HAPPIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. So says the tagline launched by the Tacloban city government of Mayor Cristina Romualdez(shown in the photo) on Thursday (April 5). Romualdez expects that the branding will help attract more tourists to Tacloban, Eastern Visayas regional center. (Photo Courtesy)

TACLOBAN CITY- The happiest people in the world.
So goes the new tagline for this city which experienced the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland in 2013.
City Mayor Cristina Romualdez led a song and dance-laden program formally launching the said branding Thursday (April 5) at the City Hall grounds.
Among those who attended the launching were the different heads of regional offices based in the city; city and barangay officials and employees; teachers and ordinary residents of the city.
The controversial Nicador Faeldon, who was recently appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense, also graced the launching which Mayor Romualdez hopes could help attract more tourists to Tacloban, the regional center.
Based on the record of the City Tourism Office, 537,215 tourists visited the city last year. Of this number, 28,700 of them were foreigners.
According to Romualdez, the tagline has something to do with the recovery not only of the city but its people after Yolanda pummeled Tacloban on November 8,2013, considered the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland.
“Well, its story line involves our Yolanda experience. That despite of that worst disaster, our spirits were not broken but we remain joyful, happy and very resilient,” the city mayor said.
“Everywhere you go, the people are still smiling, so nice and hospitable. That’s the image we have even abroad,” Romualdez added.
During the launching, a five-minute video showing scenes after Tacloban was pummeled by Yolanda were shown but with its people, to include children, still manage to smile despite of the massive tragedy.
Several of the city’s landmarks like the San Juanico Bridge, Balugo Falls, and the Santo Niño Shrine and Museum, as well as local delicacies and the various shopping malls and trading centers were also shown on the same video presentation.
But Romualdez said that while the focus of the branding is Tacloban City, she also supports the tourism campaign of other places in the region.
She said that visiting tourists after spending a day or two in Tacloban City could also visit other tourist spots of the region.
“We want to promote not only Tacloban but the region. You stay here and go around and meet our happy people. And from here, visit the entire region and its wonderful places,” Romualdez said.
She said that the plan to have Tacloban City its own tagline has been in the pipeline since last year.