To continue promoting the Philippines as a must-visit travel destination, the country’s Department of Tourism (DOT) is pushing its “Bring Home a Friend” (BHAF) program that encourages Filipinos to invite foreigners to the country.
The BHAF campaign was formally launched in Las Vegas by DOT-Los Angeles Tourism Attaché Richmond Jimenez at the Asian Culture Center on Saturday, November 25, with special guests DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo Teo, Consul General Adelio Cruz, travel agents, and members of the Filipino-American community.
“We know very well that holiday season is coming up and we have friends and family who are making it to the [Philippines],” Jimenez said. “There are those who already booked their flights from Vegas the Philippines from this time until April next year. So we would like to have you all take advantage of this opportunity because what’s great about this is registration is for free.”
Jimenez added that now is the best time to go to the Philippines given that many of the country’s islands have received accolades from magazines like Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, and National Geographic.
“All these other foreigners are starting to come over and just enjoy the country. So it’s about time for us to actually do our share, try to rediscover your roots, so this is actually one good start — to join Bring Home a Friend. Invite people over and you can get to win awesome prizes,” he said.
“Gusto namin na kayo na mismo, na kapag umuwi kayo sa Pilipinas, nakita niyo na yung lugar natin, will you come back dito sa States and you could all tell your friends na, ‘Ang ganda sa Pilipinas. Bumalik kayo. Pumunta kayo sa lugar namin. (We want you, that if you go to the Philippines, and you saw our country, you will come back to the States and tell your friends that ‘The Philippines is beautiful. Go back. Go to our country’),’” Teo told the audience. “‘Yun po ang reason (That’s the reason) why we launched this Bring Home a Friend because we need you to be ambassadors of the Philippines.”
Teo announced the revival of the BHAF program — which was first launched by former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor in 1994 — this past October.
A video was shown at the event featuring actor Piolo Pascual, wherein he showed that the program is easy to join by simply: Invite, Accept, Travel and Register!
To be a sponsor, individuals must be: a) 18 years old or over and, b) be either a Filipino with dual citizenship living in the Philippines or abroad as a resident or overseas worker, or a foreigner living in the Philippines permanently or temporarily for a minimum of six months before the raffle.
To qualify as an invitee, individuals must: a) hold a foreign passport or dual citizenship living abroad for a minimum of six months before the raffle b) have traveled to the Philippines during a certain period of time.
Prizes available to the sponsors include a condominium provided by Megaworld Corp. located in Eastwood, Libis (1st prize), a brand new Toyota Vios (2nd prize), and a P200,000 gift certificate from Duty Free Philippines (3rd prize). The sponsors’ foreign invitees can win round-trip business class plane tickets and trip packages to Palawan, Cebu and Davao — with all-expense paid stays at various resorts, such as El Nido and Pearl Farm.
To register for the promotion, sponsors must log onto the official BHAF website (www.bringhomeafriend.online) and sign up for Sponsor Registration. Then, they must log in and fill out the Invite a Friend Now form which sends invites to prospective guests; sponsors may send as many invites as desired.
Invitees will then receive an email and will need to fill out an application that requires uploaded photos of their passport, airline ticket and boarding pass as proof of travel.
Once the application and all the relevant documents are submitted, invitees will receive an email with coupon numbers. Depending on the invitee’s current residence, invitees will receive two or three raffle entries: folks from Asia and Australia/Oceania will receive two entries and those that hail from Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North and South America will receive three entries.
The BHAF promotion, which started on October 15, 2017, is valid until April 15, 2018. Prize winners will be announced shortly after the promotion ends.
In addition to BHAF, Jimenez is calling on the public to participate in a photo contest with DOT billboards and posters in Los Angeles. If you take a selfie and use the hashtags #PDOTLAContest and #ItsMoreFunInthePhillipines, “you may get a chance to win a trip to the Philippines by the end of the campaign which is by January 2018,” he said.