Tourists eager to explore exciting destinations all over the Philippines this summer can get the information they need through local travel apps developed in partnership with PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications.

The Anini-y Church in Antique dates back to the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines.

As part of a digital tourism program, Smart partnered with local government units and InnoPub Media in developing travel apps and mobile guides. “These digital tools highlight the scenic destinations in various LGUs, giving tourists comprehensive and localized information about the attractions in the area,” said PLDT-Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto.

For instance, vacationers taking a trip to the Bicol Region are in for a treat. Through the #SoSorsogon travel guide app, they can find a wide array of activities, from swimming with butandings or whale sharks to watching fireflies during river cruises. They can also travel to the picturesque islands of Tikling and Calintaan from Matnog, or check out the Spanish-era houses in Juban.

Colorful boats sail in Donsol waters as the Philippine Hobie Challenge kicks off in Sorsogon.

Just recently, Sorsogon hosted the 19th Philippine Hobie Challenge, the Philippines’ premiere extreme regatta. The race began in Sorsogon and sailed through many pristine beaches all over the country.

Travelers going to the Visayas, for their part, may discover hidden gems through the Iloilo Guide. This app can help them plan where to go, stay, eat, get souvenir items and more. It also features important contact numbers, such as of accredited tour guides and local authorities, to help ensure their safety as they go about their trips.

Here they can find that Iloilo’s fifth district in the north is home to islands with pristine coastlines, limestone cliffs and clear blue skies. Sightseers can visit towns such as Ajuy, Barotac Viejo, Carles, Concepcion and San Rafael, which serve as jump-off points to their dream white-sand island destinations.

A visitor scans the Casa Real QR code, which gives mobile users more information on the historical and cultural significance of the structure.

Those who prefer a more laidback itinerary can learn more about the province’s historic edifices and Spanish period churches. The Miagao Church, for instance, is as much a fortress as a house of worship. It was built to withstand pirate incursions and serve as refuge for the townsfolk. They can also visit the San Joaquin Church, whose pediment features in bas relief the Rendicion de Tetuan or 1859 Spanish victory over Moroccan forces in North Africa.

Those who are up for new adventures can head on to the visual and visceral delight that is Antique, which is accessible from Iloilo or Aklan via land trip. After island hopping, windsurfing and kayaking, they can take soothing “kawa” (cauldron) baths in Tibiao. They can also satisfy their craving for sweet treats in Laua-an, which hosts big mills that process Muscovado sugar.

This photo shows the home page of the Antique Guide app, with the marine sanctuary Nogas Island on the background

All these information are now at one’s fingertips. The #SoSorsogon app, Iloilo Guide and Antique Guide are just some of the apps developed by their respective provincial governments and tourism offices in partnership with Smart and InnoPub. These apps can be downloaded for free on both Android and iOS devices.

The digital tourism program of Smart and InnoPub, with the support of LGUs, is a nationwide initiative that harnesses technology to deliver tourism, cultural and historical information to mobile users.

The program was launched in 2012 and has also been implemented in Baguio City, Cebu, Davao and Metro Manila, among other areas.

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