Why You Shouldn’t Miss This Mindanao Travel Fair in Manila

Treasures of Sox: A Travel & Trade Expo Year 4 opened with a colourful programme on Thursday, 25 Apr 2019 at Robinson’s Place Manila in Ermita. A Mindanao travel fair spearheaded by Department of TourismRegion 12 (DOT–12), SOX aims to bring SOCCSKSARGEN (also called Region 12) closer to Manila and other regions.

Dinugyaw Cultural Dance Troupe

Also read: DOT Travel Expo “Treasures of Sox” Brings Us Closer to Central Mindanao

Opening ceremonies

SOX formally opened with a ribbon-cutting and a jam-packed programme. Audiences watched and listened on as cultural performers and speakers took turns onstage. VIPS in attendance were Nelly Nita N. Dillera, Ceso Iii, DOT–12 Regional Director, Vernu Esmeralda C. Buensuceso, Asec. for DOT Product and Market Development, and Lance Tan, a keynote speaker representing the Department of Trade and Industry.

Regional Director Dillera invited audiences to visit SOCCSKSARGEN and described Mindanao as a wellspring of “culture, nature, adventure, and organic and cultural products. She added that tourism plays a key role in national development; the industry has provided jobs and livelihood for many in region 12 as well as all over the country.

Tan also echoed similar sentiments with a simple question addressed to travellers, “Why don’t you visit the Philippines first?” He then assured them that they won’t be disappointed.

And if you’re wondering what Region 12 has in store for its visitors, going to Treasures of Sox will surely satisfy that curiosity. Here’s why you can’t miss this comprehensive Mindanao travel fair.

1. You’ll get to know the beautiful cities and provinces of SOCCSKSARGEN or Region 12

One of the tarpaulins on display at Treasures of Sox.

If you’ve been to other travel and trade fairs, you know what we’re talking about. Treasures of Sox is filled to the brim with pamphlets, travel guides, booklets, exhibitions, and videos that will tell you all that you want and need to know about the different destinations and cultures you’ll experience  in Region 12.

Here’s a simple test: Can you name all of SOCCSKSARGEN’s provinces and main cities? If you can’t, we highly recommend heading to Robinson’s Place Manila (also called Robinson’s Midtown), where SOX will run until Sunday, 28 April! It’s a fun way to learn all about Region 12.

2. You can book tours right then and there!

Tacurong City in Region 12 is home to a bird sanctuary that you should include in any itinerary | Image credit: Baras Bird Sanctuary Tacurong City Official Facebook Page

The great thing about this particular Mindanao travel fair is that you’re likely to meet the destinations’ tourism officers. This means that you can book the best tours right then and there, hassle-free! You can even consult them about your itineraries — tourism officers will know the best spots and how long it will take to get to each place.

Also read: Exploring Arakan Valley, Cotabato: The Hidden Treasure of the South

3. You’ll #supportlocal and participate in fair trade

Details of Cotabato’s umpak dato, a top for male members for the community.

Treasures of Sox doesn’t only pertain to the destinations you’ll see in Region 12. It also includes its manmade treasures — meaning the region’s products from indigenous textiles and accessories to unique food items. Some of these products are organic or farm-to-table, so you’ll get to support our Mindanaoan farmers!

Brass and beaded accessories from South Cotabato.

Purchasing directly from the source means that you’re able to help local craftsmen and entrepreneurs earn more as well. If you frequent fairs and stores run by other organisations, you might notice that the same items are sold at more expensive rates. Chances are, communities only get a portion of these sales, too.

But at SOX, since products come directly from the communities that made them, they’re fairly priced — a win-win for both seller and buyer.

4. This Mindanao travel fair is also a gateway for business opportunities in Central Mindanao

Local products for sale in all stalls at SOX.

“We’ve always considered SOX as a platform to highlight new products and programs,” Regional Director Dillera stressed.

As a testament to this vision, SOX will hold an investment forum and a business-to-business meet with tour operators and other stakeholders from 26 April to 28 April. These events are open to all who want to learn more about the tourism industry.

An exhibition highlighting the Tedurays, one of the ethnic groups in Region 12.

Aside from this, DOT–12 is will also unveil a new tourism product: a VIP card that tourists “can use to avail of freebies and discounts from Regional Tourism Council-accredited establishments.” Another enriching program to be highlighted at SOX is DOT–12’s newest initiative called Complete Women, “a gender and development effort aimed at empowering the women workers of the tourism industry.”

5. You’re bound to live out the SOCCSKSARGEN tagline!

Guo Hill in Alamada, Cotabato | Image credit: Jyppe Quidores

With all these destinations, features, initiatives, and events, you’ll surely understand why Region 12’s tagline is very much fitting — “Sox is next. Do it now!” Treasures of Sox is an exciting invitation to experience the magic and allure of SOCCSKSARGEN for yourself.

“Sox (SOCCSKSARGEN) positions itself as the next big thing in Philippine tourism,” said Asec. Buensuceso… and one visit will show you why the region deserves to be exactly that.

Remember, Treasures of Sox will run until this Sunday, 28 April! You have the entire weekend to catch it at Robinsons Place Ermita. See you!

Special thanks to Department of Tourism–Region 12 for inviting TripZilla Philippines to Treasures of Sox: A Travel & Trade Expo Year 4.

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