Wanda Woman PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 June 2016 15:45

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

 

Wanda Rosario Tulfo-Teo. She is the incoming secretary of tourism. She speaks fluent chavacano, Tagalog and bisayang Davao.  She was raised here, educated here, but did not fall in love here. In those days, when the nuns — the Religious of the Virgin Mary — were like the gestapos, we weren’t even allowed to talk in whispers to our girl-classmates. I was a Pilar boy with 11 other boys, two of them were Chito Enriquez de Nunez and Chito Potenciano de Baliwasan.

Though she left Zamboanga to live in Davao where her roots are, her heart remained here. She never left her friends and classmates in grade school and high school. The RVM then was headed by a Zamboanguena from Bolong — Mother Isabelita. When she died, our music teacher at Pilar College, Sister Josephine, took her place as Mother Superior. No one would have said it better than Ella Wheeler Wilcox: “All love that has not friendship for its base, is like a mansion built upon the sand.”

Wanda Woman was in town for a couple of days to meet with “old” friends for the staging of the 3rd Pilate (Pilar-Ateneo) get-together on Dec. 1 at Palmeras. We had the chance to engage her in a serious conversation about her tourism plans for Zamboanga, as she wondered why there has been little promotions to push Zamboanga as a tourist destination. The lack of budget is one. She has promised to do something about it. The second oldest golf course in the country is utterly neglected. The road leading to the beach resort is eroded and the facilities thereat rotting that do not justify the collection of entrance fee and cottage fee.

The future promises to be better for eco-tourism in Zamboanga with Wanda Woman at the helm of one of the agencies responsible for generating income for the government. A core group of thinkers, not and never politicos with vested interests, will present to her a plan on how to harness the tourism potentials of Zamboanga that will bring about absolute progress and development to a city long frustrated by crimes and bloodied by rebel attacks, assassinations and wanton killings since the ’70. We don’t want to lose the future because of the pains and bitterness of the past. While it is not for us to forecast the future, it is our responsibility to shape it for the generations yet to come.

In coordination with the city government, the focus of this aggressive tourism plan will be the construction of a new, modern international airport in the Mercedes-Talabaan area in the east coast. The 20th century has proven to be a great disappointment for Zamboanga city. John F. Kennedy said: “Unless there is the most ultimate association between those who look to the far horizons and those who deal with our daily problems, then we shall not pass through these stormy times with success.” We now have a solid chance of having a modern international airport as Wanda Woman has promised to help us have one, better than most major airports in the country.

Dorothy Thompson, addressing a convention in Toronto in 1941, said: “There are times in history where the business of one is the business of all, when life or death is a matter of choice, and when no one alive can avoid making that choice. These times occur seldom in history, these times of inevitable decisions. But this is one of those times.”

This time, the opportunity to grow as a highly-urbanized city must not be allowed to pass. We’ve not yet reached the end of our history. We have traveled too far, have sacrificed and tolled too much already to disdain the bright future.

When intellectuals, artists, politicians, journalists gather in cafes to compare notes, invariably they talk of Malacanang, Congress and of women. Wanda Woman should be on their lips. If you’re not satisfied with her Castillan beauty, you should be dazed at her intellect. She is deserving of recognition, having been with the tourism and travel industry for decades now and as we acknowledge the great women achievers of our country like Monsod, Santiago, Legarda, Imee. Her fine sense of Mindanao history equals if not surpasses any of her male contemporaries. She did not acquire recognition through interviews with reporters of newspapers and television stations. Her mental adventures on tourism and public relations are constant that have bordered on greatness.

Tourism has been described by many governments as a highly desirable and feasible method of economic development because the resources which attract and support tourism are usually abundant in underdeveloped areas.

Zamboanga has cultural attractions, scenery, antiquities, attractive people, low-priced labor, wildlife and other natural resources. With these come hotels, restaurants, a spectacular mall, light and heavy industries. But we need a modern airport ala Singapore and Hong Kong. Thus, in fives years we can attract more tourists, make Zamboanga ready and safe for them and make capital investment feasible.

That is the growth and power we aim to achieve with Wanda Woman as the conductor in tourism and economic development, the leading items of international commerce. Tourism is a major source of foreign exchange. This is true with England, Mexico, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong and Singapore.