THE Philippine Consulate General and the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Los Angeles recently announced the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour slated for this July as an opportunity for Filipino Americans and foreign tourists to explore the Philippines.
Formerly the Ambassador, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT), the Ambassadors’ Tour on July 11 to 16 will bring travelers from the U.S. to Manila and Davao, where President Rodrigo Duterte hails from.
“The people who will be returning to the Philippines, rediscovering the country with their spouses and children, are themselves the ambassadors of goodwill,” Consul General Adelio Cruz said of the tour’s name change during his introductory remarks at the launch event on Friday, April 7.
He added that this year’s program will be an experiential, adventure-filled way to reconnect with the Philippines and its cultural offerings.
It is a joint effort by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board, the Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States, Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Rajah Tours.
Through PAL and Rajah Tours, participants are presented with competitive airfare, hotel and tour packages, ranging around $800 to $1,800.
The first full day of the trip will occur in the Philippines’ capital city, featuring a wreath laying ceremony in Rizal Park, a Filipino cuisine demonstration, and options to visit various museums or Intramuros.
The group will then proceed to Davao — the “King City of the South” — for five days, where the itinerary includes a city tour and visiting the Philippine Eagle Center Tour and Eden Nature Park.
“What better way to showcase Mindanao than to showcase Davao City,” Cruz said.
Added DOT Director Richmond Jimenez, “Davao has been a very good destination in the Philippines. A lot of people tend to go to Boracay or Pangasinan for the Hundred Islands, but Davao on its own has amazing things and activities for you to do.”
The consul general said that the Consulate and DOT are not making any promises that participants will get a chance to meet Duterte.
“We are hoping that the president would be there and should he be there, we will exert all our efforts to request that we all be given an audience, even for a few minutes,” he said. “We are not going to use an audience with the president as a bait for those of you who would like to join the tour.”
After the six-day tour, trips to Boracay, Palawan, Cebu-Bohol, Cagayan de Oro-Camiguin, or Dumaguete-Siquijor can be booked as well.
Despite international news reports highlighting security concerns and the World Economic Forum (WEF) lowering the Philippines’ ranking in its recent Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Jimenez invited those in the U.S. to experience the country for themselves.
“We go to back to January wherein we hosted Miss Universe, a big event, and currently the Madrid Fusion Manila that is happening,” he told the Asian Journal. “There is a lot of news and yes, we respect the views of the media…but the Philippines remains a safe destination and this is why we hold trips just like the Ambassadors’ Tour to show people firsthand how is it like in the [country].”
To sign up for the Ambassadors’ Tour, the public may visit http://www.philippinetourismusa.com/2017-ambassadors-tour/.