Archive | May, 2018

A whole new world for art lovers in Cape Town

Cape Town: A hike up Table Mountain, the floral fantasy of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, watching sunset from Signal Hill, enjoying the passing parade of people from all over the world at the V&A Waterfront, the stunning views from Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak Drive – these are among the many incredible experiences iconic to Cape Town, South Africa.

But Cape Town is also fast becoming the world’s newest hot spot in the art world. For art aficionados, there are now new experiences beyond the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York), the Tate Modern in London, or the Louvre in Paris. Africa is finding its feet among the art capitals of the world – and it’s not just the traditional craft work that most people associate with the continent.

Cape town South Africa

Cape town South Africa

“As with so many other forms of cultural expression, the art from Africa depicts the human experience of this region,” explains Avukile Mabombo, a Cape Town local who is the Group Marketing Manager for Protea Hotels by Marriott® and African Pride Hotels. “We are seeing the responses of people to our colonial history; the experience of racism and other forms of bigotry, both institutional and unofficial; and the clash of modern progress and traditional practices and cultures. These are the elements that largely characterise the works of art to be seen in local art exhibitions, particularly in the two new additions to Cape Town’s art scene: the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) and the Norval Foundation Gallery.

Zeitz Mocaa opened its doors to the pubic in September last year, while the Norval Foundation began welcoming visitors from the end of April this year. Both are galleries of international standard and showcase the work of artists recognised internationally as well as those with the potential to make their mark significantly on the world stage.

Commentary on society and the pressures it puts on people abound in the works showcased by both galleries. Many of the installations will leave the visitor with troubled thoughts – this is art geared to make one think and to challenge one’s own perceptions.

While Zeitz focuses on the contemporary in African art, the Norval collection incorporates a longer period. Its Re/discovery and Memory installation brings the works of talented artists from the 1950s to the public’s attention. Some of these were artists whose careers did not garner the notice they deserved at the time because of South Africa’s Apartheid system, which denied people of colour the attention they would otherwise have enjoyed. Sixty years later, South Africans are finally able to acknowledge the skill of sculptors and artists such as Sydney Khumalo and Ezrom Legae.

This installation also focuses on the effects of migration arising from political events: Serge Alain Nitegeka’s life story of his flight from civil war in Burundi and genocide in Rwanda highlights the disruption caused by events beyond one’s control. Similarly, Edoardo Villa, an Italian prisoner-of-war who remained in South Africa after the Second World War and became a world-renowned sculptor, explained that, “I did not decide myself to come to South Africa, somebody else decided for me!” This decision was to change the course of Villa’s life and his artistic career.

Both these leading galleries also offer something spectacular for those with an interest in architecture. The Zeitz Museum, Thomas Heatherwick’s brilliant conversion of a disused grain silo into Africa’s leading institution to house works from the continent on the continent, is of particular interest.

The Norval Foundation building, which showcases one of the largest private art collections in South Africa, was designed to take account of the sensitive wetland bordering the ground it sits on. An integral part of the construction project was to create a sculpture garden between the building and the wetland, which is home to a colony of endangered Western Leopard Toads. The entire project serves as an example of the successful integration of construction development and the rehabilitation of damaged environmental spaces.

Mabombo is thrilled to live in the city that is about to kickstart Africa’s journey into the global art scene. He concludes: “Travellers from all over the globe with an interest in art will now be able to reach multiple milestones on their bucket lists: a trip to one of the world’s most popular destinations, and the experience of the best art from Africa. And, for those who are members of Marriott Rewards, a trip like this could be one of the many benefits the world’s largest loyalty programme can offer.”

Check here for >> More Featured International Destinations

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Treasures of SOX boasts wonders of the South Philippines

(Makati City) The Treasures of SOX Travel and Tour Expo opened at the Glorietta Mall on May 6 featuring Region 12 – SOCCSKSARGEN’s spectrum of tourism experience, ranging from folklore to culture, ecotourism and beach parties.

One of the highlights of the SOX experience for 2018 is the 12th Philippine Bird Festival (May 10-12), featuring the Baras Bird Sanctuary of Tacurong City which is expected to draw in birdwatchers, conservationists and nature enthusiasts from all over Asia.

Treasures of SOX The Hinugyaw Cultural Dance Troupe graced the expo with colorful indigenous dances from Mindanao.

Treasures of SOX – The Hinugyaw Cultural Dance Troupe graced the expo with colorful indigenous dances from Mindanao.

Another highlight is the Sarbay Fest (May 24-26), dubbed the “Biggest Beach Festival of the South”, and Pyesta Kolon Datal (August 11-18), an international folklore festival that serves as venue for cultural exchange among various countries including the Philippines.

Debunking the long-held notion that Mindanao is not ideal for tourists due to its security issues, SOX Tourism Regional Director Maria Rica Bueno assured the region’s safety, emphasizing the vibrancy of the region’s international activities, such as the 12th PBF and the Pyesta Kolon Datal.

Treasures of SOX

Treasures of SOX in Makati City Philippines

“We wouldn’t be promoting and coming here if we feel that our visitors will be endangered.” said Bueno.

This statement was further on fortified when Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, herself a proud Mindanaoan, echoed Dir. Bueno’s statement on the region’s safety.

“Every time I go out of the country I always say ‘please don’t forget visit Mindanao, because it’s very safe there and we have everything that the tourists would want to see’, ” said Teo.

Meanwhile, various booths from the provinces of SOX featured indigenous and local products such as coffee, textiles, beads, and they also showcased some of the most sought-after nature destinations in the South.

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Mt. Carmel traslacion highlights Philippine faith tourism

(Manila, Philippines) – Filipino religious traditions and devotional practices around this predominantly Catholic country are increasingly attracting international and domestic tourists, according to the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (PDOT).

During the procession at the Quirino Grandstand.

During the procession at the Quirino Grandstand.

This was demonstrated recently when over 7,000 Catholic faithful joined the 4-kilometer procession from the Quirino Grandstand to San Sebastian Basilica to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel de Sebastian arrival to the Philippines.

During Friday’s celebration, Marian devotee Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo welcomed the image of Mt. Carmel which arrived at 5:00 am on Friday at the Manila Bay.

The traslacion started at 8:30 am from Quirino Grandstand and passed through Quiapo Church before it was greeted with fireworks as it arrived at San Sebastian Basilica at 11:00 am.

The image was a gift from the Discalced Carmelite Nuns from San Jose Monastery in Mexico City and was brought to the Philippines by the third group of Augustinian Recollect Missionaries on May 4, 1618.

The image was first enshrined at the Recollect Church of San Juan de Bagumbayan. Later, in 1621, it was enshrined at San Sebastian Basilica.

According to Teo, the Marian celebration is a good indication that faith-based tourism destination contribute significantly in the country’s tourism industry.

“Filipinos find comfort to the image of Mt. Carmel and it is a beautiful scene to witness. In addition to the scenic sites of centuries-old churches all over the country, our devotional practices are attracting more and more faith-based tourists,” Teo added.

Rev. Fr. Robin Plata, one of the event organizers, said that Filipinos must be reminded that we have a Mother, under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, who always guide us under her maternal protection.

“As a mother, she intercedes for her children and even gave a promise that whoever wears the brown scapular will not suffer hell at the hour of death,” said Fr. Plata.

The image was greeted with fireworks as it arrived at San Sebastian Basilica. Faith Tourism Philippines

The image was greeted with fireworks as it arrived at San Sebastian Basilica. Faith Tourism Philippines

Lolei Omongos, a devotee from Iligan City said she traveled 36 hours by sea to get to Manila to witness the celebration.
“Iba ang pakiramdam ng makita ang imahe ng mahal na ina, nararamdaman ko yung peace sa puso ko. Di ko alintana yung mahabang byahe at gastos,” she said.

Meanwhile, Plata thanked the DOT for promoting the faith-based tourism in the country.

“It is a good avenue to promote our rich religious culture. Our faith as Christians really gave us the iconic places and memorials that we have that will attract pilgrims and tourists,” he said.

Also Read: DOT challenges cities to be as ‘creative’ as Baguio City

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First quarter tourist arrivals in PH breach 2M, Chinese tourists close in on Koreans

(Manila, Philippines) International tourist arrivals for the first quarter of 2018 reached another milestone breaching the two million mark according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

“We already welcomed over two million foreign guests to the Philippines in just three months compared to last year when it took four months or until April to reach two million,” DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said.

Tourism statistics tallied 2,049,094 international visitors for the first quarter of the year, which is 14.80 percent higher compared to 1,784,882 for the same period in 2017.

“For the first quarter, it has been a tight contest between the Chinese and the Koreans. In fact, these two key markets, together with the Americans, already comprise more than half our tourist arrivals,” Teo added.



From the more than 86,000 gap between the Korean and Chinese tourist arrivals in January, the Chinese closed the margin to just 7,838 in March, on a per month basis comparison.

The Chinese remains the fastest growing market with 114,549 visitors for the month of March, at a remarkable 50.42 percent growth rate compared with the Koreans at 122,387.

First quarter Chinese travelers garnered 371,429 arrivals (54.53%) trailing behind the Koreans at 477,087 (8.22%) for the first three months of the year.

Not to be outdone, American tourists ranked third with 284,946 (10.44%), followed by the Japanese at 181,178 (8.98%), and Australians at 74,027 (10.81%).

Included in the top twelve tourist source markets are Canada, 70,501 (15.88%); Taiwan, 59,877 (-7.73%); United Kingdom, 56,521 (19.36%); Singapore, 44,398 (9.91%); Malaysia, 37,090 (7.79%); Hongkong, 36,777 (41.88%); and India, 32,999 (22.65%).

”Our target for the Chinese arrivals this year remains at 1.5 million as we strive for more quality tourists who spend more in the country,” Teo shared, also recalling the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Barometer, which named the Chinese tourists as the world’s top tourism spenders for 2017.

Said report cited that China spent the most at USD258 billion followed by America at USD135 billion, Germany at USD84 billion, the United Kingdom at USD63 billion, and France at USD41 billion.

On the other hand, Chinese tourists in the country spent almost USD50 per day with an average length of stay of 6.24 nights last year according to the DOT Annual Visitor Sample Survey 2017.

Shopping, sightseeing, and nature and adventure were the usual activities of the Chinese travelers.

Chinese vacationers spent most at department stores, souvenir and curio shops buying food delicacies, apparel, textile and garments, arts and crafts.

Also Read: Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) leads #SaveBoracay clean-up drive

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Celebrate Mom at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

Celebrate Mom: Only the best for the mom in your life

(Manila, Philippines) – Shower the queen of our hearts with all the best things they deserve. Marco Polo Ortigas Manila (check rates and availability) brings special treats, only for her.

Algotherm Facial at Flow Spa

Algotherm Facial at Flow Spa

Create meaningful journeys through an unforgettable staycation. Book a stay on 12 May with rates starting at 7,300 and enjoy benefits such as a buffet breakfast for two (2) adults and two (2) kids aged six (6) years old and below. Have lunch or dinner buffet at Cucina during your stay and Mom dines on us when accompanied by two (2) full paying adults. Let her and the family go on a culinary journey, featuring live-action stations of different cuisines featuring Japanese, Asian, Indian, and Italian. Enjoy the finest meats at the carving station, and top the experience with selections from the sumptuous dessert station.

Buffet carving station at Cucina

Buffet carving station at Cucina

Enjoy Cantonese fare with a special set menu at the award-winning Lung Hin, available only for this special day. Featured dishes are Steamed Live Garoupa with Supreme Soy Sauce, Braised Australian Abalone (six heads) with Dong Po Pork in Oyster Sauce, and Wok Fried Fresh Scallops with Squid and Broccoli. Special Longevity Peach Buns are included in the special set.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Moist Cake

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Moist Cake

Give her a special cake baked with love with the limited edition dark chocolate raspberry moist cake. This sweet treat has raspberry buttercream and chocolate ganache to savour.

Mothers' Day Special Set Menu at Lung Hin

Mothers’ Day Special Set Menu at Lung Hin

Complete the indulgence with the Pure Bliss package at Flow Spa. Give Mom the relaxing me-time which includes a Salt and Aloe Vera Body Scrub, Aromatherapy Massage, and Algotherm Facial, a 2 hour and 30 minute pampering session for 5,100.

Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge cocktail Celebrate Mom at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Only the best for the mom in your life

Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge cocktail – Celebrate Mom at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Only the best for the mom in your life

To know more about Twice in a Row Five-Star Award Winner, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, visit Follow the Hotel in Facebook at or @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.

Also Read: New Hotel packages launched for Marco Polo Hotels

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