The Makati City local government, together with the Department of Tourism (DOT), launched on Sunday, May 28, the first-ever Hop On, Hop Off (HOHO) bus tours aimed at further promoting Makati's heritage sites, museums, and lifestyle centers.
The launch was held at the Activity Area of Ayala Malls Glorietta and was attended by officials from the city government and the DOT.
The project, which takes inspiration from world-class hop-on hop-off buses in cities such as Abu Dhabi, Argentina, London, Madrid, New York, and Singapore, among others, will feature a dedicated website with all essential information, a reloadable EMV-capable card, and to complete the tourist experience, a mobile app for booking tours, making cashless payments, GPS networked-bus arrival monitoring and video guides, as well as information on hotels, food, and tourism merchants.
According to Makati City Mayor Abby Binay, the DOT had chosen the city as the pilot site for the bus tour which is a tourism recovery program that promotes Metro Manila through a modern bus system and a mobile app. It offers seamless and contactless travel options, allowing tourists to explore strategic hubs easily.
In a 2022 tally, the DOT had recorded 5.3 million overnight tourists in Metro Manila with Makati City ranking third out of 17 LGUs with the highest number of overnight arrivals at 969,927 visitors.
"Makati City boasts (of) a rich tapestry of history, art, and natural beauty that deserves to be celebrated. With the launch of the HOHO bus tour, we aim to bring this exceptional experience to the forefront, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in our city's unique heritage and experience the diverse offerings that Makati has to offer," Binay said.
DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco explained that the bus tour's pilot launch in Makati marks an exciting time for the tourism industry, as the DOT aims to bring the project to other key destinations around the country.
"Post-pandemic trends of travel have continued to evolve. People search for experiences that go beyond adventure, fun, and they search for meaning. And that is why the (Philippines) Hop-On Hop-Off tours gives opportunities for our tourists not only to be reminded of the spirit of modernity and innovation that Makati has always been known for, but also to get to know the soul of your city that lies in your hidden gems, in your museums, in the many stops that are covered by this tour that will allow our tourists–domestic and international alike– to get to know the people of Makati, to get to know your rich history, culture, and heritage,“ Frasco said.
"This is an effort that we wish to replicate in all the other areas in Metro Manila [and the Philippines] and this is just the beginning. Under the administration of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., he has prioritized tourism development and that means a whole-of-government approach towards the transformation of the tourism industry, focusing not only in the promotion of our country, which we are continuing to do vigorously around the world, but also more importantly, to give our country a fighting chance at standing shoulder to shoulder with our ASEAN neighbors, addressing the essential pillars of tourism–infrastructure, connectivity, digitalization, innovation, and all these other essential modes of development that will finally give the Philippines an opportunity to become the tourism powerhouse that it can be," she added.
The HOHO bus tour in Makati operates from Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and has eight stops: Glorietta 2, Washington SyCip Park, RCBC Plaza, Circuit Makati, Century City, Museo ng Makati, Rockwell Center, and Ayala Triangle.
To book tours, tourists only need to download the HOHO mobile application and sign up.
According to the mayor, the DOT has set the cost of a one-day pass at P990, providing travelers with unlimited access to HOHO bus stops throughout the day. Residents and City Hall employees with Makatizen Cards may also avail themselves of a 40 percent discount when they take the HOHO buses.
Binay urged residents and visitors to the city to take advantage of the opportunity to rediscover Makati's cultural legacy, immerse themselves in its vibrant atmosphere, and create lasting memories.
"Through the collaboration between the Department of Tourism and the City Government of Makati, we are opening doors to a new era of tourism. Together, we are creating opportunities for residents and visitors to discover the vibrant heritage and lifestyle that Makati has to offer," she noted.