MANILA—An "all-Filipino" accommodation and café where local artists and performers can converge will be built in Intramuros, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Tuesday.
The Maestranza, a "creative economy hub", is a "bed and breakfast" and "café" where everything — from ingredients to live entertainment — is sourced locally, Romulo-Puyat told reporters after a quick tour around the walled city.
"Gagawa kami ng quarters doon, ibi-build namin ng tirahan para may pupuntahan ang artists, performers, creatives," she said.
"Sisimulan na 'yun this year para mahikayat natin ang mga kabataan na pumunta sa Intramuros."
(We will construct quarters, build lodges where artists, performers and creatives can showcase their craft. We will start the project this year to entice the youth to visit Intramuros.)
Similar hubs will be built in other parts of the country, but the first branch will be in the capital, the Tourism chief said.
"Maraming mga turista na ang drop-off point ay sa Manila, naghahanap ng mapupuntahan at lahat nasa Maynila," she said.
(There are many tourists whose drop-off point is in Manila. They are looking for places to visit and everything is in Manila.)
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno lauded the program, saying it would highlight the capital city's "treasures."
"Napakarami naming kasaysayan na naipamana na puwedeng puntahan," Moreno said.
"Kahit na alam namin na mas maunlad ang mga kapit-bahay namin sa Metro Manila, but they don't have that [historical] character . . . Ito ang yaman namin."
(We have so many historical sites that tourists can visit. We know neighboring cities are more progressive, but they don't have that "historical character" that Manila has. That's our treasure.)
RIZAL PARK, MANILA BAY DEVELOPMENT
The Department of Tourism will also develop the Rizal Park, which receives some 77,000 visitors every weekend, Romulo-Puyat said.
The national government will "rehabilitate" the esplanade and build a children's playground, she said.
A 50-meter beach will also be formed along the Manila Bay so that tourists can better enjoy Metro Manila's "best sunset view," she said.
These projects will get the nod of the local government, Moreno assured the Tourism secretary,
"We are really trying to reintegrate the City of Manila to the national government," he said.
"There will be no more Republic of Manila . . . Kasi in the old days, makikipag-away ang City of Manila sa parks, sa IA (Intramuros Administration). Puwede naman kami magusap-usap," he said.
(In the old days, the City of Manila would butt heads with the national government over plans for parks and Intramuros, but it turns out these are matters we could discuss after all.)