There is a McKinsey report calling for the reengineering of Philippine tourism. It says that if the Philippines is to follow the example of Mexico and Thailand, we should develop “anchor destinations” following world-class standards and foster a “culture of tourism” nationwide.
The long stretch of Manila Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard is perhaps one good example of having no culture of tourism at all.It gives you the impression that the folks at City Hall only care about money, money, money.You park your car and you have to pay a flat rate of P30, the same as in upscale malls. You squat in the lousy Portalet and you have to pay another fee of P5. This stuns me, the reason why I couldn’t stay in Baywalk for long is that I want to pee in more civilized surroundings. Today, however, I choose to bring my kids for a view of the famed seawall and the Manila sunset. Bad decision. The seawall smelled of dung and brackish saltwater. I see Filipinas with their foreign boyfriends and the beggars/vendors couldn’t leave them alone. I order meals for all of us and prices are even more expensive than the mall.
People used to jog and stroll leisurely along the seawall. Now,nature’s freebies are gone in favor of those jazzed-up lollipop lights and crass commercialism.
Next time, we’ll have a picnic in Luneta Park instead.