Delegates and pilgrims attending the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016 will have a handy guide to the international event in Cebu: a mobile phone app available for free download.
The IEC2016 Guide app is a comprehensive resource about the event that is available for free download to phones and tablets. The app contains information about the IEC, its history and the full schedule of events. It will also contain messages from Church officials as well as other conference-related resources and documents.
The IEC 2016 official app was introduced in a press conference at the Archbishop’s Residence in Cebu City Thursday.
Comprehensive Cebu guide
Apart from information about the event, the IEC2016 Guide also contains a comprehensive guide to Cebu to help delegates make the most of their stay in the province. The guide contains information on what to do, where to go and where to stay in Cebu. It also contains tips on where tourists can eat and the delicacies they should try.
The app’s listing of places to go contains “check location” link which uses global positioning system or GPS to show tourists where a tourism spot, historical structure, hospital or hotel is and suggest a route to get there.
The app also contains information on heritage churches in Cebu that the IEC delegates can visit. This section of the app will serve as tech support for the Visita Iglesia component of the congress.
IEC2016 Guide also contains a portable directory of companies and services providers accredited by the Department of Tourism: tour guides, tour operators, and transport services. It also contains a listing of important phone numbers to hospitals, police stations and other emergency units as well as to consulates and consular offices.
During the IEC, the app will contain daily updates about the congress.
The app is available for free download from the Google Play Store for Android devices. It will soon be made available for download from the Apple AppStore for iPhones and iPads and the Windows Phone Store for Windows Phone devices.
The app is made available for early download to help the delegates plan their visit to Cebu and to solicit suggestions from them on how to improve the app in time for the congress.
“The use of the tools of social communications has always been favorably regarded by the Church as effective means to communicate the message of Christ. The Archdiocese of Cebu welcomes this technological development in mobile communications and calls the IEC 2016 Guide App as the visiting pilgrim’s digital guardian angel,” said Msgr. Joseph Tan, Cebu Archdiocese media liaison officer.
“Through this app, participants will be provided with both a comprehensive resource to the event and a functional convenience to facilitate their visit to the host city. This app now raises the level of the IEC 2026 preparations to new heights that reflects the advancement of the country in communications technology,” Tan added.
Nationwide Digital Tourism program
The app is produced as part of the nationwide Digital Tourism program of the country’s telecommunications leader Smart Communications, Inc. and Cebu-based new media startup InnoPub Media. In Cebu, the program is implemented in partnership with the Cebu Provincial Government. The IEC component of the program is implemented in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Apart from the app, Smart and InnoPub will also be putting up interactive tourism markers in heritage churches that form part of the IEC’s Visita Iglesia route. When scanned or tapped with a compatible Internet-connected phone or tablet, the markers trigger the download of information about the church or shrine.
“We’re happy to see the Church embrace wireless technologies. The IEC app is a good example of how mobile can help in providing various communities with important and relevant information that can help them in many ways. At the same time, it’s also a way of promoting Cebu and the Philippines through digital tourism.” said Ramon R. Isberto, Smart public affairs group head.
“Using mobile technology is the best way to guide IEC 2016 delegates and visitors. Phones are no longer just devices for calling, they’ve become our main portable computer, our main device for consuming information. It makes sense to deliver important event information to devices that delegates are sure to bring with them when they go to Cebu for the IEC,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag.
Also on Thursday, Smart turned over mobile phones as part of its support for preparations for the IEC.
The PLDT Group is providing crucial technology assistance to support the IEC. It is providing connectivity support, leased lines, mobile phones and wired and wireless landlines.
The company is also providing cloud services and website hosting for the official IEC site.