Sep 23

Maricar Donato: A Brief Biography

Maricar Donato, who has served in the travel and tourism industry for over 35 years, is the owner and operator of prestigious “tourism, training, and event management company” WashingTours and Events.

Her path to becoming a tourist guide, however, is a unique one. Her grandfather, who traveled from south Spain to the Philippines as a soldier, started a family there in Manila and raised his children and grandchildren with strong Spanish influences. As the youngest of nine siblings, she grew up speaking Spanish then quickly picked up Tagalog and English through friends and school. Later in life, Donato would pick up a multitude of further languages. Even now, she is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, and English, conversant in German and Mandarin, and planning to learn Portuguese and Russian if given the opportunity. Her enviable grasp of languages she attributes to a gift given at birth, activated later in life.

While living in Paris, France, for six and a half years as a World Bank employee, she met many Washingtonians who vouched for the splendor of our city. Intrigued, Donato moved here in 1984 and continued to work for the American Express World Bank Office until 1994, after which (in 1995) she opened WashingTours and Events. Through this she created The Professional Tour Guide Training Program (which has trained over 800 guides), and works as the only active US-based Accredited International Trainer with the World Federation of Tourist Guides Association. She also directs many themed tours, and guides groups in a variety of languages, a job which, she says, allows her to “Meet a vast majority of the human race when they are on travel.” According to Donato, it is a privilege to “communicate and connect with the language of choice of the guests.”