Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco committed to join hands with the local government of San Juan in preserving and promoting the city’s heritage and historical sites and to further advance the country’s tourism industry during the commemoration of the 125th Philippine Independence Day at the Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan, Manila earlier today (June 12).
In their separate speeches, Secretary Frasco along with San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora pledged their collaboration after the ceremonial wreath-laying and offering of flowers at the Spirit of Pinaglabanan.
“Today’s theme is Kalayaan, Kinabukasan, Kasaysayan. K-K-K. Wagering a different battle at a different time, with different personalities. Centuries ago, the Filipinos fought for freedom from colonizers, now we are free and yet the fight continues. Together, we shall move towards a future, where every Filipino is given an opportunity to succeed. Where every Filipino family is given an opportunity to live a decent life under the Administration of our President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., who envisions such economic prosperity for our nation,” said the tourism chief.
“However varied we are in terms of the dialects that we have all over the country, our geographical locations across our archipelagic nation, we have our unity as Filipinos, the commonalities of our history, our common aspirations, our perseverance, our resilience, and most of all our strength of spirit,” added Secretary Frasco.
Secretary Frasco also said that the ceremony is a reminder of the significance of the strength of spirit of the Filipinos where the first battle of the Philippine Revolution occurred against the Spanish colonizers.
Other officials who joined the ceremonies were Congresswoman Ysabel Maria Zamora, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chief Restoration Architect Reynaldo Lita, Mayor Zamora’s wife Keri Zamora, and Philippine National Police (PNP) Eastern Police District Director Police Brigadier General Wilson Asueta, San Juan City Police chief Col. Allan Reglos, and other city government officials.
Hop-On Hop-Off in San Juan
Meanwhile, Mayor Zamora thanked Secretary Frasco for assisting the local government of San Juan for its planned inclusion in the Hop-On Hop-Off tour which will feature historical sites and art galleries as tourist attractions all throughout the metro.
“Ako’y lubos na nagpapasalamat sa ating panauhing pandangal, kalihim Christina Garcia Frasco sapagkat bilang kalihim ng Kagawaran ng Turismo, ay alam ko po na napakalaki ng kanyang maitutulong upang lalong makilala ng mga Filipino sa ating bansa at sa ibayong dagat at ganun din ng mga dayuhan ang kahalagahan ng sagradong lugar na ito.” Mayor Zamora said in his speech.
Last May, the DOT launched the Hop-On Hop-Off program that seeks to provide tourists–particularly group travelers and fully independent individual travelers (FITs)–with convenience and flexibility on when and how they will tour a destination through a seamless, contactless transport and tour booking system. San Juan’s inclusion in this program is said to bolster the cultural, arts, and historical portfolio of the country as it will also feature the 140-year-old historic underground tunnel beneath the Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine, the El Deposito tunnel.
“This provides a massive potential for tourism development and education among our fellow Filipinos and our friends from around the world about the history and the heritage of the Filipino people as well as the bravery of our heroes who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today. On behalf of the DOT and under the administration of our president Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., we are here to fully support the initiatives of the local government of San Juan.” Frasco added.
The El Deposito tunnel was the country’s first water reservoir and is one of the oldest and largest remaining Spanish artifacts recently excavated in the country. Currently, the tunnel is a popular destination for educational institutions as hundreds of buses filled with students for field trips and educational tours visit the place.