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.
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.
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.
Candice Adea and JM Cordero