Belonging to an industry that was one of the most heavily hit during the onslaught of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) for the past two years, tour guides in the Summer Capital are slowly getting back on their feet as the pandemic is seemingly at an ebb and alert levels are lowered.“Most, if not all, of our tour guides hardly earned any income in the past two years during the height of the pandemic. We are hoping that this year and the coming years will be much better for the industry with the support of our local officials and other concerned agencies,” Grail Lomas-e, president of the BLISTT (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, Tublay)-CAR Tour Guides Inc., said.
Her group recently celebrated its 6th year anniversary on May 28 at the Ibaloy Heritage Park and currently has 25 professional and Department of Tourism (DOT) accredited tour guides.
Councilor Vladimir Cayabas, chair of the city council’s committees on education, culture, creativity and historical research, was the activity’s special guest who expressed his continued `support for the association and its programs.
Lomas-e said her group, in partnership with the councilor’s office, plans to conduct historical tours in the city for students of the different local technical-vocational schools.
The association’s past activities include the creation of a Baguio Tour Guiding Handbook in collaboration with the City Tourism Office that is awaiting publication; a free guided tour for city officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong during the pre-opening of the Botanical Garden, on March 6; and a city tour on May 26 for local SK Federation officers led by councilor Levy Loyd Orcales in cooperation with the DOT-CAR.
They also conducted a clean-up drive on May 26 at the Ibaloy Heritage Park and Rose Garden at Burnham Park, Lomas-e disclosed.
She explained that a professional and accredited tour guide enhances the experience of visitors by providing them with accurate information about a place and imparting knowledge about its history other than advising them on where to get the best pictures for posterity.
The association’s other officers for 2021-22 are Adrian Fernandez, vice president; Ruth Claire Waclin, secretary; Cindy Joy Tisbe, asst. secretary; Theresa Umipig, treasurer; and Arturo Amhambra as press relations officer.
Lomas-e said they are planning to have their oath-taking at City Hall sometime in July with the Mayor administering the oath.
Those needing more information on how to join the association can text or call Grail Lomas-e at cp no. 09127522853.-Gaby B. Keith