Is It still More Fun or Not Anymore Fun in the Philippines?

The launching last week of a new video campaign by Philippines Department of Tourism presented a new slogan, “Experience Philippines”. But the old slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” is still used, reassured the DOT…

They did not like it from the start as it was reminded of the former Benito Aquino administration. The new State Secretary of Philippines Department of Tourism, Wanda Teo Corazon, as soon as she took her position, announced that she would get rid of the slogan, despite its success and despite advises from experts to keep such a catchy marketing campaign.

But politics remain politics and despite telling around that “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” would still be used, the slogan has been emptied of its meaning. A campaign two months ago using the “More Fun” slogan was anything but fun as it showed the strong and sentimental relation built between a Westerner and a Filipino family. Now the new campaign revolves also in the same tone with an ageing blind Japanese man being helped in its discovery of Philippines islands despite its handicap.

With the “Experience Philippines”, Tourism chief Wanda Corazon Teo expects that the ad will encourage tourists to experience the Philippines themselves and to know how it is to be a Filipino. It then goes beyond just featuring the country’s top destinations. “We are shifting our focus in our promotional campaigns towards the unique experiences that each destinations could offer, Filipino hospitality, and security,” Teo said in a release.

The video shows tourist destinations such as the Hundred Islands of Pangasinan, Banaue Rice Terrace, Paoay Sand Dunes and Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

However, the Undersecretary De Castro indicated that “there is no truth that we replace the ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines”.

Meanwhile, the slogan “it’s more fun in the Philippines” could have been perceived as insensitive as the Philippines is involved into spiraling violence from the war on drugs launched by President Duterte with over 8,000 people already killed since last year. Recently, Muslim fundamentalists launched an attack on the city of Marani in Southern Mindanao with the idea of establishing an ISIS base.

The tensed situation in some parts of the Philippines prompted many countries to issue partial travel ban. The USA issued a travel advisory regarding threats of kidnapping in Central Visayas (including Cebu among others) and advised against travel to western Mindanao and Sulu province. Australia has a very similar travel advice.

The United Kingdom issued a similar advice for its citizens travelling through Central Visayas while Canada discourages its citizens to travel to Mindanao, Davao excepted. France cited “credible reports of threats or kidnapping by terrorist groups in the Central Visayas while New Zealand told its citizens of an extreme risk for their security in Western Mindanao. The slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” would actually look out of place!