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One of the things I actively advocate for tourism in the Philippines is that if we want to develop compelling and world class products, we have to look at what we are. We don’t have to copy what other countries have done. People don’t travel to other places to see the same, but much better stuff they can find in other places. One of the major reasons why they travel is that they look for the unique offerings of the destination.
One of the truly Filipino treasures that can also become a major tourism product is the Filipino Martial Arts, or FMA. Call it Kali, Dumog, Arnis, or Escrima, these age-old practices have helped defined who the Filipino is. The Spaniard masters tried to kill the tradition, but it persisted as “secret” movements in the form of folk dances. Try to read up on the subject and you will be amazed at this treasure of ours.
It is sadly becoming unknown to many Filipinos now, but the FMA has been getting a good number of foreign practitioners and adherents. Heck, its also been used in a good number of Hollywood movies (hmmmm…. do Jason Bourne and The Book of Eli sound familiar?)
If the tourism industry would consider using the FMA as a tourism product many things can be achieved: major products can be offered in urban areas (like Manila?) that sorely lack quality tourist attractions; it could help preserve the culture; and it can help the country gain more respect from other peoples who will realize that we have something worthy we can share to the whole world. Need I add that we can also gain more respect for ourselves?
I’ve had some conversation from an official at the Department of Tourism and that somebody has become interested in the concept. I’m hoping, praying and crossing my fingers that an FMA Training and Exhibition Center will be established in Metro Manila or Cebu City. Or how about a Dumog Training and Exhibition Center in Ilo-ilo? Or a Kali Training and Exhibition Center in Bacolod City. Well, its easy to dream on. I hope somebody in authority or who has the money to bankroll will read this and realize that there is an investment worthwhile not only for revenue, but also for national culture and pride of the Filipino people.
Here’s the link to my blog which includes videos I dug up. — http://travelcentralph.blogspot.com/2011/01/filipino-martial-arts-fma.html