DOT Chief: Intramuros Tourist Center to elevate tourism experience in the Walled City

MEDIA RELEASE
10 June 2024

CONTACT:CZARINA ZARA-LOYOLA
Director
Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy
czloyola@tourism.gov.ph

Manila, Philippines – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expresses her full support as First Lady (FL) Louise Araneta-Marcos on Sunday (June 09), unveils her latest cultural tourism initiative inside Manila’s Old Walled City — the Intramuros Tourist Center.

“Today, marks a momentous occasion because we’re here to inaugurate our Intramuros Tourist Center, and what a beautiful center it is! The Intramuros Tourist Center symbolizes our gateway to the past. It’s a celebration of rich history and a testament to our collective identity,” the First Lady said in her speech.

Intramuros, with its storied walls and timeless streets, has always been a symbol of our resilience as a people. This center would add a new chapter to our legacy. It will house invaluable artifacts, tell the stories of our ancestors, and it also gives us a good reason to stroll through these historical photos without having to pretend we are lost tourists,” she added.

The Tourism Chief recognized the generous support that the Intramuros Tourist Center has received from the Office of the President through the First Lady’s initiative, which she lauds as important in the pursuit of establishing a world-class Philippine tourism experience.

“The Intramuros Tourist Center represents our commitment to preserving and sharing the unique cultural heritage of Manila. Thanks in most part to our President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., and First Lady Louise Araneta Marcos, this project not only honors the past but also provides a dynamic space for our visitors to engage with the history and stories of Intramuros,” said Secretary Frasco. 

Intramuros Tourist Center

The Intramuros Tourist Center is housed in the former site of San Ignacio Church, one of the original seven churches of Intramuros, and once renowned as among one of the most beautiful churches in Manila because of its Neoclassical architecture. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945.

Through an adaptive reuse project led by the First Lady, the ruins of San Ignacio Church have been transformed into the Intramuros Tourist Center funded by the Office of the President in coordination with the DOT and other government agencies, transforming the historic San Ignacio Church into a dedicated tourist hub in Intramuros. This significant initiative marks a major milestone in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Manila’s iconic Walled City.

The Intramuros Tourist Center will provide a window into the significant events that transpired in the history of Intramuros, starting from the precolonial era to the Spanish colonial era when Intramuros was the seat of government, to the destruction brought by World War II, and onward to the current and future development of this Walled City.

Adjacent to the Center is the Museo de Intramuros which houses the ecclesiastical collection of the Intramuros Administration, many of which were excavated from the ruins of San Ignacio Church.

“True to our mandate in DOT and as envisioned by our President, the Intramuros Tourist Center is dedicated to enriching the Philippine visitor experience,” Secretary Frasco added, citing the tourist hub’s primary aim to celebrate the vibrant heritage of Manila’s Walled City through a range of services and programs.

In addition to its historical narrative, the museum features a remarkable collection of archaeological finds, unearthed from various excavations within Intramuros. These artifacts offer tangible connections to the past, giving visitors a deeper understanding of the Walled City’s archaeological significance. The museum’s exhibits are further enriched by items from the extensive collection of the Intramuros Administration.

First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos delivered her speech during the launch of the Intramuros Tourist Center on Sunday (June 9) at Intramuros.

The next HOHO stop

The centerpiece of the Intramuros Tourist Center is an immersive museum, designed to take visitors on a cultural journey through Philippine history. Beginning with the pre-colonial era, the museum exhibits significant cultural events during the early history of Manila, showcasing the indigenous cultures and societies that flourished in the region.

Frasco confirmed that once open to the public, the Intramuros Tourist Center will soon form part of the Hop-On-Hop-Off Manila- Cultural Hub, offering an exceptional experience for visitors and allowing them to delve deeply into the rich and diverse history of the World Travel Awards Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2022.

New tourism hub: a showcase of FBSE-trained frontliners

Beyond its role as a museum, the Intramuros Tourist Center serves as a dynamic information center that will be manned by DOT-trained tour guides, and tourism front liners trained under the signature Filipino Brand of Service Excellence training module.

Tourists can access essential resources, including guided tour information, details about ongoing events and activities within Intramuros, and services provided by the Intramuros Administration (IA), Tourists can access essential resources, including guided tour information, details about ongoing events and activities within Intramuros, and services provided by the Intramuros Administration (IA), according to its Administrator Atty. Joan Padilla.

Free to Visitors

The Intramuros Tourist Center will open its doors to the public for free starting Wednesday, 12 June 2024, in time for the commemoration of the 126th Independence Day. It will operate daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Philippines to host the 1st ever UN Tourism Gastronomy Forum

MEDIA RELEASE
5 June 2024

CONTACT:
CZARINA ZARA-LOYOLA
Director
Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy
czloyola@tourism.gov.ph

PHILIPPINES – With the rising popularity of travel shows and travel vlogging, not to mention the regular sharing of videos and photos on social media, it only takes an internet connection for anyone to see various sights and tourist attractions all over the world. And while one can virtually gain familiarity with various tastes and dishes from all over the world, nothing beats savoring the actual thing bite by bite.

As travel has become more accessible, gastronomy tourism has become a major driver for travel among tourists, with the World Food Travel Association reporting that around 80% of travelers research food and drink while visiting a destination and classifies over half (53%) of all travelers as “culinary travelers.” Further, according to a 2023 report by Booking.com, 34% of travelers prioritize restaurants and dining experiences, viewing them as gateways to understanding local traditions and lifestyles.

Recognizing travelers’ growing interest in food and the opportunities that gastronomy holds in sustainable socio-economic development, cultural exchange, and well-being, the United Nations (UN) Tourism will organize the inaugural UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific, alongside the 36th UN Tourism Joint Commission Meeting for East Asia and the Pacific and Commission for South Asia from 26-28 June 2024 in Cebu, Philippines. Hosted by the Philippines through its Department of Tourism (DOT), this highly anticipated event will be held at Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu City from 26-27 June 2024, while the 36th UN Tourism Joint Commission Meeting for East Asia and the Pacific and Commission for South Asia is scheduled on 28 June 2024 at Sheraton Mactan.

The event is expected to gather some 300 attendees including ministers from UN member-states, affiliate members, and tourism stakeholders from international organizations to exchange knowledge and best tourism practices in the Pacific, East, and South Asia regions.

The Philippines, Chair of the UN Tourism Commission for East Asia and the Pacific

Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expressed the DOT and stakeholders’ readiness to host the preeminent UN Tourism events, highlighting the country’s hosting as a perfect opportunity for the Philippines to showcase its culinary treasures on a global stage.

“As Chair of the UN Tourism Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines commits fully to leveraging the region’s strategic position to promote a range of initiatives that will benefit not only our country but also our neighbors, particularly, its rich and diverse gastronomy tourism portfolio. With only a few weeks left until the country’s historic hosting of the UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific, we are closely working with our partners to ensure that our forum delegates coming from all over the world will be able to immerse deep in our rich culinary traditions, and treated with nothing less than the warm hospitality that Filipinos are known for all over the world. With the full support of our President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., and with all of our stakeholders working together—from the national government, our local government units and communities, our various stakeholders from the travel and tourism industry, we are optimistic for the success of the country’s auspicious hosting of these important tourism events,” Secretary Frasco said.

According to the tourism chief, the Philippines could not be a more fitting host country for the event, with the growing popularity of Filipino food across the world.

Home of the world’s best dishes

Future Market Insights valued the Philippine gastronomy tourism market at USD 5.4 billion in 2022 and it has been projected a compounded growth annually at 14.7% over the next decade. Iconic Filipino dishes such as our braised pork and chicken dish ‘adobo,’ tamarind-based sour soup ‘sinigang,’ and the ever-popular open fire-roasted ‘lechon’ and ‘sisig’ have earned praise from known food journalists in the past. For instance, the late chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain, while dining in Cebu, branded lechon the “best pig ever” and declared Pampanga’s sizzling pork medley sisig as “perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole.” Food critic Andrew Zimmern, meanwhile, has gone on record to declare Filipino food as “the next big thing” in the US as early as 2017.

The Philippines is also home to Iloilo City, a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy, and regions such as Western Visayas, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Pampanga, and Cebu are actively engaged in the development of Slow Food programs.

These raves, as well as the increasing popularity of Filipino and fusion food around the world as evinced by numerous awards and citations accorded to Filipino chefs, restaurants, food, chocolate, even liquor and spirits—have encouraged the Philippines’ DOT to further promote culinary tourism, recognizing the country’s vast potential as a leading gastronomy destination in Asia.

Under its National Tourism Development Plan (2023-2028) approved by the President and in line with its enhanced tourism campaign, “Love the Philippines”, the DOT is deep in developing more culinary tours and festivals, dining destinations, and food trail activities to further intensify the promotion and development of the country’s diverse gastronomy tourism offerings.

“As we intensify our diversification of the country’s tourism portfolio through multidimensional tourism, we strongly see food as a crucial element in enhancing the Philippine cultural experience. In addition to integrating food in festivals, arts and crafts, traditions, and practices, we are actively working towards supporting the development of halal/Muslim-friendly tourism, heritage villages for cultural communities, and the preservation of farms and heritage sites,” the DOT chief explained.

Serving more than just food, gastronomy tourism encapsulates a nation’s culture, history, and traditions. For the Philippines, promoting the sector drives sustainable economic growth and enhances the country’s position as a tourism powerhouse.

Aside from the day-long forum on June 26, 2024 which brings together tourism and gastronomy powerhouses to tackle policy framework for the development and promotion of gastronomy tourism, value of land and products in the sustainable development of gastronomy tourism, cost-effective and environmentally responsible strategies for reducing food waste and promoting local sourcing, successful best practices in gastronomy tourism in the Asia Pacific region, among others, the delegates will be able to sample the best of Philippine flavors through a showcase by top Filipino chefs, and get a glimpse of Cebu’s allure as a top tourist destination through a technical tour on 27 June 2024.

“The Philippines has a myriad of experiences in store for our delegates to offer tourists coming from around the world. Experiencing our food is on top of that list as it is rooted in our history and tradition. Just as the Philippines is a blend of various cultures, Filipino food mixes and melds different influences to come up with something for everyone,” the Tourism Secretary concluded.

DOT Applauds Legislative Effort to Enhance Protection and Management of Chocolate Hills, as the world celebrates Environment Day on June 5

MEDIA RELEASE
5 June 2024

CONTACT:
CZARINA ZARA-LOYOLA
Director
Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy
czloyola@tourism.gov.ph

In time with the celebration of World Environment Day on June 5 (Wednesday), Department of Tourism (DOT)  Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expresses gratitude for the legislative initiative aimed at amending and enhancing the existing laws governing the management and protection of the world-renowned Chocolate Hills embodied in House Bill number 10438 led by Representative Edgar Chatto and co-authored by Representatives Maria Vanessa Aumentado, Kristine Alexie Tutor, and Jose Alvarez.

The tourism chief highlighted the importance of this initiative, stating, “The Chocolate Hills are a vital part of our national heritage and an iconic tourist destination. This legislative effort underscores our collective responsibility to safeguard and sustainably develop this unique natural wonder for future generations.”

“The Chocolate Hills, a national treasure and a critical component of Bohol’s status as the Philippines’ sole UNESCO Global Geopark, are poised for improved conservation and sustainable development. The proposed bill aims to expand the composition of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) to include representatives from the Department of Tourism, the National Museum, Bohol’s UNESCO technical committee, the religious sector, as well as local environmental planners and architects. This inclusive and comprehensive approach ensures the protection and sustainable management of this iconic landscape,” added Secretary Frasco.

Aligned with the DOT’s commitment to sustainable tourism, the proposed amendments coincide with the vision of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., as outlined in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-28. “The inclusion of Senate and House representatives as ex-officio members with oversight functions will further strengthen the governance framework, ensuring effective implementation and monitoring of management plans and programs”,

The expansion of the Chocolate Hills’ protected area to include the adjacent towns of Valencia and Sierra-Bullones, thereby increasing the total count to 1,776 hills, signifies a significant step towards safeguarding more of this unique natural heritage.

“The expansion of the protected area and the inclusion of diverse stakeholders in the management board reflect our commitment to a holistic approach in preserving the Chocolate Hills. Through collective action, we can enhance its protection, sustainable development, and global recognition,” Secretary Frasco added.

“The DOT fully supports this legislative effort and looks forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the proposed amendments. The Department is confident that through united efforts, the protection, sustainable development, and global recognition of the Chocolate Hills will be significantly enhanced,” enthused the DOT chief.

Tourism Chief thanks PBBM for “Chibog tourism” endorsement aligning with DOT gastronomy tourism promotion

Manila, Philippines—Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco welcomes President Ferdinand R. Marcos’ endorsement to push the country’s gastronomy tourism, emphasizing in his latest vlog the importance of regional cuisines and the role of food in the world-renowned Filipino brand.

“Gastronomy tourism kung tawagin dahil nagdadala talaga ng turista pagkain. Food is not just in the stomach, ika nga, dahil nagdadala talaga ng turista ang pagkain. Mahilig tayo sa ganun. We are very hospitable. Yung pinakamagandang regalo mo sa bisita ay masarap na pagkain. Pag-alis nga, yung hindi nakain ay ibabalot nyo pa para meron silang baon. Yan ang ugali ng Pilipino, that’s why yung cuisine at yung hospitality have become such an important part of our lives,” the President said in his latest vlog.

Stressing the role of gastronomy in the Filipino culture, the President then encouraged the public to patronize and support local Filipino products: “Patuloy po nating suportahan ang ating mga lokal na pagkain at produkto. Suportahan natin ang ating mga MSMEs. Para sa mga OFWs, ipasubok pa natin ang pagkaing Pilipino sa mga kaibigan tapos ay imbitahin na natin dito sa Pilipinas. Mabuhay ang pagkain at panlasang Pinoy!”

For her part, Secretary Frasco thanked the President for his remark stressing that an endorsement from the country’s chief executive is a big boost in helping promote the Philippines’ gastronomy scene both in the domestic and international markets.

FILE PHOTO: Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco tries Filipino cuisine during the launch of the Philippine Eatsperience launch in Intramuros and Rizal Park in April.

“Kami po sa Department of Tourism ay masayang masaya sapagkat mismong ang ating Presidente Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. ang nagpapatunay sa buong mundo kung gaano kasarap ang pagkain natin sa Pilipinas. Tama po si PBBM sa pagsasabi na “ang pinakamagandang regalo mo sa bisita ay masarap na pagkain.”  After all, food is the Filipinos’ language of Love. Katunayan, hindi kailangan na may okasyon o kapistahan to showcase our love to our visitors dahil natural sa mga Pilipino ang ipagmalaki ang mga masasarap na pagkain natin na malaking bahagi ng ating kultura,” enthused Secretary Frasco.

“Embracing the diverse flavors of our nation is not just about satisfying palates; it’s about unlocking the rich tapestry of culture, history, and tradition that defines us. In promoting food tourism, we invite the world to embark on a culinary journey through the Philippines, where every dish tells a story and every meal fosters connections. Sama sama po tayo, together let us savor and share our culinary heritage, for in doing so, we not only tantalize taste buds but also cultivate sustainable tourism and celebrate the soul of our nation through food,” the tourism chief added.

The approved National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028, also known as the blueprint of the tourism industry identifies Food tourism as a priority product of the DOT.

Hosting of the 1st United Nations Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific

“On the directive of the President, we at the DOT have been actively promoting gastronomy tourism as part of our expanded tourism portfolio, the tourism chief added noting the various efforts of the Tourism Department to beef up this product such as the hosting of the First United Nations Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific which will take place from June 26 to 27 in Cebu.”

“Our goal is to showcase how significant food is to our culture, and highlight our gastronomic delights and the Filipinos who excel in this craft. As the international event will bring together destinations and international experts for knowledge exchange, we also aim to create a platform to celebrate the transformative power of gastronomy tourism and how it benefits local communities and the environment,” the tourism chief said.

The said forum will serve as a platform to celebrate the power of gastronomy tourism and bring together destinations and international experts to exchange knowledge and best practices, to harness its transformative power, especially for the benefit of local communities and the environment. This event will be held as a prelude to the country’s hosting of the 36th Joint Commission Meeting for East Asia & the Pacific and South Asia on June 28, 2024.

The Philippine Eastperience

Under Secretary Frasco’s helm, the DOT likewise ventured into other gastronomic programs such as the Philippine Eatsperience, a component of the DOT’s flagship project, the Philippine Experience Program (PEP), that recognizes the pivotal role of food and gastronomy in shaping the country’s tourism landscape. The Philippine Eastperience strives to offer travelers an authentic taste of Filipino hospitality while visiting Intramuros and Rizal Park where the program was launched last month.

The Filipino concept of “salu-salo” is the modalities of the PEP program with  regional launches completed  in Davao Region, Calabarzon, the Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Ilocos Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Palawan, with more planned this year.

Halal Food

Halal Tourism was also elevated as a major product of the DOT under the current administration, especially after a milestone win at the Halal in Travel Awards 2023 as an Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination. Currently, the Department is working on staging the first-ever Halal Travel and Tourism Expo in Manila, while also developing a Muslim-friendly travelogue of the Philippines.

As a move to equalize and regionalize tourism efforts and opportunities, the DOT is also doing Halal orientations with its regional offices. It also aims to collaborate with RestoPH to provide more Muslim-friendly food and Halal-certified food in the metro.

FILE PHOTO: A concessionaire serves local food to Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and to foreign dignitaries during the launch of the Philippine Eatsperience in Intrramuros and Rizal Park in April.

“We hope that with the President’s endorsement, we will foster a stronger community that would champion our local cuisines, and above all, give employment to more Filipinos,” said Secretary Frasco.

Love the Philippines Campaign Takes Flight with Spectacular Drone Show in San Francisco

San Francisco, CA – January 28, 2024 – In a dazzling display of innovation and Filipino pride, the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) marked a significant milestone with a drone show in the United States. The event, in partnership with Sky Elements unfolded against the picturesque backdrop of the bay, was a captivating celebration of the rich Filipino culture and biodiversity.

Drone Show featuring halo-halo, karaoke and rising sun

Showcasing a kaleidoscope of the nation’s vibrant heritage, the drone show artfully highlighted various facets of Filipino life, including the mesmerizing beauty of underwater diving, delectable culinary offerings such as mango, halo-halo, and street foods, iconic symbols like the sampaguita flower, the elegance of traditional fashion and tinikling dance, the splendor of the vinta boat, the terraced landscapes of the rice fields, love for music of Filipinos and the pride evoked by the waving Philippine flag.

Drone Show featuring traditional fashion, vinta and street foods
Guests enjoying the drone show

Prior to the breathtaking aerial display, esteemed guests were treated to an exquisite dinner at Mission Rock Resort, indulging in a selection of Filipino snacks that offered a taste of the nation’s culinary diversity.

Filipino snacks served during dinner at Mission Rock Resort

The event is part of the Love the Philippines campaign in San Francisco, a strategic initiative by PDOT to spotlight the country’s unparalleled natural wonders, rich biodiversity, cultural heritage, warm hospitality, and distinctive culinary influence. The campaign aims to position the Philippines as a premier tourism destination in Asia.

PDOT SF hosted a dinner for the guests at the Mission Rock Resort

Philippine Consul General Neil Frank Ferrer and his wife, Miriam Ferrer and Consul Vanessa Bago-Llona, were in attendance, joining the PDOT San Francisco team in witnessing this historic event. Tourism Attache Soleil Tropicales expressed enthusiasm for the groundbreaking initiative, stating that it sends a resounding message that the Philippines is poised to make a bold and significant mark on the global tourism stage.

The Love the Philippines campaign marks the beginning of a new era in tourism, emphasizing the country’s readiness to welcome visitors with open arms. As the drone show unfolded, it underscored the Philippines’ commitment to becoming a tourism powerhouse in Asia and demonstrated that the nation is prepared for something truly extraordinary.

About the Philippine Department of Tourism: It is the principal government agency responsible for the promotion of tourism in the Philippines. With a commitment to showcasing the country’s unique culture and attractions, the department aims to make the Philippines a must-visit destination in Asia.

For Media Inquiries:

Karen Pranga

Marketing and Events Coordinator

pdotsanfrancisco@gmail.com

“Love the Music, Love the Philippines” Showcases Filipino Talent and Warm Hospitality at Webster Hall, San Francisco

San Francisco, CA – December 14, 2023

The Philippine Department of Tourism in San Francisco (PDOT SF) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) joined forces for a spectacular event, “Love the Music, Love the Philippines,” held at the iconic Webster Hall on December 14, 2023. The evening brought together travel trade partners, tourism stakeholders, and friends to celebrate the rich cultural tapestry of the Philippines.

The event featured captivating performances by the talented Zeyonce Brown, who serenaded the audience with a fusion of Filipino music, pop hits, and festive Christmas tunes. Adding to the enchantment, Nate Guinto delivered an awe-inspiring performance with his violin, captivating the hearts of all in attendance.

Tourism Attache Soleil Tropicales extended a warm welcome to the guests, expressing gratitude to the attendees and the dedicated team that orchestrated the event. Tropicales acknowledged the invaluable partnership with Philippine Airlines, the evening’s official partner.

The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the new tourism campaign, “Love the Philippines.” Tropicales explained that the campaign is not merely an invitation to explore the picturesque islands but also a celebration of Filipino stories, talents, and warm hospitality. Travelers are encouraged to become part of the culture and the family as they connect with the landscapes and communities.

“Welcome to Love the Music.. Love the Philippines, where every traveler becomes a part of our melody, and the diversity creates a perfect harmony,” Tropicales added, drawing a connection to her personal passion for singing.

Dell Merano, PAL Manager, echoed the sentiment in a heartwarming speech, expressing support for the new tourism campaign. Merano emphasized the importance of fostering a deep appreciation for the Philippines and the sense of community it brings. In a gesture of generosity, Philippine Airlines conducted a raffle during the event, giving attendees the chance to win a myriad of exciting prizes. The PAL team’s commitment to providing a memorable experience extended beyond the stage, adding an element of excitement and surprise for the lucky winners.

Adding a delectable touch to the evening, the event served guests with authentic Filipino Christmas food prepared by the renowned “Kusina.” The culinary delights brought a taste of Filipino holiday traditions, further enriching the cultural experience.

The event also had the honor of hosting Filipino American content creator, Gerald Fermin, and FilAm Production Associate at Pixar and influencer, Jamie Poderado. Their presence added a dynamic and contemporary flair to the celebration, showcasing the vibrant contributions of Filipino Americans in the creative and digital realms.

In continuation of the “Love the Philippines” campaign, PDOT SF invites everyone to a special event on December 30th at the Ferry Building from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The event promises an opportunity for all to discover why there’s more to love about the Philippines. Attendees can expect cultural showcases, live performances, and a taste of Filipino hospitality. It’s an invitation to experience the vibrant and diverse culture that makes the Philippines a unique and unforgettable destination.

For more information, please visit www.philippinetourismusa.com and follow social media accounts, https://www.instagram.com/Phtourismamericas/  and https://www.facebook.com/philippinetourismusa 

Philippine Department of Tourism’s Love the Philippines Campaign Sets the Stage for Unforgettable Holiday Celebrations in San Francisco

San Francisco, CA – 11 December 2023

The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) was proud to announce a groundbreaking series of events in San Francisco as part of the Love the Philippines (LTP) campaign, aimed at showcasing the rich tapestry of Filipino culture and fostering a deeper connection between communities. The campaign, introduced with the new slogan “Love the Philippines,” was designed to position the country as a tourism powerhouse in Asia and captivate audiences both locally and internationally.

Event Highlights:

Love the Philippines at Merkado Kultura

  • Date: 08-09 December 2023
  • Venue: Dynamico Space, 3F Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco

The 3rd edition of Merkado Kultura featured a diverse array of Filipino products, food, and merchandise. It became a bustling marketplace visited by the FilAm community and non-Filipinos alike who enjoyed shopping for their holiday gifts. The partnership of the PDOT and Merkado Kultura featured influential personalities with the likes of Jules Aurora, a Filipino record artist, actress, and model, as well as Vince Vasquez and family of @thetastebud. 

Elevating the Merkado Kultura experience, guests had the opportunity to step into the immersive Love the Philippines “Experience Rooms.” These rooms were designed to transport attendees to the breathtaking beauty of Philippine beaches and the vibrant energy of Metro Manila. The Experience Rooms is open throughout the month of December where visitors can see, smell, taste and feel the essence of these iconic Filipino destinations, creating a multisensory journey that encapsulates the heart and soul of the Philippines.

Love Fashion, Love the Philippines at the San Francisco Fashion Festival:

  • Date: 09 December 2023
  • Venue: The W San Francisco Hotel

Tourism Attache Soleil Tropicales took the stage at the San Francisco Fashion Festival to present the new Love the Philippines campaign to esteemed guests, inviting them to join the festivities on December 30th. This collaboration aimed to engage the fashion community in embracing and promoting the diverse and vibrant culture of the Philippines. Jules Aurora, known for her cultural advocacy, featured a dress by the acclaimed Filipino fashion designer Joe San Antonio, whose work recently graced the runways of Paris Fashion Week.

Love Adventure, Love the Philippines Motorcycle Ride:

  • Date: 10 December 2023
  • Route: Across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Thrill-seekers and motorcycle enthusiasts were invited to join the Love Adventure, Love the Philippines Motorcycle Ride across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Bay Area riders, proudly carrying Love the Philippines flags, embarked on a journey that symbolized the unity and spirit of adventure that defined Filipino culture. Tourism Attache Soleil Tropicales invited the Bay Area riders to the Philippines for a motorcycle loop around the country.

Save the Date: Love the Philippines at the Ferry Building

  • Date: 30 December 2023
  • Time: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Ferry Building, San Francisco

This first-of-its-kind experience transformed the Ferry Building into a Philippine marketplace, featuring local vendors, artisans, live performances, and a fashion show by the renowned Filipino designer Francis Libiran.

Join us in celebrating the Love the Philippines Campaign and being part of an extraordinary journey that showcased the warmth, diversity, and beauty of the Philippines.

For more information, please visit www.philippinetourismusa.com and follow social media accounts, https://www.instagram.com/Phtourismamericas/  and https://www.facebook.com/philippinetourismusa 

About the Department of Tourism, Philippines
The Department of Tourism is the principal government agency responsible for the promotion of tourism in the Philippines. With a commitment to showcasing the country’s unique culture and attractions, the department aims to make the Philippines a must-visit destination in Asia.

For Media Inquiries:
Karen Pranga
Marketing and Events Coordinator
pdotsanfrancisco@gmail.com 

From court side to paradise: DOT supports FIBA World Cup hosting with Philippine Tour Packages

MAKATI CITY — In support of the country’s hosting of the highly anticipated FIBA International Basketball Federation World Cup 2023, the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched Philippine tour packages for international fans and Filipinos on Tuesday (July 25) at the DOT Office in Makati City. 

“We see the FIBA Basketball World Cup as an opportunity, first and foremost, to reintroduce the Philippines to the world on the strength of our natural cultural assets, our award-winning destinations, our emerging cities and municipalities all over the Philippines, as well as an opportunity for Filipinos to come together to support the Philippine team, and for other citizens of the world to remember their sense of nationalism as they support their own countries. Truly, basketball has had such a great cultural impact on all of us Filipinos and all nations participating, that we see this as an opportunity to remind the world how much there is to love about the Philippines, and an opportunity to show the Philippines is ready, and the Philippines is open for tourism,” DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco announced at the FIBA Philippine tour launch. 

The Philippines will co-host the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 group phase with Japan and Indonesia from August 25-30. The Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City; Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City; and the 50,000-capacity Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan will house 52 out of the 92 games. The final phase of the World Cup scheduled for September 5-10 will be played as well at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Among the potential NBA stars to play in Manila are Nikola Jokic of Serbia, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Dominican Republic. Top-tier national teams such as the USA, New Zealand, Jordan, Greece, Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania, Egypt, China, Serbia, Puerto Rico, and South Sudan are set to compete in the Philippines, accompanied by their thousands of fans and supporters. 

To complement the FIBA World Cup experience, the DOT teamed up with a tourism consortium of national tourism associations to meticulously craft tour packages that showcase marquee destinations such as those in Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, La Union and Pampanga, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo and Bacolod, Boracay, Palawan, and Davao. 

Secretary Frasco rallied together the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), the Hotel Sales and Marketing Professionals (HSMA), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) to form the tourism consortium and curate the said tour packages for the organizers, officials, players, and fans of the game. 

“I share in all of your excitement for the FIBA Basketball World Cup as we also see this as a prime opportunity for the country to exceed that goal that we have set this year of ushering 4.8 million international travelers. Not only this will benefit our international tourism portfolio, but also our domestic tourism portfolio with all of these tour packages having been laid down from one region to the other…As you can see, putting all of these together has become a whole-of-tourism industry approach. Very much reflective of our President’s whole of nation approach towards Philippine development,” the tourism chief enthused. 

Visitors can book and avail of the FIBA-exclusive tour packages with options of 3 days and 2 nights or 4 days and 3 nights’ arrangements at four- or five-star hotels through the DOT website – www.discoverphilippines.travel starting August 1 up to September 30. 

Included in the FIBA tour packages are the Philippines Hop On, Hop Off bus tours, accredited hotel and accommodation options, and travel packages with and without airfare. 

No less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. fully supports the country’s hosting endeavor through Administrative Order No. 5 issued last March forming the Inter-Agency Task Force directing all government agencies to aid the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the national basketball association, in the conduct of the FIBA flagship event in the country. 

“We recognize the profound impact that sports tourism can have on our economy, our hotels, accommodations, and most importantly, our tourism workers, whose livelihoods highly depend on the tourism industry’s success,” the DOT Secretary added. 

Secretary Frasco also extended her appreciation to the DOT’s infrastructure arm, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for the airport enhancements and the construction of Tourist Rest Areas with seven, located in FIBA tour destinations, to be inaugurated this August. 

Other efforts of the Department in support of the FIBA hosting include assistance in airport reception during the airport reception services during the FIBA World Cup Draw and other FIBA activities, domestic and international promotion of the event, safety, and security with the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP) program and the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence (FBSE) Training, as well as strategic FIBA branding site enhancements. 

During the launch, Ms. Claudia Perrine from the FIBA Basketball World Cup Local Organizing Committee provided insights into the country’s preparations for hosting the tournament, unveiled the lineup of FIBA World Cup events, and highlighted the goal of breaking the World Cup attendance record. 

Additionally, representatives from the DOT FIBA Tour Packages tourism consortium elaborated on the crafted tour packages. 

Bob Zozobrado, President of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), shared the collaborative efforts behind the creation of the consortium and the thought process that led to the development of the FIBA Philippine tour packages. Margie Munsayac, representing the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association (HSMA) International Inc., discussed the range of accommodation options and competitive rates available for visitors. Maria Paz Alberto, President of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Philippines, presented the selected tour packages, while Marlene Insigne also from PATA and Carlota Casas from the Philippine Tour Operators Association, Inc. (PHILTOA) shared on the inclusion of ten cluster destinations in the tour packages. Wendel Santos, President of Atlantis, elaborated on the online booking platform specifically designed for FIBA tours. 

Previously, Tourism Secretary Frasco pledged the Department’s utmost support to the SBP, PLDT, and Smart group during the FIBA luncheon which gathered the diplomatic community with some 20 ambassadors and consuls last July 12. 

Photos:

FIBA Opening Day: https://beta.tourism.gov.ph/news_and_updates/dot-in-full-support-to-fiba-world-cup-opening-day/

Tourism Chief Frasco takes oath of office; PBBM bullish on tourism recovery

MANILA, Philippines — Multi-awarded local chief executive and Mayor of Liloan, Cebu Atty. Christina Garcia-Frasco formally assumed her new role as Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) earlier today (June 30), during the Oathtaking of Cabinet Secretaries officiated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that took place at the Malacañan Palace.

Frasco, who was joined by her family members mother Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, husband Cebu 5th District Representative Duke Frasco, and sister Carissa Garcia, was sworn into office along with other cabinet members of the new administration.

In his inaugural speech as the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines, Marcos Jr. expressed his optimism for the country’s tourism industry, noting its bright prospects with Frasco at the helm of the DOT.

“The recovery of Philippine tourism, with its emphasis on accessing nature’s beauty, I am sure, will exceed expectations,” said President Marcos.

“Following these giant steps, we will continue to build. I will complete on schedule the projects that have been started. I am not interested in taking credit; I want to build on success that’s already happening. We will be presenting the public with a comprehensive infrastructure plan. Six years could be just about enough time. No part of our country will be neglected. Progress will be made wherever there are Filipinos, so no investment is wasted,” added the President.

Secretary Frasco echoed the President’s vision, noting two essential building blocks in ensuring sustainable tourism: effective local government planning and implementation, and shared tourism governance by the public and private sector.

“Effective planning and implementation on the Local Government side necessitates focus on zoning and land use regulations that enhances rather than degrades the long term value of tourist attractions, proactive and aggressive infrastructure development that provides quality access to roads, bridges, water systems, providing access to various methods of transportation by land, sea, and air, as well as heritage and environmental protection that ensures sustainable tourism development,” she said, in relation to her experience as a local chief executive of Liloan town.

“The goal is to improve the overall tourism experience by both domestic and foreign tourists so that they not only enjoy the idea of the brand that is the Philippines but fully immerse in and keep buying into the product that is our beautiful country and the work of its people,” she noted.

Secretary Frasco served as Mayor of the Municipality of Liloan from 2016 to 2022, and graduated from Ateneo Law School. Prior to entering public service, she practiced international arbitration and commercial litigation at the Romulo Law Firm and taught as a Professor at the University of San Carlos (USC) College of Law.

“It is my hope that by building bridges of collaboration, we can generate boundless opportunities for livelihood, employment, and business that puts the success of every Filipino tourism stakeholder front and center of our agenda,” enthused the tourism chief.

Boracay, Palawan and Cebu hailed World’s Best Islands; DOT celebrates back-to-back accolades for PHL destinations

The Department of Tourism (DOT) applauded the naming of the country’s three island destinations among “The 25 Best Islands in the World” of the New York-based travel magazine Travel + Leisure (T+L).

Boracay Island featuring its postcard perfect sunset ranked 9th in the T+L World’s Best Island list, followed by the Palawan at 11th with a photo of an idyllic lagoon in El Nido, and Cebu at 16th with Taoist Temple, in Cebu City. According to T+L, readers were asked to “weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.”

Islands in Palawan, Philippines

“The Philippines is truly blessed with the unrivaled beauty of our natural resources coupled by the warmth and endless talent of the Filipinos manifested in this citation of Travel + Leisure that included our Cebu, Palawan, and Boracay in their prestigious list,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said.

Boracay and Palawan also topped T+L’s 5 Best Islands in Asia alongside Phuket, Thailand, Bali, Indonesia, and The Maldives. “Travel + Leisure readers fondly recalled pre-COVID-era visits to the best islands in Asia. Now that the region is reopening, they’re surely eager to return to these five ports of call, including the islands of the Maldives, as well as those found in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines,” stated T + L.

“We express our heartfelt gratitude and congratulations to all tourism stakeholders from the public and private sector, the national and local government units, the efforts of the previous administration included, and all the hardworking employees and officials of the Department across the country for forging forward amidst the challenges of the pandemic and contributing in their own ways so our country may earn the title as one of the most beautiful in the world. The natural beauty of a country can truly shine through when we are united in heralding our best qualities,” Frasco added.

Philippines among the 40 Most Beautiful Countries in the World

The Philippines concurrently was named among “The 40 Most Beautiful Countries in the World” by lifestyle travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler (CNT).

The country is accompanied in the list by other countries such as Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, and United States of America, among others.

Manila among top cities in the World

Meanwhile, TimeOut.com also ranked Manila among the top cities in the world. The ranking comes as a result of a survey among city-dwellers worldwide. The choice is a result of several criteria that include aspects like walkability, good public transport, safety, and sustainability other than a thriving nightlife, amazing food and drink, and art and culture. It should be noted, nonetheless, that Manila is usually in reference to Metro Manila or the Philippines’ National Capital Region.

“May this global recognition of the beauty of our natural resources inspire our efforts to raise the Philippines’ standing in the tourism industry by introducing tourism infrastructure development and improvements that would enhance connectivity and convenience in reaching our destinations,” enthused Secretary Frasco.

DOT’s Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) returns to Manila in August 2022

MEDIA RELEASE
23 June 2022
CONTACT: CZARINA ZARA-LOYOLA
Director Public Affairs and Advocacy
czloyola@tourism.gov.ph
459-5200 loc 323

MANILA — Time to gear up and get dive-ready as the Department of Tourism (DOT) stages the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX), the country’s largest platform for the diving community, on August 19 to 21, 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, Manila.

PHIDEX’s third edition seeks to continue the narrative of conservation, community, and convergence within the diving community through the theme “Back into the Blue: One with the Sea”.
The expo will also showcase the Philippines’ readiness to welcome dive tourists from all over the globe, gathering local and international dive industry experts, dive tour operators, and partner dive businesses to share their ideas and experiences.
“The entry of international travelers is a welcome development that will lead to growth in the travel and tourism sector, restoration of jobs, and the generation of much-needed revenue for tourism-related enterprises and communities. We are optimistic that these economic benefits will also extend to dive destinations around the country. The country remains a leading dive destination, which tourists all over the world are eager to visit after a long wait of two years,” said Tourism Development Undersecretary Woodrow C. Maquiling, Jr.

“The DOT hopes to encourage divers to practice sustainability every time they dive to preserve the country’s seas. Sustainable diving practices are a huge part of the reason why the country’s dive destinations continue to operate despite challenges brought by the pandemic,” Undersecretary Maquiling added.

PHIDEX is the only dive show in the world that combines in one event a Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX), a business-to-business (B2B) meeting program for local and international dive operators, dive conference and seminars, and familiarization tours to top and emerging Philippine dive destinations. Exhibition booths will showcase dive resorts and centers in different destinations, as well as top-rated dive gear and equipment.

Through conferences, participants will also have a chance to learn about new dive destinations developed during the pandemic, product updates from key dive destinations, as well as up-todate underwater photography gear showcases. International dive operators will also get to inspect and assess top and emerging dive destinations such as Anilao, Bohol, Camiguin, Coron, Dumaguete, Malapascua, Moalboal, Puerto Galera, Southern Leyte, and Ticao Island through familiarization tours.
At least 100 local and international dive buyers and media from the Philippines, US, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore, are expected to attend the
expo. Meanwhile, activities such as Dive TRAVEX and Dive Conference will be accessible online for participants unable to attend due to international border restrictions.

Registration as consumer and trade visitors and exhibition booth reservation will open on June 24, 2022 through https://register.phidex.asia/. For more information regarding the PHIDEX activities, follow Dive Philippines on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DOTdivephilippines) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/dotdivephilippines/) or email the PHIDEX Organizing Committee at phidex@tourism.gov.ph.

WTTC: ‘Astonishing Recovery’ for Philippines’ travel and tourism sector

MEDIA RELEASE

22 April 2022  
CONTACT:  CZARINA ZARA-LOYOLA  Director  Public Affairs and Advocacy  czloyola@tourism.gov.ph  459-5200 loc 323

Manila, Philippines– World tourism executives and scores of delegates from across the global travel and tourism sector gather in iconic Manila for the 3-day 21st World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit under the theme, “Rediscovering Travel”.

Earlier in the opening ceremony at the Manila Marriot Hotel, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed the WTTC delegates attending in person and online, saying the summit “marks the beginning of a new era” for Philippine tourism.

“Now is the time for us to revive our connections and engagement with people,” she said.

Puyat was joined on stage by WTTC Chair and Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson. On the opening day, the Philippines was lauded by the global tourism leaders attending the event on site.

“Here in Asia-Pacific, the reopening is just beginning. And I have to say I congratulate the Philippines and Minister Bernadette, a nation that showed determination and courage to reignite travel in this region,” Simpson said.

Puyat also served as one of the speakers during the summit’s first panel discussion titled Redefining Travel in a Changing World, sitting alongside Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, Marriott International Group President Craig S. Smith, and The Global Rescue Companies CEO Dan Richards to talk about how travel and tourism sector continue to offer incredible experiences and drive social progress while still protecting health, preserving the environment, and responding to a rapidly changing landscape.

Puyat’s role as a speaker in the summit’s panel discussion emphasizes the importance of being a compelling media spokesperson in the travel and tourism sector. To become one, consider delving into communication training that focuses on the characteristics of a great media spokesperson. Skills such as clarity, authenticity, and the ability to convey complex ideas with simplicity are paramount.

Much like the reopening of the Asia-Pacific region, mastering the art of communication requires determination and courage, ensuring that as a spokesperson, you contribute to shaping a positive narrative for the industry. Seek out courses or workshops that specifically address the nuances of being an effective communicator in the dynamic realm of travel and tourism.

Smith also shared that the sector is well on its way to recovery, sharing his surprise at how fast tourism–in the Philippines–has been bouncing back.

“I’ve never seen a recovery this fast: average rates, first time interest rates. Take the Philippines for example. We have five hotels in the Philippines and we have 15 hotels that are being opened. We want to create these jobs. And so with the help of governments like yours, we see a really bright future going forward that this collaboration is going to do,” remarked Smith.

With the country’s first-ever hosting of the WTTC summit held annually, Puyat emphasized how more communication and engagement between both the government and the private sector can accelerate recovery and sustain growth. She also noted that the Philippines has remained committed to combat the effects of the changing climate and promote green tourism.

According to the WTTC’s projection in its latest Economic Impact Report (EIR), travel and tourism in the Philippines will reach an annual growth rate of 6.7% in the next 10 years, exceeding its overall economy average growth rate of just 5.6 %. The EIR also projects that employment will grow annually by an average of 3% in the same period, generating 2.9 million new jobs that will account for 21.5% of all jobs in the Philippines. Simpson said that the latest EIR for the Philippines signals the astonishing recovery of the country’s Travel & Tourism sector.