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DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat On Promoting Sustainable And Responsible Tourism

She worked with the Department of Agriculture for 12 years, visiting hundreds of farms all over the country. “They asked me if my dream was to be DA Secretary. I said no, it is to work with the Department of Tourism.”


Charina Sarte jumpsuit


Dreams can come true, and now Berna Romulo-Puyat is the DOT Secretary, promoting the Philippines’ amazing attractions to local and foreign travelers—with an added dimension: Sustainable and responsible tourism. Her appointment as the DOT Secretary marked a challenging feat ahead of her, with the closing of Boracay as one of her first major tasks, but she faced it head on. “I was worried about it until I looked at it another way,” she shares. “For the first time, everybody knows what sustainable tourism is all about, where there is a need to take care of the environment and it is not only about commercialization. People realized that if you don’t take care of the environment, you won’t have anything to promote in the future.”?



Despite the criticism on the seemingly abrupt decision, her positive and upbeat attitude rallied detractors to reconsider. ?The Boracay closure did not have that big an impact as everybody feared. People started discovering other destinations, with the tourism and hospitality sector becoming one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP and employment.

?It’s so easy to promote the Philippines, ?says Sec. Berna. Her enthusiasm as she talks about the country’s islands and its many fun destinations, fantastic food, and awesome people, is nothing short of infectious.


Photography by Cyrus Panganiban  for Metro magazine

Styling by John Karunungan and Hillary Lee of Styledit group

Make up by Mae Francisco

Hair by George Aliben for Aveda

Shot on Location at Makati Garden Club


This article originally appeared in Metro Magazine, Women of Now 2018 issue with Heart Evangelista-Escudero on the cover.