Gian Santiago and his friends Shelly and Manami are Wicklow’s latest ambassadors after successfully filling their Wicklow Passports with all 17 stamps in November and December 2020.
The Wicklow Passport, which is loosely inspired by the Camino in Spain, is a new initiative by Visit Wicklow. The idea behind the passport is to encourage locals and visitors to get outside and discover what is around them, by collecting stamps in various different places all over the county.
The passport stamps can be found in tourist spots, bars, outdoors adventure companies, restaurants, hotels and lodges all around Wicklow. Once you have 15 or more stamps, you receive an Ambassador Certificate, which is exactly what Gian, Shelly and Manami did.
Gian, who moved to Ireland in 2006 from The Philippines said: “I haven’t really explored Ireland that much but after finishing our Wicklow Passport trip, it gave me more things to look forward to and visit when we’re finally able to travel again around the country.”
Manami is from Japan and has been in Ireland since 2019 on a working holiday visa. She said doing these day trips not only gave her the opportunity to see beautiful places but also to meet new people. “If I hadn’t known about the Wicklow Passport, I probably would have missed lots of sights,” Manami said.
Shelly, who has since returned to Taiwan along with her certificate, moved to Ireland to explore the rest of Europe.
Covid had coincided with Shelley’s travel plans and her plans were suddenly changed: “The main purpose I am in Ireland is that I want to travel to Europe, but because of covid, I could only travel deeply within Ireland, and it surprised me how beautiful the scenery was.”
The Wicklow Passport is a great way to encourage people to get outside and explore, meet new people, support local businesses and for Gian, Manami and Shelley, it made for a great souvenir.