MIMAROPA Festival 2016 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Performers donned eye-catching costumes highlighted by their beautiful smiles - Photo by Teddy Pelaez
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MIMAROPA Festival 2016

On its second year, a 10-day celebration for MIMAROPA Festival was witnessed by thousands in the island paradise of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

MIMAROPA, also known as Region IV-B, is the collective term for the provinces of Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental), Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan. Though divided by waters, it possess a wealth of natural wonders and kaleidoscope of authentic Filipino culture and traditions.

They came up with this annual event where local government units (LGUs) work hand in hand in showcasing the best of each province and the region as a whole to attract tourists and investors.

Through the invitation of Department of Tourism – MIMAROPA, along with members of national media, I was able to cover the festivities and experience them first hand.

Street dancing, more fun in the Philippines!

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Everyone gathered along Rizal Avenue to watch and cheer for their kababayans who competed in the street dancing showdown plus the colorful float and costumes competitions.

Locals and tourists alike waited for the arrival of the street dancers and floats.
Locals and tourists alike waited for the arrival of the street dancers and floats.
Performers from Marinduque waiting to start their production.
Performers from Marinduque waiting to start their production.
A female dancer from Oriental Mindoro ready to perform Pandang-Gitab or Festival of Lights, where Pandango sa Ilaw was derived from.
A female dancer from Oriental Mindoro ready to perform Pandang-Gitab or Festival of Lights, where Pandango sa Ilaw was derived from.
Performers donned eye-catching costumes highlighted by their beautiful smiles - Photo by Teddy Pelaez
Performers donned eye-catching costumes highlighted by their beautiful smiles – Photo by Teddy Pelaez

Occidental Mindoro bested the six other delegations and took home P300,000 cash prize and trophy. They also got the Best in Dance Parade, Best in Choreography, Best in Musicality, Best in Production and Best in Costume awards for their Arawatan Festival performance.

Photo by Teddy Pelaez
Photo by Teddy Pelaez

On second place was Calapan City which showcased their Kalap Festival while the Baragatan Festival group of Palawan got third place.

MIMAROPA Festival King & Queen

A popular activity in any festival is a beauty pageant. One was held last November 10 at the City Coliseum, featuring the outstanding and talented locals from each LGU.

MIMAROPA Festival pageant winners. Photo by Teddy Pelaez.
MIMAROPA Festival pageant winners. Photo by Teddy Pelaez.

Julio Paola Evina of Puerto Princesa City and Skary Sosin Guinto of Oriental Mindoro were crowned as 2016 MIMAROPA Festival King and Queen respectively. Evina was also awarded Best in Swimwear, Darling of the Press and Chowking award while Guinto bagged the Best in Swimwear and Photogenic awards.

The first runner-ups were Mr. Palawan, Roselan Mar Limco and Ms. Puerto Princesa, Sandrine Stoelzaed. Mr. Oriental Mindoro, Arron Acosta Villarreal and Ms. Palawan, Ma. Veronica Sinajon finished as second runner-ups.

Asian Dragonboat Championship

Around 1,500 foreign delegates were expected to participate in the 1st Asian Dragon Boat International Crew Member Championship. On our last day in Palawan, we dropped by the Puerto Princesa Baywalk to watch this new attraction.

Philippine Dragonboat team making their way to the starting line.
Philippine Dragonboat team making their way to the starting line.

This was the first time that our country hosted this competition. The Philippine Dragon Boat team won 5 gold (Junior Mixed small boat 500m, Men’s standard boat 500m and 200m, Men’s small boat 200m, Women’s small boat 200m) and 3 silver medals (Junior Mixed small boat 200m, Men’s small boat 500m, Women’s small boat 500m).

Business Matching Session to boost region-wide tourism

A Business-to-Business (B2B) meeting with Philippine Tour Operators (PHILTOA), National Association of Independent Travel Agents (NAITAS) and DOT Accredited Properties and Tour Operators in the MIMAROPA Region was held at the Hotel Centro last November 8.

They met with Philippine Tourism attaché to Taiwan Hazel Habito Javier and her 23-member delegation of Taiwanese travel agents and media, who were in the country for a familiarization tour.

Taiwanese guest conversing with local travel agents with the aid of an interpreter.
Taiwanese guest conversing with local travel agents with the aid of an interpreter.

The Philippines’ proximity to Taiwan, our endless offering of activities and opportunities to study English draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Ms. Hazel hopes that with this initiative, more charter flights will be made available, especially with the new airport opening in Puerto Princesa City.

Tourism Awards Night

Everyone proceeded to the hotel’s Grand Ballroom after the Business Matching Session. DOT MIMAROPA Director Danilo Intong and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron awarded LGUs and DOT Accredited Tourism related establishments for their great contributions to the development and promotion in the region.

Puerto Princesa City Mayor Bayron, DOT MIMAROPA Director Intong and Philippine DOT - Taiwan attaché Hazel Javier
Puerto Princesa City Mayor Bayron, DOT MIMAROPA Director Intong and Philippine DOT – Taiwan attaché Hazel Javier
A new set of MIMAROPA Tourism Officers in their oath taking ceremony.
A new set of MIMAROPA Tourism Officers in their oath taking ceremony.
Myk Perez, The Voice of the Philippines season 1 alumna, is a native of Puerto Princesa.
Myk Perez, The Voice of the Philippines season 1 alumna, is a native of Puerto Princesa.
Guests danced to the music of the Rubber Sole band.
Guests danced to the music of the Rubber Sole band.

An Agri Trade and Tourism Fair featuring homegrown products from the five provinces was also held at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum grounds. The festival dates also coincided with the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) Day, which celebrates the declaration of PPUR as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011.

Last year’s festival was held in Mindoro while Romblon will be host for 2017.

The MIMAROPA Festival 2016 was made possible by DOT and its partners: Tourism Promotions Board, Duty Free Philippines, Air Asia, Philippine Airlines and Philippine Information Agency-MIMAROPA.

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