August 8

Governor Dayanghirang cited the ASEAN’s collaborative strategies towards achieving the shared goal of “coming together and helping each other to make the most of the region’s potentials.”

“While many of our neighbors in the region may be ahead of us in terms of tourist arrivals, I am so pleased to say that through hard work and creativity, we are quickly catching up. Today, I am so pleased to announce that we have made stunning progress. We are now among the best tourism destinations in the country. That only shows just how focused we are on our tourism programs. We in the provincial government have been doing our part to develop our own tourism industry. We are offering competitive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to tourism enterprises and we are now working on developing and improving our tourism infrastructure from roads to airport, ports and terminals. From the onset, we have identified tourism as what we call a low-lying fruit waiting to be picked. It is the perfect industry to focus on. Tourism booms benefit not just those at the top, it also benefits local restaurant owners, food producers, transport organizations, souvenir craftsmen, schools that produce tourism professionals, and the list goes on and on. This unprecedented boom in our tourism has vastly altered our economic landscape. Thanks to my predecessor, former governor, Cora Malanyaon, for spearheading the highly ambitious initiative to inscribe Mount Hamiguitan to the highly prestigious World Heritage List,” adds the governor.

Guest Speaker Department of Interior and Local Government Regional Director Alex Roldan

Meanwhile, Guest Speaker Department of Interior and Local Government Regional Director Alex Roldan stressed the many benefits of the ASEAN community not only in terms of tourism but also in terms of economic progress.

“Being an ASEAN member would not only allow the different peoples of the ASEAN region to interact through relaxed travel regulations within the member countries but most importantly the exchange of knowledge, education and job opportunities. A freer connection between the Philippines and other nations in the ASEAN would provide wider opportunities who want to dream it big in other countries.”

“Another goal of ASEAN is to increase foreign investments by removing restrictions and adopting international best practices. This means enhanced job opportunities for ASEAN citizens as well, and a better quality of life. We will have more options, we have more choices”.

Flags of the ASEAN 10-member states hoisted during the program

“Building ASEAN in truth cannot be established by our leaders. It is the people in these nations who would make the final decision. It is the people of these nations who believe that we can all develop as one, we can live in peace and harmony could make the concept of integration become a reality,” he said. By Ferdinand Zuasola/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

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