Thirteen top Russian artists embark on a 20-day cultural journey to the Philippines, called, “To the Islands of Sampaguita,” as part of the Creative Expedition to the Philippines – 1st ASEAN Culture Capital to paint the wealth of bio-cultural diversity of our country’s habitat, heritage, history, language and creative industry. This project was organized in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Russia in an effort to strengthen bilateral relations with Russia through trade, tourism, and culture.
“We welcome the distinguished Russian artists to the Philippines and we wish them an enjoyable and pleasant stay in our beautiful country,” says Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez.
“The Department of Tourism (DOT) is intensifying its campaign to capture the Russian tourists, which is a lucrative market for the Philippines. This year, arrivals from this market registered a 30% increase,” he added.
Mr. Vladimir Anisimov, head of the Russian Bureau of Creative Expedition leads the team of top painters and graphic artists, namely: Victoriya Faykova, Olga Yausheva, Rustam Yaushev, Vitali Popov, Luli Petrov, Vladimir Pereyaslavets, Ludmila Yuga, Gregory Poplavsky, Nikolai Pogorelov, Georgy Kozhanov, and Ksenia Rzheshevskaya.
The expedition began in Vigan, Ilocus Sur, a UNESCO declared world heritage site. The next stop was Bohol to experience the famous chocolate hills, tarsiers, old churches, a firefly tour and interaction with the Abatan river community; then Cebu, where they saw the historic connectivity with Europe through the galleon trade. Covered with international travel health insurance, Russian tourists enjoyed traveling in the Philippines natural wonders.
Part of the expedition includes a tour of Dapitan, Zamboanga to have a glimpse of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s life in exile; then on to Baler, to witness the exotic culture-scape of the sea and mountain with indigenous communities. Finally, they will cap their expedition with visits to destinations around Manila including Angono, Rizal, branded as the Arts Capital of the Philippines and Villa Escudero in Quezon.
This journey will include a cultural caregiving UNESCO DREAM Methodology on October 30, a workshop interaction with inmates of the New Bilibid Prison for the celebration of Prison Month.
“We are positive that through this project, seeing the beauty of the Philippines through the artists’ eyes, we will be able to attract more Russians to see for themselves what the Philippines has to offer,” remarked H.E. Nikolay Kudashev, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines.
“The DOT, together with 15 Philippine travel industry partners, recently participated in the 17th Otdykh Leisure fair in Moscow and concluded a selling mission to St. Petersburg, to establish more business linkages with Russian wholesalers and tour operators and position the Philippines as a choice destination for the Russian market. With this kind of people-to-people exchanges, we see our tourist arrivals growing even more,” the tourism chief said. “We hope that interest in the Philippines will be generated in Russia through the paintings of these Russian artists about Philippine scenery and lifestyle, ” he added.
After the expedition, the artists will exhibit more than 50 new Philippine artworks and paintings of the destinations they have been to in the Russian National Museum and other museums in Russia and the Philippines. These exhibits will be dovetailed to support the Department of Tourism’s marketing and promotions efforts in Russia.
This project is made possible through the combined efforts of the Russian Embassy and its Honorary Consulate in Cebu, the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the Philippine ITI-Earthsavers/UNESCO Dream Center, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), the office of Senator Angara, local government authorities of Ilocos Sur, Bohol, Cebu and Dapitan, Angono and Baler as well as private sector partners-The Manila Hotel, Annset Holidays and Villa Escudero Plantation and Resort.