On Pilipinas Kay Ganda! – The tarsier is not a marsupial

Tarsier Tarsius syrichta
When I heard of the news that the Department of Tourism has allocated Php100M to overhauling their website I couldn’t help but gawk with disbelief. Php100 million for a website?!

The said website which would be used for the online marketing of the new branding for Philippine tourism: ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda!‘, had just been recently launched: www.beautifulpilipinas.com

According to the DOT, included in the Php100 M cost of over-hauling their website included other promotional materials and support activities like ‘360-degree photography, digital marketing, and linkages to partner agencies, up-to-date information on events, hotels, airlines, resorts and the likes.’

Well it better be. Because there’s no way in hell you can justify spending Php100M just on a website. It’s just absurd. So stupid. So ‘Imeldific’!

The website is now up and running, though half-finished and littered with dead links and empty pages.

Correct facts = Better impressions

If this is the website the DOT has allocated 100 freakin’ million pesos for, then the Filipino tax payer deserves a refund. They could have at the very least spent part of that fund to hire scientists to double-check scientific facts in the website’s copy.

For there is a bit of false information about the tarsier. Which they used as a mascot for the new campaign. The copy which explains what ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda!’ is had the following statement about the Tarsier:

A cute tarsier, a marsupial endemic to the country, highlights our unique and playful character.

Whoever wrote that copy seriously needs to double-check that information. The tarsier is not a marsupial, it is a primate. The late Ernie Baron who taught us that the Tarsier is one of, if not, the smallest primates in the world ((Philippine Tarsier on WikiPedia)) would turn in his grave.

To illustrate the point, an expanded classification of the tarsier, (Tarsius syrichta or Carlito syrichta):

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Tarsiidae
Genus: Tarsius
Species: T. syrichta

Marsupials ((Marsupial Mammals. UCMP)) on the other hand are the group of mammals with pouches where their young, which are born very early, are nursed until they are more mature to survive on their own. Most commonly-known specimens are kangaroos and koalas.

If this website would be the portal for tourists to visit online and see what the Philippines has to offer, then it’s important that we set the impression that we know the facts about what we offer, especially our wildlife.

Seriously, the tarsier to represent us Filipinos?

Another point I’d like raise, is that the usage of the Tarsier as a symbol of our ‘unique and playful character’ doesn’t quite work for me.

Sure the tarsier is a cute animal, but it could hardly represent us Filipinos as a playful character because it is very shy, timid and is active only at night! No wonder some bloggers have expressed concern that foreigners may misconstrue the domain name: beautifulpilipinas.com as a site for Filipina entertainers.

Promoting something not only involves flashy websites, fancy slogans, and well-written copy. However, such content must be double-checked for factual errors.

When the web portal is completed, I do hope the Php 100 M spent on it would be worth it. Next time around though, the DOT better find ways to keep costs down, as the government has to attend to more important things than tourism; like education, health and other social services.

Going back to the new tourism slogan, it would take a while to get used to ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda!’ as compared to ‘Wow! Philippines.’

Image by yeowatzup

9 Replies to “On Pilipinas Kay Ganda! – The tarsier is not a marsupial”

  1. I agree! The PhP100 M budget for this new DOT website is unacceptable. I don't think what would give them such an idea to spend so much for a website. I mean, yes you could spend so much to promote our country in a website but allocating a hundred million is just too much. Tsk!
    My recent post Hiraya says Hello Batanes!

  2. I agree that foreigner might have a misconception that it is a website for filipino entertainers. beautifulpilipinas is like beautiful Filipinas.

  3. Oh my, another slip, another EO-like…a bunch of ignoramus taking a tarsier for a koala. And yes, what are we selling to the world? Filipinas Kay Ganda…does not point to a good picture of our country….like selling our women…PHP100-M for that? Hindi tuwid ang daan!

    1. Thanks for sharing your insights. I have never really bothered with the new slogan.

      What I really wanted to point out was the wrong scientific fact in the website’s copy. But since P-Noy has rejected the new slogan after the website wsa taken down a few days ago, then I guess all this is academic for now.

      And speaking of becoming academic, there’s one thing I learned from this, Sec Alberto Lim must either resign or be fired.

  4. why don’t the dot just use “ang tuwid na daan in asia” as their slogan, or something to that effect, be creative and original, most of all be frugal,

Leave a Reply