Diocese of Dgte embarks on digital tourism for heritage churches

By Jennifer C. Tilos

DIGITAL HERITAGE DATA. Diocese of Dumaguete represented by Msgr. Julius Heruela (3rd from left) together with NN Navarro (2nd from left) of SmartComm presents the interactive tourism marker to St. Andrew The Apostle Parish Church in Amlan headed by Fr. Henrix Alar (rightmost). (PIA Negros Oriental)

The Diocese of Dumaguete has turned over interactive QR codes as tourism markers to parishes in Negros Oriental.

A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode that is readable by smartphones.

It allows phone owners to read 4,000 character information in two-dimensional barcodes.

QR Codes, when scanned by an android or smartphone with appropriate software, leads users to a browser that hosts the data contained in the code for easy access to information.

The markers contain information on church heritage sites as part of the digital tourism campaign of Smart Communications and InnoPub to promote historical and cultural sites thru the use of mobile technology.

Churches that received QR code markers include St. Augustine of Hippo Parish Church in Bacong; San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church in Bais City; St. Anthony de Padua Parish Church in Sibulan; St. James The Greater Parish Church in Tanjay City; St Andrew The Apostle Parish Church in Amlan; St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church in Manjuyod; Holy Child Parish Church in Jimalalud; San Isidro Labrador Parish Church in Zamboanguita; San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church in Dauin; St. Thomas of Villanueva Parish Church in Bayawan City; St. Nicolas of Bari Parish Church in Siaton; and St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in Dumaguete City.

In partnership with Smart Communications and InnoPub, the developer of the technology, Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, chair of the Commission on Church Cultural Heritage of the Diocese of Dumaguete, said the 12 QR markers easily provide visitors with the information on a particular church heritage site.

This is the second batch of tourism markers unveiled by the Diocese while the first batch of seven markers were handed over in July last year.

Heruela explained that mobile users with smartphones can scan the QR code and a browser window that hosts the data will provide information about the site or the heritage church.

“The information provided by the code are researched by InnoPub and verified by some memoirs and historians. But we encourage the public who have knowledge on a certain site to share some info as we do research for the right information,” said Heruela.

While next year marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, Heruela disclosed that this year, four Pueblos are celebrating 400 years in Negros Oriental.

These pueblos include Dumaguete City and the municipalities of Bacong, Dauin, and Sta. Catalina where the Spaniards gave importance to these places 400 years ago, he added.

“Meaning there were already inhabitants in Negros Oriental in 1620, and of course, Tanjay also became a pueblo because it is a way where the people passed going to Manila, and the church in Tanjay is the house of the chieftain before,” Heruela related.

Additional QR markers will be installed in some heritage site churches in anticipation of the inflow of visitors for the quincentennial celebration in 2021, according to sources from the Diocese of Dumaguete.

Heruela noted that it is important to impart correct information on cultural heritage to the young generation through the use of technology or mobile phones.

Heritage and Culture Dgte’s 31st Sandurot Festival highlights ‘Paghimamat’

By Jennifer C. Tilos


The Dumaguete City Tourism Office is inviting locals and tourists to witness various events set for this year’s Sandurot Festival during a press conference held recently. (PIA Negros Oriental)


Thousands of locals, tourists, and other personalities in the country are expected to gather for the week-long string of fun fairs for the 31st Sandurot Festival celebrations from Sept. 20 to Oct. 2 in Dumaguete City.

The festival highlights “Paghimamat” or “get-together” as the opening salvo which tells the story of Dumaguete through dance, music, and theater on Sept. 21 at 4:00 pm at Rizal Boulevard, this city.

“The creativeness of Dumagueteños with colorful threads of different race, beliefs, life style displayed with dance, music, theater, crafts and food is a concept we call Sandurot or to come together,” explained Jackie Antonio, city tourism officer.

The festival kicked off with Bell Tower Light Up on Sept. 20 standing next to the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

On the same night, a series of songs and music or a concert will be staged by the Bell Tower Project at the Pantawan.

September 22 is packed with events which include Sandurot Half Marathon to be participated in by 174 runners for the 21-kilometer run from Burgos Street all the way to barangays Cantil-e, Balugo, Batinguel, Taclobo, Motong, Piapi passing Silliman University then back to the starting point.

Sports Coordinator Ike Villaflores said the marathon is open to all runners, and top runners will receive cash prizes and each participant receives a medal, finisher shirt, race bib and a meal.

On the same day, farmers’ market or Paunay sa Plaza will open at 6:00 am followed by a competition of local delicacy, budbud gabi cooking at 9:00 am all at Quezon Park; dance-lecture concert or ‘Bansayaw’ at 4:00 pm; and Lutas: NegOr Film Festival Reloaded, showcasing Dumaguete’s filmmakers at 6:00 pm all at Pantawan.

The festival also highlights Duma Comida, showcasing the city’s delicious culinary traditions that will run for five days form Sept. 25 to 29.

This is to promote local entrepreneurs that offer a wide variety of affordable food that bring people together to eat, celebrate, and have fun along the iconic boulevard.

On Sept. 28, the streetes of Dumaguete will be filled with dancers and musicians in the “Pasundayag” or street dancing exhibition at 3:00 pm followed by a showdown competition or “Pasigarbo” at Quezon Park.

The week-long festivity will be capped with a ballroom dance or Bayle sa Plaza on Sept. 29 at Quezon Park.

This month’s Sandurot Festival winners are expected to represent the city in the provincial Buglasan Festival in October.

Dgte officials get warm reception in Yeongdong

By Jennifer C. Tilos


Dumaguete City officials visiting South Korea include (l-r) ABC President Dione Amores, Councilors Joe Kenneth Arbas, Edgar Lentorio Jr., Roselle Erames, Bernice Ann Elmaco, Mayor Park Se-bok, Mayor Remollo, Councilor Karissa Tolentino-Maxino, SK Federation President Lei Marie Danielle Tolentino, City Legal Officer Manuel Arbon and Executive Staff Ian Ryan Patula. (DD/PIA Negros Oriental)


Local officials of Yeongdong-gun County in South Korea gave a warm reception to the visiting delegation from its sister city of Dumaguete led by Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo who made the trip to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Sister City Relationship forged in May 2009.

The delegation visited several tourist destinations in the city, participated in cultural activities, met with the Filipino community in Korea and joined the celebration of the internationally acclaimed “Yeongdong Grape Festival.”

Remollo has invited their counterparts from Yeongdong to make a reciprocal visit to join Dumaguete’s Sandurot Festival in 2020.

The group also participated in cultural exchange, tourism promotion, and to develop joint strategies on peace and security in South Korea.

Bilateral talks were held between Mayor Se-bok of Yeongdong and Remollo and other city officials.

They discussed mutual cooperation for the two cities in the field of education, sports, security, tourism, economy, culture, and the arts.

Remollo underscored his commitment to learn and share the best practices in local governance to jointly achieve the greatest potentials and prosperity of the citizens in both cities.

Both leaders put premium on peace and security, which is why Remollo is pleased to learn that Yeongdong, just like Dumaguete City, has utilized the modern Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system to further protect the citizens and foreign visitors against crimes, ensure faster response during calamities, and other emergencies and efficient management of traffic.