The Davao Tourism Association’s 40 Years of Service

IN JOYFUL celebration of the Davao Tourism Association’s (DATA) four decades of dedicated service to the Davao tourism industry, a well-attended party was held at the Grand Ballroom of the Marco Polo Davao last February 19, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. In attendance during the festive gathering were past and present officers, members, individual and institutional supporters who have made valuable contributions to the development of the Association through the years. Majority of the guests came in their best red attires to mark the Association’s Ruby Anniversary. These are the admirable people of Davao whose sterling and self-sacrificing contributions and various services have made Davao a distinctive tourist destination to what it is today.

     “It is auspicious that we are commemorating our ‘4 Decades of DATA’ in this month of Love and the Chinese New Year celebration. Indeed, the 40 years of DATA’s existence is a testament of genuine love and passionate devotion to the industry that we have unconditionally given of our time, talent, and abilities with much joy and great pride! As we said then, and continue to say today, we serve ‘for the Love of DATA,’ and we serve for the Love of Davao!” professed former DATA president (1992-1946), Mary Ann Maceda-Montemayor, so eloquently in her welcome address.

     “Today, we can collectively assert that a great part of our dream in the past four decades had become a reality. Tourism is suddenly Davao’s answer to spur economic growth. Both the government and the private sector have now embarked on vigorous promotional activities to make tourists and investors come our way,” added Mary Ann Maceda-Montemayor who led the DATA event’s steering committee along with Gene Bangayan, Paul Borromeo, Alexander Divinagracia, Lena Benedicto, with the valuable support of the DOT Office of Asec. Art Boncato and the staff of Konkordans, Inc.

     Given their due recognition that evening were DATA’s past presidents comprised of Ricardo Acuna, Rogelio Lizada, Napoleon Doktor, and Ding Diaz of the 1970’s; Mariano Pamintuan, Claude Len Neindre, George Walter Misa, Efren Veneracion and Joji Ilagan-Bian of the 1980’s; Rudolf Lopez, Mary Ann Maceda-Montemayor, Margarita Moran-Floirendo and George Walter Misa of the 1980’s; and Arturo Boncato, Paul Borromeo, Angel Puentespina, Gene Bangayan and Salome San Jose of the 2000’s. The DATA presidents were awarded Vic Secuya abstract paintings as token for their valuable service by DATA EVP Alexander Divinagracia.

     The ever articulate Assistant Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Arturo Boncato, Jr., who served as DATA president for two terms (2000-2001 & 2003-2006), announced the “Creation of a Mindanao Office” that “will play a vital role in crafting policies for Mindanao.” “This is a realization of the DOT Secretary’s vision to have a DOT official who hails not only from Mindanao but will also be based in Mindanao,” revealed DOT Asec. Art Boncato, Jr. Asec. Boncato also discussed matters on Communication Plan, International Travel Trade Shows & Missions, Halal Program, MICE Mindanao, BIMP-EAGA, Bangsamoro, and Mindanao in mainstream ad campaign.

   The other guest speakers who presented their Davao tourism programs included Roberto Alabado, the DOT Region XI Director, and the Davao City Tourism Operations Office’s OIC Maria Felisa Marques. “I request of you to send me your ideas, thoughts and even negative comments that we can improve on. You are the reason that we are here; and for the Love of Davao, we will keep moving forward,” Marques assured the guests in her charming way.

   Voted “Best Dressed” that evening in the program hosted by Maikee Aportadera and Sly Maranga were Gov. Cora Malanyaon who came in a lacey outfit; and Alfonso “Boy” Guino-o who was dressed as the last emperor of the Year of the Horse. Raffle prizes were also given to the lucky guests.

   Congratulations, DATA, and more power! Thank you, Leda Jacinto, for the pictures.