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PAL plans new $500-m airport near Manila

Local Updates


THURSDAY, 30 AUGUST 2012 21:20

PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) will present to President Aquino early next year its plan to put up a new airport—one that is closer to Manila but not as far as Clark that will cost at least $500 million.

To be finished in 36 months, the new facility would have two runways that could handle 150 flights per hour. PAL President Ramon S. Ang said the airport would sit on a 2,000-hectare property whose exact location he refused to reveal. It would include a shopping mall and a viewing deck inside.

“We plan to put up a new airport terminal and runways. We have to clear it first with the government because this is a big project that needs the support of the government.  We will present it to the President in January or February so he could take a look at it if it’s aligned [with] the government’s overall tourism master plan for the Philippines. If our proposal will be accepted, this will mean opening up a new frontier,” Ang said after PAL’s stockholders’ meeting on Thursday.

When pressed for details about the planned airport’s location, the PAL president said the new facility would be situated 15 minutes away from the Ayala business center in Makati City. “The area exists already. It will be much closer to Manila and it is a very good site,” he added.

Ang said the site could accommodate up to four runways, an initial two of which will be constructed. When completed, the new airport will not interfere with the operations at the Naia (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), he added. “It can operate simultaneously,” Ang said.

According to the PAL president, his group has withdrawn its earlier proposal to construct a low-cost terminal at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga, north of Manila.

“The President has stated that the government will no longer entertain unsolicited proposals, so we will no longer pursue it,” Ang said.

The Clark International Airport Authority (CIAA) is mulling over the construction of a new international terminal and a budget terminal. Alongside this is a plan to construct a high-speed train that would take Metro Manila residents to the CIA, which is being groomed as a replacement for the Naia.
Besides, Ang said, it is more practical for passengers to still take a flight from Manila than travel all the way to Pampanga.

“It would take at least two hours to travel from Makati to Clark and you have to be at the airport two hours before your scheduled flight. So, in all, there are four to five hours of preparation. How much would it also cost to take the train from Manila to Clark? The high-speed train is going to cost $10 billion. Is it worth it to spend $10 billion for a train? We are just being practical,” he added. 
Ang said he is confident that PAL will not encounter any difficulty in securing loans to finance the ambitious project.

“If you have a great plan, then money will come in easy.  You can float bonds. We will also talk to investors. What I can say now is that there will be an equity of $500 million to finish the project in three years. On the 36th month, there will already be a ribbon-cutting ceremony. If you have an equity already, then project financing will be easy,” he added.

Ang cited the importance of having on board a well-experienced contractor, citing his preference for Korean contractors.

“If we will do this, the project proponent should really know how to design, operate and construct an airport,” he said. 

According to Ang, PAL earned a P256-million profit in July as against a net loss of P327 million in the same period last year.

“We expect this momentum to carry on but we can’t tell you our target numbers. Since we came on board in April this year, confidence was restored, the company became stable,” he said.

San Miguel Equity Investments Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corp., acquired a stake in Lucio C. Tan-owned firms Trustmark Holdings Corp. and Zuma Holdings and Management Corp., the holding companies of PAL and Air Philippines Corp. 

For the fiscal first quarter ending June, the flag-carrier reported a net income of $11.4 million, a turnaround from a net loss of $10.6 million registered in the same period last year.

PAL’s parent firm, PAL Holdings, also reported making gains in the fiscal first quarter ending June amounting to P489.2 million from a net loss of P475.1 million posted the previous year.

In his report to shareholders, PAL Chairman Tan on Wednesday said the flag-carrier has put difficulties of the past year behind and is now focused on initiatives aimed at realizing the airline’s full potential.

Tan said investments are being made to put PAL firmly on the path to future growth. Ang, meanwhile, said the airline’s fleet modernization program could sustain the positive results that were achieved by the airline for the fiscal first three months.

“Despite multiple challenges [last year], PAL stayed the course and dramatically restructured its operations, enabling your airline to attract much-needed strategic investments and prime itself for a sustained push in the years ahead,” Tan said.

Ang said he would continue to hold dialogues with the PAL Employees Association. The group wants the new PAL management to take back some PAL employees.

“I can’t make promises because we will first talk to them on how we can help them. I will do everything I can to help them. I believe that PAL does not have to reduce its work force anymore. In fact, we need to hire more because of the new planes that will come in,” he added.


Philippines strengthens trade ties with Vietnam
WEDNESDAY, 29 August 2012 Hits: 609
Written by Lovelyn Quintos, Reporter

Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Vietnam reached $2.3 billion in 2011, close to hitting the 2016 target of $3 billion, as the two countries continue to strengthen economic relations.

Le Manh Ha, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, in his speech during the Ho Chi Minh City-Manila City Investment and Trade Promotion Seminar and Business Matching held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City on Tuesday, said that bilateral trade between the Philippines and Vietnam reached $2.3 billion in 2011, almost five times greater than the $500 million recorded in 2001.

During the same occasion, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between partners United
International Holdings and Hi Precision Diagnostics and the City of Ho Chi Minh was also inked, “signifying their entry as new investor in the medical poly clinic business in Vietnam.”

United International Holdings, through the MOU, will be partnering with Hi Precision Diagnostics in putting up a clinic in Ho Chi Minh to provide medical services there.

Jollibee Foods Corp., meanwhile, was awarded a certificate of increase in investment capital by Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, in his state visit to Manila last year, projected bilateral trade between Vietnam and the Philippines to hit $3 billion by 2016.

Ha said that Philippine trade with Ho Chi Minh City alone has reached $500 million. Ho Chi Minh City, he said, also received 25 investment projects from the Philippines and a total capital of $6.5 billion.

“We do see that the trade cooperation is still modest versus the potential of the two countries,” he added.

Investing in Vietnam
In 2011, Vietnam had a total of 59 investment projects in the Philippines with a registered capital of $270 million. The Philippines, meanwhile, had nine investment projects in Vietnam amounting to $2.5 million also in 2011.

The Philippines ranks sixth in Southeast Asian countries investing in Vietnam. Ha said that Ho Chi Minh City will do its best to further enhance trade and investments with Manila.

Trade Undersecretary for Trade and Investment Promotions Cristion Panlilio, meanwhile, said that Vietnamese investors are interested on projects in the mining, energy and agribusiness sectors. He said that the Philippines remains a top investment destination citing various macroeconomic indicators of a growing economy.

He said that the Philippines is the best stock performing market in Asia in 2011, which reflects the business confidence of investors.

Panlilio added that the Philippines has had 28 trade missions from January to June 2012 from just having 18 trade missions last year.

He urged Vietnamese businessmen to partner with the Philippine government in infrastructure projects, stressing that the transparency in governance has been strengthened through the leadership of President Benigno Aquino 3rd. The Trade official said that investing in the Philippines will not only help increase the purchasing power of Filipinos but provide a market to more Vietnamese businesses. The Philippines, Panlilio noted, has the 12th largest population in the world and rice, a staple food for Filipinos, is Vietnam’s biggest export to the Philippines.

Panlilio said that Vietnam is within Philippines’ top 3 trade partners, mainly from the huge amount of rice imported from Vietnam.

“Investing in the Philippines can in turn increase the purchasing power of Filipinos and can be a boon to consumer oriented economies [like Vietnam],” he added.

Cebu, Bohol, Puerto Princesa link up for eco-tour promotions

From social media to business matching, Cebu's tourism stakeholders were urged to partner with their neighbors in Central Visayas and Mindanao to promote their areas to domestic and foreign visitors.
During last week's business matching session at Puerto Princesa City, Mayor Edward Hagedorn called on Cebu and Bohol tour operators to partner with them in marketing their destinations, with emphasis on their eco-tourism sites.

And in last Saturday's Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Congress also in Puerto Princesa, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza called on the city's youth to promote Olango Island as an eco-tourism site through their Facebook, Twitter and blog accounts.

With construction of an international airport underway and more hotels being built, Hagedorn said they are slowly following Cebu as a model for tourism development.

“Hopefully we could keep up with the arrival of tourists in the next two to three years . In two years time we can have an international airport already. We are slowly following Cebu. Hopefully we can catch up with you,” Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn said they are promoting Puerto Princesa as a “city in the forest” and they hope to expand their promotions to Cebu and Bohol, which are established tourism destinations.

Puerto Princesa, a known eco-tourism destination, has among its many tourist attractions the underground river which has been recently included in the seven natural wonders of the world. The five-day business matching and familiarization trip in Puerto Princesa City hosted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) was joined by 23 tour operators in Cebu and Bohol provinces.
Beyond brochures

Tour participants were treated to a visit to the limestone karst mountain landscape lining the 8.2 km long Puerto Princesa Underground River, which ranked second to South Africa’s Table Mountain in the seven wonders of the world.

The tour was aimed at finding ways to sell Central Visayas and Puerto Princesa tourist destinations to the Filipinos and the rest of the world by building and enhancing partnerships among Cebu, Bohol and Puerto Princesa stakeholders.

“We have been selling Palawan for the past years, we hope they do the same for us,” Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) president Cecille Sa-a told Cebu Daily News after the familiarization trip and business matching in Palawan.

“The familiarization tour is very important because we get to talk about the place beyond what is obviously stated in the brochures,” William Oljol of Explore Cebu Tours and Travel added.
Cebu will return the favor when it invites Puerto Princesa and Bohol tour operators to a business matching and familiarization tour sometime in September, Sa-a said.

For Bohol tour operators, the business matching meant giving them the opportunity to promote their province to the world, said Bohol Federation of Travel and Tour Operators (BFTTO) president Nonet Madriñan-Bolo.

Tourism frontier
Later Mayor Radaza called on the city's youth to use social media to promote Olango Island as the new tourism frontier.

She said while Lapu-Lapu City’s mainland has the facilities, infrastructure and the five-star service demanded by tourists, they need to develop new attractions to stay ahead of the highly competitive tourism market.

"My administration is developing Olango Island as the new tourism frontier," said Radaza of Olango Island which is located along the east coast of Mactan.

She said the city will promote Olango Island as an example of community-based eco-tourism.
One of their attractions is a home stay program for tourists which would allow them to be immersed in Olango Island's attractions, its history and heritage and its people's hospitality, Radaza said.

Other attractions include the bird watching in Olango Bird Sanctuary, snorkeling at the Talima Marine Sanctuary and kayaking in the waters of San Vicente and Pangan-an Island, the mayor added.

“As young leaders, you are not called digital natives for nothing. You fully understand how the social media works. You live and breathe Facebook, Twitter. Tap social media to help promote Olango Island, Radaza told the SK officials.

Radaza told the SK delegates that the Lapu-Lapu City government is committed to promote eco-tourism in Olango and Mactan Islands as a means to achieve sustainable development. /Jessa Marie Agua and Norman V. Mendoza, Correspondents

Furniture exporters eye local mart to survive

The furniture export industry has adopted a new strategy of aggressively pursuing the local market for quality furniture, instead of waiting for global demand to recover.

This was announced by Nicolaas K. de Lange, national president of the chamber of Furniture Industry of the Philippines in an exclusive interview with PHILEXPORT News and Features.

De Lange said that his chamber has learned that the Philippines has been importing more furniture than what was being exported. Imports, he said, were valued at US $300 million a year, which was much higher than the industry's revenues from exports.
We intend to  a share of that market, de Lange said.

Official records had shown that furniture and wood-based furnishings had hauled in an average of $1 billion a year but the bulk of exports were not furniture sets but flyboard and plywood manufactured in the Philippines.

Since the financial meltdown in the west in 2008, furniture exports from the Philippines have declined and is yet to recover.

Demand for middle and high end furniture products from the Philippines to Europe and the United States has turned stale. De Lange said this is bound to linger in the foreseeable future as the credit crunch in the EU and recession in the US continue to linger.

De Lange revealed that the biggest local demand for furniture and furnishings in the country is that by developers of skyscrapers mostly in Metro Manila.
"They have not been making orders from us. We are now going out of our way to entice them to buy their needs from us," de Lange said. 

Philippine furniture shipped abroad have been known to be the best designed in Asia and were known to be hitting the high end markets of Europe and the United States.  Demand from those destinations have gone stale since the financial crisis hit those economies.

This reputation may have discouraged local developers of high rise buildings and resorts from making orders with local furniture exporters.

In addition to a change in strategy to tap into the local market, the furniture group had earlier asked the government to liberalize the importation of wood products and that of the purchase of plantation wood from local growers.

These were the tacks de Lange said were necessary for their industry to survive the hard times.  Abe P. Belena, PHILEXPORT News and Features

DOT sees Davao City as tourism gateway in southern Philippines
SUNDAY, 19 AUGUST 2012 18:52          

TOURISM Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. officially launched in the premier southern seaport of Davao City the department’s slogan in all aircraft of the Southeast Asia Airlines (Seair) and the posting of the pictures of frequented destinations of Davao City in the specially fitted debit card-enabled taxi fleet here.
He also publicly bestowed the honor on Davao City as the next tourism gateway of the Philippines.

Jimenez said the two special events were especially timed to mark the holding of the Kadayawan fruit harvest festival, the grandest festivities in Mindanao.

He said though that bestowing the distinction to Davao City as another tourism gateway of the country would have “to take a lot of painstaking work” for the private sector and the local residents but assured of a dedicated support of the Department of Tourism and other national government agencies that have a stake in building up the tourism industry.

He said the entry of more airlines to serve Davao City, or to make it a hub to other domestic and international destinations would allow this city of 1.4 million residents to catch up and contribute to the projected increase of tourist arrivals to 4.6 million this year.

Jimenez was amazed with the debit card-enabled taxi units that accept card payments, saying “you are only the second one in the world to have that taxi payment mode.”

The Mabuhay fleet of 25 black-colored taxi units were the only ones with the point-of-sale card swiping gadgets that read and debit money from all Bancnet and Megalink cards.

At both its side doors are pasted large stickers of picturesque sceneries and images of the Philippine eagle, Waling-Waling orchids and other destinations with the DOT branding of “It’s fun in the Philippines.”

“The quality service and innovations you have deserve the kind of international attention, that you can greatly contribute to attracting visitors to your place and the rest of the country,” he said.

What was important, though, he said, “is not to measure tourism in terms of arrivals and visits. It is in our ability to translate all these interests to visit our places to creating jobs and livelihood.”

He said the government has projected to earn as much P1.9 trillion by 2016, jacking up tourism contribution to the Gross Domestic Product at 12 percent, after investing in airport development and decongesting the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in favor of more robust provincial airport capabilities.

The projection would double the current contribution of tourism receipts at six percent, he told a series of press briefings here over the weekend.

He said the Philippines invested both in the infrastructure and marketing promotion of the Philippines as a major destination, including working out for more routes from travel-rich countries.

In Photo: Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. (inside the car in white shirt) tests one of the 25 Mabuhay taxi units carrying the Department of Tourism slogan “It's More Fun in the Philippines” and images of tourism destinations of Davao City. (Manuel Cayon)

Furniture industry to tap local market as global demand declines

SUNDAY, 19 AUGUST 2012 7:04pm

The furniture industry will turn to the local market to survive as global demand has lessened due to the economic crises in the European Union and the United States.

This was announced by Nicolaas de Lange, national president of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines.

Europe and the US are two of the biggest overseas markets for Philippine-made furniture.

De Lange said that as the overseas crises could linger in the foreseeable future, it would be best not to wait for global demand to recover.

De Lange said the Philippines has been importing more furniture than what was being exported. He said imports were valued at $300 million a year, an amount much higher than the industry's revenues from exports.

"We want a share of that market," de Lange said.

Based on official records, furniture and wood-based furnishings bring in an average of $1 billion a year — but the bulk of exports are not furniture sets, but flyboard and plywood.

Furniture exports from the Philippines have declined since the global financial meltdown began in 2007, and recovery is not yet in sight.

De Lange also said most of the local demand for furniture and furnishings come from developers of skyscrapers mostly located in Metro Manila.

"They have not been making orders from us. We are now going out of our way to entice them to buy their needs from us," de Lange said.

Aside from changing its strategy to tap the local market, the group had earlier asked the government to liberalize the importation of wood products and that of the purchase of plantation wood from local growers. - BM, GMA News

BCDA awards contract to create new master plan for Clark

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has awarded the contract to develop a new master plan for Clark Special Economic Zone last August 10 to local firms PROS Architects and Engineers Co. and Woodfields Consultants, Inc.

The joint venture offered to spend P18 million for the completion of the master plan.

According to BCDA President and Chief Executive Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, the awarding of the contract will serve as the first step towards the creation of the country's most modern city.

"Clark will be a beautiful, highly-integrated, high-tech, green community against lush greenery," said Casanova.

To cover a total land area of P36,000 hectares, the plan is expected to bring out the maximum value and the "equitable and inclusive economic benefits" of the region.

It will be completed in six months time.

The comprehensive master plan will focus on "the adoption of green building system, use of renewable energy in all buildings and facilities, provision of clean and affordable public transportation, adequate access to safe potable drinking water, state-of-the-art information infrastructure, facilities ."for computer innovations and protection and maintenance of natural habitats.

PHL, runaway winner at International Expo
DOT Media Center
Feature News

In another historic first for the country, the Philippines won two (2) Gold Awards for its pavilion at the recently concludedExpo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea – an unprecedented achievement in the history of the Expo awards – besting ten other country participants in the Small Pavilion Category (Category C).  This marks first time in the entire history of the internationalexpo that a country has won two Gold Awards.

Adjudged by the Bureau International desExpositions (BIE), the Philippine pavilion was awarded Gold Award winners for Creative Display and Theme Developmentcriteria from 11 participating countries, besting the likes of Vietnam, Brunei, Mexico, Tunisia, Egypt, and Lithuania.  Lithuania and Mexico brought home the silver and bronze, respectively, for the Creative Display criteria, while Tunisia and Vietnam brought home the silver and bronze, respectively, for the Theme Developmentcriteria.  Pavilions were divided into four categories according to their type and size of exhibition space: Category Awith 4 modules and above, Category Bwith 2 or 3 modules, Category Cwith 1 module or less and Category Dfor joint pavilions.

The illustrious and discerning BIE evaluated every aspect of participation such as innovation in design and display of exhibits, rich and understandable messages, flow of circulation within pavilions to ensure a comfortable visit, the best environmental solutions presented, and most importantly the education of the public and promotion of the expo’s values. The panel of judges was composed of prominent figures and experts from worldexpositions, architecture, and museum designs.

The Philippine Organizing Committee (POC) Commissioner General Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III (Tourism Assistant Secretary) and POC Secretary General Gwendolyn Batoon received the Gold Awards for the Philippines.  The POC, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), is composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the National Commission of Culture andthe Arts (NCCA).

The Philippine participation in the expo was made possible by the following pavilion partners:  Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Hyundai Asia Resources,Inc. (HARI), GMA Network,Inc., TV5, Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, SM Supermalls, computer graphic specialist ImColor, Biemann Produktion Haus, Inc., Network of Underwater Digital Imagers, Inc., and the community of divers who have contributed in putting together an “aquarium of diving experiences” for the exhibits.

“This expo was my very first assignment from President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III when I started as Tourism Secretary in 2011.  That is why we at the DOT and TPB are very proud and happy to bring honor and recognition to our country through the excellent showing of our Philippine pavilion in Yeosu, South Korea. This is a victory not only for the country’s tourism industry, but also for the Filipino people, and we express profound gratitude to all our partners in both the public and private sectors,” beamed Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr.

The three-month exposition that started last 12 May 2012 was able to draw a total of 8,203,956 visitors from across the globe, according to the International Media Center of the Expo 2012 organizers. With an overall theme of The Living Ocean and Coast and sub themes of Preservation and Sustainable Development of the Ocean and Coast, New Resources Technology, and Creative Marine Activities, the expo aimed to shed light on humankind’s knowledge of the ocean and pave the way for reaffirming global effort to resolve issues concerning oceans and coasts.

Showcasing the country’s rich biodiversity and FUN spirit, the Philippine pavilion captured the hearts of some 800,000 visitors from across the globe.The Philippine design team, composed of Stephanie Sy, Deo Alam, and Jonathan Kim Jimenez from Utwentysix (U26) Design Studio, took to heart this year’s expo theme as seen in the recycled materials used to build the pavilion that showed the connection between and among the seas and the coastal communities.  The theme statement of the Philippines, “Island of Diversity – Seas of Connectivity” was authored by Professor Edgardo Gomez, world-renowned marine biologist and professor emeritus and founding director ofthe University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI).

Located within the International Pavilion section, the largest physical area in the expo site, the pavilion featured corals as the foci of the entire design. Indigenous materials were also showcased, with the ubiquitous abaca taking prominence.The sand was sourced from the country’s famous beaches, from the powdery white sand of Boracay to the pink sand of Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga, the brown sand of San Lorenzo in Guimaras, and the exotic black sand of Sto. Domingo in Albay. The idea was to portray the Philippines as a destination where fun and sustainable tourism coexist and form part of the indivisible whole.

Taking note of this year’s theme, Secretary Jimenez underscored the importance of ecological sustainability as part ofthe economy’s overarching goal of development and job creation.The country’s wealth of marine and coastal resources creates tourism opportunities, generates livelihood, and provides income for many communities.

“The Philippines is blessed to be at the heart of the Coral Triangle or The Amazon of the Seas. The country’s rich biodiversity is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Koreans can attest to this, as they remain to be our strongest single market. Some of them have even made the Philippines their second home,” Tourism Secretary Jimenez enthused.

The Philippines also staged a cultural program, headlined by dancers from Ballet Philippines and the University of Cebu Dance Company, Pinoy-pop group Down to Mars, singers Gian Magdangal and Kyla, and host Sam Oh. The DOT tapped the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)in producing the show that highlighted the country’s brand of FUN.

Korea remains as one ofthe Philippines’ key source markets and the biggest generator of visitors, chalking up 22.15% of the total visitor volume for the first semester of 2012. In 2011, the Philippines welcomed 925,000 Korean tourists or nearly a quarter of the tourist arrivalsfor the year, reflecting a 24.9% growth.

With this historic and unprecedented achievement, the DOT looks forward to sustaining its efforts in building a sustainable sense of excitement and eliciting renewed enthusiasm for the country’s tourism industry.

Cebu’s Significance on the Wood Working Industry in the Philippines

The Philippine furniture industry currently comprises of about 15,000 manufacturers. Surprisingly, the industry’s total structure is dominated mostly by medium-sized and even small enterprises. Unlike in other industries, large company players are only estimated to be 2%. Employment is reaching about 800,000 skilled workers including subcontractors, manufacturers, and suppliers. With such wood working force, the country’s furniture industry is destined to be globally renowned.

Furniture Industry in the Philippines
The wood working industry of the Philippines is basically a comprehensive picture or representation of the country’s furniture industry. It covers mainly furniture production and consumption, furniture exports and imports. Such factors determine the demand for said furniture, as well as the furniture’s distribution system, supply structure and the construction industry.

Furniture Industry in Cebu
Cebu is considered today, as the country’s furniture and wood working capital.  It steadily enjoys substantial percentage shares in the country’s export sales of furniture, and it is over 60% of the overall annual figures of the country. This is with the fact that Cebu’s manufacturers only comprise 20% of the whole Philippine furniture industry. These are clear manifestations of its considerable strength, despite the current plummet of the Philippine Peso. Cebu’s furniture industry is still destined toward a positive growth even amidst the economic turmoil.

Significant Achievements
The most significant achievements on the said industry were accomplished during the past ten years.  From a slow start in initial rattan pole trading, wood working furniture industry in Cebu has dramatically grown to be a major contributor on the country’s economy, wherein furniture is classified as among the top 5 export commodities in the Philippines.

Cebu’s wood working industry today is the forerunner thrust of the province’s race towards global competitiveness. This is due to the province’s rich tradition in making furniture as well as, an impressive track record for being a major export earner and total net exporter. Cebu’s furniture industry has been considered for years as having the greatest potential in today’s world market. It has been significantly included on the top 15 list of export winners indicated on the (MTDP) Medium Term Development Plan.

Excellence in Craftsmanship and Design
Noted for exquisite, very good designs, and excellent craftsmanship, Cebu’s wood working industry is geared towards product development in furthering its edge over its competitors. Many talented Cebuano furniture makers and designers create beautiful furniture with the use of materials that are traditional, indigenous or a combination.

Cebu’s wood working industry bears all the potentials in becoming a big and a major player in the global scene. At present, the industry is already serving the European, Northern American, Middle Eastern and Asian markets, making it a reputable furniture source with great promise.


PH Tourism Sustains FUN Growth for the First Semester
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DOT Media Center

The Department of Tourism (DOT) remains positive on achieving its year-end target, as the country welcomed a total of 2,143,506 million foreign visitors for the first semester. Visitor arrivals rose 11.68% compared to last year’s 1,919,400 visitors.

“Since the campaign launch in January, we have been actively spreading the FUN to all corners of the globe, notably in Germany during the world’s largest travel fair, International Tourismus Borse; in Japan during the 6th Philippine Business Mission; in the US for the Memphis in May International Festival; in the Middle East during the Arabian Travel Mart; and currently in Korea with our participation at the Yeosu Expo 2012.  Our presence in U.K. is intensified through our mobile ads on the double-decker buses, taxicabs, and the underground rail stations, with the perfect opportunity to capture millions of viewers of the ongoing London 2012 Olympics.  We expect to see more tourists during the peak season before the year ends,” Tourism Secretary Jimenez said.

“Moreover, current policy reforms to facilitate entry, infrastructure developments to improve travel within the country, fresh investments to expand transportation, accommodation, and recreation facilities, and product enhancement – all these will help realize our year-end target of 4.6 million visitors,” Secretary Jimenez added.

All key markets registered a positive growth, with Korea, USA, Japan, China, and Taiwan maintaining their positions as the country’s top tourist generators. Korea remains to be the biggest source, contributing 474,685 visitors for a share of 22.15% of the total volume and posting a 10.50% growth.

The US market captured 16.53% of the total arrivals at 354,259 visitors, growing at 4.80% compared to last year’s figures. Meanwhile, Japan yielded 195,504 or 9.12% of the total visitors, with an increase of 7.79%. China and Taiwan exhibited the highest growth rates of 42.99% and 34.47%, respectively, contributing 150,749 and 114,269 tourists.

Other markets consistently providing significant volume and positive growth are Australia with 92,648 arrivals (11.95%), Singapore with 73,015 (10.36%), Canada with 65,503 (7.12%), Hong Kong with 57,790 (2.36%), United Kingdom with 57,181 (11.30%), Malaysia with 49,788 (11.96%) and Germany with 34,189 (12061%). Overseas Filipinos supplied 5.16% to the total tourist traffic at 110,703 arrivals, exhibiting a steady growth of 4.46%.

The summer months of March to May 2012 also saw 105,766 more foreign tourists, equal to a 10% increase for the same period in 2011.

Recently, the Philippines received global exposure and affirmed its status as a must-see destination with the recognition of Boracay as “2012 World’s Best Island” by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Boracay jumped from 4th place in 2011 to 1st in 2012, and bested last year’s #1 Santorini, Greece (now #6) and Bali, Indonesia (still #2). Ariara Island, a luxurious private island resort in Calamian, Palawan, also ranked first in the Top 100 holiday destinations of Vogue-UK Magazine’s August 2012 issue.

“The Philippine tourism industry is beginning to enjoy an international renaissance, which has the capacity to propel the country into one of the region’s best performers over the next decade.  With P1.99 trillion projected receipts by 2016, we can look forward to seeing tourism become not just an economic activity, but an entire industry driving inclusive and sustained growth in the country,” Secretary Ramon Jimenez enthused.



CEBUNEXT- The 2011 Furniture Exhibition3
CEBUNEXT - The 2011 Furniture Exhibition