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July 29, 2018

Power Lunch with Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat

“Ginoo-good time mo lang ako!”

That’s what Berna Romulo Puyat, then-Undersecretary of Agriculture told President Rodrigo Duterte when he said that he told her he was appointing her Tourism Secretary.

Her first call was to her daughter, Maia, who immediately gave her thumbs up: “Mom, that’s your dream!”

True to form, the magna cum laude economist hit the ground running.

Taking Duterte’s only marching orders to heart – “Basta, no corruption, ha” – within two months of becoming DOT Secretary, she has tapped both the Commission on Audit (COA) to look at all existing DOT contracts and has issued a Department Order giving guidelines on how DOT projects will now be approved to ensure that the DOT budget is used wisely.

She is also looking at tourism promotions from all angles, capitalizing on heritage tourism, farm tourism, and culinary tourism while emphasizing the need for sustainable and responsible tourism.

In spite of the frenzy that comes with the job, she remains perfectly poised and fashionable, now being the best model/influencer for local artisanal fashion brands. At our Power Lunch, she wore a Filip+Inna and 21 Tish shoes, both local designers given the thumbs of the fashionable elite.

The job fits her like a glove and it is palpable that she is enjoying the work: one day in stilettos, seated between Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Lizzie Zobel, appreciating Hajji Alejandro’s live rendition of ‘Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika’ at a dinner tribute, the next day in flip flops, playing tug of war by the river with indigenous peoples in Ifugao.

And when she says “Ang ganda ng Pilipinas” with gusto, you know she means it.


Watch our Power Lunch at Mireio … and don’t forget to Like and Subscribe to eavesdrop on the next Power Lunch with Margaux Salcedo 🙂

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