By Izah Morales INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines-- Singaporean adventurer and world-record holder Khoo Swee Chiow was in the Philippines to climb the second highest peak in Luzon, Mt. Pulag. He also decided to visit Mountain Province’s Sagada, which is known for its “hanging coffins” and mummies. It was Swee Chiow’s first time to explore the country despite having explored the world and set world records in the process. “I would definitely go back and bring my family here,” Swee Chiow said. An adventurer, Swee Chiow has scaled at least seven summits in the seven continents, conquered Mt. Everest twice, traveled to the North Pole without an oxygen, skied in the South Pole for 57 days, skated from Hanoi to Singapore for 94 days, cycled from Singapore to Beijing for 73 days, swam the Malacca strait and dived for 220 hours earning him the world’s record of doing the longest scuba dive. His most memorable adventure involved his first journey to North Pole where suffered frost bite. He later succeeded during his second attempt and said the journey was sweeter. Swee Chiow said being adventurer entailed a lot of sacrifices. “I quit my stable, high-paying job and decided to follow my passion,” he said, adding that he would continue doing new things. Asked for tips, Swee Chiow said any explorer should always bring a whistle and a mirror, which could be used during emergencies. More important, he noted that one should learn life-saving skills, such as first aid. Swee Chiow’s greatest lesson, however, was discovering his potentials during a crisis. “To me, it’s about finding out my weaknesses, finding out my strengths, and how I should keep going,” Swee Chiow said.
Recently in Benguet Category
By Delmar Cariño Inquirer LA TRINIDAD, Benguet--Trade and tourism officials are pushing the "branding," or formulation of taglines, as a new strategy to promote the province's unique resources and attract more investments and tourists. But the marketing approach, designed to sell the province's potentials beyond its being the country's "vegetable bowl," is expected to stir some problems for tourism and local officials of Kibungan, one of the 13 towns being promoted. The Department of Tourism (DOT) earlier cautioned local officials on wrong impressions created by "inappropriate branding." Purificacion Molintas, DOT Cordillera director, said a foreign tourist became frustrated when he found out that there were no snow slopes to ski on in Barangay Madaymen in Kibungan despite being widely advertised as the "Switzerland of Benguet." Madaymen, a farming community where potatoes and carrots are grown, is Benguet's coldest village from December to February, with frost appearing from time to time. But to refer to Madaymen as "'Switzerland' would be misleading," Molintas told the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Wednesday. "This is a case of mistaken branding. In fact, the foreigner brought with him a complete set of skiing gear, but he was disappointed when he saw vegetables instead of snow." But an investment brochure that the Department of Trade and Industry and DOT will issue next month still identifies Kibungan as "Switzerland of Benguet," a tagline that Kibungan officials refused to remove despite objections from the DOT. In the brochure, the following lines accompany the tagline: "Kibungan is a cool place of rocky mountains and pine trees resembling that of Switzerland's." Molintas said Kibungan officials invoked a resolution that the town council passed earlier declaring the town as the "Switzerland of Benguet." Vilma Cruz-Abad, DTI investment promotions officer in Benguet, said the use of "Switzerland" became a subject of debate when the brochures were being prepared. Cruz-Abad was advised to ask the town council to pass another measure withdrawing the resolution that declared Kibungan as the "Switzerland of Benguet." The investment brochures for each of the 13 towns were part of an investment and tourism project the DTI and the DOT prepared in the last two years. No objections were aired to the other taglines: Benguet (Where gardens bloom beneath the heavens), Mankayan (The bosom of gold and copper in Benguet), Atok (Where vegetables flourish and cacti flowers bloom), Tuba (Cradle of nature's gift), Sablan (Fruit basket of Benguet), Bokod (The sulfur spring of Benguet), Tublay (Land of the fascinating caves), La Trinidad (Strawberry capital of the Philippines), Itogon (Land of golden opportunities), Kapangan (The cocoon producer of Benguet), Buguias (Vegetable panorama of the north), Bakun (Home of god Kabunian) and Kabayan (Home of the centuries-old mummies).