Bohol has new tourism endorsers in no less than the prettiest of New Zealand led by reigning Miss Universe New Zealand (MUNZ) 2014 Rachel Millns.
Millns and the 20 finalists of MUNZ 2015 are positive and willing in their unanimous response to Gov. Edgar Chattoâ€™s appeal- to promote Bohol in their country.
Led by MUNZ Executive Director Nigel Godfrey, the stunners from the island-country in southwestern Pacific Ocean paid a Â courtesy call on Chatto at the Governorâ€™s Mansion yesterday morning.
Bohol wowed them that Millns likened the island-province to their own country, which consists of two main islands, the North Island and South Island— â€œso green, so clean, so beautiful.â€
New Zealandâ€™s capital, Wellington , is on the North Island where the dramatic Mt. Victoria —and South Island â€™s Fiordland and Southern Lakes—stood in for the mythical â€œMiddle Earthâ€ in Peter Jacksonâ€™s â€œLord of Ringsâ€ films.
They said that like them New Zealanders, the Boholanos are â€œso smiling, so friendly, so hospitableâ€ people.
Also Â known as the â€œKiwisâ€ after their famous flightless bird, Kiwi, that has become a national symbol, the New Zealanders have been known to be among the worldâ€™s friendliest people.
Chatto asked them to be â€œBohol ambassadorsâ€ and invite and bring in here their friends from New Zealand and other countries.
The reigning Miss New Zealand-Universe and the 2015 edition finalists toured Bohol for four days until Friday.
Organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), it was part of their Philippine exposure which included two only other select destinations, Manila and Cebu , since September 2.
They toured Â some of Bohol â€™s premium attractions such as Panglao island, Chocolate Hills in Carmen and Loboc river floating restaurants.
In the groupâ€™s courtesy call during Chattoâ€™s weekly media forum â€œKita ug Ang Gobernador,â€ MUNZ finalists Ella Wilson, Sharne Boot, Aalimah Rahman and Gabrielle Manaloto, among others, shared their â€œamazingâ€ experiences.
Her roots traced to Bulacan, Manaloto is the only Filipina vying for the Miss New Zealand-Universe title.
It was Manalotoâ€™s first time to Bohol , which she described as a little world of its own where â€œyou can be whatever you want.â€
â€œAstoundedâ€ by greenery species she could never see in her country, Wilson exclaimed, â€œI love coming back (to Bohol ).â€
Upon learning that the live streaming of the governorâ€™s regular Friday media forum was heard worldwide, including New Zealand where the Boholanos there were right listening, the MUNZ candidates greeted their country.
They were set to fly back to New Zealand yesterday for the October national crowning of the winner who will represent her country and compete against the rest in the world for the 2015 Miss Universe title..
CLOSE TO BOHOL
Chatto told them that their country is one foreign land close to the heart of Bohol .
The governor recounted to them the three-day Bohol visit of then New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark in May 2006.
Chatto then served as Bohol First District congressman and chairman of the Committee on Tourism of the Philippine House of Representatives.
ClarkÂ led her nationâ€™s delegation to a bilateral talk with the Philippine counterpart headed by then Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Bohol Beach Club in Panglao.
The MUNZ beauties stayed in Panglao, too, particularly at the Bluwater Panglao Beach Resort as their official residence in Bohol .
Chatto fondly recalled escorting the former prime minister to Pamilacan island, where a whale and dolphin watching project had been assisted by the New Zealand government thru the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).
New Zealandâ€™s famous destinations include the Kaikoura, which is world-famous for whale watching, and Akaora where the Hectorâ€™s dolphins, the worldâ€™s smallest and rarest, are found.
Chatto gave the MUNZ delegation a ceremonial key to Bohol and each member a stuffed toy resembling tarsier, the oldest smallest living primate on the planet and a world-acclaimed icon of Bohol â€™s eco-tourism. (Ven rebo Arigo)Â Â Â