La Laguna tops anew 'Best Tourism Event of the Year' award – DOT-ATOP

October 11, 2012 10:29 pm 

STA. CRUZ, Laguna, Oct. 11 –- The La Laguna Festival dubbed “Festival of Life” in the province, proved once again its importance to the country’s tourism industry as the provincial government of Laguna received the “Best Tourism Event of the Year” Award in the provincial category for the second time.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) jointly presented the prestigious award to the Province of Laguna during the association's 13th National Convention held last Tuesday in Zamboanga del Norte.

Gov. Jeorge “E.R. Ejercito” Estregan, who led provincial officials of Laguna participate in the national convention, said La Laguna also won major special awards in the Search for Best Tourism Practices sponsored by ATOP and the DOT.

Among these, Ejercito Estregan said, are – Best regional attire, Best tourism event documentation, provincial level for Laguna Tourism Culture, Arts and Trade Office (LTCATO); 2nd place in best tourism oriented local government unit documentation – provincial level.

He said Laguna’s major awards include: 1st runner-up – Best in Culture and Arts Festival – Municipal Level; Best Tourism Event – Coco Festival in San Pablo City – city level; 1st runner-up – Best Tourism Oriented LGU – San Pablo City – city/provincial level/category; and 1st Runner-up – Best Tourism Oriented LGU – Province of Laguna.

During the event, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed by Gov. Estregan and Zamboanga del Norte Governor Rolando Yebes for the sisterhood between the two provinces.

The La Laguna Festival is a week-long fun-filled summer undertaking celebrated in the province with its colorful culture and crafts in the first La Laguna Festival of Life.

The festival highlights Laguna’s alluring attractions which have made it a top tourist draw south of the Metro Manila, Ejercito Estregan said, adding that “Laguna takes pride in its natural wonders such as the iconic Pagsanjan Falls, mystic Mt. Makiling, the scenic Laguna Lake, San Pablo City’s seven lakes, enchanting waterfalls, hot and cold spring resorts, as well as historic spots such as postcard-perfect Spanish-era churches, welcome arches and ancestral homes.”

He also said that the La Laguna festival is a celebration of life itself because of Laguna’s God-given attributes and the character of its people.

The centerpiece of the annual celebration is the trade fair at the Provincial Capitol Complex which displays popular crafts such as hand-embroidered barongs of Lumban, the footwear of Liliw, wooden sculptures and papier maches from Paete, native decor items from Luisiana, Cavinti, Famy and Mabitac, he said.

Ejercito said that the festival is special because it will serve as a fitting prelude to the nationwide observance of Dr. Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary on June 19 at the Rizal Shrine complex in Calamba City.

The festivities include the Festival Queen Mardi Gras Party and the traditional sagala. Indigenous gown and barong creations of the province’s promising couturiers taking center stage in a daily grand sagala and designers’ competition.

Farm produce from Kalayaan and Rizal, dairy products from Alaminos, sweet pineapples from Calauan, sweet delicacies from Pagsanjan and Pangil, puto from Biñan, buko pie, uraro, and espasol from Los Baños and Calamba, and processed food from Pila and Cabuyao, among others, are displayed week-long at the capitol grounds.

The festival’s highlight is the Grand Float Parade where gaily-adorned floats showcasing the towns and cities of the province. The festival drew to a close with sporting events on the picturesque Sta. Cruz River.

Laguna, composed of 26 towns and four cities, has successfully combined modern living and rural ambience. The bustling province is host to residential villages, golf courses, emerging business districts, industrial enclaves and first-rate tourist establishments, and has preserved its rustic character on the towns around Laguna de Bay, the country’s biggest lake.

Gov. Estregan was joined in this fruitful activity in Zamboanga del Norte by Pagsanjan Mayor Girlie “Maita” Ejercito; Provincial Administrator, Atty. Leonardo M. Ragaza Jr.; Chief Executive, Carlos Dolendo; 3rd District Board Member, Neil Andrew Nocon; LTCATO Head Delto “Mike” Abarquez Jr.; Tourism Division Office head, Regina Austria; International Relations and Trades Office head, Bong Arkanghel; Provincial Architect, Mansly Kimhoko; Sectoral Concern Office head, Angelito “Steve” Bombay; Public Affairs Office Head, Gener Dimaranan; and Provincial Sports Office head, Albert Abarquez. (PNA)

LAP/FJB/JCF

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