The claim: There are hidden resorts with cold springs in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo.
Why we fact-checked this: Posts by several Facebook users gained traction on the social media site, with one post garnering 108 reactions and shared 304 times. A separate post had 17 reactions and 20 shares.
Some users shared the posts without the context of satire.
The facts: A number of posts claimed that there are new inland resorts and natural spots such as falls and hidden cold springs in Roxas City, the towns of Pilar, Panit-an, Dumalag, Maayon, Ivisan, and Tapaz in Capiz province; and the towns of Dumangas, Concepcion, Sara, Estancia, and Passi City in Iloilo.
The posts invited potential tourists to visit the supposed resorts, and included what appeared to be details of the location, fees, and attractions.
An examination of the posts showed that the resorts in different locations had similar names such as Labay-Labay cold spring and Hidden Paradise. “Labay-labay” is a pejorative word in Hiligaynon language for nonsense.
One supposed cold spring in Panit-an, Capiz was named Mango-Mango, which is a play on the pejorative word “mango” or stupid in Hiligaynon.
The photos used in the posts looked identical, with images of falls, natural inland lakes, and landscapes not typically found in the Philippines. An April 25 post by a certain MarJoe Azuelo Alkonga, which has 16 shares and 64 reactions, featured icebergs and icy seashores which are out of place in a tropical country.
Another post on a so-called “hidden paradise” in Dumangas, Iloilo featured photos of tents on the beach, while one is described as being set in the snow. This particular post, which has since been updated, was shared 32 times and garnered 46 reactions and 29 comments.
Some of the comments indicated that the posts were meant to be jokes or satire. Others confirmed that the supposed resorts did not exist in the indicated addresses.
Hoaxes and clickbait: Iloilo provincial tourism officer Bombette Heler said that while the posts appear to have been posted for fun or as a hoax, local tourism offices were flooded with inquiries about the new destinations.
“Apparently, many fell for the posts even if these were just made for fun. But some municipal tourism officers were irritated by this as it also affects them,” Heler said.
He added that the matter will be discussed in a May 13 meeting with the Department of Tourism-Western Visayas and municipal tourism offices.
On April 26, the Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (CTCAO) posted a statement on its Facebook page debunking the posts.
“While there are many attractions in the Province of Capiz, these particular sites DO NOT EXIST anywhere in Capiz,” the advisory read.
The tourism office also appealed to those making the posts to be responsible, as spreading misinformation may harm visitors duped by the posts. “We acknowledge the comic side of these clickbait contents, but please understand that information released publicly shapes public opinion…Leading people to made-up destinations may cause them harm or put their lives [in] peril, now we do not want that,” the CTCAO added. – Rappler.com
Francis Allan Angelo is an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellow.
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