Monday, July 22, 2013

The 8th Ambassadors, Consul Generals, and Tourism Directors (ACGTDT) Tours

Aiming to entice Filipino Americans based in USA to deepen their appreciation of the beauty of our country, the Ambassadors, Consul Generals, and Tourism Directors (ACGTDT) have paved way to the 8th ACGTDT tour which was joined by hundreds of participants from all over the United States and Canada. The tour was organized to enable Filipinos based in America and Canada to revisit their homeland and experience the beauty of the country’s top tourist destinations, take a vacation with family and friends, and explore business opportunities. The tour introduced delegates to the history and culture of the country, its rich heritage, health and wellness as well as with various entertainments.
ACGTDT tour is a one-week event which is a joint project of all Philippine Service Posts in the United States in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Rajah Tours Philippines. Through this tour, Filipinos abroad will have an opportunity not only to see the beauty of the country but also to learn more about potential areas for investments, livelihood, business, and retirement. It offers an extraordinary program that highlights the Philippines as a wholesome and attractive holiday destination capitalizing on the hospitality of Filipinos. This year, around 500 participants joined the tour and experienced the rich Philippine culture and heritage.
We are lucky enough to be part of this one-week long event even just for a day. We joined the tour on July 10 and together with our kababyans from abroad, we went through the nostalgic memory lane of the Philippines. I saw Filipino faces speaking a foreign tongue who are very ecstatic because they are again in their homeland. Their countenance are gleaming with joy that again for at least some time, they are back to where they really belong.  
The tour commenced in Edsa Shangri-La, the official partner hotel of this year’s event.  The group was divided into two for the historical expedition. The first group went to Emilio Aguinaldo  Shrine in Kawit Cavite and I joined the visit to Jose Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna.
Mr. Leo Lim (Consul General) sharing smoething about Jose Rizal's life history during the trip.

Emilio Aguinaldo is the first president of the republic of the Philippines and the town of Kawit plays a major role in the history. In the balcony of the house of Aguinaldo, the Philippine flag was waved, indicating the freedom and democracy of the country.
It is a common knowledge among Filipinos and foreigners alike that Jose Rizal is the Philippine's national Hero and so its just apt to include Jose Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna as one of the places to visit in reliving history. His intellectual approach of expressing  opinions and disagreement with society is indeed very impressive and thus he is known not only in our country, but worldwide and since Jose Rizal is also an expatriate, Fil-American delegates can surely relate and appreciate the visit. 

Balikbayans, having their photos taken in the Philippines' National Shelter  - Bahay Kubo.
Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay is the second stop of the tour. Delegates were welcomed with a festive dancing maneuvered to the exquisite beautiful music of rondalla. The atmosphere was light and happy, more like of a barrio fiesta. The highlight of the Tagaytay tour is the breathtaking view of Taal Volcano overlooking from Taal Vista Hotel. Unfortunately the haze of the drizzle overshadowed the nature’s magnificent wonder so visitors opted to take their lunch instead. Since the DOT has declared July as the Kulinarya month, the tour activities highlighted Filipino culinary tours which is a big part  of the Filipino culture and heritage. Sumptuous buffet lunch where specialty dishes from Southern Tagalog region covering Laguna, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon were served. During lunch, a cultural show was presented and definitely captured the heart of the spectators so even if Taal Volcano failed to boast its elegance, all of the delegates were still happy and satisfied. 

The tour ended at a cocktail party in Solaire Resort and Casino situated in the city of Pasay. The resort features an elaborate designs and architecture as well as a world class dining experience. Solaire provided every delegates with an ultimate Las Vegas gaming experience with its expansive 18,500 square-meter casino area and an outdoor themed casino and entertainment bar.

In one day that I joined the one-week long tour of ACGTDT, I can say that this project truly serves its purpose. Delegates, through the sound of their laughters,  really enjoyed the country’s “more fun destination and activities.” The warm acceptance of the world-class Filipino hospitality is something that made everyone feel cozy and comfortably at home. Their eyes reflect the happiness that are not uttered in words.

Filipinos everywhere will always come back home and the Philippines will always serve as a retirement haven because indeed it is more fun in the country, IT IS MORE FUN THE THE PHILIPPINES!

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