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DOT: ‘Greet tourists the new Filipino way’

By Marlon Atun

LEGAZPI CITY --- How do we greet arriving tourists?

Forget the handshakes, just place the palm of the right hand over the chest while simultaneously uttering “Mabuhay!,” according to a mentor from the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The new Filipino way of greeting was the featured lesson for the seminar conducted recently for tourism officers in the Bicol region.

This way of greeting is undeniably a Filipino way as it eliminates the "lowering the head" gesture after the word "Mabuhay," which is a Japanese tradition to greet a visitor or tourist, according to Edna Tamondong, the seminar’s main lecturer.

Tamondong said the traditional handshake practiced by Filipinos is a health risk.

Dubbed "Filipino Brand of Excellence," the seminar introduced a new brand for Philippine tourism, which will be known to both local and international tourists visiting various destinations in the country.

During the seminar, the seven M's of Filipino core values were also promoted, namely, Makadiyos, Makatao, Maka-kalikasan, Makabansa, Masayahin, May Bayanihan, and May Pag-asa.

These values should be incorporated into the new Filipino brand of service excellence for tourism in the country, said Tamondong.

Tamondong told the 46 tourism officers from local government units and national agencies from six provinces of Bicol to apply the acronym H.E.A.R.T when dealing with tourists.

H.E.A.R.T stands for “hear them out, empathize with them, apologize for the inconvenience, resolve the issue at once, and give thanks to the guests,” she said.

This new Filipino way of welcoming the arriving tourists under the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence is based on the principles and provisions of RA 9593, an act declaring a national policy for tourism as an engine of investment, employment, growth and development, and strengthening the Department of Tourism and its attached agencies to effectively and efficiently implement that policy, said Rommel Natanauan, DOT chief operations officer for Bicol region.

Natanauan said DOT in Bicol has started implementing the Mabuhay gesture without lowering one’s head in welcoming the tourists since according to him, it’s the policy approved by their central office.

Asked if the new policy on Mabuhay gesture conflicts with House Bill 8149, Natanauan explained that in case Fernando Bayani’s Bating Filipino Para sa Kalusugan bill be enacted into law, the DOT Region 5 will comply with its central office’s directive to follow the congressional act.

The new Filipino way of greeting has simply excluded the act of bending the head to welcome arriving tourists, which is known as Japanese hospitality. (PIA 5)

TOURISM officers in Bicol Region are undergoing training to adopt a new approach for greeting their clients at a seminar.


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