Destined to be the tourism guy

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Saturday, March 7, 2015


NEWLY appointed Department of Tourism regional director Roberto P. Alabado III seems like he is destined to be in the tourism industry.

After he graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman with a bachelor's degree in Community Development in 1993, he worked as a freelance for non-government organizations (NGO).

By 1994, he returned to Davao City to take care of his mother and while in the city, he worked as a part time tour guide under the House of Travel.

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"Being a tour guide, it taught me a lot about tourism in Davao City. Kaya lahat ng mga sites dito I'm very familiar with," Alabado said.
In 1995, he went back to UP Diliman to work as research associate for the UP College of Social Work and Community Development, wherein he focused on community development.

During his stint there, he was also exposed to the tourism sector since many of the agency's clients are tourism-related. It also gave him an opportunity to travel.

Alabado said one of his unforgettable trips while at the UP College Social Work and Community Development was when he was sent to Japan.

"I was there for 10 days and it showed the value of tourism in their economy. Then at the same time they offered me insights on how they preserve their culture and even market their simple products," he said.

In 1998, he was qualified for a scholarship on a Master's Degree on Regional Development Planning at the University of Dortmund, now the Technical University of Dortmund, where he spent one year. He received his masters on Regional Development Planning from UP Diliman while he got a graduate diploma from University of Dortmund.

He said that while in Germany, he was exposed to the different cultures in Europe and also from his foreign classmates.

"My one year stint in Germany allowed me to visit other European countries, we went Switzerland, Italy, France, and Belgium," Alabado said.

There, he was able to realize the importance of history in the development of tourism in one country like the presence of museums in the cities and how European cities preserved their old structures.

After a year he came back to the Philippines and by 2000 he went back to Davao City and worked as a faculty at the UP Mindanao teaching for the Masters program on Urban and Regional Planning.

He stayed at UP Mindanao up until around 2007 or 2008 then he went into consultancy.

In 2010, he was aassigned to be the chief of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), where he served the city up until 2013.
By 2014, he went back to consultancy wherein many of the projects he was involved in were tourism related, one of which is the Tourism Framework of El Nido Palawan.

By January 2015, he was sworn in as the Regional Director of DOT 11 by DOT Sec. Ramon R. Jimenez Jr.

Alabado said the first few weeks as the regional director was hectic, from meeting the different undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to being oriented with what needs to done in the region.

When he got back to Davao City, he had to get to know the staff of the regional office and the tourism players in the city.

He said his work now as a regional director is far different from being the chief of CPDO.

Albado said his work now is much more focused since he is concentrated only in tourism as compared to being the chief of CPDO wherein he is involved in various urban issues.

"The job is much easier in the sense it is more focused but the scope is much wider, kaya medyo mahirap rin siya," he said.

Alabado said his responsibility now is the whole realm of Davao Region wherein he has to coordinate with all governors, mayors, national government agencies, and representatives. He also has to report to the national office.

At the same time, he has to attend to various regional and provincial events relating to tourism.

He said his job is focused on marketing and selling what the region has to offer and at the same time develop the products here.

To cope with the demands of his job, he makes sure he stays steady and gets enough sleep.

To destress at work, he listens to New Age, Classical or 80s music. He also enjoys fishing and bird watching.

At home and during his free days, he spends his time with his wife and when alone he likes to read books and magazines.

In the next five to ten years he still sees himself working in the tourism sector but he is not sure whether he will still be in the government or private sector.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 08, 2015.

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