Philippines E-Newsletter - December 2011

With all major trade shows for the year including World Travel Market already finished, the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) London is still continuing its momentum by implementing no less than six major familiarization trips before the end of December. From senior travel writers visiting an exclusive private island to underwater videographers wanting to capture our marine attractions, the Philippines is now truly in demand as the new exotic destination.

We also gladly report that some of the country's attractions were recently recognized on the world stage by various respected bodies.

In this issue:

  Major Programs
  Destination of the Month
  Package of the Month

Major Programs

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Philippines' Attractions Recognized in Several Prestigious Lists

The Philippines won various impressive plaudits last month with the Puerto Princesa Underground River being declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature; the country being voted as the top 4th destination in Lonely Planet's Reader's Choice Awards; Ariara Island in Palawan named as one of the “World’s Top 10 Private Islands” by the Sunday Times.

After a campaign lasting over four years, selection for the New 7 Wonders of Nature has finally concluded with the Puerto Princesa Underground River among the winners (www.new7wonders.com). The other six New 7 Wonders of Nature, based on provisional results, were South America's Amazon River, Vietnam's Halong Bay, Argentina's Iguazu Fallas, South Korea's Jeju Island, Indonesia's Komodo Island and South Africa's Table Mountain.

Meanwhile, Lonely Planet's annual Reader's Choice Awards saw the Philippines voted by its readers as the top 4 country destination for 2012 from hundreds of contenders.

The Sunday Times named Ariara Island in Palawan as one of the “World’s Top 10 Private Islands". The private island was described by British journalist Susan D’Arcy as “a stylish retreat for people who don’t do hotels.”(www.ariaraisland.com)

The Philippines is rightfully being distinguished as a world-class destination for its unique attractions and diversity as more commendations are being awarded by many esteemed bodies.

Familiarization Trips from late November to December


PDOT London continues to facilitate and run familiarization trips to raise awareness for the Philippines' attractions and services. From the later part of November to the end of the year, we are proud to report a number of very exciting inspection visits, by a number of well-regarded journalists, writers, tour operators and photographers.

19 - 24 November - PDOT London together with Daisy Bird PR organised a familiarization trip for four high-profile travel writers to visit the highly-exclusive Ariara Island (ariaraisland.com). This influential group contribute to prestigious publications in the UK namely: The Spectator, The Mail on Sunday, Telegraph, The Independent, The Scotsman, Tatler, How to Spend It, Financial Times, Telegraph Ultratravel, Conde Nast Traveller, Vanity Fair, City AM, Easy Living, Wall Street Journal Europe, AMEX Departures, Barclays ‘Little Book of Wonders’ and the Times.

21 - 29 November - Kuoni together with Shangri-la Hotels and Resorts took senior contributors to Press Association News, Mail on Sunday, National Geographic Traveller and City Am to a whirlwind trip visiting the impressive properties of Shangri-La in Cebu, Boracay and Makati.

26 November - 8 December - Italian photojournalist Davide Scagliola will be covering the lifestyle of Manila, the natural scenes and adventure activities of Legazpi, Donsol and Camarines Sur. Davide contributes to major Italian publications Vanity Fair and Vijando.

30 November - 15 December - Another Italian, Sergio Ramazzotti
is currently in the country gathering material for various stories on the Philippines to be released in Italy. For Panorama Magazine, Sergio will be featuring the excellence of the Philippines including best island for heritage, best location for beaches and underwater attractions and best island for culture. While for GEO magazine, he will be publishing the tribal traditions of the Ifugaos in their mix with Catholicism. He is also writing about the Dancing Inmates of Cebu for Rolling Stone and will be submitting an article for GQ magazine.

1 - 18 December - Renowned underwater videographer John Boyle and Fionn Crow of Shark Bay Films UK will be capturing high-definition footage of the marine offerings of Coron and Puerto Galera. They will be visiting idyllic sites such as Dimakya Island to film the elusive Dugong, the Kyokuzan Maru Japanese Wreck, Puerto Galera and Apo Reef for the top macro species.

16 December - 22 January - Kiki Deere, a freelance journalist will be embarking on a lengthy trip to cover the destinations of Camiguin, Malapascua, Moalboal, Cebu City, Iloilo, Boracay, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Tagbilaran, Batangas, Puerto Galera, Legazpi, Sorsogon, Laoag, Vigan, Baguio, Sagada, Banaue, Puerto Princesa, El Nido and finally Busuanga. Kiki will be featuring these locales of the Philippines section at the South-East-Asia section of the Rough Guides.

All in all, PDOT London looks forward to at least two dozen highly positive travel features on the Philippines in all these major publications in the UK and Italy in the coming year. This will undoubtedly raise the profile and awareness of the Philippines to new highs and go a long way in stimulating travellers to visit the country's many shores.

Destination of the Month

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Palawan - Puerto Princesa Underground River

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range less than two hours from the capital of the Palawan province.

The area is dominated by an impressive limestone-karst landscape with the subterranean river as its distinguishing feature. Reputedly the planet's longest navigable subterranean river at 8.2 kilometres, it features an extensive system starting at an altitude of 100 metres and emerges directly into the sea.

UNESCO declared the park as one of the most bio-diverse conservation areas in the world, with an impressive array of flora and fauna. Endemic animal species include the rare Palawan Peacock Pheasant, Palawan Hornbill, Palawan Tree Shrew, Palawan Porcupine and Palawan Stink Badger. There are three forest formations at the park lowland, karst and limestone while in the coastal area, mangroves and mossy forest are also found.

Package of the Month

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Amanpulo with Puerto Princesa Underground River


Luxury Holidays Direct (www.luxuryholidaysdirect.com, 020 8774 7299) are offering 7-night package: 3 nights in Peninsula Manila and 4 nights in The Amanpulo Resort from £2529 per person. Price includes accommodation for two with economy flights on Qatar Airways, internal flights between Manila and Palawan, private transfers between airports and resorts and all applicable taxes. Price also includes Underground River Tour with Lunch.

For travel 9 Jan 12 - 31 Mar 12
For more info click here

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