‘Laugh (at) the Philippines’

By Alex P. Vidal

“We strongly believe that the Philippines has huge potential in the tourism industry, given our beautiful islands, moderate weather conditions, good cuisine, and the flair of Filipinos for hospitality and entertainment.”—Henry Sy

RIDEMUS ne clamare or we laugh in order not cry.

We must laugh, err love the Philippines even if, for a while, we became the laughing stock of tourism industry in the world with the stupefying revelation that a stock video was deliberately used to promote “Love the Philippines,” the new Department of Tourism (DoT) slogan coined under the Marcos Jr. administration.

Of all the scandals that rocked the DoT in the past, this is the most unique: two birds in one stone.

First, the use of fake or plagiarized footages and second, the copying of the slogan itself from the original “Love Cyprus” lunched by the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism in 2021.

Two major crimes in one fell swoop.

How could lightning strike twice in such horrific proportion for an agency considered as the show window of the Philippines?

We just hope they were telling the truth that the hilarious video wasn’t yet paid with the taxpayers money; we’re sure millions of pesos have been set aside for this DoT project handled by advertising agency DDB Philippines, which had already apologized for the fiasco.

Even if they claimed that no public funds have changed hands for the conceptualization and release of the controversial video, the people are skeptical.

When you deal with government nothing is free!


Heads must roll? Must the DoT bigwigs be held accountable for the shame that has caused the Philippines?

We haven’t heard Malacanang tell DoT Secretary

Maria Esperanza Christina Frasco (what are you waiting for Secretary Frasco?) to initiate a housecleaning, or for the embattled lady secretary herself to voluntarily resign for delicadeza as a command responsibility.

This type of scandal has stirred the hornet’s nest beyond the periphery of the entire archipelago and could not be kept under wraps.

You see it was not an ordinary scandal. Major media networks in Europe, Asia, and the United States tackled the embarrassing advertising snafu in prime time news.

The humiliation was sweeping as it involved a major state agency tasked to promote what is best and good in the Philippines, the heart and soul of the country.

We don’t want people around the world to think that we are a nation of copycats and counterfeits.

We have been listed in the Book of Records as having a former president with the most number of accumulated unexplained wealth, and our politicians are among the most loathed in Asia.

The list mustn’t grow.


Happy 4th of July, America! For embracing me, I will never get tired of saying “Thank you, United States of America” as long as I live. Together, Let’s Make A Memory!

May peace and blessings be with us on this occasion. May we feel joyous as we commemorate the national heroes as we celebrate with our family. Happy Independence Day! May America continue to be grateful for the freedom well fought for.

Let’s shout out the victories we have achieved in life!

Louis D. Brandis once said, “Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)