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DOT challenges cities to be as ‘creative’ as Baguio City

BAGUIO CREATIVE CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) urged other cities to intensify its creativity as Baguio City made headway being named one of the 64 new cities included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

DOT-CAR Regional Director Marie Venus Tan (second from left), UNESCO Philippines Secretary-General Lilia Ramos-Shahani (third from left), and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan (fourth from left) led the ribbon cutting of the Creative Baguio, an exhibition hub showcase of crafts and folk arts
DOT-CAR Regional Director Marie Venus Tan (second from left), UNESCO Philippines Secretary-General Lilia Ramos-Shahani (third from left), and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan (fourth from left) led the ribbon cutting of the Creative Baguio, an exhibition hub showcase of crafts and folk arts

“We challenge other cities to be more creative. Baguio City is the first and hopefully there will be second, third, and more cities that will be recognized by UNESCO in the creative arts and other fields of the recognition,” Tourism Undersecretary Marco Bautista said during the unveiling of the Baguio City Creative Hub at the Malcolm Square, popularly known as the People’s Park.

The UCCN is now composed of 180 members from 72 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. Baguio is the first Philippine city to be chosen for the elite list and the 5th in Southeast Asia.

The other ASEAN cities in the network are Chiang Mai, and Phuket, Thailand for crafts and folk art and gastronomy, respectively, Singapore for design, and Pakalongan and Badung, Indonesia, both for crafts and folk art.

Copper wire figurines portraying the different members of the Igorot tribes
Copper wire figurines portraying the different members of the Igorot tribes

“One of UNESCO’s objective in establishing this kind of network is for different cities to learn from each other and learn how tourism, culture, and creativity can drive the economy,” Undersecretary Bautista added.

Baguio City Creative Council (BCC) Chair Adelaida Lim shared that the recognition is going to be beneficial to the city’s economy as it creates more jobs and inspires the younger generation to continue the traditional crafts and folk art.

“This endeavor will definitely provide more opportunities for Baguio’s creative community to be recognized at a wider scale. We anticipate the formalization of the BCCC as a means to strengthen the legal framework and institutionalize the roles of various stakeholders,” UNESCO Philippines Secretary-General Lilia Ramos-Shahani said.

The Baguio City Creative Hub, which is one of the highlights of the 23rd Panagbenga Festival, exhibits around twenty booths featuring weaving, basketry, jewelry, painting, and visual arts products from Baguio and the Cordillera artisans.

Local artists doing their best interpretation of the model at the visual arts booth of the Creative Baguio Exhibition Hub
Local artists doing their best interpretation of the model at the visual arts booth of the Creative Baguio Exhibition Hub

“As a matter of fact, DOT- Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) headed by Regional Director Marie Venus Tan is very aggressive in promoting the UNESCO designation. Hopefully, there would be a new invigorated interest in our local handicrafts and folk arts so that we can also help in the livelihood of our artisans and the artists,” BCCC member Alec Mapalo stated.

According to DOT-CAR, Baguio City recorded 1,521,748 tourist arrivals last year for a 17.52% increase from 2016’s 1,294,906 with an average length of stay of two nights.

Americans remained the top tourist source market of the City of Pines followed by the Koreans then the Chinese. Japanese and Singaporeans complete the top five markets of the city in 2017.

Baguio Creative City official logo: National Artist Benedicto Cabrera based the logo on a traditional Cordillera design for mountains with the colors of the middle mountain range inspired by the Philippine flag
Baguio Creative City official logo: National Artist Benedicto Cabrera based the logo on a traditional Cordillera design for mountains with the colors of the middle mountain range inspired by the Philippine flag

The Baguio Creative City official logo was also revealed, which was rendered by National Artist for Painting Benedicto Cabrera, popularly known as BenCab.

The Baguio City Creative Hub runs from February 11-24.

Romantic Indulgence at Flow Spa

Nothing beats celebrating love and its magic with an intimate and indulgent escape to tranquillity as Flow Spa brings a full wellness treatment special this love month.

Flow Spa
Flow Spa

A garden of serenity and relaxation, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Flow Spa offers a variety of treatments from foot reflexology, whole-body massages and rejuvenating facials by the brand Algotherm, a marine-based line from France which utilizes seaweed extracts and other marine ingredients. It is located at the heart of the hotel’s Flow Wellness and Recreation Center which also includes a fitness center and an infinity pool. The spa features a welcoming reception and a relaxing lounge, two double rooms and one single room.

Romantic evening cocktails at Continental Club Lounge
Romantic evening cocktails at Continental Club Lounge

Have a bliss with Flow Spa’s indulgent treatment package this February, which features a 30-minute body scrub and 60-minute Swedish or Combination Massage. Enjoy drinks high above the city with a romantic evening cocktail, with unlimited wine, local beer, juices, and cocktails, and heavy appetizers, to complete the night, at the Continental Club Lounge. This whole package is available at 8,600 for two persons until the 28th of February.

Flow Spa Reception
Flow Spa Reception

Flow Spa is located at the 22nd floor of Forbes Five-Star Award Winner, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila (check rates), with its treatments starting at Php 1,800. Flow Spa is not exclusive to the Hotel’s in-house guests. Flow Spa is open daily from 08:00 AM to 12:00 MN, or until 02:00 AM for in-room treatments. 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.

Wharf Hotels Introduces Chinese New Year Offers To Welcome The Year of The Dog

To welcome the auspicious Year of the Dog, Wharf Hotels has launched two new offers across fifteen of its Niccolo and Marco Polo Hotels in China, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Sky Lobby
Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Sky Lobby

Offers for both brands include extra benefits so guests may experience new getaways and discover vibrant destinations in style.

At Marco Polo Hotels (Check Manila Rates), guests may enjoy enticing perks in celebration of the New Year including:

  • Buffet Breakfast for two
  • Early check-in and late check-out
  • 50% off the 2nd consecutive night, for guests born in the Year of the Dog
  • A complimentary room upgrade for a minimum of 3 consecutive nights stay
  • 30% off for a second room booking
  • New year treats to enjoy this season

Bookings for Marco Polo hotels in the popular destinations of Beijing, Cebu, Davao, Hong Kong, Changzhou, Foshan, Jinjiang, Manila, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Xiamen, may be made at marcopolohotels.com.

Marco Polo Manila Deluxe Room
Marco Polo Manila Deluxe Room
Cucina Breakfast
Cucina Breakfast

To know more about Marco Polo Ortigas Manila (check rates), visit www.marcopolohotels.com. Follow the Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Award Winner, on Facebook at facebook.com/MarcoPoloOrtigasManila or @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.

Chinese to come in droves with new air routes to the Philippines

The Philippines stands to gain in the influx of more Chinese visitors with the first-ever direct charter flight from Xiamen (XMN), a coastal city in Fujian Province of China to Puerto Princesa City (PPS), Palawan starting next month.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) paved the way for the creation of the XMN-PPS route which will be launched by February 10 by C&D Travel Service China, a charter operator based in Xiamen, with Philippine Airlines (PAL) as the partner carrier.

Visit Philippines
Visit Philippines

“We continue to welcome more Chinese tourists to the country as part of the improved diplomatic relationship between Manila and Beijing since President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China last year,” said DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.

Regular operations will ensue on February 14 and 18, which will accommodate more visitors from mainland China.

PAL will be utilizing an Airbus A320 with an estimated 160 dual class seat passenger capacity for the said charter flight.

“Just for starters, the new route will produce a total of 480 international air seats just for that period alone. This is on top of the other new routes that Chinese carriers have opened up direct to other tourist destinations in the Philippines last year,” said Benito Bengzon, Jr., DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development.

Bengzon went on to say, “Another new route from China that our Route Development Team is working on is the Tiajin (TJN)-Puerto Princesa (PPS) also in time for the Chinese New Year. The development of new routes is in consonance with our National Tourism Development Plan’s strategy to improve air connectivity from major tourist source markets to the Philippines.”

To meet the growing demand of Chinese visitors to come to Boracay, Xiamen Airlines earlier this month mounted its direct air commercial services from Fuzhou (FOC), China to Kalibo, Aklan (KLO) using Airbus A321 with 197 seat passenger capacity on a three times weekly frequency.

The said new route was launched last January 12 by Xiamen Airlines with Uni-Orient Travel (PHL) as its major partner.

China, which is the second largest source market of the country following Korea, produced 968,447 tourist arrivals from January to December last year. It is a huge growth of 43.33% from the 2016 Chinese arrivals of 675,663.

DOT Route Development Team Head Erwin Balane added that the new FOC-KLO route will produce up to 591 international air seats bound for the Philippines per week or a total of 30,732 seats per year.

Philippine Department of Tourism rolls out cruise tourism strategy

Philippine Department of Tourism rolls out cruise tourism strategy

The Department of Tourism (DOT) recently concluded a four-day workshop which brought together key personnel from the government infrastructure agencies, to firm up a cruise tourism strategy for the country.

The MDG on Cruise Tourism makes an inspection visit of Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union, as potential homeport. Eliza Maconocido, Manager for Business Development, Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) briefs the group about the site development plan of the Poro Point Free Port Zone.
The MDG on Cruise Tourism makes an inspection visit of Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union, as potential homeport. Eliza Maconocido, Manager for Business Development, Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) briefs the group about the site development plan of the Poro Point Free Port Zone.

The Cruise Strategy identified developments in the “Turquoise Triangle” linking the popular tourist destinations of Manila, Boracay, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan. The potential for new cruise destinations in the north of Luzon, where ships departing East Asian hubs can arrive after one day at sea, has likewise been pinpointed in the plan.

DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo emphasized, “Once completed, the cruise strategy will pave the way for definitive actions and investments into infrastructure, facilities and services. Clearly, our job is to set up the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. These include enhancement of ship access through the development of port and shore-side infrastructure; facilitation of business entry and offering exciting tour packages, among others. Only then can we draw in the much-needed foreign direct investments to pump-prime the industry. We must surge ahead to build this multi-million dollar travel sector and disperse the economic benefits to the countryside.”

Mr. Thomas E. Blamey, Principal of CHART Management Consultants, points out identified areas as potential ports to strengthen the country’s appeal as a cruise destination.
Mr. Thomas E. Blamey, Principal of CHART Management Consultants, points out identified areas as potential ports to strengthen the country’s appeal as a cruise destination.

Cruise tourism is one of the nine product portfolios identified in the DOT’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) that will enhance the competitiveness of the country as a tourist destination in the Asia Pacific region. The other products are nature-based; cultural, sun and beach; MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions); leisure and entertainment; diving and marine sports; health, wellness and retirement; and, educational tourism.

Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., who heads the Cruise Tourism Development Committee for the Philippines said that in 2016, the Philippines has attracted just 72 cruise port calls, a relatively small share as compared to the top Asian ports which are Singapore with 374 port calls in 2014 and Jeju Island and Hongkong with 217 and 200, respectively.

DOT Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. stresses the importance of convergence to effectively implement the cruise tourism strategy
DOT Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. stresses the importance of convergence to effectively implement the cruise tourism strategy

“As a key element of our strategy, we are determined to build new dedicated cruise facilities, most especially in Manila. A superior cruise port and terminal in the capital, with its extensive airlift and ground facilities, will create a compelling reason for large ships to spend time in the Philippines. Once here, they can achieve outstanding port density with efficient cruising speeds. “Future growth in cruise tourism is guaranteed with strong support from the government and private sectors, a highly professional and experienced network of port agents and tour operators, plus growing awareness from major cruise lines of all the Philippine archipelago has to offer” enthused Bengzon.

The draft strategy was presented by CHART Management Consulting. It was commissioned by the United States Agency for Development (USAID) and the DOT to lead a team in undertaking extensive field work, interviews, analysis, and direction. This jumpstarts the series of consultative workshops aimed at formulating action plans to implement the strategy.

Handy Tips To Make Your Vacation Experience The Best One Yet

If you are planning to embark upon a long overdue and much needed vacation sojourn, there are a few handy tips that you should keep in mind in order to ensure that you end up having a safe, pleasant, and worry free experience.

Whats inside your Luggage
Whats inside your Luggage

Keep in mind these are only a few of the various important details that you need to know in order to make the most of your trip. Always use proper safety precautions when planning for travel, whether within the country or (especially) overseas. Make sure your friends and family members know where you are headed. Continue reading Handy Tips To Make Your Vacation Experience The Best One Yet

5 places to check out at City of Dreams Manila

5 reasons to visit the new City of Dreams Manila

A new gaming and entertainment destination recently opened – City of Dreams Manila has joined the ranks as one of the largest integrated resort and casino destinations in the Philippines.

bingo
Bingo

Its advertisements were much talked-about, featuring bigwigs in Hollywood including Leonardo di Caprio and Robert de Niro. When it opened, it did not disappoint. The luxurious interiors of the hotels, the dining options and the gaming floors really did open a new era of entertainment.

Don’t miss out and check out these five reasons to visit City of Dreams Manila.

1. Relax and stay at beautiful Japanese-themed Nobu Hotel

Nobu Hotel, inspired by world-famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, has over 300 rooms all wonderfully created to give you the zen feel of Japan. Low-ceiling rooms are adorned with custom-made calligraphy, promoting “chi” or a flow of good energy.

Enjoy the swimming pool and spa services for a truly relaxing stay. And of course, don’t miss out on the highly acclaimed Nobu restaurant for a taste of Japanese fusion dishes.

2. Feel the thrill at Centerplay, the City of Dreams casino

Play your best hand at William Hill poker, or take a crack at Deal or No Deal William Hill Bingo, which is based on the popular TV game show. Or join the Reel to Millions slot tournament to get a chance to win P17 million worth of prizes.

3. Experience a different kind of nightlife at Chaos

Party with the Metro’s elite crowd at Chaos, a different kind of superclub experience featuring international DJs, acrobats and other entertainers. During its opening, singer Nicole Sherzinger was among the first to grace its stage, saying she enjoyed performing for the Manila nightlife crowd.

4. Play and explore at DreamPlay by DreamWorks

The first DreamWorks-themed interactive center, DreamPlay features some of DreamWorks’
iconic animated movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar.
There are different attractions to entertain both kids and the kids-at-heart. Explore Shrek’s world
at the Swamp Stomp, learn how to fly your own dragon with Hiccup, and create your own
animated 3D movie at the Dream Studio!

5. Go on a luxurious international food trip

Choose from among a wide array of restaurants to dine at in City of Dreams Manila. For noodle
lovers, Noodl8 is a must as it features different kinds of specialty noodle dishes from all over Asia.
Visit The Tasting Room for European cuisine paired with the best wine selection. Red Ginger,
meanwhile, is a Southeast Asian restaurant that’s open all-day. Try the Rendang Freshwater King
Prawns and their best-seller Nasi Goreng.

Top Tips for Checking in a Hotel Room

When you are looking for accommodation in a hotel, there are several precautions to take to ensure that you will enjoy your trip and that you will return home without any incidences. Not every location you travel to is safe. Therefore, the following tips are meant to be a guide to staying in Singapore hotels.

Marina Bay Sands in Singapore – photo by Wikimedia
Marina Bay Sands in Singapore – photo by Wikimedia

Selecting Your Room

1. Select a room that is located between the fourth and sixth floors. Avoid rooms that are above this level. The reason is that the fire department ladders can cover a maximum of six levels, so in case of a fire in the hotel, your safety is assured. Continue reading Top Tips for Checking in a Hotel Room

More International Cruise Ships want to dock in Boracay

The Aklan Provincial Government welcomes the initiative of international cruise ship companies to dock in this resort island.

Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises

Niven Maquirang, jetty port administrator, said that the United Kingdom-based Oceania Cruises has started selling tickets for its new route. Continue reading More International Cruise Ships want to dock in Boracay

Blue Water Cave: Bukidnon’s hidden paradise

For adventurous people who like to smell wood blossoms in the cool fresh mountain air while plunging in a gently flowing cool blue waters, or go into caving or spelunking: Blue Water Cave in this landlocked province of Bukidnon is one perfect place to go.

The 'blue water' cave.
Blue Water Cave photo by : www.caboose.org.uk

Municipal town Mayor Gregorio Gue of Quezon said that the local government and a non-government organization (NGO) Kiokong Climbing Society—a non-profit group that now develops the Kiokong Eco-Tourism project here, oversees town visitors’ activities such as trekking and spelunking especially during weekends. Continue reading Blue Water Cave: Bukidnon’s hidden paradise