In view of the long-weekends declared for the year 2010, the Department of Tourism (DOT) urges the public to spend their holidays in the country and help contribute to the local economy.

“Spending your vacation here is a great pledge to love your own and do your part in boosting our country’s growth,” said Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism.

Aside from country’s eight anchor spots, Boracay, Palawan, Davao, Cebu, Bohol, Vigan, Baguio, and Manila, the department is also actively promoting unexplored sites to benefit the communities in said remote areas.

“We enjoin people to visit tucked-away destinations as well for economic gains to trickle down to the grassroots level,” Durano said.

These alternative spots are readily available and highly accessible for tourists who prefer to immerse themselves with the local life, enjoy the flavor of home-grown leisure, and stay in accommodations such as homestays and inns, added the tourism chief.

In the past year, the DOT has launched some alternative sites like the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park in Leyte and the Danao Adventure Park in Bohol.

Citing other examples of undiscovered spots, Durano shared, “While beaches of Boracay and Palawan are still top-drawers, Camiguin, Leyte, Mindoro, Occidental and Oriental Negros, Siquijor, Quezon also have pristine waters and stunning coastlines.”

Nature-lovers may head off to Bataan, Batanes, Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Marinduque, and Romblon, while heritage hunters may seek the old historical charm of Bacolod and Iloilo, aside from Ilocos.

Tourists who plan to troop to the cities of Manila, Makati, Cebu and Davao have a range of options laid out for them. “On top of shopping, food trips, night-time entertainment and theme park activities, we have huge theater performances and concerts lined up for the year,” said DOT Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr.

The head of Planning and Promotions also noted the travel trends that the public should look out for. “Extreme outdoor activities are big this year. The range is more expansive now, with tourists who are open-minded and raring to experience something new,” Jarque shared.

The department has been relentlessly supporting adventure activities such as plunges, zipline rides, wakeboarding, skimboarding, kayaking and cylotourism among others.

The young-at-heart on the other hand may try other activities, as the country caters to a broad spectrum of different preferences of travelers.

“A beach lover can enjoy a relaxing spa retreat in Palawan, a festive party in Boracay, or a surfing break in La Union. Our islands offer a unique plethora of things to do for all kinds of tourists,” continued Jarque.

Spiritual pilgrimages, cultural festivities and colorful ethnic celebrations are some other highlights that tourists may also wish to join.

Lastly, the department reminds the public to book early. “It’s ideal to plan ahead, and avail of value-for-money packages offered by hotels, restaurants, malls, theme parks, and entertainment venues,” ended Durano.

The DOT is pleased to share the following long weekends, with the Palace’s declaration of regular and special non-working holidays for 2010 as stated on RA 9492 and Proclamation 1841:

  • February 20 – 22, Saturday to Monday (February 22 – EDSA Anniversary)
  • April 1 – 4, Thursday – Sunday (April 1 – Holy Thursday, April 2 – Good Friday)
  • April 9 – 11 Friday – Sunday (April 9 – Araw ng Kagitingan)
  • May 1 – 3, Saturday – Monday (May 1 – Labor Day moved to May 3)
  • June 12 to 14, Saturday – Monday, (June 14 – Independence Day)
  • August 21 – 23, Saturday – Monday (August 23 – Ninoy Aquino Day)
  • August 28 – 30, Saturday – Monday (August 30 – National Heroes Day)
  • October 30 – November 1, Saturday – Monday, (November 1 – All Saints Day)
  • November 27 to 29, Saturday – Monday, (November 29 – Bonifacio Day)
  • December 24 to 27, Friday – Monday (December 24 – Non-Working Holiday, December 25 – Christmas Day, December 27 – Rizal Day)
  • December 31 – January 2, Friday – Sunday, (December 31 – Non-Working Holiday, January 1 – New Year’s Day)

The observance of Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha will be issued by the government upon the advice of the Office on Muslim Affairs.