Despite having more than 7,600 tropical islands, 300 volcanoes, 400 languages and thousands of colourful festivals, the Philippines is still yet to maximise all its of its many advantages and nail its presence on the ultra-competitive Asian tourism scene.
The Philippines is known worldwide for paradise-like islands of Boracay and Coron, but what is not known to many is that the country has a lot more to offer. More than white sand beaches and bountiful flora and fauna, Philippines has many hidden gems only locals know.
Explora.ph is one of the thousands of start-ups riding the waves of companies anchored on the internet. The internet revolutionizes how we communicate and move around the world, and CEO and founder JR Felipe saw the opportunity to pave the channels for hassle-free travel.
Explora.ph is a booking website that features the sights in each province and the wide array of accommodations available. The site offers services similar to a combination of Lonely Planet, Airbnb, and Booking.com.
The start-up’s co-founder and vice president Perry Sumakote admitted that there is a huge room for improvement and the company aims to introduce the less travelled spots in the country and for the public to have easy access to all services related to tourism such as transportation, restaurants, and package tours. In other words, Explora.ph intends to be a “one-stop shop” for travel planning.
Tourism through “Bayanihan”
Felipe and Sumakote founded the company under the concept of “bayanihan,” a colloquial term for coming together or helping each other. The two believe that the tourism industry will flourish if Filipinos will come together as one.
Some islands thrive because of tourism for it opens a myriad of job opportunities for the locals. Explora.ph works with the local and regional tourism offices in the country as well as with the locals to find the best tourist spots as well as budget accommodations.
Unlike some of their competitors that rely heavily on merchants signing up on their platform, Explora.ph is considerate to merchants that have no access or knowledge about the digital platform by reaching out to them and helping them register their services on the platform. After all, some islands in the Philippines remain off-grid. Thus, Explora.ph boasts a selection of accommodations with a wide spectrum, from luxurious hotels and resorts to budget rooms and homestays.
Explora.ph also offers a dedicated website for the province, which they maintain and link to the mother website. Through this, the search in 81 provinces is made easier.
The company aims to centralize the tourism in the Philippines to make it easier for Filipinos and foreigners to explore the country. Believing that what they are trying to accomplish will trigger a chain reaction like generating more jobs, inspiring social tourism, and igniting care for the environment.
In the future, Explora.ph would like to extend its services outside the country if the opportunity arises. However, they are starting on their own backyard before their global pursuit.
“Always focus on your goal. Work on goodwill. Always align your goals with stakeholders, partnerships, government (LGU, DOT). Expand your network. Collaborate. Ensure your company is values-centric,” said JR Felipe.