Monday, November 10, 2014

Bacolod City Hosts First Homestays of the World Summit

Charming interior of Nature's Village Resort in Bacolod City.  Photo:
Filipino hospitality is renowned worldwide.  We cherish family customs and traditions that are uniquely Pinoy.  Family relationships are the building blocks in our community, making our culture endearing to the world.

By definition, homestay is a living arrangement with a host family or organization who offers extra private room or space for out of town guests with a reasonable price, as compared to to other accommodation providers.  To make the experience truly memorable, the host family must join at least one (1) meal with the guest.  A hosting family or group offer the guests a home away from home, and more.

But how do we extend this hospitality, beyond welcoming smiles in hotel receptions? How can we make foreign guests literally feel at home?  The homestay program is a very good idea, not only economically, (as this set up is a financial advantage on both parties), but moreover, these families help their guests discover our culture, true warmth of family life and our enthusiasm in showing guests around places of interests.

Banaue host families are among the first to welcome homestay guests in the country. Photo:
Homestays are not new in the accommodation market.  Many countries all over the world, especially in Europe are thriving in homestays.  I, for one have experienced living with a host family during my student days in France many years ago.  That was one period in my life that was unforgettable for I have learned among many other things, the French culture and their language. Today, more and more families open their homes not only to foreign students, but to short term local visitors as well.

Doing the same in the Philippines with a more organized system is a brilliant idea.  It's about time that local government units, homestay providers and host families get together to learn and earn from each other.  By doing this, we also promote tourism in our hometown, which can be developed to be included in the touristic map.  There are many categories in making your place an attraction; there's nature homestay, farm homestay, garden homestay, to name a few.

Honored to be with Dr. Mina Gabor.

Spear-headed by former Tourism Secretary, Dr. Mina Gabor, who is also the head of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), among many other important organizations she leads, the First  Homestays of the World Summit will take center stage at Nature's Village Resort in Bacolod City on December 3 to 5, 2014.  Participants who are interested to be counted, and be in the accredited homestay program, are encouraged to attend.  "Host families are accredited after undergoing trainings and assessments to ensure that they comply to ASEAN, DOT and HPI standards." Dr. Gabor said, during the press launch held on October 30, in Makati City.

The three-day conference consists of a Plenary Session with keynote speakers and specialists, country presentations, showcasing best practices in homestay experiences, and beyond.  The event will be participated by local and international delegates and speakers.  Course fee for three days, including lunch and snacks, plus a certificate is Php 4,500 for live-out, and Php 8,500 for those staying at Nature's Village Resort.

For more information, please e-mail:
Tel. +02 834-2994 / +02 832-0996
Look for Ms. Teresa Melgar, or Ms. Jhen Austria
Find them on Facebook here.


International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST)
Department of Tourism (DOT)
Province of Negros Occidental
Homestay Philippines, Inc (HPI)
Homestay Philippines Services Cooperative

In Partnership with:

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)
Bacolod City
Talisay City

Supported by:

La Consolacion College / HRM and Tourism Center
VMA Global College
Department of Trade and Industry ( DTI)
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
AAP Travel