8th ambassadors, congens tour now in PH
QUEZON CITY,–Over sixty delegates of the Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors’ Tour (ACGTDT) recently visited The Filipino Channel’s (TFC) mother studios at the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City, Philippines and participated in the highly engaging variety program, “It’s Showtime,” last week as part of the cultural tour or Pasaya leg of the annual trip.
The ACGTD tour, which is organized yearly by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts (FSPs) in North America, Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT), and Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), gathered over 491 Filipino delegates from various sectors from all over the said region to return to the homeland, see the country’s progress and reconnect with their roots. The ultimate goal of the tour is to encourage the delegates “to commit time and resources to engage with the Philippine Service Posts in a way that would advance the cause and interests of Filipino-Americans,” the DFA’s official press release stated.
The week-long tour was composed of three key segments: Paganda (beauty treatments); Pasarap (spa and massage); and Pasaya (studio tour and audience at a top-rating noontime show). As the premier Filipino media network in the world, TFC was chosen by the DFA, DOT and the DTI to be part of the ACGTD’s Pasaya or cultural tour where over 60 of the 491 delegates took part.
Manuel Ilagan, assistant director of the Philippine Tourism Office in Los Angeles, California, said: “It’s Showtime is one of the most popular shows in the United States. Everybody wanted to see this live. Actually it was one of the requests of the participants to include this (tour of TFC facilities at the ABS-CBN compound) in the itinerary which is why we talked with TFC in North America.”
As part of the tour, the guests, composed of key members of the Filipino community, business, academe, and private sector in the U.S. and Canada, were taken to the studios where programs are taped or aired live like Kris TV at Studio 5, Minute to Win It at Studio 4, The Voice, and TV Patrol at Studio 5.
To cap the tour, delegates were made part of the live audience on It’s Showtime where chosen delegates participated in the opening segment, the Sine `Mo `To portion and other segments of the show. “We conducted a survey as to what they wanted to include in the itinerary and so we included the show,” Ilagan added.
Dorothy Brown of San Diego, California said: “Sobrang saya. Napakapriceless…talagang isa sa mga experiences na mache-cherish ko sa buong buhay ko na di ko makakalimutan at mapagyayabang ko iyan sa mga kasamahan ko. Sobrang saya at di ako nagsisisi.” (It was so much fun. It was priceless and it is also one of the experiences I will forever cherish. I will share it with my colleagues. I am so happy and I do not regret joining the tour).
IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES ??Beyond the fun and entertainment, the tour intends to show that their motherland is the premier destination for tourism, business, education and entertainment. Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia said: “More than just showing that it is more fun in the Philippines, this year’s program will allow balikbayans to see and experience for themselves the economic transformation taking place in a country that many of them have not visited in a long time or are visiting for the first time.”
Brown said: “ Nandito lang ako two years ago pero marami na namang improvement. Talagang paganda na nang paganda. (I was here two years ago but I see a lot of improvement. The country is truly developing).
Both improvements and opportunities are evident in all sectors of the country. One of the participants, Ray Cordoba, dean of Lowell High School in San Francisco, California said, “I have been contacting the Northeast Consulate because of our connections about programs we can do linkages for. We were trying to establish sister city schools not only here but also in Cebu in the Visayas island. We want to establish our connection. We need to do this more on a yearly basis. There are many second generation Filipinos in the U.S. who really do not know about this, about the Philippines.”
Whether under Paganda, Pasarap or Pasaya, the 8th ACGTD’s tour did not only deliver on its promise of fun, relaxation, and entertainment for these overseas Filipinos but affirmed the fact that it is always nice to go back to home and family.