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Ben Tulfo on P60-M ad deal: PTV still owes us money

Aug 14, 2018 - 5:01 PM

Tulfo refuses to answer how much the government owes his production company Bitag Media

UNPAID. Bitag Media CEO Ben Tulfo says his contract with PTV4 is valid. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Tulfos: We will not return P60M to government

Aug 14, 2018 - 2:42 PM

'Wala ho sa isip ko magsasauli kasi wala akong ginawang ilegal. Papanindigan po namin ang kontrata, legal po ito. Wala po kaming ginawang illegal,' says Ben Tulfo during a Senate hearing

Photo by Angie de Silva

LIVE: Senate hearing on Tulfo's P60-M earnings from DOT ad placements

Aug 14, 2018 - 2:00 PM

Watch the hearing on Tuesday, August 14, at 10 am

Visayas, Mindanao airports get P2B in proposed 2019 budget

Aug 12, 2018 - 7:15 AM

The new Bohol International Airport receives the biggest chunk at P754 million

NEW AIRPORT. The new Bohol (Panglao) International Airport is almost complete. Photo from the Build Build Build Facebook page

P7.8M in 2019 national budget to be used in tourism safety

Aug 08, 2018 - 3:45 PM

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat also pledges to put up health facilities in tourist destinations in coordination with the Department of Health

DOT BUDGET. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat on August 8, 2018 defends the DOT budget at the House committee on appropriations hearing. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

PH vows to boost tourist safety after jellyfish kills girl

Aug 05, 2018 - 3:50 PM

Filipino-Italian swimmer Gaia Trimarchi, 7, dies after being stung by a box jellyfish in Caramoan, Camarines Sur

TOURIST SAFETY. A file photo of Sabitang Laya Island in Caramoan, where a 7-year-old girl died after she was stung by a box jellyfish. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Legal process continues despite Ben Tulfo refusal to return P60M – Roque

Jul 30, 2018 - 1:35 PM

The Tulfos are supposed to return the payment because of a Commission on Audit notice of disallowance, but this can still be appealed

COA finds Montano’s P12M contracts questionable

Jul 26, 2018 - 1:22 PM

Montano approves the contracts for Intramuros and a music festival without a go-signal from the board, and in one instance, he disregards approval of the winning bidder and negotiates directly with the losing bidder instead

QUESTIONABLE CONTRACTS. Cesar Montano's contracts with performers and music festival organizers in 2017 are flagged by auditors for violating procurement and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) rules. File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler


Cesar Montano's travels excessive – COA

Jul 26, 2018 - 11:24 AM

Auditors say it was costly and unnecessary for Montano to bring along his two assistants in most of his trips. Non-related personnel also got to travel to tourism events.

EXCESSIVE TRAVELS. The Commission on Audit (COA) flags as excessive the travels of resigned Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano. Photo from Cesar Montano - TPB page

Philippines hits 3.7 million foreign tourists mid-2018

Jul 19, 2018 - 6:45 PM

Foreign tourist arrivals increase by 10.4%, compared to the 3.3 million recorded for the January-June period last year

TOURIST ARRIVALS. Foreign tourists pass health declaration checklist in NAIA. File photo by Jedwin Llobrera/Rappler

Call for proposals: DOT tourism research grant

Jul 19, 2018 - 2:43 PM

PRESS RELEASE: Deadline for applications is on July 31, Tuesday

Photo by Naveen Ganglani/Rappler

First space tourist flights could come in 2019

Jul 16, 2018 - 2:10 PM

Got $250,000? Virgin Atlantic, one of the companies paving the way for space tourism, can take you to space for that price

SPACE JET. This May 29, 2018 handout photograph obtained courtesy of Virgin Galactic shows the Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity.  The two companies leading the pack in the pursuit of space tourism say they are just months away from their first out-of-this-world passenger flights – though neither has set a firm date. Virgin Galactic, founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, and Blue Origin, by Amazon creator Jeff Bezos, are racing to be the first to finish their tests – with both companies using radically different technology. AFP Photo/Virgin Galactic


Is Unesco World Heritage status for cultural sites killing the things it loves?

Jul 14, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Achieving Unesco status is an internationally competitive process. Nations want this recognition because they can promote a place or practice as a unique cultural tourism attraction.

TOURIST MAGNET. Tourists take a photo of sunrise at Angkor Wat in 2016. Shutterstock

More fun? Inefficiencies in Teo’s DOT term raise audit red flags

Jul 12, 2018 - 8:53 PM

The 2017 audit report of the Department of Tourism (DOT) is rife with delayed projects, deficient planning and multi-million projects that went unmonitored and cannot be measured for their worth

AUDIT RED FLAGS. Commission on Audit (COA) reveals multiple deficiencies and inefficiencies in how the Department of Tourism spent P2 billion of its budget in 2017 under the leadership of former secretary Wanda Teo.

COA flags P19 million travel allowances of DOT officials

Jul 12, 2018 - 10:58 AM

(UPDATED) The department spent P19.2 million on travel allowances alone in 2017, including P863,961 for resigned secretary Wanda Teo

TRAVEL ALLOWANCES. Department of Tourism officials including resigned secretary Wanda Teo, and current Undersecretaries Kat De Castro and Benito Bengzon receive hundreds of thousands worth of allowances for their foreign travels in 2017, according to the Commission on Audit.

Gov't should focus on increasing tourism revenues, not arrivals – expert

Jul 10, 2018 - 8:25 PM

'It doesn't matter how many people come, [but] what's important is that you get the target revenue,' says Fernando Martin Roxas

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM. Fernando Martin Roxas, Executive Director of Asian Institute of Management Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, talks to the media about sustainable tourism. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

IN NUMBERS: Foreign visitors up by 10% despite Boracay closure

Jul 06, 2018 - 6:46 PM

The Department of Tourism says foreign visitor arrivals still grew in May despite the closure of Boracay as they went to other destinations in the country

SIARGAO. Sugba Lagoon, a popular destination for those who visit Siargao.Photo by Naveen Ganglani/Rappler

PH eyes shorter visa on arrival process for Chinese travelers

Jul 05, 2018 - 2:26 PM

The Department of Tourism says it is looking at major markets China and India for its plan to facilitate easier entry to the country

TOURISM. Department of Tourism spokesperson Bong Bengzon speaks to hotel owners and marketing representatives in Makati City on July 5, 2018. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

Binay seeks to stop misuse of Duty Free funds amid Teo controversy

Jul 01, 2018 - 9:50 PM

Senator Nancy Binay says the Governance Commission for GOCCs should 'take seriously' its job to coordinate policies of government corporations

ACCOUNTABILITY. Senator Nancy Binay, chairman of the Senate committee on tourism, said the Governance Corporation for Government Owned and Controlled Corporations needs to strengthen its fiscal practices over the Comission on Audit's findings on the misuse of Duty Free funds. Photo from the Office of Senator Nany Binay

COA: Teo illegally used Duty Free tourism funds to buy bags, cosmetics

Jun 28, 2018 - 1:05 PM

Merchandise bought using Department of Tourism funds include beddings, appliances, canned goods, branded bags, luxury brand cosmetics, and chocolates

DUTY FREE. Resigned tourism secretary Wanda Teo used DOT profit shares at Duty Free to buy merchandise and pay for a consultant according to the Commission on Audit. Photo by Mick Basa/Rappler

The rockets that are pushing the boundaries of space travel

Jun 27, 2018 - 3:26 PM

Today, NASA is so dependent on the private sector that the US space agency has signed contracts with SpaceX and Boeing to send astronauts to space beginning next year, as soon as their capsules are ready

New York's Central Park goes officially car-free

Jun 27, 2018 - 10:56 AM

'For more than a century, we had turned parts of the world's most iconic park into a highway – and starting tonight, we have officially taken it back for good,' says Mayor Bill de Blasio

GREEN SPACE. People ride bicycles on West Drive in the southern portion of Central Park, April 20, 2018 in New York City. File photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

DFA: July-September passport appointment slots still available

Jun 25, 2018 - 7:30 PM

'Please click refresh as online appointments become available from time to time,' says the Department of Foreign Affairs

Fresh produce, Filipino food take spotlight at 8th Philippine Harvest

Jun 15, 2018 - 5:23 PM

The fair takes place from June 14 to 17 at the Central Square, Bonifacio High Street

New Zealand to tax tourists to fund infrastructure

Jun 15, 2018 - 2:50 PM

A tax of NZ$25-35 would be imposed on international visitors from mid-2019 while price hikes for immigration fees and visas will take effect this November

Mother Nature runs wild on China's emerald isle

Jun 10, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Houtouwan was once a thriving fishing community of sturdy brick homes clinging to the steep hills of the island of Shengshan. But it's now abandoned, with entire houses completely overgrown as if shrink-wrapped in a lush layer of green.

EMERALD ISLE. This aerial picture taken on May 31, 2018 shows abandoned village houses covered with overgrown vegetation in Houtouwan on Shengshan island, China's eastern Zhejiang province.  Houtouwan was a thriving fishing community of sturdy brick homes that climb up the steeply hilled island of Shenghshan, but is now abandoned, with entire houses completely overgrown as if vacuum-sealed in a lush layer of green. / AFP PHOTO / Johannes EISELE

State of calamity declaration sought for mainland Boracay

Jun 08, 2018 - 8:25 PM

The municipal council of Malay, Aklan, wants more concrete basis to consider the proposal of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Liga ng mga Barangay

JOBLESS. Boatmen are among the Boracay residents who have lost their livelihood after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the tourist destination for 6 months. Photo Boy Ryan Zabal/Rappler

Newsbreak Chats: Calida contracts and other top stories for May 2018

Jun 07, 2018 - 4:23 PM

Join us as we make sense of these stories: One year since the Marawi siege and corruption scandals hounding Solicitor General Jose Calida, former Tourism Promotions Board chief Cesar Montano, and former PhilHealth Interim President Celestina De la Serna

Seeking tourists, Israel promotes a different sun and sand

Jun 06, 2018 - 6:07 PM

'When it's very cold in Europe, let's say in December, January and February, we have very mild temperatures in the Negev,' says the Israel tourism ministry

SAND, CYCLING. Cyclists stand on a cliff overlooking the crater of Machtesh Ramon on May 6, 2018 near southern Israeli city of Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev desert.  Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP

SpaceX delays plans to send tourists around Moon – report

Jun 05, 2018 - 11:05 AM

'A new timetable for the flight – now postponed until at least mid-2019 and likely longer – hasn't been released,' reports The Wall Street Journal

SPACEX. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rests on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 5, 2018, ahead of its demonstration mission. File photo by Jim Watson/AFP

Tulfo brothers, Bangsamoro Basic Law, Dua Lipa in Manila | Evening wRap

May 31, 2018 - 7:05 PM

Watch Rappler's evening newscast with Bea Cupin

Malacañang expects Tulfos to return P60M payment for ads

May 31, 2018 - 2:34 PM

'We're counting on their word of honor,' says Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque

#ThewRap: Things you need to know, May 31, 2018

May 31, 2018 - 11:00 AM

Hello! Here are the stories you shouldn't miss this Thursday.

BRP SIERRA MADRE. This aerial photo  taken from a military aircraft shows the dilapidated Sierra Madre ship of the Philippine Navy anchored near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) with Philippine soldiers onboard to secure the perimeter in the Spratly Islands, on May 11, 2015. File photo by Ritchie Tongo/AFP

Guevarra on Calida, Puyat on Tulfo brothers, ABC cancels Roseanne | Evening wRap

May 30, 2018 - 7:47 PM

Watch Rappler's evening newscast with Marguerite de Leon

DOT chief says Tulfos haven't returned P60M yet

May 30, 2018 - 2:07 PM

'I leave it up to the COA kasi sila magsasabi kung may disallowance,' says Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat when asked what her agency will do about it

Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

CA confirms Bernadette Romulo Puyat as tourism secretary

May 30, 2018 - 12:59 PM

(UPDATED) Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat promises employment and national development on her watch

Senate CA Confirmation May 30 2018. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Fed-up Spanish cities are bursting Airbnb's bubble

May 27, 2018 - 4:05 PM

Complaints abound in Spain that greedy landlords are throwing out long-term tenants to cash in on the tourist flow

Banners reading "No tourist flats" hang from a balcony to protest against holiday rental apartments for tourists in Barcelona's neighborhood of Barceloneta on November 24, 2016.  Barcelona city hall said today it would fine home rental websites Airbnb and rival HomeAway 600,000 euros ($635,000) each for marketing lodgings that lacked permits to host tourists.  / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA

Veteran official named Tourism Promotions Board OIC

May 24, 2018 - 4:57 PM

Arnold Gonzales has been with the Department of Tourism for 30 years

OIC. Arnold Gonzales is the new Tourism Promotions Board officer-in-charge. Photo from Gonzales' Facebook page

Marauding monkeys injure tourists at India's Taj Mahal

May 22, 2018 - 9:58 PM

'They were taking selfies in front of the Taj when a group of monkeys attacked them,' says a tourist officer

TAJ MAHAL. An Indian man (left) performs yoga at the back of the Taj Mahal on the banks of the Yamuna river in Agra.  Photo by CHhandan Khanna/AFP

TPB 'guarantees transparency' after Cesar Montano's resignation

May 22, 2018 - 1:21 PM

'The TPB extends its support to the direction of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, guaranteeing transparency in all of its dealings,' says Board after Montano's resignation

TRANSPARENCY. The Tourism Promotions Board issues a statement following Cesar Montano's resignation as Chief Operating Office.

Duterte on Montano, Roxas on Senate run, AFP on Chinese bombers | Midday wRap

May 22, 2018 - 12:31 PM

Watch Rappler's midday newscast with Bea Cupin

P18-M Intramuros brand campaign has nothing to show – COA

May 22, 2018 - 8:31 AM

By the end of 2017, only P450,000 has been spent to buy memo pads and bond papers

Students personate significant characters in the Bible parade along the cobble stones for a traditional Santa Cruzan from the Manila Cathedral to the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila on May 20, 2018. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

Duterte accepts Cesar Montano's resignation

May 22, 2018 - 7:01 AM

The Tourism Promotions Board chief's resignation comes after President Duterte announced he is about to fire 5 government officials

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the 51st Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Meeting at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City on May 5, 2018, recognizes the vital role of ADB in the growth and development of the Philippines. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

DOT sets cruise, drive tourism circuits to lure visitors to Western Visayas

May 21, 2018 - 8:05 PM

Western Visayas tourism officials says they must attract some 1 million tourists to recover from the slump brought by the closure of Boracay Island

Cesar Montano resigns as tourism board chief

May 21, 2018 - 7:48 PM

(UPDATED) His resignation comes amid the controversy over an P80-million sponsorship deal for the food tourism project Buhay Carinderia

Japan's new 'Airbnb law': a double-edged sword

May 20, 2018 - 8:05 PM

Short-term rentals will be legalized in Japan on June 15 under the new law, but there will also be fresh restrictions

This April 16, 2018 picture shows Japanese traditional tatami-mat room in short-term accommodation operated by Hyakusenrenma's rental house in Tokyo.  Rental platforms like Airbnb are hoping for a boost from a new law coming into force next month in Japan ahead of the 2020 Olympics, but experts warn it could actually hamper business in the short-term. / AFP PHOTO / Toshifumi KITAMURA / TO GO WITH AFP STORY JAPAN-TOURISM-LAW-AIRBNB-OLYMPICS,FOCUS BY MARIE HEUCLIN

Who is Ronnie Albao of the Tourism Promotions Board?

May 19, 2018 - 7:04 PM

(3rd UPDATE) Cesar Montano's most trusted man in the Tourism Promotions Board started out in government as an executive assistant in the office of then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 1998

P1-consultant runs Tourism Promotions Board besides Cesar Montano

May 19, 2018 - 3:00 PM

(UPDATED) Ronnie Albao, who sources say unofficially functions as Cesar Montano's chief of staff, denies the claims

CHIEF OF STAFF? Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Office (COO) Cesar Montano and Ronnie Albao pose for a photo at Senate of the Philippines. Photo from Ronnie Albao's Twitter account

Mark Lapid, DOT execs from 3 administrations sued over Boracay Water contract

May 18, 2018 - 6:11 PM

The complainants allege that the Philippine Tourism Authority under Mark Lapid 'demonstrated a clear bias' towards the Manila Water Company Incorporated in the award of the contract to operate the waterworks and sewerage system of Boracay

TOURISM OFFICIALS. (Left to right) Former tourism officials Mark Lapid, Wanda Teo, Ramon Jiumenez, and (back) Cesar Montano face a graft complaint over a utilities contract in Boracay

Puyat 'uncomfortable' over tourism projects without public bidding

May 17, 2018 - 4:38 PM

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says she has concerns over projects under TPB chief Cesar Montano's watch that did not pass through public bidding

NEW CHIEF. Newly-installed Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat arrives at the DOT office in Makati City on May 15, 2018. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler