“Making Tourism Work for Communities: Inter-disciplinal Approaches for Tourism Development.” This is the theme of the 1st University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism (UP AIT) Conference on Tourism and Hospitality on February 23 & 24, 2009 at SEAMEO INNOTECH. The UP AIT, in cooperation with the Tourism Foundation, Inc. conducted the conference to discuss the current issues and research relating to tourism and the Philippine community.
The UP Interdisciplinary Research Team on Alternative Model Towards Sustainable Tourism presented “Kwentong Bayan ng mga Sariayahin and the Value of Folklore in Local Tourism.” This presentation is a partial output of an Open Grant Research Project funded by the Office of the Chancellor, UP Diliman.
The Kwentong Bayan ng mga Sariayahin consisted of stories of Sariayahins about their experiences, inherited knowledge, and beliefs on Sariaya’s architecture, traditions, and environment. Passed on from generation to generation, these are the stories behind the structural transformations of the municipal building and plaza of Sariaya, the Sariayahins’ love for dancing and social gatherings, and the dalit or prayer hymn to San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers. The research team also presented the traditional delicacy nilupak or mukmok (sweets made of crushed banana or cassava) and described how its production called mukmukan was used “as a venue for subtle ligawan (courtship) among young folks in Sariaya.” Also presented was the lambanog (coconut liquor) which is the most popular drink in Sariaya’s tagayan or drinking session among men.
Aside from dealing with the Sariaya tourism culture, the conference explored issues on Philippine tourism in general: the cultural heritage the country is known for, potential tourist attractions that can be developed, analysis of different tourism management approaches, and challenges currently facing national tourism. The Philippines indeed is rich in resources and cultural heritage. Hopefully, through the efforts and cooperation of institutions such as the UP Asian Institute of Tourism, this wealth will be properly used to promote and uplift tourism in the country.