Philippines E-Newsletter

Since its inception in 2006, Friends Philippines has continued to assist the Department of Tourism (PDOT) London Field Office in implementing projects and initiatives that foster greater appreciation of the country's cultural, adventure and natural attractions.

In March this year, Friends Philippines partnered with DOT London in organizing a cocktail reception at the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace at the House of Lords. The event was attended by some 150 guests and was meant to highlight the numerous tourism investment opportunities offered in the Philippines.

This month also sees the launching of the Friends Philippines Northern Mindanao Tour for November this year. Participants will get to experience attractions and places not usually featured in mainstream tour operator brochures.

Familiarization Trips are concurrently being implemented by PDOT for travel writers and photojournalists that will provide humongous exposure of Philippine tourist destinations in UK and European travel publications.

In this issue:

  Major Programs
  Featured Festival
  Destination of the Month
  Package of the Month
  DOT News

Major Programs


Friends Philippines Cocktail Reception at the House of Lords

The Friends Philippines Cocktail Reception at the House of Lords held last 26 March proved to be a hugely successful event which underscored the three themes of tourism investments, medical tourism and retirement.

The event was attended by more than 150 prominent representatives from different financial institutions, investment bodies, the government, the media and the travel industry.

Enlightening speeches were delivered by Domingo Ramon Enerio III, Director of DOT London, Paul Dimond, Chairman of Friends Philippines and the Rt. Hon. Lord McNally, Baron of Blackpool and host of the event. The keynote address was presented by Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Antonio Lagdameo. All emphasized on the timeliness of investing in Philippine tourism.

Ambassador Lagdameo cited the numerous advantages by the Philippines, such as increased government incentives and the opportunities arising from the growing tourism market. Also noted was the Filipino's proficiency in the English language, which makes business dealings less complicated especially for British firms.

Friends Philippines Business Seminar on Tourism Investments

Following the Friends Philippines Cocktail Reception at the House of Lords last 26 March 2010, a business seminar is being orchestrated on June 24 where the Philippines will once again be promoted for tourism investments.

The seminar will likewise serve as a B2B event where various projects can be initially discussed with potential partners. There will be a maximum of 60 participants representing various banks, investment houses and financial institutions that may have an interest in the Philippines for hotel and/or resort development or management and other tourism-related businesses.

Said business seminar will be followed in the latter half of the year by an Investor’s Mission and Familiarization Visit to the Philippines.

Positive Publicity Resulting from Numerous Familiarization Trips

DOT London continues to score publicity mileage as a result of various familiarization trips organized and implemented on behalf of visiting photojournalists and travel writers. Hereunder are some of DOT London's ongoing fam trip projects:

12 Mar - 1 Apr - Graeme Greene, a photojournalist and travel editor for various national publications is currently on a widespread trip to various corners of the country including: Manila, Cebu, Malapascua, Donsol, El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Puerto Galera, Banaue, Sagada and Bohol.

27 Mar - 14 Apr - Michael Arditti is set to write a travel article for the Times as well as a religious novel set in the country. His programme in the Philippines will allow him to cover the Moriones festival and observe the local practices of the Filipino people during Holy Week. Michael will travel north to Banaue and Sagada to visit the famed Rice Terraces and Igorot tribes, as well as to the south where he is scheduled to inspect theT'boli tribes of Lake Sebu.

11 - 21 Apr - Oscar San Martin and Ms. Maria Ipina, of the Spanish travel trade publication Ediciones T&A, will be capturing images of the different attractions in Manila, Banaue, Sagada and El Nido which they will feature and write about in the magazine.

07 - 16 May - Gary Quinn of the Irish Times, who will visit Manila, Cebu, Bohol and Boracay and write about his travel experiences to these highly popular destinations. This trip is being organized in cooperation with Etihad Airways.

London Internation Dive Show

The recently concluded London International Dive Show 2010 held at ExCel, Docklands, London attracted hundreds of dive specialist exhibitors and suppliers showcasing the very latest in diving packages, equipment, dive leisurewear, training courses, holiday resorts, destinations and many more. Packed full of ideas, offers and inspirations for the best dive thrills destinations, the show also gave both seasoned divers and those new to the sport the chance to try out and purchase the latest diving gears and kits. The Dive Show, which run from March 27-28, also featured world-renowned diving experts to the speaker programmes that run alongside the event. Topics covered include marine conservation, underwater filming and photography and recent dive tours, discoveries and adventures.

The Philippine Stand, surrounded by tropical palm plants with bamboo accents and located at the entrance, showcased Dive Philippines promotional campaign. Visitors were enthused by some diving scenes on the overhead tarpaulin featuring the thresher sharks in Malapascua, the whale sharks in Donsol, the coral reefs in Puerto Galera and a lot more. The exhibit was participated in by leading dive operators and resorts from the Philippines, namely: Atlantis Dive Resort, Marco Vincent, Kasai Village, Cruise and Island Adventure/Expedition Fleet and Skylord Travel. Media footages and various dive presentations were likewise prominent during the two-day event making the Philippine stand more visible and inviting.

During the show, several divers who have visited the Philippines expressed their never ending admiration for the country and recommended the Philippines as a value for money diving destination topped with warm and friendly Filipinos. In fact, a number of them are already looking forward to go back to the country this year while many others either sincerely expressed interest or instantly made travel bookings and are very eager to go diving in the Philippines for the first time.

The participation of the Philippines in the London International Dive Show proved another successful marketing and promotional effort for the country in maintaining its strong presence in UK’s dive market.

Featured Festival



Holy Week, Marinduque

The Moriones, held in the island province of Marinduque, is undoubtedly the most colourful festival in the country during Holy Week. The pageant and parade sees participants don oversized Roman legionnaire masks and reenact the legend of Longinus.

The legend goes that Longinus was the blind Roman legionnaire who pierced the side of Christ during his crucifixion. When the blood that spurted forth touched his eyes, his sight was fully restored. This miracle converted Longinus to Christianity and thus earned the rage of the Roman legion.

The festival reenacts Longinus' flight from the masked Legionnaires around the town for a whole week before culminating in his capture and beheading.

Destination of the Month



Lying in the Bohol Sea some 90 kilometres north of Mindanao is the pear-shaped volcanic island of Camiguin. It is an island paradise known for its beautiful coastlines and rich marine resources surrounded by natural wonders like hot springs, waterfalls, volcanoes (of which there are seven in the island) and exotic flora and fauna.

Camiguin has two other attractive islets known as White Island, a two-kilometre uninhabited white sand bar and Mantigue Island, four hectares of forest fringed white sand beaches. Also located in the island is the Old Catamaran Church Ruins, remnants of
the oldest Spanish settlement in the area destroyed by the 1871 Vulcan Daan Eruption.

Package of the Month


Friends Philippines Northern Mindanao Tour

15-day Special Tour (19 Nov - 3 Dec)

DOT London announces the Friends Philippines Northern Mindanao Tour will be held in November this year. The tour promises to be as revolutionary as ever as it features amazing destinations from Northern Mindanao, places which do not normally figure in tour packages and programs.

The tour will first take participants to the major cultural attractions of Old and New Manila and Tagaytay. It will then proceed south to cover the beautiful regions of Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon to see amazing waterfallls, serene beaches, natural hot-springs, and even the biggest Pineapple Plantation in Asia. Visitors will then travel north to take in the cultural and natural attractions of Cebu and Bohol.

An endearing aspect of Friends Philippines Tours is that participants get to choose a holiday extension after their trip which takes them to either Panglao Island in Bohol, Badian Island in Cebu, an extension stay in Mactan or an adventure of a lifetime in Siargao Island.

Kindly consider taking part in this amazing tour and spread the word among your friends about this amazing tour featuring unique cultural and natural attractions and allows you to experience the warmth of the Filipino people.
For more info click here

DOT News


UK Outbound Tourism Badly Hit by Global Recession, but DOT London Rises to the Challenge

It is said that the United Kingdom officially entered recession on 23 January 2009 when the Office for National Statistics reported that the economy had shrunk through the last two quarters of 2008. By February and March, unemployment was hitting a record low and the financial sector was teetering in the brink of collapse. In April, official data showed the recession further deepened, with the economy shrinking by 1.9% during the quarter, the worst since 1979. All this served as the gloomy backdrop for UK outbound travel in 2009.

Being a country of voyagers and adventurers, the recession did not discourage the British from travelling; however, most opted to travel within the United Kingdom and nearby destinations such as the countries along the Mediterranean Sea. A new concept of travel – “staycation” – became the fashionable trend during the spring and summer holiday break, with families investing in local British tourism destinations that can be reached by means of mobile homes. 2009 proved to be the year for domestic UK tourism, but quite the contrary for long-haul travel to Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Despite the economic turmoil that embroiled Great Britain in 2009, the Department of Tourism (DOT) London Field Office continued to push the Philippines aggressively to the UK and European travel markets. DOT London persisted in implementing project after project despite the crisis, believing that steadfast destination marketing will pay off handsomely once the recession breaks.

Read more click here

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