Governor Yevgeny Vincente "Bambi" EmanoA career politician, Governor Bambi became the youngest elected mayor in Philippine history at 23 - an age when most people are just beginning to figure out what they want to do with their own lives. After serving nine years as mayor in Tagoloan, six as congressman, Governor Emano is now in his last term as governor of MisOr.
Seven years since Governor Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano introduced his Flagship Program of Tourism, Misamis Oriental has gradually been recognized as one of the emerging tourist destinations in the Philippines. With the tag line “Explore MisOr” (short for explore the amazing secrets of Misamis Oriental), tourists, foreign and domestic alike have come to love the province where they literally get to experience the amazing secrets it offers.
The persistent efforts of the provincial government in promoting Misamis Oriental, coupled with the implementation of developmental projects and programs ranging from road networks to tourist site developments, and even to capacity building of stakeholders in the industry have helped the province reach new heights in terms of tourism. In fact, the focus that is tourism through the “Explore Misor” campaign by the Emano administration as an effective way of drawing opportunities has been seen to arrive at favorable results for Misamis Oriental. One of which is investment. PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate, being the biggest economic zone of the Philippines with the Mindanao International Container Port as one of its key features makes Misamis Oriental as the Agri-Industrial Hub of Southern Philippines. The Habini Bay project by the Ayalas in the towns of Laguindingan and Alubijid is seen to transform the area into an aerotropolis, a certain boost to the province’s tourism and economy, especially that Laguindingan Airport is on its way to becoming an international airport in the very near future.
Another reason for tourists to explore MisOr is the province’s agricultural abundance, coconut being one of the major crops form which Kuyamis Festival was conceptualized. Kuyamis (golden coconut) is a small variety of sweet coconut that is abundant in Misamis Oriental. Historical jottings would reveal that the term “Misamis” is derived from “Kuyamis” since Spanish colonizers had difficulty pronouncing “Kuyamis.” The very first Kuyamis Festival was staged in 2014 and by virtue of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Ordinance No. 1332 – 2014, it is now celebrated as the official festival of the province, paying tribute to Misamisnons’ indigenous past and serving as a thanksgiving for the agricultural abundance they enjoy.
Strengthening the Association of Tourism Officers of Misamis Oriental (ATOM) and the Provincial Tourism, Culture and the Arts Council has likewise helped the province achieve success in its tourism activities, including the aforementioned Kuyamis Festival every second week of January, Tourism Week celebration every third week of September, and all other related activities such as seminars, workshops, project turnovers, as well as management of some tourism enterprises.
Notwithstanding all the continued infrastructure developments, promotion of tourism products and programs, the importance of sustaining Misamis Oriental’s natural and cultural heritage will always be the key in the planning and development of tourism in the province. And to be sustainable, the impact of visitors and the attendant developments on the environment must be mitigated for the benefit of the future generations. The recent success of Misamis Oriental as one of the best tourism oriented provinces in the Philippines is reflective of the commitment of the Emano administration to the achievement of the sustainable tourism development goals set by the national government in line with the implementation of tourism-related projects, programs and activities.
The 8 Pillars of The Emano Administration
Tourism is the force that will propel Misamis Oriental into an economic powerhouse. Without sacrificing agriculture and Industry, the GYVBE administration believes that tourism is the best option for the province to attain sustainable growth. It is an approach to poverty alleviation, empowerment and people participation. One cannot expect agriculture to remain the main source of income in the province considering that with only an average landholding size of half a hectare for a family of five, no one can survive on farming alone. On the other hand, the province of Misamis Oriental is endowed with natural tourism resources such as cascading falls, lakes, hot and cold springs, rivers, white islands, fine beaches and resorts – natural endowment that have remained untapped for so many years.
The Sustainable Development Goals and Philippine Development Plan thru the eight (8) pillars of development are set forth to call for action by the Province to promote prosperity while protecting the province’s biodiversity. The provincial government recognizes that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
With tourism as the driving catalyst for the province’s development, it is supported with 8 sectoral pillars, namely, environment, infrastructure, education, agriculture health, transportation, cooperative, peace and order. Through these initiatives, undeniably, there is no stopping towards progress in Misamis Oriental!