Philippine Gems

Rediscovering our country's natural assets


Believing that the Philippine has a lot more to offer, our firm announced recently the ten up and coming tourist destinations. The Philippine Gems, is part of the firm’s 91st anniversary celebration and corporate social responsibility project.

The Philippine Gems

An overview

Philippine Gems

Believing that the Philippine has a lot more to offer, Isla Lipana and Co., the Philippine member firm of the PwC global network, announced recently the ten up and coming tourist destinations. The project, dubbed as the Philippine Gems, is part of the firm’s 91st anniversary celebration and corporate social responsibility project.

“The search for the ten Philippine Gems envisions the upholding of both domestic and foreign tourism that would hopefully encourage business investments,” said Isla Lipana & Co. Chairman and Senior Partner, Atty. Alexander Cabrera. “The Philippine Gems steers awareness and appreciation for the country’s pristine and natural sites, even the underdeveloped ones. In our modest way, we aim for these places to gain local and international attention, and in due course, greater economic activity.”

The ten Philippine Gems are Apo Island, Batanes, Biri Rock Formation, Calaguas Islands, Caramoan, Danjugan, Lake Sebu, Mt. Kanlaon, Panglao Island and Tubbataha.

These destinations were chosen from an initial list of 25 by the public through online voting, which was open from June 26 to September 25.

The project was made possible with the help of the Philippine Tourism and Promotion Board of the Department of Tourism and the University of the Philippines - Asia Institute of Tourism, which were part of the screening committee together with representatives from the Management Association of the Philippines and FleishmanHillard Manila, travel blogger James Betia and media personalities Love Añover and Jing Lejano and ace director, Jose Javier Reyes.

The firm started with a list of 175 destinations gathered from their employees and online travel bloggers and trimmed this down to 50. The screening committee agreed on a shortlist of 25 destinations which were opened to public online voting to determine the ten Philippine Gems.


How it started

Philippine Gems

Philippine Gems aims to showcase the country’s “good side” to the world, especially the many pristine natural sceneries of our picturesque country. Increasing the awareness and appreciation for these sites will foster both local and international interest and attention that may eventually increase economic activity.

Philippine Gems is a part of Isla Lipana’s corporate social responsibility. In 2010, the company also embarked on a project that gathered the thoughts, comments and ideas of the country’s top executives on the path of Philippine economy called “Philippine Resiliency—A Gem Uncovered”.

Three years after the publication of Philippine Resiliency, Isla Lipana & Co continues its journey, this time harnessing the country’s natural wonders with Philippine Gems. Considered as the company’s corporate social responsibility project, Philippine Gems hopes to promote and further boost the country’s growing economy.

Panel of judges

Philippine Gems

Carlos “Caloy” M. Libosada, Jr.

Caloy Libosada is an Assistant Professor at the Asian Institute of Tourism in the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He is also the director of UP-Diliman’s Division of Tourism Research and Extension Services. He is one of the founders of My Travel Asia, an online and mobile travel agency which has launched several iPhone applications on travel.

Nedalin L. Miranda

Nedalin Miranda is a Senior Convention Services Officer at the Department of Tourism, where she belongs to the Tourism Promotions Board. She is a part of the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (M.I.C.E.) Unit and the Business Development Unit.

Christel Arguelles

Christel Arguelles is a Digital Strategist at the Tourism Promotions Board of the Department of Tourism.

Cosette Romero

Cosette Romero is the Senior Vice President, Partner and General Manager at FleishmanHillard Manila. She is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines and the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.

James Betia

James Betia is the man behind In 2012, he embarked on the ISANGDAAN journey, in which he explored the Philippines for a hundred days on a shoestring budget.

Junie del Mundo

Junie del Mundo is the Chairman of the ASEAN Integration Committee Management Association of the Philippines.

Jing Lejano

Jing Lejano is the Editor-at-Large of Turista Magazine, which is published by the Hinge Inquirer Publications. Turista Magazine gives its readers the hottest and most beautiful Philippine wonders. It is available free of charge at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and at Duty Free Philippines.

Cherrylin M. Javier

Cherrylin Javier, an Assurance Partner at Isla Lipana & Co., actively travels around the country.

Love Añover

Love Añover is a television personality at GMA Network, Inc. She rose to fame as the witty and bubbly “Reyna ng Kalsada” in Unang Hirit. She is one of the network’s most recognizable faces.

Jose Javier Reyes

A writer and director, Joey Reyes has won awards at the Gawad Urian, Metro Manila Film Festival and Filipino Star Awards for Movies for his films. He has been travelling around the Philippines for some time.

A shortlist

Philippine Gems

Panel head Caloy Libosada came up with 50 remarkable destinations in the Philippines in partnership with Isla Lipana & Co. These were further shortlisted to 25 by the panel of judges. In order to be shortlisted, a site has to be breathtaking, be in good condition, be peaceful and secure, and be accessible.

Those sites that receive fewer visitors compared to mainstream sites were also prioritized. Awards or recognitions received are an advantage, but not a must. The community in which the site is located also has to be willing to be recognized.


Philippine Gems

Thank you to the following for providing ideas, thoughts, time, resources and inspiration in bringing to reality this corporate social responsibility for our country, the Philippine Gems.

  • Department of Tourism – Philippine Tourism Promotion Board
  • Department of Tourism – Regional Directors
  • Local Government Units / Mayors / Governors of the sites featured
  • Asian Institute of Tourism – University of the Philippines
  • Philippine Gems selection panel: 
    • Professor Carlos “Caloy” Libosado
    • Ms. Nedalin Miranda
    • Ms. Christel Arguelles
    • Ms. Jing Lejano 
    • Ms. Love Anover
    • Ms. Cherrylin Javier
    • Ms. Cosette Romero
    • Mr. Junee Del Mundo
    • Director Jose Javier Reyes
    • Mr.James Betia
  • TV and/or News programs and their hosts: ANC, Net 25, Solar Daybreak, Travel Time, Ms. Susan Calo Medina
  • Radio shows and programs and their hosts: DZMM, DZIQ, DWIZ, DZAR, DZUP
  • Turista Magazine
  • Travel Bloggers - Alex Dizon, Enzo Luna, Raffy Pedrajita, Enrico Dee, Melo Esguerra, CA De Ramos, Mervz Marasigan
  • FleishmanHillard Manila
  • Provincial radio stations and their hosts
  • Provincial newspapers/publications and their writers
  • Internet news, other bloggers, and individuals who provided comments and other information
  • FUNtastic Philippines
  • Schools and universities who promoted and participated in the survey
  • The “netizens”
  • Hotels and establishments that promoted the Philippine Gems
  • The community in the featured sites
  • Individuals and organizations who lent / contributed photos of the sites
  • Everyone who visited the Philippine Gems website and participated in the survey

Most of all, to our Lord for giving us our country and our Philippine Gems.

Contact us

Alexander B. Cabrera

Alexander B. Cabrera

Chairman Emeritus, PwC Philippines

Tel: +63 (2) 8845 2728

Allan M. Cao

Allan M. Cao

Assurance and Markets Executive Director, PwC Philippines

Tel: +63 (2) 8845 2728