THE Philippine Consulate General and the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Los Angeles announced on Friday, February 16, the 12th annual Ambassadors’ Tour which will once again give Filipino Americans and others the opportunity to experience the Philippines alongside government representatives.
“We are very excited and happy to announce the launching of the 12th Ambassadors’ Tour,” said Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz at the Friday night launch. This year’s tour will be led by the Los Angeles post.
The Ambassadors’ Tour — formerly the Ambassador, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour — debuted in 2005 by former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario, then the Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.
The tour is a flagship project by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the U.S, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Tourism (DOT), partnered with Philippine Airlines (PAL), and Rajah Tours.
“Twelve years is still not enough to cover the entire Philippines,” said Richmond Jimenez, tourism director of the Philippine DOT in Los Angeles. He added that the Philippines has since jumped to 7,600 islands from the 7,100 previously thought two years ago.
The upcoming tour will take place from July 9 – 15, 2018 and will cover three of some of the Philippines’ most renowned destinations. While last year’s tour brought participants to Manila and Davao, this year’s participants will get to see both Cebu and Bohol in addition to the country’s capital.
At the capital, travelers will witness a wreath-laying ceremony at Rizal Park in homage to the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal. Travelers will also get a drive-by tour through Intramuros, known for its Spanish architecture and rich history dating back to the late 1500s.
Participants of the tour will also walk through both the National Museum and the University of Santo Tomas Museum.
Also known as the “Queen City of the South,” travelers will go on a tour encompassing Cebu’s local heritage, which includes a visit to world-famous Cebuano furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue’s showroom. Some of his clients include American celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
“I’m sure you’ve enjoyed the fruit, but you never knew how it was done,” said Jimenez on Cebu’s famous mangoes. Known especially for its dried mangoes, travelers will go on a Profood plant tour to see what happens before the products hit stores.
The Cebu stop will also allow travelers to either swim with Cebu’s famous Oslob whale sharks, or go on another culture-focused “Suroy-Suroy” tour through southern Cebu to see its churches, homes, delicacies, leather goods, and more.
In the Cebuano dialect, “suroy-suroy” translates to pasyal-pasyal in Tagalog, or leisure travel in English, shared Vice Consul Dyan Pastrana.
On to the third destination, travelers will ride an exclusive ferry to Bohol, home of the world-famous Chocolate Hills and one of the world’s most smallest primates, the tarsier.
Showcasing the island province’s natural wonders, the tour will bring travelers to Bohol’s countryside to see sights like the Chocolate Hills before sending them off to either a farm tour, or a tour of Balicasag Island.
While the tour package does not include airfare, the partnership with PAL will allow participants to avail airfare deals. Packages range from $910 to $1,670 and include accommodations at some of the Philippines’ finest hotels like Manila’s Nobu Hotel City of Dreams, Cebu’s Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, and the Henann Resort Alona Beach in Bohol.
Transportation, meals, and English-speaking guides will be provided throughout the whole tour.
A bonus of course is that tour participants will be able to travel alongside government representatives, said Jimenez.
“What we also know is that Ambassador Romualdez himself — our new Philippine ambassador to the United States will be coming with us,” said Jimenez referring to Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez.
No promises though were made to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, given his busy schedule — the president briefly met with delegates attending the reception for last year’s tour participants.
Consul General Cruz highlighted that respective governors and city mayors would be there to greet and host the travelers.
“So if you can imagine, our local government officials will be rolling out the red carpet of their respective cities and provinces for this particular group,” said Cruz.
He added, “I promise you it will be a once in a lifetime experience.”
The deadline for applications is April 2, 2018, but people are encouraged to apply early to secure a spot.
Those interested in applying for the tour may visit www.ambassadorstour2018.com to learn more about the itinerary and travel packages. Post tour deals curated by Rajah Tours are also available if travelers wish to extend their stay.