A PH tour for young FilAms, a first for embassy

Blue. Beach. Boracay

Blue. Beach. Boracay

By Maricar CP Hampton

The first-ever Just Go Next Gen Tour slated for July 8-12 is inviting Filipino Americans between the ages of 18 and 40 to experience why “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”

Victoria Cuisia, wife of Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia, issued the invitation during a reception for the press.

“Last year we had a group of young people, and it was very transforming for them because they saw how it was like in the Philippines,” she said. “They never imagined life like that. And we want to push it again.”

She said the Filipino youth is “a little bit disconnected” from mainstream Filipinos. “We are hoping that we can generate more activities for them to join and go back to the Philippines.”

Developed by Virginia Beach residents Roy and Naomi Estaris of The Travel Outlet, the new program is a joint project with the Philippine Embassy and consulates throughout the U.S.

What happens, said Naomi is, that “The kids go to Europe, to Mexico while the parents go to the Philippines.”

“When I ask why don’t you go with your parents they’ll say no; it’s not as exciting. Then I show them images. But it’s not as commercialized and not as advertised,” she explained.

For about $2,400 for the East Coast traveler and about $2,000 for a person from the West Coast, the Just Go Next Gen Tour includes a four-night stay at F1 Premier Hotel in Taguig; daily breakfast; a tour of Intramuros with cultural dinner show and a gallery tour of Hall One of the Center for International Trade and Expositions and Missions; an out-of-town lunch with choice of ultralight flying adventure, lahar safari tour with sand spa or snorkeling and island hopping tour.

There are additional tours to Puerto Princesa or Bohol for eco tourism; the Adventure Tour in Sumilon, Cebu or Apo Island in Dumaguete; the Adventure Tour in Boracay Island. Additional charges may apply.

The Just Go Next Gen Tour is being organized in tandem with the Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) on July 9 to 15.

Ambassador Cuisia cited how the 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) listed the Philippines as “the most improved country in the region, ranking 16th regionally and 82nd overall” out of the 140 countries.

The ACGTDT basic tour is anywhere from $1,933 to $2,677 and includes round-trip tickets with four nights at the Edsa Shangri-La; daily buffet breakfast, two lunches and dinners cultural shows and entertainment; wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park. The highlight is the audience with President Aquino.

Since 2005 when it started, an estimated 3,000 people have participated in the tour, according to Tourism Representative Mitchell Dy.

“This year we want everyone to have the fiesta experience which is what the Philippines is known for, that fun element. We bring them in this one place which is in Tagaytay. When they arrive they will have marching bands, lechon, dancers, performers and the whole fiesta activity the whole day,” Dy said.

Underground river in Palawan

Underground river in Palawan

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