DoT looks to lesser-known attractions to jazz up Manila packages

The Philippine trade is anticipating that the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) move to spotlight metro Manila’s lesser-known attractions will add zing to the capital’s waning appeal, especially as traffic congestion in the city and the introduction of international flights are pushing tourists to other parts of the country.

Agents said that hidden gems – including the 196-year old Bamboo Organ and manufacturing plant of the iconic jeepney in Las Pinas, as well as cultural, heritage and culinary tours of Malabon onboard tricycles, the local equivalent to tuktuks – are welcome addition to the metro’s limited attractions.

The ubiquitous jeepney plying the streets of Manila

Manila’s usual attractions include Intramuros and for the Asian market, the Chinese cemetery, Binondo Chinatown, optional museum tours and nearby Tagaytay.

Patricia Camille Caramat, marketing and product development executive at Marsman Drysdale Travel, said it is a good idea to promote more attractions as tourists are reducing their stay in Manila from three days to one or two days as many of them consider Manila as a stop en route to their main destination – in many cases, the Philippines’ beaches.

Scorpio Travel and Tours consultant Lyn Galon said these are existing attractions that they can include in their tours now that the DoT is actively promoting and jazzing them up.

The concerns, though, are traffic congestion going to these lesser-known attractions. In the case of Malabon, some of its places are prone to flooding during rainy season, said Caramat.

Even then, she said they are already including the Bamboo Organ and Sarao jeepney plant in their “half and half” tour combining Manila with Tagaytay.

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