SCENE CITY| 4 Decades of DATA

PROMOTING the tourism industry in Davao City and Mindanao to the world has been a task undertaken by a group of people whose heart and soul are dedicated to push the programs that bring people to witness arts and culture, experience nature at its best and explore sites of eco-tourism and more.

This brought together people of diverse background to organize what the Davao Tourism Association has now become. In its four decades of existence, it has evolved into an organization which is looked up to today because of the accomplishments and honor it has brought to Davao City and Mindanao. It has brought tourists from across continents and gained an admirable reputation for the city because of the people who have led it to where it is today.

That is why DATA made it a point to celebrate the last four decades in style on February 19, 2015, coinciding with the Chinese Lunar New Year, the year of the Wood Sheep, at the Marco Polo Davao.

Mary Ann M. Montemayor, Chair of the 4 Decades of DATA Steering Committee and President for years 1992 – 1996 gave the welcome address. President for 2014 up to the present Salome San Jose had to stay home for health reasons, and was missed by the members and guests who came in bright Red, the theme for the event.

Presentations from tourism VIPs were heard from Maria Felisa “Lisette” Marques, OIC, Davao City Tourism OperationsOffice, DOT XI Regional Director Roberto Alabado, ASEC Arturo P. Boncato, with a Response made by Paul Borromeo.

Lisette Marques revealed plans to make the 3rd District of Davao a tourism hub, with day tours to be converted to overnight stay. The Marilog area is an ideal location for a tourism zone, as its cool climate and lush vegetation easily attract tourists and is a convenient place for a stopover for travelers. It is also a place where tribal communities exist.

DOT XI Regional Director Robbie Alabado had other brilliant ideas for Mindanao. He envisions Davao Region to be Asia’s Fruit Market, knowing that delicious fruits like mangoes, durian, rambutan, marang, mangosteen and pineapple grow abundantly on our fertile soil. “We can even make soaps, lotions, shampoos and perfumes out of our plants”, he says. He plans to promote agri-tourism and hold events like mangosteen, mango, marang or durian picking during peak season.

Building cultural villages, holding bike tours, food trips, bar tours and eco trails are just a few of the plans he wishes could be done for this region.

ASEC Art Boncato came up with the role of DOT in pushing Mindanao as a tourism hub in Asia. The reason for his appointment as ASEC was to have somebody from Mindanao to take care of Mindanao in the area of tourism. He has traveled from Dinagat Islands to Tawi-Tawi to look for tourism sites and development in these areas.

One of the valid observations by tourists from the Middle East at the NAIA is that it has no Halal dining areas. “They go hungry in the Philippines”m says Art, who plans to see to it that there is at least one halal restaurant in every mall and other halal-friendly establishments.

There are more dreams in tourism which are slowly turning into reality, thanks to the efforts and hard work of DATA, an organization which has survived the wear and tear of organizing events such as festivals, trade fairs and tourism for a, making Davao City and Mindanao a tourism hub for Asia and the Pacific and even beyond.

Past Presidents of DATA present at the affair were George Walter Misa, Claude Le Neindre, Joji Ilagan-Bian, Rudolf Lopez, Margarita Floirendo, Mary Ann Montemayor, Arturo Boncato, Paul Borromeo and Angel Puentespina.

Photography: RENE B. LUMAWAG


TESS LeNiendre of the Oboza House Restaurant














MARY Ann M. Montemayo, DATA Past President – 1992-1996


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