One of the major player in the recently concluded 26th Philippime Travel Mart at SMX was SOCCSKSARGEN (or simply Region 12). On the same hugely succesful event, #SOX a branding trend to shape the future tourism for the aforementioned Philippine region was launched.
I agree that it does have a good ring to it, as DOT Region XII ( Central Mindanao) together with private stake-holders invite travelers to open their senses to what SOCCSKSARGEN can offer them. At the 26th PTM, a pavilion was set up which was shared by the cities, municipalities, and provinces of the region and they have showcased diffrent destinations such as river tubimg in Maitum Sarangani, diving in Lemlunay Resort, Paragliding In Safi Ranch, cultural immersions in Lemlifew Cultural Village, Al Jamelah weaving center, New Israel and the community of the Moncados (a tour in Glan), GenSan Fishport, souvenirs of Kablon Farms, different trekking destinations of SIOK Falls in Koronadal City, Tawsuvan Falls, Asik asik Curtain Falls, a dip in the waters of hot and cold spring of Ezperanza in Cotabato City, and the muscovado processing plants of lambayong Sultan Kudarat.
It's indeed Fun at SOX as you are gladly received with adventure, culture, nature and gastronomy. DOT 12 have designed tour packages for tourists to choose from to help provide seamless travel and linking them to accredited tour operators.
Speaking of gastronomy, key spekers from the region shared how tourizts can also enjoy food tourism. In Maguindanao, known food being offered during Eidl Fitr will be highlighted and certain restaurants will be asked to serve these in their regular menus. The merging of food and culture is evident as certain tours show the rich tribal village in Lemlifew (pronounced as lam-lee-faw) in Sarangani, " We're inviting you to come and try the indegenous food of the B'laan's, and there in Lemlifew, is actually a priced school of the tradition of the B'laan, it won already nationally as the best school of living tradition. Dishes in complete sidings and cooked in bamboos, bowls made out of leaves of pandan, interesting stuff, where expensive herbs grow and just being picked up and put in the dishes making up organic dishes, these together with it is seeing another dying fabric weaving called the fabi, another type of weaving similar to Tinalak, are just some of what we can offer, " as shared by Michelle Lopez-Solon
In South Cotabato, the flavors of the south are very rich, where freshest of fruits are abundant, where trees are practically bowing towards the ground because of being heavy sith the fruits. Key destinations such as the Durian Garden, with streats dedicated to all things durian, where you can taste durian pie, durian ice cream, and durian what not. Then all the way up to Kablon Farms, cultural foods such as T'boli food,
SOUTH COTABATO: Land of the Dreamweavers
Another thing I have to add to my bucket list is the Tinalak festival which is celebrated every year of July. Next year will be their 50th annicwrsary as a province, and it is said to be the biggest, wildest and most colorful celebration to take place. According to Mr. Sean of South Cotabato, " It is a place for the culturally curious, adventure-driven and nature-loving travelers."
Next to convey a personal message for the region was Ms. Amor Maclang of Geiser-Maclang Marketing Communications Inc., who is an adopted T'boli herself. She became particular about Polomolok's Trappestine Monastery, "there is such a pronounced Italian heritage tradition, like Napa Valley area, where the famous Italian cakes served only during Christmas season, panettone, they make it every Christmas time." Also, region 12 according to her, SOX is destined to be the center of Halal food tourism in the entire Philipines. Because the food she had during the eidl fitr was reminiscent of Malaysia and Indonesia and something she is very proud of.
SOX, Hello Paradise
They urge tourists visiting the region to use #SOX whenever they take and post photos in their social media accounts, or whenever you need to refer to SOCCSKSARGEN. The campaign is an effort to better position it for selling the region as a tourism destination.
RD Dillera's principal message was that the region hax the potentials but needs stronger communications identity. "To best promote the region, we need to think out of the box. We've realized it's difficult for people to pronounce SOCCSKSARGEN. It's harder to ell it even. The rebranding of our egion is for tourism purposes. It's a three-pronged strategy,
a) it's easier to use in dialogue most specially tourists,
b) it's commercially hipper and cool that can relate to the hyper growing young travelers group
c) it's a fresh start for us, a clean slate we can use to be not direclty related to stigma associated with our region. It's an opportunity for us to communicate the real essence of the region, melting pot of indigenous, colorful, beautiful, panoramic landscapes, and exciting world-famous adventures."