BAGUIO CITY – People travelling to Baguio for the annual Panagbenga festivities now have a mobile app to turn to for quick answers to questions like where to stay, what to eat and how to get around during the much anticipated flower festival.
Developed by Cebu-based startup InnoPub Media in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the Baguio Guide app is a reliable and handy tool, especially for first timers in the city wanting to visit the different tourist destinations aside from witnessing the highlights of the festival, the grand street dancing parade on Saturday and the grand float parade on Sunday.
“With the Baguio Guide app, people can plan ahead their itinerary, accommodation and travel plans, and other activities they want to do in Baguio. It’s like a virtual tour guide that can help them maximize their stay in Baguio as they participate in the Flower Festival,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.
Apart from the section about the Panagbenga festival, the app also features helpful information about the city. Articles on must-try food and must-visit places in Baguio, as well as the Department of Tourism-accredited tour guides and tour operators are also listed in the guide.
One interesting feature of the app is the “tap to call” feature allowing users to call phone numbers in the app with just a click. It has a directory of important contact numbers of hospitals, emergency units, and police stations.
The app also provides location data. Some places featured in the guide are GPS-tagged with a “check location” link. With a single tap, the app will suggest routes and directions to the desired destinations via the GPS guide system of the users’ devices.
“The Baguio Guide is a useful resource to tourists because it is on a device that people take with them wherever they go: the phone,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag. InnoPub recently released a new version of the guide for Android users.
Smart will also make available the live streaming of Panagbenga activities through the Baguio Guide app, from Feb. 28 to March 1.
The Baguio Guide app may be downloaded for free at Google Play Store and Windows Store.
The development of tourism e-guides is part of Smart’s digital inclusion advocacy, which aims to include more Filipinos in the digital conversation by making information available and accessible through the use of mobile and web technologies.
Aside from Baguio Guide, Smart and InnoPub also developed tourism guide apps for Iloilo City, Sta. Barbara (a town in Iloilo), Cebu City and Cebu municipalities namely: Samboan, Boljoon, Carcar, and Argao. Smart and InnoPub also developed the Sinulog Guide last year. Its 2015 version released last month generated around 2,500 downloads, and positive feedback from users.
In addition to the apps, Smart and InnoPub also deploy interactive tourism markers that, when scanned or tapped with a phone, trigger the download of tourism and historical information about that certain place or structure. The interactive markers are currently installed in various heritage and tourist spots in Baguio, Cebu and Iloilo.
By Dexter A. See