Art by Athea Monique Z. Gala/ The Varsitarian

A PROFESSOR from the UST College of Architecture is proposing “digital tours” to revive the tourism sector in Manila, specifically its heritage sites.

Asst. Prof. Felicisimo A. Tejuco, Jr., a licensed architect and environmental planner, presented a community-based tourism plan of the historic Escolta Street during the 2021 Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society (IACSS) virtual Conference in Singapore last July 28.

The proposed digital tour would involve members of the local transport sector such as jeepney and tricycle drivers who, after proper training, would serve as Escolta’s tour guides.

“Ang narealize namin ay ang unang naapektuhan [ng pandemic] was the transport sector [and] they were those na na-displace. We wanted to tap them kasi sila ang kabisado ang Manila,” said Tejuco, citing as inspiration from his trips to Japan, Brazil and Ecuador where he encountered “unconventional” tour guides such as an elderly person, a student and a taxi driver. 

The Philippines should empower its transport sector because they, too, can share stories about their respective locations, he said. 

The project is a collaboration between Tejuco and his former students Kristine L. Manzano, Christian Paul R. Ramos, Buena Mai C. Tunac, Iain Rafel N. Tyapon, and Nathan Arman T. Sario.

He also presented a paper co-authored with Architecture dean Grace Ramos on whether the tourist experience in the UST Arch of the Centuries can be virtually simulated through the block-building video game Minecraft.

Last July 2020, a group of Thomasian students rebuilt the entire UST campus in the sandbox video game and served as the ‘virtual exit’ for Batch 2021.

READ: Batch 2021 to ‘exit’ Arch of the Centuries via Minecraft; online Baccalaureate Mass set

Given the restrictions brought by the pandemic, Tejuco aims to find alternative ways for people to experience these different heritage sites in Manila.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2002 and master’s degree in 2013 from UST. J.E.M.F. Crescini and F.N.S. Gelacio


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