Balai Isabel

PATA 2012 Opening Night in Manila: way more fun in the Philippines


Tonight, in Manila living a Travelife, I crossed town again in pretty horrendous traffic to attend the gala/ welcome dinner for the opening of the PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Travel Mart 2012, the biggest travel trade event in the region.

The welcome dinner was organized by the Philippine Department of Tourism and co-hosted by Philippine Airlines, PAGCOR, the PICC and Duty Free Philippines.

AN EVENING TO BE PROUD OF

The delicious dinner itself was catered by Via Mare and the entertainment — which was very good — was organized by the Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Inc. under the direction of Roobak Valle, Gino Gonzales, John Batalla and Shax Siasoco.

photo courtesy of Teddy Pelaez

Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. gave the opening remarks as the honorary chairman of the Philippine Organizing Committee for PATA Travel Mart 2012, and the entire senior team of DOT was present in full force.

Everyone who is anyone in the local travel industry was around tonight, and it was great to see lots of old friends. Meanwhile, from abroad, there were over 800 trade visitors for the PATA dinner tonight.

TRULY ENJOYABLE ENTERTAINMENT

But the most impressive aspect tonight was the entertainment, which began from the time we got off the driveway at the PICC and began that long walk into the main plenary hall. From the main entrance itself, there was already a welcoming committee and a classical music orchestra.

Then, along the entire walkway to the plenary hall, dancers and singers in various Philippine costumes were lined up to say hello and to create a festive atmosphere.

Inside the plenary hall was world-class entertainment as we all sat down at round tables for dinner. The program was a mixture of traditional and contemporary, local and international, to give all the guests a taste of the familiar and also of Philippine songs and dances.

It was very well staged and controlled so that the evening ended at exactly the right time — not too late nor too early.

Congratulations to the DOT and to all the organizers of tonight’s wonderful gala dinner. Tonight really made me proud to be a Filipino. More importantly, it showcased the best of Filipino contemporary culture, with a touch of the traditional as well, to 800 foreign visitors — to show them exactly why it’s more fun in the Philippines.

*    *    *
THE PERFORMERS
This was most wonderfully impressive entertainment.




Buganda Drumbeaters and Dancers
One of the most visible and in-demand percussion groups
in the Philippines today.
Musikito String Orchestra
A children’s ensemble that was originally composed of 66 students
aged 4 to 5 years old.
El Gamma Penumbra
A shadow theater group
that is the pride of Batangas.

Juleous Gacang
A talented violinist, dancer and actor
who has performed with the band “Toto.”



Candice Adea and JM Cordero
Talented young ballet dancers.
Red Nuestro
A musical theater artist 
who has performed internationally.

Airdance
A multi-awarded Philippine contemporary dance group.

Opera Belles
A young and talented female
classic and cross-over trio.
Ballet Philippines
The Philippines’ top company
for ballet and contemporary dance.

Ryan Cayabyab Singers
A seven-man vocal group
handpicked by the famous composer himself.
*    *    *
MENU BY VIA MARE
A true Philippine degustation meal.





APPETIZERS
Fertilized duck egg pate in profiteroles
Water spinach with salted duck egg dip
Mushroom adobado in skewers

MAIN COURSES

MAHI MAHI MANILENA
Grilled fish fillet topped with pan-fried plantain
PINAIS NA ALIMASAG
Crab with young coconut strips
INASAL NA MANOK
Garlic annato roast chicken
BISTEK TAGALOG
Oven-baked beef brisket
LUMPIANG UBOD
Fried or fresh heart of palm egg roll
PANCIT LUGLUG
Rice noodles with shrimp sauce
PAN DE SAL AT KESONG PUTI
Salt bread with farmer-style white cheese
FIESTA RICE
Fried rice with adobo, salted eggs and tomato

SALADS
ENSALADANG KESO AT KAMATIS
Salad greens with tomatoes and white cheese
ENSALADANG SUHA AT LABANOS
Pomelo radish salad
ENSALADANG PUSO NG SAGING AT HIPON
Banana hearts vinaigrette with shrimps

DESSERTS
BIBINGA GALAPONG
Charcoal-baked rice cake
PUTO BUMBONG
Bamboo-steamed rice cake 
with coconut and muscovado sugar
LECHE FLAN
Egg custard with sweetened coconut
HALO-HALO
Melange of sweetened fruits
BIKO
Rice cake with caramel topping
CUCHINTA 
Steamed rice cake with brown sugar
MAJA MAIS
Blancmange of corn and coconut cream
PITSI-PITSI
Sticky rice balls
CASSAVA BIBINGKA
Cassava pudding
SORBETES
Native ice cream
SARI-SARING FRUTAS
Fresh fruits in season

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