Event Summary


The Day One plenary program started with a warm welcome from the Provincial Administrator of the Province of Negros Occidental, Atty. Rayfrando Diaz. It set the tone for an eventful day and the anticipation of insightful discussions lined up ahead.

The CEO of Creative Tourism Network, Ms. Caroline Couret, shared valuable insights about creative tourism on a global scale. She emphasized best practices and shed light on the strong collaboration the Department of Tourism has with them. This partnership is crucial in making our country a hub for creative tourism, attracting new generations of travelers, and adding vibrancy to our diverse cultural landscapes.

In the spirit of acknowledging ongoing efforts, Mr. Victor P. Estrella, a Culture Expert and Researcher from Nayong Pilipino Foundation, presented the challenges that require attention for sustained progress in Philippine Creative Tourism.

Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco of the Department of Tourism took the stage, introduced by Ms. Verna C. Buensuceso, OIC-Undersecretary for Tourism Development. Secretary Frasco highlighted the partnerships forged by the Department of Tourism and expressed gratitude to local communities that play a pivotal role in building a foundation for sustainable Philippine Creative Tourism. As the Secretary eloquently put it, "Our tourists will become witnesses and participants in telling the world The Filipino Story, perpetuating the good news of all there is to Love about the Philippines." It's a call to action that resonates with our collective mission.

The spotlight then turned to destinations and organizations that have exemplified their commitment to offering immersive experiences to both locals and visitors. Nine local destinations and organizations across the country were recognized as Creative Tourism Awardees. The ceremony concluded with a pledge of commitment, echoing the sentiments of the Tourism Secretary and officially declaring our tagline:

"Love Creative Tourism, Love the Philippines!"

The program then concluded with activities such as an outdoor performance of the Bacolod Masskara Dancers, a snack demonstration of Manang Sinda (Fresh Lumpia), Talisay (bitso-bitso), and Merzci Pasalubong (Barquillos). The participants and guests then went back to the venue for the Curated Lunch.


1) Kandiwata Rock Islet Island Experience

(Brgy. Mabini, Municipality of Daram, Province of Samar)

The beautiful land and seascape of the Rock Islet of Kandiwata will not only leave visitors in awe but with a deeper appreciation of local culture. The local tourism office offers an immersive experience by emerging stories of the majestic island, considered as one of the best rock formations in the Eastern Visayas.

2) Lara Samar (Basey, Samay)

Through LARA or in waray, it means to ‘to weave’, visitors of Basey, Samar can learn and appreciate over five centuries of banig-weaving tradition. The industry not only supports the economic growth of the town but also contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by promoting an ecologically balanced environment.

3) Kayamanan Sa Kamangyanan

(Municipality of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro)

The Intensive Mangyan Buhid and Hanunuo Experience provides a unique interaction with the Mangyan community. It provides visitors with the opportunity to learn their arts and crafts, may it be forest or agricultural products while allowing the community to preserve its timeless traditions.

4) Sipalay City Tourism Development And Promotion Office

(City of Sipalay, Negros Occidental)

The City of Sipalay is known as the Jewel of the Sugar Island, famous for the minerals beneath its natural beauty. It has also developed into a popular tourist destination because of its pristine beaches that were highly preserved by the locals.

5) Project Feedso And Picknakbet (San Fernando La Union)

The Project FeedSo and PICKnakbet combine sustainable and creative experiences through food and farming. It not only boosts agri-tourism in La Uion but also helps farmers and the community.

6) Cagayan Museum & Historical Research Center (Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Valley)

The Cagayan Museum & Historical Research Center houses an extensive collection of artifacts, antiques, ethnography, trade wares, heirloom pieces and liturgical works of the province. It also offers workshops and interactive activities to locals and visitors.

7) Uswag Artesano (Province of Leyte)

The Uswag Artesano capacitates and promotes indigenous products made by the locals, that are deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of Leyte. It not only provides skills training but also immersive cultural experiences to both local and tourists.

8) Sunbursts Balay Tablea (Cabatuan, Iloilo)

Balay Tablea creates chocolates with passion and purpose. It perpetuates the traditional method of cacao processing using the metate and teaches artisanal chocolate making through workshops. It also promotes sustainability by promoting zero-waste production.

9) Tourism Affairs Office (City of Bago, Negros Occidental)

Bago City is a symbol of Booming AGritOurism (BAGO). From School of Living Tradition in rural areas, to agriculture, to Slow Food Ark of Taste. The city boasts a multitude of creative tourism assets.


Break Out Sessions.

The participants can choose two activities to attend in the afternoon session, one for each time slot;

1:30 – 3:00PM

Kape at Turismo: The Artful Fusion of Coffee and Creative Tourism in the Philippines

Presented by: Jerry Cabalce

This session unveils the compelling narrative of Jerry Cabalce, CEO and Founder of the Filipino Coffee Institute, and his efforts to champion the local coffee culture in the Philippines. It showcases impactful initiatives that have resonated nationwide, cultivating a deeper appreciation for coffee within our culinary landscape. The presentation goes beyond the traditional scope of coffee culture and appreciation activities, introducing the concept of integrating Creative Tourism products within coffee farms and destinations.

Crafting Legacies: Weaving Tradition, Culture, and Creativity in the Western Visayas

Presented by: Connie Atijon

Embark on a captivating exploration into the rich heritage of Hablon, a locally crafted masterpiece woven from fibers such as piña, abaca, and cotton—a cherished, generational livelihood deeply rooted in the community. At the forefront of safeguarding this time-honored tradition, the Indag-an Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative extends an invitation to tourists for an exclusive, hands-on encounter with the intricate process of creating exquisite Hablon products. This immersive presentation not only unveils the secrets of weaving embedded in Visayan culture but also positions Hablon-making as a captivating and essential experience for every visitor.

Savoring Heritage: Exploring Tourists' Active Role in the Slow Food Movement and its Impact on Local Gastronomy

Presented by: Reena Gamboa

This session delves into a showcase of the finest food and travel destinations in the Philippines. Immerse yourself in the art of travel photography and content creation, recognizing the pivotal role tourists play in producing compelling content that promotes the country. The Awesome Planet will introduce its advocacy since 2005, dedicated to unveiling the travel, food, and lifestyle secrets of destinations. The session shall compel a conversation that not only captures the essence of exploration but also underscores the collaborative efforts of travelers in shaping and promoting the diverse wonders of the Philippines.

Fashion with Purpose: A Glimpse into Filipino Wearable Craftsmanship

Presented by: Kathryn Fanlo

This session introduces the realm of wearable art. Designer Kathryn Fanlo, a passionate advocate of handmade treasures, unveils the richness of Philippine culture through contemporary art pieces. In a world dominated by mass production, she consistently promotes championing local artistry within communities. This experiential presentation highlights how handmade crafts not only showcase artistic prowess but also have a profound impact on communities and the economy. Explore the symbiotic relationship between artistry, innovation, and culture, all while gaining insights into the transformative power of supporting handmade endeavors. This creates inspiration and paves the way for other forms of artistry to evolve into Creative Tourism products.

3:00 – 4:30PM

Balay tablea's Sweet Creativity: Unveiling the Artistry of Chocolate Making in Iloilo

Presented by: Catherine Taleon

This immersive session delves into the vibrant chocolate-making industry in the province of Iloilo. Discover the craftsmanship behind artisanal chocolates created within the community and the traditional methods employed in the production of tablea, or Filipino chocolate. This engaging presentation will also shed light on the cherished tradition of grinding cocoa beans, tracing the journey from bean to cup for both locals and curious tourists.

Embroidering Heritage: Panay Bukidnon School of Living Traditions

Presented by: Renel S. Lavilla

This session embarks on a journey of art, tradition, and culture with the Panay Bukidnon School of Living Traditions (SLT) in Calinog, Iloilo, implemented by the Buhi Nga Palanublion Tribal Organization. Immerse yourself in the artful craft of Panubok Embroidery, the traditional embroidery of the Panay Bukidnon people of the Visayas, and explore how Panubok designs and patterns intricately represent nature, characters, and events from the Sugidanon epic. This presentation delves into how a traditional craft can engage tourists through Creative Tourism, offering not just a visual feast but an educational experience that highlights how visitors can actively participate in supporting local products while gaining insights into the rich cultural heritage woven into the fabric of Panubok Embroidery.

Food Holidays: Unveiling the Philippines' Culinary Treasures with Clang Garcia

Presented by: Clang Garcia

This session unveils the boundless potential of the Philippines in Gastronomy Tourism through the lens of Ms. Clang Garcia, the esteemed author of the book 'Food Holidays,’ the 2023 Gourmand World Cookbook Award’s Best Food Tourism Book in the World. Drawing from her 15 years of expertise in crafting immersive gastronomy journeys, Ms. Garcia's book serves as a mission to illuminate the rich flavors, history, and culture of the Philippines. Her advocacy for food extends to curating culinary tours for both locals and international tourists. Explore how food and tradition play a significant role in Filipino culture, all while incorporating related activities that can elevate Creative Tourism in the country.

4:30 – 5:30PM

Masskara Mask Making

Presented by: Jojo Vito

Jojo Vito extends an invitation to experience something truly special —the "Mask Painting" activity. It's not just about colors on a mask; it's about immersing yourself in the vibrant spirit of Bacolod, the City of Smiles. Imagine the joy of creating your own masterpiece, infused with the essence of Bacolodnon spirit.

So, seize this opportunity to unleash your creativity and let the warmth of Bacolod's smile shine through the masks you'll be painting. Join Jojo Vito on this artistic journey, where each stroke tells a tale of a city that's as welcoming as it is colorful.



The second day of the plenary session commenced with a quick recap of the preceding day's activities, presented by the event's host, Kurt Soberano. This set the stage for a day filled with insightful discussions and reflections on the pivotal role of the creative industry in the Philippines.

The importance of the creative sector, not only in terms of economic growth but also in nation-building, took center stage. The need to ignite a movement that celebrates and uplifts the diverse talents thriving in the Philippines was reiterated.

A key figure representing the creative sector in all platforms, Hon. Congressman Francisco "Kiko" Benitez, the Co-principal Author and co-sponsor of PCIDA and the 3rd District Representative of Negros Occidental, delivered a compelling Keynote Message. He shared insights on the UK Mission Visit of Creative Industries, emphasizing the crucial role of creativity in shaping our nation's identity.

The focus then shifted to the legal and policy framework of the creative industries, with Atty. Gio Franco Gomez, a highly technical consultant of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council (PCIDC), taking the stage. His extensive experience and involvement in the crafting of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act provided valuable insights into the regulatory landscape.

The development of creative tourism in the Philippines emerged as a collaborative effort between public and private stakeholders. A panel discussion on the Role of Public and Private Stakeholders in the Development of Creative Tourism ensued, featuring visionary leaders and creative entrepreneurs. Moderated by Mr. Joel Pascual, Chairman of PACEOS, the panel included distinguished individuals such as Congressman Christopher Vera Perez De Venecia, Atty. Gio Franco Gomez, Mr. Ivan Man Dy, Mr. Jerry Cabalce, Mr. Celso 'Toots' Jimenez, Jr., and Ms. Clang Garcia.

A subsequent discussion delved into the significance of being recognized as a UNESCO Creative City. Moderated by Mr. Kiko Torno, the panel included Mr. Gil 'Butch' Carungay, Ms. Velma Jane C. Lao, Engr. Aloysius Mapalo, and representatives from Silay City LGU.

The session concluded with the presentation of the "Creative, Friendly Destination Award" to three Creative Cities (Iloilo, Cebu and Baguio), with Cong. Christopher V.P. De Venecia, Ms. Verna C. Buensuceso, and Cong. Jose Francisco "Kiko" Benitez doing the honors. This marked another step forward in recognizing and celebrating the creative endeavors that contribute to the vibrant landscape of the Philippines.

The morning session ended with a curated lunch.


1:30 – 3:00PM

Baguio City's Creative Tapestry: A Journey into a Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts

Presented by: Engr. Aloysius Mapalo

This session showcases the rich tapestry of Baguio City's evolution as a Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts. Delve into the compelling stories and insights shared by [Name], offering a firsthand account of their journey as pioneers in the promotion of the continuity of Filipino cultures through the enduring traditions embedded in the city’s crafts and folk arts. This presentation serves not only as an illuminating narrative but also as a wellspring of inspiration for cities aspiring to thrive and uphold the continuity of their traditions and cultural assets. Take away valuable insights on how cities can embark on a transformative journey toward creative city distinction, all while conserving the essence of their cultural heritage.

Potters of Pahanocoy: Crafting Creative Tourism Experiences in Negros Occidental

Presented by: Mary Ann Colmenares

MaryAnn Feria - Colmenares' talk will center on pottery in Negros through the years. A demo on different hand-forming techniques will be shared and participants can do hands-on making pots using the pinch method.

Innovation in Fibers: Buri Craftsmanship Beyond Tradition

Presented by: Anabelle Monteverde Calleja

Journey into the heart of Quezon Province as this session unwraps the traditional art of crafting Buri products. Discover how this ancient craft has evolved, with the province innovatively transforming Buri into wearable items, including hats and bags, showcasing the creative prowess of local women. Immerse yourself in the intricate process of bringing Buri products to life, witnessing the dedication and skill that go into each creation. Beyond being a craft, Buri products play a pivotal role in uplifting the lives of the community. Explore how tourism has become a driving force in promoting and sustaining this age-old tradition. This experiential session delves into the seamless integration of craftsmanship, like Buri making, into tourism, highlighting its potential as a cornerstone of Creative Tourism.

Bordas de Pastillas: Bulacan’s Artistic Pride

Presented by: Maria Natividad Ocampo-Castro

Learn the story and the art of making Bulacan’s “bordas de pastillas” or “pabalat”. The skill is passed on from generation to generation and the intricate patterns of this craft get inspiration from nature and our local culture, making the succulent “pastillas” an even more precious delicacy.

3:00 – 4:30PM

Designing the Future: Cebu City as a Philippine Creative City for Design

Presented by: Butch Carungay

This session unfolds the narrative of Cebu City, hailed as the Philippines' creative city for Design. Long renowned for its robust support for arts and its historical role as a trade, culture, and innovation hub, Cebu City has traditionally stood out in furniture, arts and crafts, and fashion design, earning it the title of the country's design capital. In recent years, Cebu has further solidified its global standing as a hub for multimedia arts and IT outsourcing, with the prestigious recognition as the ASEAN City of Culture in 2015. Immerse in the enthralling journey of the city as [name] shares insights into Cebu's global distinction as a creative city. This presentation will also delve into the creative industries that play a pivotal role in the city's economic development, generating opportunities and employment for locals.

Visual Feast: Crafting Filipino Food and Travel Journeys through Digital Platforms

Presented by: Anton Diaz

This session delves into a showcase of the finest food and travel destinations in the Philippines. Immerse yourself in the art of travel photography and content creation, recognizing the pivotal role tourists play in producing compelling content that promotes the country. The Awesome Planet will introduce its advocacy since 2005, dedicated to unveiling the travel, food, and lifestyle secrets of destinations. The session shall compel a conversation that not only captures the essence of exploration but also underscores the collaborative efforts of travelers in shaping and promoting the diverse wonders of the Philippines.

Discovering House of Living Traditions: Creative Tourism in the Lens of Lake Sebu

Presented by: Jennifer Tupas and Agustin Tawi Sudaw

This session unveils the rich tapestry of tradition and culture in Lake Sebu. While the lake is already home to various Schools of Living Traditions, the tourism office is championing the establishment of more Houses of Living Traditions, creating a haven for diverse crafts and living traditions. Join Jennifer Tupas, tourism officer from Lake Sebu, in an immersive presentation that showcases the artistry of the T'boli people. Delve into the intricate processes of crafting beadwork and weaving, gaining insights into the cultural significance embedded in every piece. This experiential journey goes beyond observation as it emphasizes how tourists can actively engage in co-creating with the community. It's not just about tradition; it's about cultural conservation and sustainability.

Market to Table: Savoring Palengke Tradition with Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco

Presented by: Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco

This session highlights the unique perspective of the Filipino market, specifically the Palengke tradition, through the lens of Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco, the executive chef, and owner of Gourmet Gypsy Art Café. The presentation delves deep into the cultural significance of Palengkes and explores their potential as a creative tourism product for the Philippines. Discover how Chef Waya’s experiences in introducing the Market to Table tour in Baguio—an engaging three-part experience that includes a market tour, a culinary demo, and a gracious dining—can encourage both local and international tourists to participate in tours and various activities that are unique to Philippine Palengkes.

4:30 – 5:30PM

Gastronomic Excellence: Iloilo City's Journey to the Realm of Creative Cities

Presented by: Velma Jane Lao

Embark on a flavorful journey with this session, focusing on Iloilo City's recent recognition as a Creative City for Gastronomy. Indulge in the delectable narratives and insights shared by [name], providing a firsthand account of how the city leveraged its unique gastronomic assets to continually promote local food and gastronomy tourism. This presentation aims to impart valuable lessons and offer a lens on the gastronomic treasures within the city, illustrating how these have shaped its cultural identity. Explore the significance of heirloom dishes and the pride associated with owning food and gastronomy assets, crucial elements in the process of enhancing tourism and achieving creative city distinction.

Crafting Sustainable Elixir: Philippines' Distinctive Presence in Global Mixology

Presented by: Kalel Demetrio

This session introduces the realm of sustainable cocktail innovation, propelling the Philippines to the forefront of the global mixology stage. Kalel Demetrio, with his wealth of experiences and innovative spirit, has elevated the cocktail scene in the Philippines by introducing sustainable ingredients—from fresh vegetables and fruits to unique regional elements sourced from remote areas across the country. In this experiential presentation, Demetrio will share his skills and insights on how cocktails can be a part of Creative Tourism in the country, incorporating locally sourced ingredients as a pivotal element in enhancing the craft of mixology.

Siargao's Lokal Experience: A Blueprint for Creative Tourism Experiences

Presented by: Analyn Dulpina

Explore the innovative approach of Lokal Experience in Siargao, exemplifying the essence of Creative Tourism products. Lokal Experience, dedicated to promoting Filipino culture through farming and weaving, provides participants with culturally immersive and sustainable experiences at their tropical academy. This session illuminates how Lokal Experience serves as a prime example of incorporating farm and cultural activities, such as banig weaving, into the continuity of Filipino culture within the realm of Creative Tourism. Engage in discussions on the transformative impact of initiatives like Lokal Experience, where participants not only become farmers and partake in banig weaving but also savor farm-to-table meals.


Strategic Insights: Consultation with Caroline Couret on Developing Creative Tourism

Presented by: Caroline Couret

This session provides participants of the Creative Tourism Congress with a unique opportunity to engage in one-on-one consultation and discussion with Caroline Couret, the CEO of Creative Tourism Network based in Barcelona, Spain. Dive into an in-depth conversation to gain valuable insights on how to develop Creative Tourism in localities and destinations.


To conclude the Philippine Creative Tourism Congress, the participants were treated to a comprehensive synthesis delivered by the OIC-Undersecretary for Tourism Development of the Department of Tourism, Ms. Verna C. Buensuceso. With eloquence, she encapsulated the key takeaways from the enriching discussions and presentations throughout the event. Ms. Buensuceso emphasized the importance of the collaborative efforts between public and private stakeholders in nurturing creative tourism and underscored the role of creativity as a driving force for sustainable tourism growth.

Looking ahead to the culmination of the congress, an exciting Technical Visit Overview was unveiled. Scheduled for December 8, participants would embark on an on-site visit to historical and cultural sites in Negros Occidental. The itinerary promised an immersive experience, offering insights into the local cultures, creative industries, and picturesque destinations that make Negros Occidental a gem in the Philippines' creative tourism landscape.

This unique opportunity would allow delegates to witness firsthand the fusion of creativity and tradition, further reinforcing the principles discussed during the congress. From cultural hubs to innovative spaces, the technical visit aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of how Negros Occidental leverages its creative assets for tourism development.

Hosted by John Arceo, the congress concluded on a high note with a lively social gathering, where attendees had the chance to unwind, network, and engage in casual conversations.