Seniors’ inclusion as tourist aides a sign of compassionate leadership, says program beneficiary

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For 63-year-old Henry G. Yaplito, serving Ilocos Norte as a tourism ambassador, specifically as a guide at the Taoid Museum of the Ilocano Cordilleras, is an interesting learning experience.

Yaplito is a retired medical overseas Filipino worker (OFW). Originally from Iloilo City, he met his wife in Saudi Arabia where they had both worked at a hospital.

“We met in the hospital, in the emergency room itself,” he shared.

Since 2004 they have resided in Alejo Malasig, Vintar, his wife’s hometown.
“We have no children. I stay with my wife and my father-in-law who is around 90 years old, and we take care of him.”

Yaplito heard about the opportunity from his wife, who had seen the announcement on a Facebook page. He shared his excitement and how he considered it a privilege for senior citizens to be welcome for a summer job.

Despite not being an Ilocano, he has taken his brief stint as a museum guide as a chance for him “to learn more about the culture and traditions of Ilocanos, and to impart that knowledge to other people, even to locals.”

He however admitted that initially he had been nervous, but he overcame this by conducting his own research on museum artifacts and on the Ilocano Cordilleran tribes such as the Yapayao, Isneg, and Tingguian.

He also expressed appreciation for his wife who has answered his questions herself regarding Ilocano culture.

“I really highly appreciate it,” said Yaplito of the inclusion of senior citizens in the summer program, adding that he admires Governor Imee R. Marcos as a “great, compassionate leader to her people.”

“Ma’am Imee,” he said, “thank you sa mga opportunity na binigay mo sa aming mga senior citizen. May God bless you always.”

Handled by the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO), the Summer Tourism Program hired and deployed a total of 17 senior citizens and retirees throughout nine different museums and churches in Ilocos Norte.━Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO

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