One of the biggest Provincial Festivals of the Philippines, the annual Panaad sa Negros is set to unfold again this summer season!
One of the events that I always look forward to during summer season when I was still based in Bacolod City was the Panaad sa Negros Festival, or simply known as Panaad.
Panaad sa Negros Festival dancers
Travel Tour Expo (TTE) 2014 of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) will have the Bangon Tours program as the focus of participation by the local tourism industry’s government sector led by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its marketing arm, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), as the lead coordinating agency.
The DOT Pavilion will have one of the biggest, if not the biggest, booths participating in this year’s TTE, which will be held on 14-16 February at Halls 1 to 4 and Function Room 5 of the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.
Amid the country’s most-awaited tourism and travel event, the DOT and TPB will involve its regional tourism offices nationwide and the other seven attached agencies in promoting more participation to Bangon Tours among industry practitioners and domestic travellers.
The other attached agencies involved are the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Duty-Free Philippines (DFP), Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), Intramuros Administration (IA), National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD), and Nayong Pilipino (NP).
The Bangon booth will host cultural shows from the different regions, install interactive kiosks, information counters for brochures and give-aways, among other activities.
With President Benigno S. Aquino III expected to keynote TTE’s opening program, the government sector’s focus on Bangon Tours dovetails with the 21st TTE’s 2014 theme: “Love Life, Love Travel.”
As its tagline “Bakasyon Mo, May Meaning” conveys, the program is a direct contribution to the government’s recovery and rebuilding efforts. It also communicates its advocacy on social responsibility for the benefit and welfare of the local people in the destination areas, particularly in the Eastern Visayas region which was hardest hit by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in November 2013.
Last year, TTE had approximately 76,000 visitors — or more than 25,000 visitors daily who jam-packed the three-day event. These visitors went to more than 500 booths that were used by 235 exhibitors who showcased their tourism products and services such as discounted international and domestic plane fares, tour packages and others that cannot be found online.
With its aim to foster unity and professionalism among more than 600 PTAA members, the 21st Travel Tour Expo 2014 Organizing Committee is headed by newly-appointed executive director Marciano “Nit” Ragaza, Jojo Clemente as project director, and PTAA president and TTE 2014 organizing chairman John Paul Cabalza.
Travel Tour Expo organizers have agreed with TPB to donate a substantial amount of the event’s proceeds to Bangon Tours. This amount will be in addition to the donations of individual PTAA members who have signed up with TPB.
“Domestic tourism is big. Special events like the annual TTE make it even bigger. When people take holidays, short breaks, and day trips in their own country, they make tremendous socio-cultural, economic and environmental impacts,” says Domingo Ramon Enerio III, TPB’s Chief Operating Officer.
“When properly implemented, domestic tourism in the Philippines achieves the goal and impact of our National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), which is to have an environmentally and socially responsible tourism that delivers more widely distributed income and employment for Filipinos, especially the local people of the host communities in the tourist destination areas,” COO Enerio adds.
Data from the Department of Tourism indicate that international tourism had 4.27 million visitor arrivals in 2012, length of stay for 8.2 nights, P3,874 average expenditure per day, and total receipts of P129.7 million. On the other hand, domestic tourism had 37.5 million local trips for the same period, 4.7-night length of stay, and P995.7 million in tourism earnings, which does not include the backyard economy. For 2016, the target is 10 million foreign visitor arrivals and 56.1 million in domestic trips with 18.7% in employment contribution to the Philippine economy.
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Available on Android and iOS smartphones, the Easy Taxi mobile app offers a convenient way for users to virtually hail a taxi to take them to their destination. By having a cab automatically assigned to them, passengers can avoid choosy cab drivers that tend to run rampant during the month of December.
It was a song that the award-winning choir was used to singing whenever they went on tour, but one performance stood out and touched the hearts of people around the world.
Loboc Children’s Choir
It all started when the internationally renowned Filipino choral group – the Loboc Children’s Choir of Loboc, Bohol – sang the Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli classic ‘The Prayer’ on national television.
Like a ripple, the message of hope from these children who are earthquake survivors themselves inspired many other Filipinos to do their share in helping their countrymen recover from the disaster.
To amplify these children’s voices, the Philippines’ biggest music artists came together to join the choir, give life to the song anew, and help Filipinos affected not just by the Bohol earthquake but also by the recent super typhoon that ravaged Leyte, Samar and nearby regions.
“These children may be from Bohol, but their innocent voices represent not just their home province but also earthquake-damaged Cebu, war-stricken Zamboanga, and typhoon-devastated Leyte, Samar and Iloilo — all of whom are praying for a miracle to allow them to rebuild their lives,” said Ramon Chuaying of the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI).
“We asked the help of various Filipino artists, to lend their voices, to represent our country and show the world that the Philippines has one voice, one prayer — that we work together to help our countrymen rebuild their lives brick by brick,” he added.
According to Ito Rapadas of Universal Records, who produced and recorded the song, convincing the artists to contribute was easy once they appreciated and understood the uniqueness of the project.
“A couple of the popular artists who agreed to sing the song inquired why instead of using a new and original Filipino song, we used a foreign song for this project. We said the project was started and inspired by the viral video of the Loboc Children’s Choir singing in an impromptu manner in front of the rubble of the old church of Loboc after the earthquake,” said Rapadas.
“We highlighted the children’s choir and their choice of song which is The Prayer, not only because they started the idea, but because they are survivors of a natural disaster and they represent the resiliency of all survivors of both the Bohol earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda,” Rapadas added.
For this project the PARI worked with DDB Philippines to gather 23 music artists to record ‘The Prayer’ with the Loboc Children’s Choir. The song was released by Smart Music through its SPINNR digital music store (spinnr.ph) and all proceeds will go to the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation’s Help.PH initiative to help in the immediate relief and community rebuilding efforts in affected areas through resettlement, education and livelihood.
‘The Prayer’ features the voices of top Filipino music icons singing with the Loboc Children’s Choir. These artists are Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Kuh Ledesma, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, ZsaZsa Padilla and Lani Misalucha.
They are also joined by topnotch Filipino performers from various record labels who agreed to unite in this project – Noel Cabangon, Christian Bautista, Billy Crawford, Anne Curtis, Rachelle Ann Go, Erik Santos, Richard Poon, Yeng Constantino, Angeline Quinto, Karylle, Jay R, Nikki Gil, Kris Lawrence, Iya Villania, Nyoy Volante and Sabrina.
Production was supervised by maestro Ryan Cayabyab who heads the Philipop MusicFest Foundation.
“It’s a beautiful and inspiring version that we can all be proud of. This is probably the biggest gathering of today’s biggest music artists in a single song, and we are glad that these artists all responded to our call to help rebuild the lives of our countrymen by sharing their time and talent,” said Mellissa Limcaoco of Smart Music.
“Now we are encouraging everyone to please support the cause and help our fellow Filipinos rise again. By simply purchasing a copy of this song for only P10, not only are you helping spread the message of hope but you are directly contributing to the Help PH campaign of the PDRF,” she added.
Smart, Talk ‘N Text and Sun Cellular subscribers can purchase the song by visiting and registering their mobile phone numbers at spinnr.ph via web, mobile browser or the Spinnr mobile app for Android Smartphones. Payment will be deducted from the prepaid load or charged to the subscriber’s postpaid bill so a credit card is not needed to support this cause.
To help in Smart Music’s advocacy of aiding earthquake and typhoon survivors through music, visit spinnr.ph and download the collection of songs for the benefit of Help PH. For more information about Help PH and the many ways you can send help wherever you are in the world, visit www.help.ph.