MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) will soon be integrated into the Cebu heritage circuits as an added attraction to tourists, the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) announced.
Integration will start with the Sugbo Central Heritage Trail, one of the three documented FMA routes that was completed during a four-day substantive technical assessment assembly participated by industry stakeholders, the DOT-7 said in a statement.
Later on, assessment of the FMA’s Habagatan and Amihanan trails will also be pursued, DOT-7 added.
The assembly was organized by DOT-7 in collaboration with the FMA7 community, Cebu’s travel trade and accommodations sector, Cebu Provincial Tourism Office, the tourism offices of the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-lapu and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“It included product development workshops, a stakeholders’ forum and the pilot testing of Sugbo Sentral [Heritage Trail] which runs through the three cities,” DOT-7 said.
Gelena Asis- Dimpas, DOT-7’s Chief Tourism Operations Officer, said “the diversity of the different FMA systems, the art and skill involved in their execution are an interesting cultural offering to domestic and international visitors.”
“Our FMA practitioners are so engaged in the art and sport of FMA. They have developed truly fascinating routines and moves aside from arsenals of weapons and tools of various forms,” Dimpas added.
Dimpas also said FMA presents a wide range of experience formats. It may be offered as a stand-alone cultural immersion for visiting families and enthusiasts or creatives team-building program for corporate entities.
FMA has also proven its potential to draw crowds of Philippine and international learners and experts in the craft for training camps and tournaments, a boon to the tourism industry.
The 16th World Championships of the World Eskrima, Kali, Arnis Federation that was held in July brought 400 delegates from 10 countries to Mandaue City for a week of competitions.
The test run included a combination of the Cebu-Mactan Twin City and Historical and Cultural Tour and a visit to an FMA Learning Center where participants were made to experience mock tournament while they were in full battle gear.
“An added highlight was interaction at a knifesmith shop specializing in custom handmade weapons for FMA training and self- defense. Local craftsmen from towns such as Liloan and Talisay are responsible for fashioning the blades using knowledge passed down by their forebears,” part of the DOT-7 statement read.
Participants of the tour also made stops at the Museo Sugbo, Fort San Pedro and Plaza Independencia before it culminated at the Mactan Liberty Shrine.
At each of the stops, an FMA grandmaster showcased a distinctive system.
“Local government units intend to enhance sites identified for FMA significance, baluartes and watchtowers, among them. Raffy Rafols of the Lapulapu City Tourism, Cultural and Historical Affairs Office presented the city’s best practices in recognizing the FMA clubs and including them in priority programs,” DOT-7 said.