Greenbelt Intramuros

People who think that Intramuros needs to be turned into a commercial complex featuring nightclubs in order to boost tourism need to get their heads examined.

As Aissa requested, here is my letter to the editor to counter the FUN fool:

Dir Sir,

I was inspired to write to you today because of an infuriating letter one of your other readers that was printed out on the June 25, 2008 issue of the STAR.  In it, he claims that FUN is what tourists are looking for and he even lays out the preposterous idea that we turn Intramuros into a commercial complex in order to make it relevant.  This is irrational and is the same idea that leads people to tear down buildings like the Jai alai building in the name of progress.  We are so desperate to become a modern country that we buy into the idea that in order to move forward we must tear down the past.

My girlfriend and I went to Hanoi a few months ago and it was thick with tourists: Caucasians, Asians, you name it, they were there.  You literally could not walk a few meters without seeing a fellow tourist.  A kindly German man took our photograph on a bridge and we were accompanied on our tour of Halong Bay by an Old Malaysian and Thai couple, a Japanese and Australian couple our age, a Japanese woman and her mother, and a Canadian doing social work.  Why were they there, do you ask?  Certainly not to see suntanned bodies and to have fun after hours in Hanoi, which is notorious for going to bed early and waking up even earlier.  They were all in Hanoi for the culture, for the taste of something different that they cannot find in their home countries.  And so were we. And so are thousands of other tourists.

There is nothing wrong with promoting tourist destinations for fun.  Heck, that’s basically the only reason to go to Boracay these days is for the nightlife.  And sure we can turn some of our other beaches like those in Bohol or Samal and turn them into FUN tourist destinations, but to propagate the idea that this is the only way we well get tourists into the country is preposterous and wrong minded, and will not further the tourism industry here in any meaningful way.

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