8th PH Heritage Tour launched in T.O.
TORONTO–It was a full house at the Casa Manila Restaurant when the Philippine Consulate General formally announced to members of the media and Filipino community representatives its 8th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT), Philippines, July 9-15, 2013.
The reception-dinner was hosted by Philippine Consul General Junever Mahilum-West, with full support of the Toronto diplomatic corps. Mahilum-West welcomed the guests of around 120 people as she explained the origins of and the reasons for launching this particular tour, which was mainly to promote Philippine culture and tourism.
Details of the tour were presented by Vice Consul Bolivar Bao.
The tour consists of two parts:
A Basic Tour from July 9-12, and the Optional Provincial Tour from July 12 to 15, 2013, covering Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Camarines Sur. Participants will fly via Philippine Airlines, and stay at Shangrila Hotel Edsa, and will be entertained with dinner and a cultural presentation, a visit to Tagaytay, a tour of the Malacanang Museum and the chance to meet Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. This basic tour will cost a total of Cdn$2,363. Meanwhile, the optional tours to the provinces, which will run simultaneously, will cost extra. Each tour features a visit to the popular tourist spots in these provinces.
The evening also honored the recipients in the Fiipino community of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which included community leaders and personalities, among them, Senator Tobias Enverga.
Speeches, songs, poetry and community commentary added color to the event, while guests enjoyed a Filipino buffet-dinner.
Rajah Tours, the Tour Operator for the last seven ACGTDTs has been appointed to handle ground arrangement. The DOT has declared July as the Kulinarya month, hence the tour activities are expected to include Filipino culinary tours with a taste of Filipino culture and heritage.
The official background of the ACGTDT , as published on the Consulate’s website, states in part:
In October 2004, all Foreign Service Posts in the U.S. and Canada and the Department of Tourism (DOT) conceptualized the flagship project. It was then Philippine Ambassador to Washington, now Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario who launched this program in 2005 with following aims and objectives, among others:
“To entice Filipino Americans in the US and Filipino-Canadians in Canada to deepen their appreciation of the beauty of our country, its rich history, heritage and culture; (and)
“To attract not only Fil-Americans and Filipino-Canadians but also foreign tourists to see and visit the various destinations in the Philippines and discover the beauty of the islands, its white sand beaches, nature’s eco-tourism, adventure sites like scuba diving, mountain climbing, trekking and have the opportunity to experience the warm hospitality of the Filipino people.”
Altogether, the Philippine Consulate’s event was an evening of goodwill as guests and hosts alike spent the rest of the night exchanging pleasantries and posing for souvenir photos.