Love it, hate it: Netizens weigh in on new DOT slogan 2
The Department of Tourism announces its new slogan to promote Philippine tourism during the 50th anniversary of the department held at the Manila Hotel on June 27, 2023. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News

‘Love the Philippines’: Does the new Tourism slogan need a comma?

The internet has expressed its views on the slogan that will replace ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’—and here are the best reactions
ANCX | Jun 30 2023

On the celebration of its 50th founding anniversary, the Department of Tourism (DOT) unveiled its new tourism campaign, “Love the Philippines.” The slogan replaces the previous one, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” which the country has been using since 2012.

In her speech during the launch, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco shared the idea behind the new branding: there is so much more to the country than “the fun and adventure” highlighted in the previous campaign.

“The Philippines is a powerhouse of mega biodiversity, being only one of 18 mega biodiverse countries in the world, a deep well of culture and history, a profound burst and taste of flavor and gastronomy, a tapestry of indigenous peoples and creative communities by whose work of their hands have safeguarded the dignity and integrity of the Filipino identity,” she said. Additionally, according to Frasco, “these complexities and nuances of the Philippines have yet to be fully articulated to the world.” Thus, the new slogan, “Love the Philippines.”

President Bongbong Marcos, who was the guest of honor at the DOT event, said that the new slogan will serve as the Philippine tourism industry's guidepost moving forward. He urged Filipinos to be the country’s tourism ambassadors. “I enjoin you all to be our country's promoters, advocates, and if I may borrow a coined term in this age of social media, we are our country’s top influencers,” he said.

Love the Philippines
“How one comma would have made a world of difference. Instead of demanding love, it would be a love letter from an entire nation,” said Paolo Herras, a former creative director for an advertising firm. 

As with previous DOT campaigns, the new slogan was met with mixed reactions. There are netizens who love the slogan, with one saying “Love the Philippines” hits differently in the context of the pandemic. “It's like a warm hug, showing empathy, understanding and sincerity. It reminds me that amidst the chaos, our beautiful country gives us countless reasons to cherish and appreciate its resilience.”

Paolo Herras, a former creative director for an advertising firm, on the other hand, believes the slogan would have been more impactful if only the DOT had added a comma. “LOVE, THE PHILIPPINES,” he wrote on Facebook. “How one comma would have made a world of difference. Instead of demanding love, it would be a love letter from an entire nation.”

Reacting to this, one of Herras’ FB friends said the comma may or may not work depending on the target market. “If it’s speaking to foreigners, then I agree that a comma works,” the commenter remarked. “If it’s speaking to local tourists, then it’s a plea for us to love our own.“

But it does need a comma, if you ask TV journalist Howie Severino. “A simple comma would change the tone from a blunt command to a gentle declaration of affection from us to the rest of the world,” Severino wrote on Facebook. “It’s a slight but meaningful revision that would cause no one to lose face imho.” 

“Wag lang babasahin ng Hapon,” someone in Facebook joked, making fun of the age old stereotype that the Japanese when speaking English always mispronounce their letter Ls as Rs.

For those finding it a challenge to let go of the previous slogan, a tweet suggested to simply merge the old with the new. Make it: “There's More Love in the Philippines.” Well, we can’t argue with that.

President Bongbong Marcos and Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco
The DOT honored the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. for his significant contributions to Philippine tourism, as the agency celebrated its 50th anniversary. The posthumous plaque was received by his namesake son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Photo by Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News

Meanwhile, there’s obvious sarcasm in this tweet: “Love the Philippines - because apparently, a catchy slogan is all we need to fix all the issues plaguing our tourism industry.”

In another Facebook post, a netizen opined that while the new slogan “Love the Philippines” is “imperative and innocuous sounding,” it “leans towards dogmatic.” Loving a country, she believes, is a lot like romantic love. “In plainer terms, para lang yan jowa..di mo pwedeng ipilit or utusan na mahalin ka. Ask mo muna bakit ka karapat-dapat mahalin.”

A tweet agrees: “Ang love hindi iniimpose, iniearn yan.”

The walang-kamatayan song “Love Hurts” by the band Nazareth rings true in this tweet: “Ang hirap iapply sa totoong buhay. Ang sakit sakit na,” still echoing the sentiment that the Philippines (and its people?) has become more and more challenging to love. 

Oh well, that’s the thing about proposing something new in this country: people will love it, others will hate it, the rest will make a meme out of it. Which only proves that age-old saying: “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”