Editor’s Note: The ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2016 was convened on June 19-25, 2016 in Siquijor island and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. The Summit is the third in a series of activities spanning from 2013 to 2017 pursuant to the ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Cooperation Work Plan. The Philippines and Thailand are the lead coordinators for the said program.
The following article is about UB participant Rick Jason’s reflection about the Summit.
Some opportunities come just once. Being able to join the ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2016, representing the Cordillera Administrative Region, is one of those opportunities. The theme of the event was “Scenes, Senses, ASEAN Spirit.” It was attended by representatives from different regions of the Philippines, ASEAN countries, including Japan. (China and Korea were not able to send representatives.)
During our first day in Siquijor we were assigned a roommate. My roommate was Irfan Syahputra from Indonesia. When we started talking, and I shared with him stories about my culture as a Cordilleran. He was very interested to know about the Cordillera and so I told him about the tourist attractions, delicacies and traditions of the region. I even showed him my tribal costume – the bahag or g-string –which I would be wearing for the cultural presentation. He asked me about how I would wear it, so I did a little demonstration. I told him that in the Cordillera we don’t wear it as an underwear. He chuckled, as he thought it might fall off. I explained that you just have to wear it tight.
During the presentation day, I dressed in bahag. I was the only one wearing such type of costume. You look at everyone and their eyes are full of wonder. Some asked if I was wearing an underwear. I said no, and went on to explain about how the g-string is the native costume here in the Cordillera.
At the end of the day, everything all came down to the Summit’s theme – “Scenes, Senses, ASEAN Spirit.” I guess “Scenes” was all about the memories we’ve created, the cultures we’ve shared about. “Senses” was about learning each other’s cultures, understanding that language will never be a barrier. “ASEAN Spirit” was all about building connections.
It was indeed a remarkable experience because it wasn’t just about meeting new people and establishing connections with them but also about realizing that our culture is something that we should be proud of and that culture actually makes you as a person. – Rick Jason Aquino
Rick Jason with the other delegates cruising from Dumaguete to Siquijor island (Photo: Rick Jason Aquino)
Rick Jason Aquino is a sophomore BS Tourism Management student of the University of Baguio.