DOT reinvents `dyip’ to boost tourism

–Art may help the Philippines’ original “King of the Road” to reclaim its old glory.

And the Department of Tourism has a hand in it, of course to let foreign tourists know that “it is more fun to travel in the Philippines.”

According to Assistant Tourism Secretary Domingo Ramon Enerio, 50 old jeepneys in the cities of Manila and Makati will be transformed into “works of art and culture” by painting them with designs featuring the Philippines’ cultural heritage and tourist attractions.

The effort centers on the DOT’s promotional theme, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”

“We want to bring back the glory days of fun and vibrant jeepneys. This is an opportunity for us to be proud and pay homage to the Philippine jeepney as a true icon of Filipino artistry, ingenuity, resiliency and entrepreneurship,” Enerio said at the launch of the Jeepney Arts Festival at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati City on Thursday.

The festival is a corporate social responsibility project of Hop-On, Hop-Off Travel Inc. in cooperation with the DOT and Designweek Philippines. It aims to rehabilitate the jeepney as a Philippine cultural icon and celebrate Filipino artistry.

Enerio, who is also the new chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board, cited the story of a representative of a Brazilian company who traveled to the Philippines and saw the jeepney.

“That company brought the Philippine jeepney to Brazil, and is now using it as a mode of transportation,” Enerio said. “[The] jeepney [is our] pride, [and] we can share with the rest of the world,” he said.

Who will paint the jeepneys?

According to Clang Garcia, managing director of the Jeepney Arts Festival, any Filipino can volunteer to paint the jeepneys.

“The on-the-spot jeepney painting aims to foster the spirit of bayanihan, which brings people together to unleash their creative excellence for art and do their own share in reviving” the jeepney, Garcia said.

The jeepney painting will be held from September 20 to September 23 on the SM Mall of Asia Open Grounds behind the SMX Convention Center.

Participation is free. The volunteers will be provided with painting materials.

“The design must depict the country’s rich cultural heritage, fascinating destinations, exceptional attractions that make it more fun to travel around the Philippines,” Garcia said.

She said the project would involve jeepney drivers and operators.

“It seeks to engage the participating jeepney drivers and operators to attend a comprehensive training program on values formation, culture of tourism, passenger handling, road ethics, road safety tips, eco-awareness,” she said.

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