Rising to the CHALLENGE
Pressure is high for La Union Governor Raphaelle
“Rafy” Ortega-David, but she is confidently stepping
up to the plate and is ready to serve the Elyu-canos.
BY HELEN HERNANE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA JR.
HMUA BY MARK DIXON
Before the closure of Boracay in 2018, the famous island would receive millions of tourists. But when former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the island-res ort’s closure and rehabilitation, beach lovers ventured to other popular islands and beaches in the countr y—El Nido, Coron, Si argao, and La Union.
La Union was somewhat of a hidden gem, albeit popular to surfing enthusiasts. In early 2018, however, the province decided to ramp up its promotional efforts to attract more tourists. Coincidentally, Duterte’s announcement of B oracay’s closure around April along with the dynamic advertising of the provincial tourism office led to an increase of 54.25 percent in tourist arrivals in the first semester of 2018.
Now, e ven with the reviva l of Boracay, La Union is still the go-to place for young professionals, barkadas, couples, and of course, surfers. Because of its proximity to Metro Manila and the op ening of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) Pozorrubio to Rosario s egment in 2020, hundreds of tourists flo ck to t he province daily, even more during weekends. It is common to hear people say, “Tara, Elyu tayo (Let’s go to L.U.)”
Newly-elected Gover nor Raphaelle Veronica “Rafy” Ortega-David shares that the provincial government is thinking of coining a term to call the citizens of La Union and one of the top choices is ‘LU-canos,’ pronounced ‘Elyu-canos.’ The term aims to recognize the province’s Ilocano origins while at the same time, signify the province’s modern and youthful governance by using t he colloquial term ‘Elyu’ (after L.U., the initials of La Union). It also encourages patriotism for the province and unity among the people.
La Union, it seems, is at t he forefront of many trends. Tourism-wise, going to the province for the weekend for surfing and drinks is considered hip. When it comes to governance, the province ......