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The world’s least touristy place, but the most beautiful

There is this trend among travelers to find the most remote and least touristy places. Why? Because most of us think that a place overcrowded with tourists makes that particular location less appealing. It is an easy thing to understand. You go on vacation, you do not want to deal with too many tourists or shops at every corner and on every beach. That is why I recommend that you look into Wallis and Futuna.

most beautiful spots in Kenya
most beautiful spots in Kenya

Wallis and Futuna are two islands that are French overseas territories. They are pretty far away for most of us being located near Fiji and Samoa. Futuna is mainly uninhabited, while the other island has about 5000 people. It is the kind of place where you can go on one of the beaches and not see anyone all day long. That makes it ideal for people who just want to disconnect themselves from everyone and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Wallis and Futuna may be a bit far away, but getting is quite easy. Most of the nationalities in the world do not need a visa to access the islands. While some of them need just an ID card to board the plane, others require some sort of travel document. A passport is sufficient in many cases. Basically, getting to Wallis and Futuna is not discouraged by the fact that there is a tedious and time-consuming visa application process, which is a big plus for many travelers.

You would think that such a secluded place like Wallis and Futuna would not have the commodities you expect, but you would be wrong. It may be in the middle of nowhere, and very few people may go there, but you can enjoy every comfort you need. The accommodation is more than satisfactory, you have TV, internet (although it may be kind of slow), and delicious food. It is safe to say that in Wallis and Futuna and you can enjoy a comfortable vacation without handling the overcrowding.

Beach in Kenya
Beach in Kenya

As you can imagine, the best thing about Wallis and Futuna is the beaches. You will find the most beautiful beaches in the world. The sand is white, the water is clear blue, and the fact that there is vegetation on the beach provides the shade you need to not get sunburned. Plus, as I mentioned above, if you are lucky, you can stay on a beach and not encounter anyone else the entire day. Nobody will bother you or ask you about anything.

Since there are not so many touristy activities in Wallis and Futuna, you can go explore the islands if you get bored with the sand. You will be shown many trails, and some of them are lovely. Flora is spectacular, and you will be able to go through it like in some little jungle. I am sure that you are going to love it.

One thing that you need to take care of before you leave for Wallis and Futuna is to learn some French. It is the official language, and English is not widely spoken. The French-speaking community may know some English, but most people on the islands are bilingual, and English is not one of those two languages. So, some basic French phrases will come in handy.

The last thing we would want is to overcrowd Wallis and Futuna as we did all the other tropical paradises in the world. However, it had to be mentioned. It is a small piece of heaven at the end of the world, and it deserves more recognition. Just don’t go there all at once. We should preserve the isolation and the peacefulness Wallis and Futuna have to offer.

This article was brought to you by MyPassportPhotos.

Also Read: A whole new world for art lovers in Cape Town

Fall Into Tranquility at Flow Spa Manila

(Manila, Philippines) Experience relaxation that soothes the senses with treatments that will take away all the body’s tensions, only at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Flow Spa.

Algotherm Product at Flow Spa Manila
Algotherm Product at Flow Spa Manila

Located at the heart of the hotel’s Flow Wellness and Recreation Centre, the spa features a wide range of services perfect for unwinding and relaxation. These treatments are also delivered by professionally-trained therapists who place the utmost care and attention to one’s well-being.

One of the main highlights of the spa are its facial treatments which are developed with the marine-based brand, Algotherm. With its 40-year legacy of exceptional skincare product development, Algotherm uses seaweed extracts and other marine ingredients that target the following concerns: anti-aging, soothing, or balancing.

The spa is also known for its signature body scrubs which feature natural ingredients. Clean the pores with Salt and Aloe Vera; ask for the Organic Red Rice treatment which includes ginger for healing; or reduce the appearance of cellulite and varicose veins with Philippine Barako Coffee. For its specialty treatments, the spa also offers a unique blend of rejuvenating services by Amuin™ that boost the mind, body, and soul. Choose from Sigla for uplifting and energy-boosting blend of essential oils, or Hulay for calming and relaxing blend of essential oils.

Fall Into Tranquility at Flow Spa Manila
Fall Into Tranquility at Flow Spa Manila

Enjoy an ultimate body pampering with these treatments and more. Choose the one that caters to your needs and receive a complimentary 30-minute massage. This promotion may be availed daily from 8 AM to 5 PM until the end of August 2018.

Flow Spa promises to sustain the highest standards of hospitality, tranquillity, and luxury. Open daily from 08:00 AM to 12:00 MN, or until 02:00 AM for in-room treatments, the spa welcomes both guests checked into the hotel and those who simply want a relaxing time. For more information contact (632) 720 7777 or book online via www.marcopolohotels.com or email: manila@marcopolohotels.com. Visit facebook.com/MarcoPoloOrtigasManila or follow @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.

A Happy Father’s Day at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

Dads dine free at Cucina on Father’s Day Weekend and enjoy month-long refreshing rewards at Flow Spa

(Manila, Philippines) – Nothing beats the love that father’s provide. Celebrate the man of the house as Marco Polo Ortigas Manila pays tribute to our family’s heroes.

Barbecued Cold Cuts Platter
Barbecued Cold Cuts Platter

Celebrate the dad in your life and go on a culinary journey featuring special dishes from different cuisines. Feast on Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Sauce and Roast Angus Beef with Horseradish Sauce, available at the Carvery Station. Executive Chef Alisdair Bletcher also features signature dishes such as Medallions of Beef with Onion Gratin and Onion Jus, and Sumac Rubbed Chicken on Roasted Vegetables with Lemon Coriander Dressing. As a special treat for the man of the house, dads dine for free for every two paying guests, on 15 to 17 June.

Chocolate Truffle Creme Brulee
Chocolate Truffle Creme Brulee

Have a fine Oriental feast as Lung Hin curates a special set menu, showcasing authentic and traditional Cantonese dishes. Steamed Live Garoupa in Supreme Soy Sauce, Authentic Hong Kong Chicken with Ginger Juice, and Barbecued Cold Cuts Platter are just some of the dishes lined up, available only on Father’s Day (17 June).


A sweet treat awaits guests at Café Pronto with Chocolate Truffle Crème Brûlée, a blend of silky smooth crème brûlée and chocolate truffle ganache, topped with melt-in-your-mouth brownie pieces. This delightful creation is only available this month.

Lung Hin Fathers Day Set Menu
Lung Hin Fathers Day Set Menu

Finally, reward Dad for all his hard work with a rejuvenating treatment for Pure Bliss. This complete package includes a 30-minute Organic Red Rice Body Scrub, a 60-minute Aromatherapy Massage, and a 60-minute Algotherm Facial for only Php 5,100.00. This limited offer is only available until the end of June 2018.

Pure Bliss for Dad
Pure Bliss for Dad

Learn more about what amazing treats are in store for Dad and the entire family by logging on to www.marcopolohotels.com. Keep updated via our social media accounts: facebook.com/MarcoPoloOrtigasManila or @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.

Also Read: Marco Polo Hotels: It’s All in the Packaging

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

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

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.

Sagada Travel Guide Blog

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 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

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 www.marcopolohotels.com. Follow the Hotel in Facebook at facebook.com/MarcoPoloOrtigasManila or @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.

Also Read: New Hotel packages launched for Marco Polo Hotels

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

BORACAY, AKLAN – On the first day of the Boracay rehabilitation, the Department of Tourism (DOT) led the first wave of clean-up drive along the stretch of Bulabog Beach as part of #SaveBoracay rehabilitation efforts.

Over 200 volunteers participated in the clean-up of the Bulabog Beach, the kite boarding and windsurfing playground of Boracay #SaveBoracay
Over 200 volunteers participated in the clean-up of the Bulabog Beach, the kite boarding and windsurfing playground of Boracay #SaveBoracay

More than 200 volunteers arrive from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s Environmental Management Bureau, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies Boracay chapter, Caticlan Airport, resort employees and informal workers.

Looking for Best Hotels in Boracay? Visit Agoda to save time and money on your hotel selection with millions of reviews and options to choose from.

DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo got down on the ground to join the hundred of volunteers.

“The simple acts of throwing your trash properly and picking up rubbish you see goes along way as we go all out in rehabilitating Boracay,” said Teo.

The world’s best island according to Condé Nast Traveler, has temporarily closed its doors to tourists starting April 26 upon Proclamation No. 475 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte declaring the state of calamity of barangays Balabag, Manoc-manoc, and Yapak.

Volunteers from Brgy. Balabag, Southwest Travel and Tours, and employees of other government agencies also helped out during the clean-up.

According to DOT VI Regional Director Atty. Helen Catalbas, the Department thru the regional office is working double time on the plans laid out for the island and the region.

Among the plans are the launching of cruise tourism in other parts of Western Visayas Region, repair and repainting of pumpboats, accreditation campaign for compliant establishment, and massive training program.

Boracay White Beach on the first day of the closure
Boracay White Beach on the first day of the closure

Various training and seminar includes modules for local guiding, foreign language for Mandarin and Korean, international standards for hospitality service, tourist police, kulinarya training for rural community, tourist security and safety seminar, UNESCO World Heritage site guiding and preservation, tourist destination website development and upgrading, first aid and basic life support, disaster risk reduction management, tourism renovation and self-reinvention, safety and emergency response, and festival management.

Over 5,000 thank you cards were also handed out to local and foreign tourists leaving the island.

Also Read: Philippine Department of Tourism pursues alternative livelihood during Boracay ‘upgrading’

The Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai to showcase the Philippines as wellness hub

The Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai, known as the biggest annual travel fair in the Middle East, will showcase the Philippines’ health and wellness attractions next week.

The Philippines as a Wellness Hub

A delegation from the Department of Tourism (DOT), Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and Philippine operators will represent the country at the ATM to be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center on April 22-25, 2018.

The Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai to showcase the Philippines as wellness hub??
The Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai to showcase the Philippines as wellness hub

“Although the Philippines has long been attracting visitors from all over the world because of its pristine beaches and dive sites, it is yet to be known as a health and wellness destination. The Arabian Travel Market is the perfect venue for promoting the Philippine destinations where tourists can visit to relax and rejuvenate themselves,” said DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.

Aside from putting up a Philippine pavilion at the event where some of country’s top health and wellness attractions will take center stage, the DOT and TPB will also hold business-to-business (B2B) sessions where Dubai tour operators can meet with the country’s tour operators including from the health and wellness providers to discuss possible business partnerships.

Now on its 22nd year, the ATM attracts over 30,000 visitors from the Middle East, Europe and other regions every year. More than 3,000 products and destinations from around the world are highlighted in the four-day event, including B2B meetings that result in the signing of more than US$2.5 billion worth of deals.

“The health and wellness tourism industry is a US3.7-trillion global business. As an emerging health and wellness tourism destination with a huge potential to become a global leader, the Philippines certainly has a lot of investment and business opportunities to offer,” said Roberto P. Alabado III, director of DOT’s Medical Travel and Wellness Tourism Office.